[ Blog ] Approaching #GamerGate, Part 1: What Gaming Means to Me

Okay, guys, buckle yourselves in tight: like just about every other journalist and blogger in the gaming industry has done, to date, I’m going to weigh in on this whole #gamergate thing. I’ll be the first to tell you I support the original idea behind the hashtag but thanks to what’s been happening on Twitter since this whole thing began both sides of the “debate” have really lost their ideals and turned it into a fight about who the victim and the villain is. I’m not going to start this, though, by trying to point fingers or even talk about #gamergate, really: in order to really get to the bottom of where I stand on this, I’m going to share with you guys what gaming means to me and what it’s brought to me.

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What Gaming Means to Me

I’m nothing special when it comes to being a gamer: I’ve been playing nearly all of my life, I’ve been an industry enthusiast for most of my life, and I’ve been a freelance journalist in the last three or four years. When I first started playing video games, it was really just a hobby that didn’t mean all that much to me; it wasn’t until I started gaming with my brother and competing at a few games with my mother that I actually got sucked into gaming and I haven’t been the same since. That kind of mentality that drew me to gaming is what keeps me in gaming: the desire to enjoy the games I play and enjoy them with others. Once I started writing seriously about gaming I stumbled upon a new way to do that, by sharing what it is that I enjoy about games in hopes that maybe someone would take up the same torch and learn to just enjoy video games as simply and as endearingly as I do. I don’t enjoy the Twitter debates and the flame wars on Facebook, screaming at one another about whose console is better and whose favorite franchise is the best. That’s not who I am and that’s certainly not what got me into gaming.  If you want to be the best at something, put your money where your mouth is and enter into something that’s actually competitive and not enter into petty online arguments.

Things have changed, though, since it became a mainstream thing back in the 90s and became the cool thing to do in the 00s: now that the market has been flooded with people who think gaming is supposed to cater to individual needs, there has been a lot of entitlement in the industry. I came from an era where there were hundreds, if not, thousands of games available for a given system, licensed or otherwise, and you had to plow through a lot of shit titles out there on your own without much help to find the quality titles and when games were consistently good or just weren’t absolute trash, you were grateful and you held on to them. Gaming, to me, hasn’t changed much since then: there will always be shovelware, companies trying to cash in on a quick and effortless buck; hell, it was even easier in the days of the NES and Master System. I look at a lot of the titles in a console’s collection much the same way: I’m grateful for the titles I like, I purchase the titles that I love, and I have a hearty laugh at the expense of the terrible ones. It’s always been that way for me and one can do this without being competitive, without pushing people away, and it actually breeds positive feelings if you do it right. There’s something out there for everyone and everyone should make it their goal to find what it is out there that they’d like and stick with it, branching out to see if there’s anything out there that would be a new kind of awesome.

Video games as an entertainment medium have grown since I started playing seriously and, honestly, I’ve grown right beside it, amazed by how far it’s come: now it’s went from something you play as a game, like a board game or a card game, to something you experience, which has made the medium much more involving than almost any other entertainment medium currently available. With the way I play, now, I get so much more from it than I did when I was younger – it used to be something I could get bored of quickly after a rental but, from a certain game, that excitement of something new and involving for a short time was what gaming was about. Now, there’s so much more to consider and it’s a great way for me to unwind after a hard day. It reminds me of how books used to make me feel – it would take me away from the world that I live in and place me in a role inside someone else’s world, letting me see that world from their eyes, except gaming lets you play with the world and in it. It’s incredible.

If I’m such an avid supporter of gaming and the industry, then, you might ask, why do you rant and rave so much? To be honest, it just comes from the fact that there’s a lot of people – gamers, mind you, but some of them non-gamers, as well – that seem to want to complicate life and being a gamer to the point that some people can’t even enjoy gaming the way it should be enjoyed because of, for example, the resolution the game displays at on a television! I mean, honestly, who cares about that if the game is enjoyable? There’s less people, now, who enjoy video games, and more people who seem to latch on to whether or not they have the best system setup, if they’re the greatest at something, whether or not their peers share their same thoughts about a character or franchise… It seems that the greater gaming community has made folks like me something of an oddity and it feels kind of weird being so.

Either way, I have a lot of pride being the kind of gamer that I am, because I think of it this way: if some people won’t enjoy the awesomeness that our gaming industry produces today, then… well… more for me!

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