Gamers are stupid, ignorant, vile, and repulsive, and are the most horrible creatures to ever grace any entertainment outlet. We do not crave innovation, we do not praise the new blissful fields of our creative masters. We will take graphics over emotional meaning, technology over decent gameplay and we will just let it all soak in. All of it. Lap it up like a cat with milk, and there’s no stopping the beast that is ‘the gamer’. Over the next few thousand words I’m going to tell you how STUPID you all are, how stupid I am, how stupid you can be. Oh and why you’re such an idiot! You idiot! We’re going to delve into fanboy hell, brush elbows with Roger Ebert, take a look at videogame journalism and maybe even learn a thing or two. That’s if you can follow me, you stupid STUPIDFACE!
As you’ve already noticed the sarcasm meter is off the hook; no you’re not stupid. But you are stupid. I’m the same sort of stupid. Before we even begin I should explain this before I’m fined for public harassment or this article is taken down. What is stupid? In the same sense of, “What is art,” this question might haunt some people as it is universally subjective. The latter query haunts me every day, I have nightmares about what art could be. It could be the boogeyman or Will Smith. Imagine that, Will Smith being the very definition of art. It’d be creepy and maniacal, but just to look in a dictionary and see “Art - Will Smith”. I think he’d be proud of that. Anyway, we should get back to the question. What does it mean to be stupid? I should start by saying there’s a difference between being book smart and intelligent, in my terms anyway. Book smart is where you know every single prime number, the date the Mona Lisa was finished and when you can recite the Divine Comedy without even Googling it. Intelligence could be how you put this knowledge to practice; writing about it, sharing your ideas with discussion but in my terms it’s how you deal with the world. It’s what you buy, what you listen to, who you choose to side with. Intelligence could have a similar meaning to free will, but I think it takes some intellect to make the right choices in life.
Let’s just take for example: me. I consider myself a well-read person and I try to intake as much knowledge as possible, but when it comes to my gaming choices I’m as bad as the rest of you. I’m stupid with my gaming choices and I’m probably the biggest hypocrite in this industry since Ethan Mars said “I have to save my Son in three hours but first let’s make love!” As you’ve already noticed too, my grammar is terrible and vocabulary is work in progress. I can’t yet articulate everything I’ve thought about, not as well as some people have on the internet. But I guess God always loves people who try… if he exists.
Where does ‘stupidness’ and intelligence feed into the gamers psyche? Well, for starters, you are all mind-blowingly illiterate. You can’t even make a sentence half the time. This might not mean you personally but I’ll get to what could apply to you, and then I’ll get to what applies to me.
On any gaming forum, any message board known to man, there will always be the same pool of people making the same comments. Let’s just outline a few I found from my own articles.
just cause 2 is repedetive shit
Just look at those words. Just look at the very pinnacle of how stupid we can get. In my mind, having sentence structure, having actual punctuation and basic use of capital letters isn’t just knowledge. It’s where you put it to practice. Some real life authors can’t even capitalize their first words on the internet but I don’t think that’s much of an excuse. Just look at that comment again; just look at it. Now let’s have another comment.
The best thing about uncharted 2 is the graphics. They are mind blowing an they make uncharted a 11/10 game on their own! Gears 2 has shit graphics AND shit gameplay. plus At least the ps3 has games to play now.
Oh lordly lord! Where do we begin with this one. This isn’t much of a response article and more of a stupid measuring thing. If you, personally, think graphics are an important part of a game then raise you hand. If you’re raising your hand I want you to slap yourself across the face and yell “I am a moron.”
If you didn’t raise your hand then how about you take this test: have you ever made a comment like this before? Be honest, we were all 12 year olds at one point. There’s a combination of adolescent stupidity and the use of expletives for effect that just absolutely has to be applauded.
Gamers can’t comment or articulate their opinions so they resort to personal attacks. The number of times I’ve been told “go fuck yourself” or “go fuck your sister” or “the writer is a jackass” or “Nathan Hardisty sucks cock LOL” all because of my opinion borders on barbaric. A few weeks ago I said that Just Cause 2 is a better videogame than Heavy Rain and the response I got was both expected and unexpected. Between the mish-mash of homophobic accusations, there were a few brave de-constructive points. They went into detail of how I was wrong. By all means tell me I’m wrong but don’t be a stupid-face and just write in the comments below “WTF dude I got As in all of my exams nd u can’t rite for shit!”.
That’s just about less than, say, 30% of the average reader base for any site. I’m pretty confident in saying that most gamers, who don’t comment at all, can write an actual opinion which tells me why I’m wrong/right or just not resort to calling me a transsexual homosexual somethingsomething-sexual. I’m not going to direct insults or accusations towards certain sites but I do know some of them are just breeding grounds for idiocy.
