Gaming Community Out of Control and Uncivilized?

A look at the Gaming Community and Civility

Recent gaming news has been focused on the public meltdown of Fez creator Phil Fish and the shocking death threats aimed at COD: Black Ops 2 design developer David Vonderhaar and his family. It has become clear that gamers need to take a long hard look at themselves and the actions and comments they make when online.

The question: is the gaming community out of control? And is internet behaviour, in general, becoming less civil?

At one time or another we’ve all lost our tempers online, we are human afterall, but the rise of the online troll and social media has made it easier than ever before to spread hate. I’m not here to preach a holier-than-thou attitude, I’ve lost my temper and called someone a noob, but I hope I’ve acted in a way that has encouraged someone to go and watch a video of how to do it right. I’ve never gone any further than the noob comment, and I struggle to see how a person can get so angry at a game that they feel the need to threaten death to a person’s family because of milliseconds.

As I have written about the Call of Duty incident previously, I’m not going to repeat myself; suffice it to say I believe Vonderhaar handled the situation maturely, despite what can only be very distressing comments.

However, the Phil Fish Twitter storm got quickly out of hand. For those of you who don’t know, Phil Fish refused to comment on information that indie developers would be able to develop and publish on the Xbox One. The decision was his choice, and not one that seemed out of the ordinary as he was waiting on official news before deciding to comment. So what caused his Fez 2 RageQuit?

Fellow Twitter user Marcus “AnnoyedGamer” Beer then threw a whole host of insults towards Fish for his apparent snub towards journalists. However, rather than try and stay above the hurtful comments Fish weighed in, saying some pretty horrible things himself (which I am far too much of a lady to repeat here) but essentially advising Beer to kill himself. He then finished by saying:

“FEZ II is cancelled.
I am done
I take the money and I run
This is as much as I can stomach
this isn’t the result of any one thing, but the end of a long, bloody campaign

You win.”

In my opinion the whole thing got out of hand. Cooler heads should have prevailed. Both Fish and Beer acted childishly (although, frankly, that’s an insult to children).

So how do we begin to overcome hate speech and cyberbullying in video games?

“All it takes for evil to succeed is for a few good men to do nothing...”

-Edmund Burke

Almost every game that can be played online with strangers, where communication is possible, has reported a rise in cyber bullying beyond the classic noob insult, and more and more derogatory terms are slipping in.

I’m a strong believer in proactive education, even if it adds fuel to a troll’s fire, and someone else might be listening and take note.

It may seem petty, but I will report someone who uses the word “gay” as a negative adjective. It perpetuates homophobia and normalises it in conversation, and it’s been years since words such as “retard” have been deemed politically incorrect in polite society yet it is still used time and time again in gaming.

But is gaming getting less civil? Or is that it is now more noticeable? Sadly some cyberbullying  has led to tragic conclusions, just the same as bullying in real life. But to say it’s less civil is difficult. Gaming, to a certain extent, has always had an uncivilised element. Counterstrike was plagued by the same issues as we have today; the only difference is we are now more aware of it.

Are gamers out of control? I believe there are a minority of gamers, and humankind in general, who wish to cause pain for the sake of it. To say that the gaming community is out of control, I believe is unfair.

Gaming has gone mainstream; from mobile gaming to online gambling, everyone and your granny is playing something--it is no longer lonely teenagers in a basement.

With tensions between casual gamers and those who call themselves hardcore becoming more prevalent it seems gaming is getting meaner. The internet has made it easier to be anonymous and it’s human to react negatively on occasion.

If you’re the victim of cyberbullying in online games it’s important not to respond, it only makes the situation worse. Instead:

Save evidence – Screen grab, take a photo, keep a record of whats been said, and tell someone you can trust, like a teacher or a parent.
Report any Threats – If a cyberbully has been threatening to harm someone or has sent any inappropriate sexual messages, forward them to the police. In many cases they can be prosecuted.
Don’t blame yourself – You’re not the one with the problem, regardless of what a person says or does.

Prevention:
Never share personal information online – Full name, address, telephone number, or any other information about yourself or friends/family.
Never share your password – Seems like an easy one but still very important.

Correspondent

English, Priesty Heals, Geek Chic Original, Nerd.

Published Jul. 29th 2013
  • TDGDan
    Featured Contributor
    Good article and good advice to people at the end. Bullying in any form is wrong and needs to be stopped at every opportunity.

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