The Average Gamer is 32, So Why are We All Acting Like Babies?

One reason why taking sides in gaming won't work: everyone sees things differently

I wrote this morning that PAX East 3-day badges sold out in about 45 minutes. I was lucky enough to snag my passes right when the sale went live, and watched in awe as people bumbled from site to site trying to get PAX services to actually work (that hotel service was a nightmare). 

Recommended Videos

Since writing that article, Saturday is showing as ‘Low’ on paxsite.com, but both Friday and Sunday are still readily available. One would assume that the load has lessened on the servers, making purchasing tickets a breeze.

Those who managed to snag tickets early and those who are just now finding time to do so are met with another type of stress–the other side of the fence and their bags of shame, which were thrown all over Twitter and the interwebs.

The what?

Most arguments have two, if not more, sides (of a fence, if you will). For instance, one group of our culture may say something like: “We need more girls in our games!” The other will say something like: “Girls aren’t relatable to the core audience!”

Whether these things are true or false is neither here nor there; what is true is that dividing the culture, or shaming the other side, is unproductive and leads to angry, bitter attitudes that shit on our community and on our games.

“Rape jokes aren’t funny!”

“Get over it–free speech!”

Another example–both entirely subjective. One common attribute that all debates share is that their subject is… well, subjective. In the example above, either comment may be true or false. Again, neither here nor there.

Dickwolves, for example. I’m posting the strip here purely for context.

Upon deeper reflection, the strip isn’t actually a rape joke–it’s an observation of a moral dilemma common in MMOs. Your quest is to save five slaves, but what about the rest?

A group of people were offended by the reference to rape in this strip, and, as is their right, voiced their concerns with Penny Arcade’s view. As most know, merchandise followed, along with a snarky strip (that some found funny), apologies and regrets, etc.

At PAX Prime earlier this year, when asked about what one thing Mike would do differently, Dickwolves resurfaced as his one regret–that the strip was made, that the response strip was made, that the apology was made, that the merch was made, and that the merch was removed.

Wait, a regret that the merch was removed?

Had we left it alone, the ongoing tension about the whole thing might have subsided but Robert made the call to pull the shirts. In hindsight all this did was open the wound back up and bring on a whole new wave of debate.

The Dickwolves controversy is probably the one that Penny Arcade is most known for, though the remarks that Mike made about transgender people is also one that lead to some developers backing out of exhibiting at PAX Prime. Understandable, and that is their right.

Okay, so?

Am I saying that the Dickwolves controversy was stupid, and that people need to get over themselves? No, not really. Personally, I wasn’t offended by it. But I can see how some people would be. I’m not taking a side, which seems to be a concept long forgotten in the gaming industry. You don’t have to be on a side. We don’t have to constantly try to crucify each other.

I will say, however, that I don’t believe either side has any right to shame the other over their choices. If someone wants to attend PAX, it doesn’t mean they agree with rape, or Fake Geek Girls, or ‘false apologies’ or anything like that. Hell, they may be part of the Cookie Brigade. They might be some aspiring developer trying to get their foot in the door at the Indie Megabooth. They might be the winner of the next Omegathon. Who cares? PAX is an open event for all to enjoy. I see kids everywhere, every year.

You don’t have to be on a side. We don’t have to constantly try to crucify each other.

Yes, bad things happen at PAX. Bad things also happen at weddings, at funerals, at dinner parties, at the mall… PAX is not some epicenter for horrible molestation or sexism. Let’s at least be realistic.

While Penny Arcade has certainly done things I don’t believe to be wise, I don’t believe that they are without good intentions. Child’s Play is one of the top charities of our culture, and they raised five million dollars last year. That’s incredible. You can’t say that, even with their mistakes, Penny Arcade isn’t doing good in our community.

So if you don’t take a side, what do you do?

What happened to reasonable people? Why is it impossible for people to take a stance on something in a productive, helpful way?

  • One reviewer gives a game an outstanding score, but criticizes it for sexist concepts. So we petition to have her fired? Are we not allowed to criticize aspects of our games anymore?
  • We have some sexy outfits on women in games, but suddenly each one of them is misogynistic? Really?
  • Penny Arcade makes some bad jokes and bad business/personal decisions, but they do a lot of good for our community, too. We can’t ever go to their events without feeling ashamed?

Here’s a thought.

No, really. Everyone needs to relax. Getting in each other’s assholes about personal beliefs and morals obviously isn’t going to get us anywhere and it’s not doing anyone any good.

Because everyone sees things differently.

It’s impossible to cater to a market as diverse as gaming. Someone is always going to be unhappy. That is a fact of life. There is not a solution available in any argument, ever, that is going to make all parties completely happy. It will never happen. Ever. Someone is always going to have to give up something they want so that another party can get what they want.

If you have a problem with PAX and don’t want to go, that is completely up to you and is your choice–no one can force you to attend. But to shame the people who enjoy PAX and who want to participate with people who also enjoy games is unproductive. Putting Fake Geek Girl stickers on people is unproductive. Molesting a cosplayer is illegal, for one, but is also unproductive. Shaming people who like to look at attractive characters is unproductive. Shaming men who don’t want to play as women is unproductive.

Can you see a trend here?

Why can we not just leave each other alone? If someone likes to play games with sexy women, let them. You don’t have to. If you want to play games with women in them, go for it! If someone wants to play as a furry, or a black person, or an asian person, or as a gay person, let them. These games exist, and as interest in certain aspects grows (like the ones above), so will the selection. That’s how this industry works. But change does not happen overnight and it certainly isn’t hurried along by yelling and screaming and kicking our little gamer feet.

I don’t have a ready solution at my fingertips for this problem, but the gaming community, as everyone has heard by now, is out of control. But why hasn’t it dawned on anyone that the way we’re going about changing things isn’t working?


GameSkinny is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article How Fallout Season 1 Creatures Compare to the Games
Lucy proposing marriage to vault 32 candidate in the Prime series.
Read Article Best Sims 4 CC From Pinterest
Sims character lounging with menus for more traits and interactions
Read Article 10 Best Food and Cooking Mods for Stardew Valley
Farmer holding cake in the field
Read Article Best Quality of Life Features Coming in Destiny 2: The Final Shape
The Witness's fortress in The Pale Heart in Destiny 2
Read Article The 10 Best Games Like Fallout
Related Content
Read Article How Fallout Season 1 Creatures Compare to the Games
Lucy proposing marriage to vault 32 candidate in the Prime series.
Read Article Best Sims 4 CC From Pinterest
Sims character lounging with menus for more traits and interactions
Read Article 10 Best Food and Cooking Mods for Stardew Valley
Farmer holding cake in the field
Read Article Best Quality of Life Features Coming in Destiny 2: The Final Shape
The Witness's fortress in The Pale Heart in Destiny 2
Read Article The 10 Best Games Like Fallout
Author
Katy Hollingsworth
whale biologist.