(Writer’s note: The following commentary should only be noted as the feelings and opinion of the author, and not necessarily of any organizations, publications or websites the author might be a part of.)
The above disclaimer shouldn’t be necessary. Every article I write here is independant of every one of the other websites or magazines I am a part of, but I wish to avoid confusion before I’m fowarded critical e-mails from an “art collector” that might not understand that.
This is something I feel very strongly about, and to get my point across it might require stepping on some toes. It’s meant to. I hope by doing so I can get the point across.
Next year will mark my 30th year video gaming. That is shocking to me, but there it is. I started with the big time arcade games of the early 80s, first with Pac-Man, then moved to adding the Atari 2600 and some of the earliest personal computers to that list, followed by the NES and Super NES, the PlayStation, the XBox, Wii, XBox 360, etc. You name it, I’ve played it, and still do.
Games are games to me. No categories. I don’t consider myself a “classic arcade gamer” or a “modern gamer” or a “first person shooter gamer” or anything. Just a gamer. Period. Every era and every generation deserves just as much respect and has just as much to offer as the others.
Sadly, not everyone seems to feel that way. I was away from the competitive side of video gaming for most of the last decade after being real busy in it during the 1990s. Upon coming back, I see walls. I see categories. I see one side of the fence… fences build BY the gamers who complain about them… knocking the other.
It works on both sides. Take any of the classic arcade gaming scores that made mainstream news over the past year. Under every single one you’ll find smarmy remarks by people who’s idea of old school is the first Guitar Hero, knocking the gamer who just pulled off a major new milestone in a classic game. That’s uncalled for. Those games are timeless, which is why you can still download and play them on the very same current gen consoles so many of those blog trolls like to bring up. I think it’d be good for any true gamer to know where it all came from anyway. If not for Donkey Kong, there might not be any of the current generation consoles. That game saved Nintendo’s US operation. In 1986, Nintendo saved the US video game market and brought it back from the dead. The first PlayStation came from an abandoned deal between Sony and Nintendo. The first XBox was made to compete with Sony’s console. A modern-only gamer can do themselves a favor and go try to learn Donkey Kong.
It goes just the same the other direction, though. This morning I read a sarcastic thread involving a recent news story about a new World Record being traded back and forth at the recent Big Bang event in Ottumwa, IA. The title in question was the Super Hula Hoop track on Nintendo’s Wii Fit/Wii Fit Plus. This thread had some sarcastic remarks for this story, mostly based on the fact that it wasn’t a game they were interested in. That’s sad. Wii Fit/Wii Fit Plus has sold 40 MILLION copies. To really put that into perspective, if that one game title was a game console it would be the eight best selling game console in history. In just a few years that one game title outsold the total console sales of the Atari 2600, which sold 30 million units from 1977 to 1990. Huge sales like that very much make a story about a rivalry for a record on the game a front page story, which is why it was drawing a huge crowd who cheered and clapped for it all, including one of the original LIFE Magazine gamers, who stood in the crowd watching it for some time.
While it is understandable that people who prefer one type or era of gaming might like to see news that covers what they like and enjoy, it does NONE of the gaming hobby any good to disrespect the type or era that you don’t. A record score or tournament win deserves respect regardless. One might not care for hockey, but that doesn’t make it right for them to knock the winners of the Stanley Cup. You have to respect that.
The International Video Game Hall of Fame’s Big Bang event earlier this month gave me some hope that all walks of life in gaming can indeed come together as one. That event had every type of gaming in it, and everyone got along. It wasn’t about one type of era insisting upon itself. It respected every era and every platform, and they all intermingled with one another. Nobody dismissed the accomplishments of gamers in the other areas. Nobody acted as if their preferences were better than anothers. Nobody who claims to have integrity called someone an idiot behind their back over something meant to inspire and promote other gamers. At the Big Bang, everyone was just a gamer. No categories. No disrespect. Just the one word: Gamer.
With video gaming being the number one entertainment form in the world, with 68% of the population in the US alone categorized as gamers, it’s high time for all eras to come together. By all means, play what you like to play. But drop the disrespect of other categories and the accomplishments of the people in them. Drop the backtalking. Stop blaming others for what you think you don’t have or what you think you can do better.
Regardless of if you are chasing down headshots or 8-hit combos or power-ups or a faster ninth key pattern, every single one of you are playing games for the exact same reasons. Respect that and everyone can benefit.