We are all gamers, period. I’ve been living with the constant barrage of negative views on gamers since gaming was a thing. Never before have we let it cause such a rift in our community as we do now. There was a time when the Jack Thompsons of the world were universally condemned by gamers, and the press that covered our community. Who is ‘them,’ ‘they,’ those people who have us fighting each other over petty garbage now? Now it’s that same press, ‘industry insiders,’ a few developers, and people who have decided they want to be a member of this community, but want to change it into their own version of a utopian tribe. If you question some aspect of it? Well you just aren’t welcome in this new definition of ‘inclusion,’ and to top it off they’ll happily print articles spinning it as if you run a concentration camp in your back yard. Then, when the dust settles that rift is just a little wider and they go hunting their next target.
But, we’re all gamers. Why do we listen when an analyst says “PC gamers are like arrogant racists?” Why do we then go looking for people to call racist just because some guy said it in an interview. Worse yet why do we accept it as normal that it’s OK to paint with such a broad brush? PC gamers, just like gamers in general, aren’t any one thing except gamers. We are all part of the same community, and yet we are all different. To say PC gamers, or gamers are one thing or another is no different than saying heavy metal fans are all satanists, or roleplayers are all devil worshipers. It’s the same puritan mentality that has caused hysteria with the ill-informed public for years. How many of us had friends that had to hide their D&D books from their parents, or could only listen to Megadeth at a friend’s house?
We’re all gamers. We need to start standing up for each other, because it’s obvious most of our major press isn’t going to do it. Just Google ‘Gamers are…’ and look at the majority of the posts. The vast majority right now are links to the article above. Imagine a parent wants to educate themselves about our community before buying their young kid a console for Christmas. Our media is doing a terrible job of representing our community to the general public, and in many cases we’re playing right into it. Sure, we have our fights, but it’s usually about which Zelda is the best or whether PC is better than console. That’s part of being in this community, just like sports nuts argue over which team is better, or which sport. Unfortunately, when the media prints an article about gamers being sexist dudebros a lot of us go off and say, “Yup, look at this. This is how it is, gamers are like this.”
A lot of it reminds me of how the media plays us with politics. They turn us on each other based on our political parties and who we support. If you back this guy you’re a racist, if you don’t back this woman you’re a sexist. Then we fight about it all while the politicians and media collect the cash and keep it going. Who is really being helped here when we fight each other because the games press calls some of us names? We all know they’re shady as hell, yet when they print an article, or 80, about somebody supporting the ‘wrong candidate’ not only do we believe it outright, but somehow we accept that it’s OK to shun someone just because we don’t like their political choice. We help the media create a culture that is the opposite of inclusive, and by the time the facts actually come out, and we find out they didn’t give money to the ‘wrong guy’ it’s too late. They’ve already smeared the guy, run his girlfriend off social media, and forever skewed public perception of the company. Companies are already cutting ties, people are already boycotting, and most of the media will never go back and correct those articles. They’re too busy writing the next clickbait to keep us outraged and at each other’s throats.
We’re all gamers. We have to start having each other’s backs. Get back to being that awesome community I know is still there, still strong, but overshadowed by all the mess created by a few people looking for their 15 minutes. We are all different, but we all love games. We don’t all like the same types of games, and that’s fine. We can argue about which game is better, which genre, or which platform is the best without devolving to the hate that people have brought to this community. That’s precisely the issue. We aren’t a hateful community, but a few people have certainly brought that out.
So what’s the magic fix? I wish I knew. We just have to make a conscious effort to be the community I know we are. Stop listening to media, start listening to each other. Sure, we have our outliers, but that’s just what they are. The little trolls and gremlins sitting in the corner spewing garbage. They’re just like the trolls and gremlins sitting in the light, writing articles that spew garbage. Neither will ever go away completely, but we have to stop listening to the half that have the loudest voice. All they do is scream and shout about the other group, and act as if they’re representative of us all. Call them out on it, back each other up against both of those nasty groups, and above all fight that hate with love, not more hate.