Now we turn to the second factor Gaming has left behind: The Players...
The Players. I say “players” here because as I said before, I don’t think most of the people who play games today are real gamers. It takes more than being a Commander in Call of Duty to qualify as a gamer and is a prime example of the problem: the general public has become enamored with video games. A good place to look is at Facebook. I remember the chatter when Facebook was open to state universities and my college started using it. There was a certain prestige to using it over Myspace. When Facebook was open to general public, it just cheapened the whole product and now teenagers are bullying others to suicide and others live their lives through Facebook.
The same thing, I feel, has happened to video games and the culture that surrounds them. It has been cheapened greatly and with that, certain etiquette has gone out the window. I have grown tired of Xbox Live and Playstation Network because people on each of these services have degraded the experience to the lowest common denominator. One issue I have is with the constant barrage of vulgarities slung every which way from twelve year olds and thirty year old shut ins. Sure, during the old days in the burgeoning online arenas, gamers could be somewhat vulgar but it was much lower key. After playing a round of online Halo, one can begin to question the intelligence and outright worthiness of the current and succeeding generations.
It is even worse for female gamers. They receive the most sexist, vile, and sexually charged barbs thrown their way. I am surprised any girl would want to play online at all given the constant vitriol involved in the activity. There are a couple sites (I won’t link to them because of the total depravity of the subject matter) that show the horrible comments women receive on a game-by-game basis.
This vulgarity carries over into the broken matchmaking systems of most games. When I was a more avid gamer as an undergrad, I still would go months between playing games because of work and school. This practice would be my downfall as I would mostly lose because I was matched up against experts and junkies. These people seemed to have spent months and months building upgrades while I had basic gear. Constantly losing in addition to being berated for being a “noob” and much worse things does not a fun time make.
And don’t even bring any inexperienced guests to play with you. Some of the worst times gaming were in Gears of War after good players have died watching my guests play. I would have to hear constant insults and berating of my guests while they fumbled around trying to survive while missing their shots.
To be concluded in Part 3...