Last week, I talked about sex in video games and my feelings towards it. A lot of “normal” people would prefer video games to not contain mature topics (such as sex) in video games because of the general belief that video games are still for children. Well, I don’t think video games are for kids anymore and the numbers seem to agree. From what I read on Wikipedia, the average gamer is around 30 years of age. That’s pretty old! But, even if the average gamer should be mature than 13-year olds, why do a lot of them still behave like 13-year olds?
I’m not saying this to be mean to gamers because I like to think of myself as a gamer; a relatively n00b gamer but a gamer nonetheless. But, if you look at the Internet and all of the hate gamers spew out on a regular basis, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that a lot of us/them are just really immature. Or, at the worst, racist and sexist pigs and bullies who wish bodily harm and death to anyone that dares diss their favorite hobby or them!
Let me mention two popular instances that appear to prove this. The first one is the most recent incident with Jimmy Kimmel. He made a skit making fun of the new YouTube Gaming. During the segment, Jimmy Kimmel mentioned he just cannot understand why it would be fun to watch other people playing video games and joked that, in the near future, they’ll make channels dedicated to people who watch people playing video games. Okay, it was a lame joke and wasn’t funny. That should’ve been the end of a really lame joke. But gamers couldn’t let it go and attacked his comments page with a tirade of (equally unfunny) insults… which Jimmy Kimmel was so happy enough to share with his audience.
After a couple of days of doing this, Jimmy did try to make amends with the gaming community by getting two popular YouTube Gamers (that I don’t watch, by the way) to try to explain why watching people play video games is not a waste of time. Ultimately, I don’t think Jimmy Kimmel got it but at least he tried? Anyway, I wasn’t mad at the joke itself. Oh, it was incredibly unfunny (not even worth a chuckle) but gamers really hammered Jimmy Kimmel with a whole lot of anger… over a silly joke that wasn’t really offensive in my opinion.
Another person who wracked up the anger of gamers would be, of course, Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency. She was one of the catalysts for the entire Gamergate controversy that started over a year ago. When she opened a Kickstarter with the plans to create several videos talking about the alleged misogyny in video games. Gamers almost immediately went on the defensive… and they apparently follow the matra of “The best defense is a good offense.” They attacked her on the message boards with, not only the same dumb “jokes” Jimmy Kimmel received. But some of them even alleged hurting her, beating her and even raping her! All because she wanted to do a series of videos talking about possible video game misogyny.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that Anita Sarkeesian may bring up some good points regarding the tropes vs women in video games. But the way she puts it is extremely spiteful, to the point of calling gamers and developers misogynists. I personally don’t think the vast majority of people in gaming are misogynists but that’s besides the point. The point is that the premise of her video series was attacked with an extreme amount of vitriol! I mean, threatening to rape/kill someone isn’t funny if it’s meant in the way she received those messages.
I myself have received a torrent of sexist and misogynistic messages while playing games. I’ve gotten a few when I beat someone online in a Ranked match in Street Fighter. I’ve also received a lot of sexist comments, asking me to send them a naked picture of myself just to prove I’m a girl when PlayStation Home was active! I’ve also got a few messages calling me gay because “girls can’t play video games.” True story!
So, with all of this, shouldn’t it be easy to conclude that all gamers are immature, whiny little brats, no matter what age they are? Well, no, I don’t believe in that because, for one thing, I don’t behave in that manner. Most of the gamers I’ve met and became friends with don’t behave that way as well. So I actually do believe that the “immature gamer” group is actually quite small. They are a minority; a very loud minority, but a minority nevertheless. That doesn’t answer the question as to why they (ie. the gamers that give gaming a bad name) behave in that matter?
Simply put, I think it’s because they can get away with it in one certain place: the Internet. I believe that a lot that drives society and the people in it is embarrassment and shame. I do believe that a lot (not all) of these “ugly” gamers wouldn’t say the same things in real life to another person. That’s because the general public would frown upon those kinds of actions. But the Internet? Well, that’s a whole different story!
I mean, we live in a society where the entire world applauded the United States passing a law making gay marriage legal. I bet a lot of these “angry” gamers cheered along as well. But, on the Internet, they can call people “faggots” all they want because, hey, it’s not like anyone’s going to call me out on in!
And here’s the big surprise: it’s not just gamers. It’s the trolls and the “ignorant” on the Internet that let it all out because they feel safe on the Internet. They can hide behind the think layer of anonymity the Internet provides them and say whatever outlandish thing they want because there would be no repercussions. They can be the jerks/idiots/misogynists/racists/sexists/homophobes that they want to be… because it’s not them!
But the instant the Internet stops becoming a haven for anonymous jerks, they’ll stop. That includes the immature gamers.
Anyway, since we touched on feminism a bit when I talked about Anita Sarkeesian, that kind of inspired me to talk about feminism… and why I’ll never drink the Kool-Aid that Anita Sarkeesian and other radical feminists are serving. But that’s for next week!
What’s your take about the supposed immaturity of the gaming community? Let me know in the comments section below!