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Gamers Online: “I’m Right, You’re Wrong, and I Hate You”

Passion is one thing, but when you factor in anonymity, the worst in humanity arises.
This article is over 10 years old and may contain outdated information

In case everyone has forgotten, let me issue the following reminder:

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Video games are supposed to be about FUN.

The influx of hostility in online forums and communities has reached ridiculous levels, to the point where I really can’t post anywhere. The all-encompassing attitude is too often one of skepticism, negativity and even outright hatred. Many disagreements start off civil enough but eventually, just about all of them degrade to the level of:

“I’m right, you’re wrong, and I hate you.”

That’s the end result of two people arguing about a freakin’ hobby. Why bother debating when this result is inevitable? Why waste one’s time? There’s no reason to engage in educated, intelligent conversation with others, even if they supposedly share similar interests. The superiority complexes (or, as the case may be, inferiority complexes) are just out of control.

Gaming journalists often take the brunt of it

Here’s what I find sad: Just about every gamer would agree that the mainstream press still treats this industry like dirt. They would agree that we’re often stereotyped, and that many still see gaming as a kid’s hobby. These same individuals typically view those who play video games as immature. So, let me get this straight: By acting the way we do online, we’ve opted to reinforce that argument rather than refute it…? Really?

The worst part is that the path to legitimacy is paved with qualified, professional journalists. However, as far as I can tell, very few gamers have any respect whatsoever for a journalist or critic; in fact, the more popular a journalist or critic is, the more likely he or she will incur constant gamer wrath. Is it jealousy? Actually, I think it’s more – “I can do that job better than him any day.”

Gamers seem to delight in raking a critic over the coals, but nary a peep is heard if that journalist or critic does his job well. God forbid if there’s ever an award for gaming journism…wheover wins it will be roundly hated by the very people he or she has been servicing for years.

Angry gaming isn’t pretty, but angry gamers freaking out online? Pathetic

At least when gamers rage online, that’s due to the heat of competition. It’s somewhat defensible (I mean, provided the angry gamer doesn’t completely lose his mind). How many death threats did Activision receive over the years concerning Call of Duty? How many death threats did BioWare receive during that Mass Effect fiasco? This is the kind of behavior that isn’t pitiful – that means I would pity the individual, and I don’t – it’s just pathetic.

Weren’t we all supposed to have grown up by now? Is it just the Internet that’s doing it? Is it the anonymity that triggers such insane levels of illogical hatred? I’ve always wanted to take two people who insult the hell out of each other online, and put them in an empty room together for fifteen minutes. Either they’d kill or each other, or they’d just sit in opposite corners, staring at the floor. That’s my guess.

Somewhere along the line, I think people started to take video games way too seriously.

If you want to be taken seriously, stop acting so…serious

In my experience, one of the reasons the out-of-touch don’t like games and gamers is simply this: They see a lot of “kids-in-adult-bodies” behaving as if their hobby was the be-all, end-all of existence. In our striving for legitimacy, in our attempts to prove to everyone that in fact, video gamers aren’t just for children anymore, we’ve gone way too far. Now, when you see online gaming and discussion behavior, you see people who are far too emotionally invested in a hobby.

Yes, it’s a hobby. It’s meant to provide entertainment. If you’re not having fun, if you’re always angry, what’s the point? Even if you could prove you were right all the time, even if you could prove that all journalists don’t know half as much as you do, even if you could get everyone online to admit they’re inferior, what good would that do you? Seriously?

Could we all just, I don’t know…play games? I’m just sick of seeing the most negative headlines getting the most attention, due entirely to gamer backlash. When something positive is announced, it takes four seconds for the community to turn it into something negative; they turn it into a turf war or some idiotic thing.

I’m boredAnd disgusted. Makes me want to keep other gamers at arm’s length any time I’m online, and there’s something very wrong about that.

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A gaming journalism veteran of 14 years, a confirmed gamer for over 30 years, and a lover of fine literature and ridiculously sweet desserts.