Let’s move on to another plague that is killing us all; exclusives. What are they exactly? Yes they’re exclusive to one platform and incentive to buy the system just to play that title. If we look at it closely then we see that it is the most evil thing in existence. It does nothing to advance our gaming culture and in fact takes us in the wake of civil war. Exclusives benefit no-one except the game publisher and system manufacturer. The consumer (you) just has to be all stupid and take it as fuel for their arguments. You might not do this, I don’t, but I think you’ve heard of the time ‘fanboy’.
A fanboy is your absolute worst gamer to ever come into contact with. They spend most of their time on gaming forums outlining why “ps3 sux” or “360 sux” or something along those lines. When you meet a fanboy it’s like arguing with a brick wall. Every time you argue with rational thinking then they just completely block out your brilliance. There is nothing that will convince a fanboy, it’s a natural process that has to be squeezed out of their system overtime. Stupidity comes into contact when fanboys meet each other, then just endlessly quote with the same facts and figures. Newsflash everyone: there’s a console for everybody, so shut up. Stop making us all look like jerks whenever someone browses a site. Some people are very susceptible to stupid arguments and will transform into the bane of our gaming culture.
I mentioned ”videogame journalism” up there. You might think I’m going to now quote Platform Nation or Destructoid or IGN or something else to show you how stupid people are. Facts are that communities like Platform Nation, Destructoid and (to an extent) IGN can form a good opinion. I know for a fact that whenever I post an argument on my Destructoid blog, I always get intelligent responses. Same said for Platform Nation, I’ll get intelligent responses from avid readers and the writers/editors of the site. Sometimes however, videogame journalism is stupidity at its very best (or worst).
In print, ‘videogame journalism’ is synonymous with ‘biased poddycock.’ Go to your nearest news agents and point out a magazine which doesn’t have “PS3″ or “360 or “Live” or “Nintendo” or any pinpoint word that can translate to the magazine being all about that particular system or something. Congratulations, you possibly found one or two out of the four-hundred billion of them! When you write in a magazine called (this doesn’t exist) “360universal” or something, you’re going to be pretty much put in shackles. Instead of saying “This is a great multiplatform game.” you’ll be saying “This is the best action game on the Xbox.” It goes both ways too, and in this magazine you won’t be doing thoughtful and provocative insights in videogames as an artistic expression, instead you’ll just be doing editorials about why X system sucks and why Y system is better. Journalism is a shackling industry, but thanks to the internet, you can sometimes get into places which worship a universal opinion. I don’t have any biased and if someone asked me “which one do you play most”, I’d say “all of them.” I don’t even own a Wii.
Videogame journalism can be stupid, in the print world, and the gamers who follow these publications can be even stupider. They gloat over their subscriptions and laud them as intellectual as you can get, when in actual fact they are as biased as Al Gore with Climate Change. Yeah, political commentary, now we’re high-brow!
Maybe none of the things I’ve poked at you even apply to you. You might be me, a writer just floating on the rivers of the internet and calling everyone stupid along the way. That’s not an actual representation of me, or my opinion. Hell, maybe everything I’ve said before is completely pointless since it doesn’t apply to you. But what I’ve just outlined is the bottom half of the spectrum, this is where stupidity can become wibbly wobbly. It can divulge into various meanings and contexts, it can become something else entirely.
Whenever I browse gaming news or just talk to a friend about games, I always see the mention of the same franchises or games. I never see a “Sleep is Death” or “The Passage”. Instead what I will get is “Call of Duty”, “Halo”, “Gears”. The same run-of the mill games which do nothing with innovation and blatantly rip each other off. No innovation, no enthusiasm, just mediocrity. I’ll say it right now, I hate Halo. It doesn’t have an epic story, it has a placebo story about a faceless man fighting aliens. It doesn’t have anything going for it other than a community which shoots each other in the face. The same can be said for Call of Duty, except I have to admit the things it doesn’t fault in. It doesn’t fault in making a good, intense campaign. MW2 is one of the few titles where a shorter single-player made it a better experience. Call of Duty 4′s atomic bomb scene will probably stick with me forever, as will that mustache of Captain Price.
The thing that I have a problem with, the thing that I am calling stupid today is myself. It’s people like myself. Well, what I believe. I believe that every game in existence has the capacity to be art, and the way you personally look at it is the only one that matters. You. The gamer. But I called you stupid, that means I’m stupid.
I support games as an artistic expression, I write thousands of paragraphs about why Roger Ebert is wrong or why games (as an industry) can’t be art. I promote the message, I do have followers. I’m not saying that in a smug way but I do have people who follow my opinion and tweet me, message me, email me and we go back and forth about things we disagree with. Yet I would still us the stupidest bunch of the whole lot.
Fact is: I support games as an artistic medium, but I don’t even buy art games.
