Sometimes You Won't Like A Popular Game: Here's How To Not Be A Jerk About It - Oni no Tenshi Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Sometimes You Won't Like A Popular Game: Here's How To Not Be A Jerk About It

Contrary to the last five billion generic FPS games and the shovelware that either seems to be about matching colored items or doing some manner of supposed exercise regimen that you'll probably only do once before you realize that it makes you look so silly you'd rather just deal with your spare tire, there are plenty of game genres, themes and types available.  Everything from life simulations to action RPGs to FPS to fighting games to puzzle games to adventure games and beyond, there is a lot to offer the average gamer.  That said, not EVERYONE will love every single game.  Obviously, you have the gamer hipsters (who everyone loves to hate, including the hipsters, because dude, now there are too many so it's not cool anymore, yo) who won't play a game if enough people actually like the game (this seemed to happen a lot with "Braid"- I saw a lot of hipster people going bananas about the game until they realized that they were all into it and promptly dismissed it as "too mainstream.") but as for the rest of us, there is a bit of leeway.

Additionally, Braid was considered "not vegan enough," because it condoned the violent treatment of....creepy animal head things that have human faces.

But even more-so, there seems to be a lot of hating going on in the gamer community for people who like games that most gamers see as "not hard core" or who play games on easy mode or play the game until they feel satisfied and don't feel the need to collect all the items and go on all the side-quests and fight the boss with only three hearts, a hammer and some killer high heels.

Recently, an article was published about how women make up almost 50% of gamers.  Of course, the inevitable sexist hatestorm descended upon the article, with people arguing that women play "stupid" games, like "poke a button on the iphone" games, anything by our favorite antichrist to hate (Zynga), or simply arguing that girls just play games to get gamer dudes to find them attractive (seriously?  I'm going to go out and spend over 200 bucks on a gaming console/handheld, 40-60 bucks per game for a bunch of games, and then play the game for hours and hours and hours BY MYSELF IN MY HOME because I'm trying to get all the boys to come to my yard? REALLY?  Do you have a bridge in the Everglades to sell me as well? Because I'm calling BS.)  No one does something that involves as much time and money as gaming (I'm talking about actually gaming, not just taking a camwhore picture of yourself holding three disks up and damaging them in the process) unless they ACTUALLY LIKE GAMING. 

NO. Just no.  Put those disks down before you hurt yourself, human.

So that said, can I make a quick confession?  

I don't like Animal Crossing.  Yes, yes, I know, shocking.  Considering that I have two X chromosomes and an affinity for babies and puppies, I should be guzzling that hot sappy adorableness like a Magikarp who breaks into a Rare Candy dispensery.  But when I got my first DS (the big clunky blue one without 3D), I ended up picking up the one that came with the Animal Crossing DS game.  So naturally, not to pass up a FREE GAME, I plugged it in to figure out what it was all about.

Five minutes later, I pulled out the cartridge and considered throwing it in the garbage. 

I mean, when I think about games, I don't think about something that's basically real life but offline and involves characters running around and doing stuff like in real life only none of it actually counts.  It's the main reason I also have problems getting interested in the Harvest Moon games (seriously? Planting stuff? I'm supposed to find this interesting or something?)

Gritty reboot nonwithstanding, that is.

But we're getting a bit off topic.  I don't like Animal Crossing for ME.  But I don't go online and talk about how the game is crappy or awful or not worth playing for anyone with a brain.  The big distinction here is that "I don't like ________" is my personal feelings about something.  But most gamers who dislike something often take it a step further and say "BECAUSE I don't like __________, the game just objectively sucks and anyone who plays it sucks too by proxy."  

Woah, cowboy.  You're getting a bit ahead of yourself there.

Just because you don't like something doesn't mean that it is actually bad.  When it comes to trying to actually ascertain whether or not a game is actually BAD versus a game that disinterests me, I look at the following three things:

1) Do the game mechanics work for what the game is trying to do?

2) Is there a sizable group of people who honestly enjoy this game and think it's well-made and are not also the game developers/being paid to market/sell the game?

3) Does it hurt people (ie: teach or advocate murdering certain racial groups as a positive thing, give people seizures with way too many bright flashes, is possessed by an evil undead spirit of vengeance that infects your electronics and tries to murder you, etc)?

If the answer to 1 and 2 is "Yes" and the answer to 3 is "No," then the game is probably good for what it is, even if it doesn't get my dollar vote.  

"Heeeeeeere's Villager!"

And let's say that the game really sucked by all accounts (it stunk so bad it killed your fish).  There is still no reason for a decent person to start telling other people that they suck by proxy. If someone is wearing an ugly shirt, it doesn't make them inherently ugly.  Crappiness is not contagious, it's a choice.

I don't have to play games I don't like (and neither do you!).  But I think it's awesome that games I don't like have a following of people who DO like them (as long as said game isn't the only game available, then I'll be right with the rest of the haters holding a torch and pitchfork).  Because honestly? Diversity is awesome.  Plus, there are unintended benefits of games  There are actually elements from sim-type games that have partnered with other genres to create awesome results (such as the Fable series).  FPS and puzzle had a baby called Portal and we loved it like the crazy aunts and uncles we are.

The cake is overused and probably moldy by now.  But you can still feed it to trolls.

What I'm trying to get at is the beauty that can come of including new people in the gamer fold, and the awesome and exciting things it can mean for gaming as a whole.  If almost 50% of women play games, then doesn't that mean that gaming can stop being stereotyped as a stinky sausage-fest full of emotionally and physically stunted dorky dudes?  If there is diversity this huge in gender, doesn't this also mean that "gamer" has transcended the stereotype to the point that gamerdom can finally admit to itself that gaming can be something that ANYONE can enjoy and like- even those who are non-white or non-heterosexual or non-religious or non-English Speaking or non-male?