Fifteen quadrillion sales of MW2 and less than $89 donations made for Jason Rohrer for ‘Passage (free game, but donations welcome)’. Something is wrong. We invest $60/£40 into every purchase and every game, and we just expect that’s the norm. We know it’s the norm. A game might not change our life, we know it will be fun, and we’ll just say that’s just how it is. Yet, whenever a game such as ‘Braid’ comes along, we might not even buy it at all. I haven’t, I can admit it today, yet I’ll argue for it. I’ll argue how it can change the face of gaming, I’ll point at Ebert’s face and then direct him to the true meanings of a game such as Flower.
But oh no I won’t buy it, will I?
I’ve browsed hundreds of gaming forums and the thing that sticks out for me is the word ”piracy”. If you look at the trends and the figures, independent games are pirated more than mainstream. Just think about that for a moment. The mainstream can offer us epic tales and small moments of emotional joy or downright brilliance. You take a look at the independents and you see a world of flowers and strawberries and kittens. They are the scientists, the new kids on the block. The few guys chasing the big idea. A personal interface, new technology, expressing new emotions and telling a massive epic tale. Within the confines of their budgets you will get more meaningful indie games than mainstream games. That’s just the way it is given that a publisher doesn’t shackle them creatively or business wise either. Their ideas can stretch to the moon and beyond.
Too bad we don’t invest in them.
You wonder why mainstream and indies are apart; it’s not because of massive restrictions. It’s because of you. It’s all your fault. It’s all my fault. We’ll buy Modern Warfare 2 but won’t even bother a few months later with Sleep is Death or Braid. Yes these games are harder to find than your usual mainstream and yes they don’t always fulfil their promises. Just think about how much money you’ve invested into the mainstream and how much you’ve invested into the indies. The XBLA little art game gems, the little gems on Steam and beyond. Just for absolute example, Passage, a game that teaches you the very values of life. I’m still puzzled by how it made me just do what I did. I bought it on iTunes, finished it in five minutes and spent the rest of the night wide-eyed. This was obviously subjective, I cried at Shadow of the Colossus and you may have laughed, but sometimes a game makes you consider the very values of our existence. Who we are, how long we live. Life is short, life is meaningless in senses, and yet it’s brilliant. All of these messages spouted in minutes, massive philosophies just jammed down your throat. Given the right amount of knowledge, ten year olds could understand this; this is what education games should be about. Not teaching your kids what 2+2 is but more about the virtues of life. I was around 10 years old when I cried at Shadow of the Colossus so I know it’s easy to get an emotional response from someone so young. We’re too stupid to be educated or facilitate education or just meaningful experiences within a welcoming medium.
Every time Roger Ebert makes the point “games can never be art.” hundreds of us will make articles and take apart his argument. His latest argument was hypocritical, but the main point it had didn’t fall flat. As I’ve said before, the games industry can never be one with artistic expression, but every game in existence has the capacity to have meaning and intellect. And this is why we are so damn stupid. We invest heavily into a mainstream market that usually means shooting things, killing things and maybe there’s a mind-blowingly good story tacked on a la Bioshock. Maybe it isn’t even a shooter and does things different, like Heavy Rain, it should be applauded for its rich narrative! All you have to do is butcher the very idea of player choice!
You wonder why Roger Ebert can’t see art games for what they are, it’s because there are not enough. I said in my response to him that games are headed in a direction where there will be fewer investments and games altogether. It will be a good thing. It means indies have to work with dwindling resources and in those restrictions they will create massively brilliant games. You’ll still have your mainstream run of the mill.
Does it have to be this way? Does it have to be the way that I will point to games I haven’t even bought, call them art and then walk away? I’m stupid. I’m a complete idiot for spending my monies on big-budget titles, they already have more than enough financial support.
If you’re not a me. If you invest into the indie game market instead of mainstreams, then I will have to call you a liar. It’s an unbreakable trend of capitalism, we are slaves. Peer pressure, financial restrictions and many others factor into our existence as a largely mainstream one. You watch tech shows on the television and they will cite the Wii as the greatest console ever made. Casual gaming isn’t killing the industry, you are. You stupid person. How dare you!
I’m not telling you how to spend your money, hell I doubt you’ll do anything different, I just wanted to show you how much of an idiot we all can be. Games are art, yes, but we don’t buy them. If this does change your thinking, if you maybe take “Call of Duty” or “sports game you buy every goddamn year” off of your wishlist, and maybe search for “good indie games” then maybe I’ve made a difference. Maybe I’ve changed something, made the right choice; the hardest choice to make.
Gamers are stupid. We are ugly in our commentary, we can support our medium as one with artistic medium but we won’t even bother with it financially. Given the trend, you won’t get fewer mainstream games first, you’ll get fewer indies. In a time of such greed, publishers don’t take the innovative risks like they used to. Developers under Sony’s arm had to prove themselves with the previous generation. Team Ico pretty much changed my life with Shadow of the Colossus, but we won’t get another Team Ico. Not in this day and age.
If you think I’m wrong, if you think you make smart choices and support the artistic expression entirely, I don’t think you exist. The only true way we can make more ‘art games’ is if we financially support them. As it is now, we’re all too stupid to realize it yet.