And what does this mean?  Does it mean that gaming is going to disappear and become horrible if so many different people are acknowledged?  The question you have to ask yourself is WHY would that happen?  If all of these people love games anyway, even through all the potty mouths and abusive hate speech on multiplayer and the horribly impractical armor that only seems available for female characters (why a male character doesn't want his butt flapping in the breeze is a mystery to me!), then what would they gain by "making games crappy" simply by becoming part of the gamer enthusiast fold?  That's because they WON'T.  Having a female character who doesn't simply exist as a damsel or a sex object isn't going to make a game bad.  Featuring homosexual characters or characters who are people of color that aren't blatant stereotypes isn't going to make the game crappy.  Increasingly as gaming matures into a more story-based medium (especially in the AAA titles), the more we're going to see stories being told and the less we're going to want to see developers relying on stupid stereotypes or hackneyed shorthands for plot (ie: rescue princess), because we CAN DO SO MUCH BETTER and TELL SO MANY BETTER STORIES.  And gameplay does not have to suffer if we make things BETTER in the story and characterization front, now does it?

Also, men will finally be able to have sexy outfits that have never been available.  After all, what's good for the goose is good for the gander, amirite?

FREE MALE BUTTS IN GAMES. PANTS ARE TYRANNY.

Voldo approves this message and it is creepy.

Gaming has never been a true "boys club."  Even if you ignore all the female gamers, they're still going to be there, and if they actually enjoy the same variety of games as male gamers tend to enjoy, why the heck would they actively do anything other than want more awesome games and provide input about what they would like to see in the future (even if it doesn't happen)?  Female gamers are not some magical pixie princesses from another planet, nor are they out to destroy gaming as we know it.  In fact, gaming "as we know it" has always been changing, from the very first video games to the most recently released, we've come a long way and there's been a lot of good, a lot of not-so-good and a fair amount of we-shall-never-speak-of-this-again.

But I think that the thing we can most come away with here is that diversity is good.  It drives innovation and even if initial forays fail or flop, it's still an experience that allows us to learn, take the things that work and reshape them into a new form. Accepting and legitimizing female voices in the gaming industry and making it a safe space for anyone who likes games to feel like they can proudly call themselves a gamer without being attacked or belittled or told they are "not real" will take us a long way in making the gaming community just that, a community.  Not all of us will agree, and not all of us are perfect saints, but we can agree to disagree and be civil to one another in the name of solidarity in our enjoyment of gaming.  And the best part?  The safer it is for women, the safer it is for the dudes, and the less tolerance we have for bad behavior means that we can minimize situations where people are bullied or maliciously attacked and made to feel inferior, bad, and not allowed to be part of gaming.

And yes, this means a bunch of female gamers ganging up and being horribleto a male gamer is just as bad.

Oh, and finally, this one is for the gaming companies- women don't play things just BECAUSE you make them pink.  I owned a gray Game Boy brick and didn't break out in hives just because it wasn't a pastel girly color.  I also owned a red Game Boy Pocket, a silver GBA pocket, a Blue (with flame decals in green) DS, a gold triforce ds lite, and my black 3DS with Zelda accents.

I know some women who like pink gaming accessories, but they don't buy them BECAUSE they're pink (I literally know of zero people who have no interest in gaming but HAD TO BUY the 3DSXL because OMIGODPINK).  I also know some dudes who enjoy pink gaming accessories (I even know some dudes who put Pinkie Pie decals on their pink gaming accessories, because that's how they roll).

It's great to have options, but it's seriously insulting when something is created "for women" or "girls" by just changing the color to pink.  Women are humans.  Some women like pink and so do some dudes.  Pink is not the reason people play games or get interested in gaming.  Have it be an option (totally ok) but don't only use the pink game system when making ads or commercials to target female populations, because it's both sexist and insulting to believe that women will only be interested in something if it's the color of a Barbie accessory.

Comfort with masculinity level: OVER 9000.

Also CUPCAKES! CUPCAKES CUPCAKES CUPCAKES (try not to get it stuck in your head)!

Everyone should have a voice in regards to what they love.  To say that certain hobbies "belong" to a certain group of people simply stunts the expression of that hobby.  Imagine if we were only allowed to carve small bear figurines out of wood and no other option was allowed just because a bunch of bear-carving people have always done it that way.  It's silly to think about, but that's essentially what people are saying when they put up the "no girls allowed" signs.  When you discount the input of people just because of what they look like, you've forgotten what it means to be a gamer- to love gaming, not to keep others from enjoying gaming.

Because I know that I love playing games, and I would be deeply saddened to think that a large majority of male gamers think that my gender is reason enough to exclude me from considering myself a gamer.

So yes, I don't like Animal Crossing.  But I'll defend your right to play Animal Crossing to the last of my breath.

Because gaming is fun, and fun things are for everyone!

Source HERE.  Ya gotta admit that face is vacantly creepy.

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So, what do you think about the future of gaming?  Do you think that it will become more inclusive and accepting of a variety of different people?

What do you think about "ridiculous armor" for women and "practical armor" for men as seen in many different games?  Do you think that it is unreasonable to give both male and female characters multiple types of options, especially if said game is very customizable (ie: MMO)?

And finally, new Smash Brothers for 3DS.  Which character do you usually play as?  Is there a new character you're looking forward to playing?

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As usual, please be respectful of one another, and please share your thoughts if you would like to do so! 

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