IMHO: Gamer Haters

Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Wii will consume the Earth. Watch.

I went to high school back in the day. I think most of you did too. I can recall all the drama about who looks the best and who can crack the funniest joke in class without taking it too far. Those kids were cool, everyone has tried one way or another to be ‘cool’. We live in a world of see, look, do, feel… And if you’re not the best, somebody else is. Looks are everything, and ideas are slowly dying out, it seems.

So why aren’t nerds cool yet? Why is it that gaming is still to this day stereotyped? Non gamers avoid the industry as if it were a plague. I’m sorry but looking like a nerd isn’t my biggest flaw, and never will be. My true idea of looking good isn’t covering my hands in pizza and grabbing the controller to play some Smash Brothers. But I still do that shit, because it’s social, it’s fun. I can’t handle people who think gaming is the worst thing on the planet. Sometimes I wonder why they think that? Well, honestly who cares.

To begin, I traced some boring statistics on the correlation between gaming and movies, and why gaming holds a big place in the world. I just want to throw some perspective out there for anyone who still thinks gaming for a few hours a day isn’t ‘cool’ enough.

28 international films were made based off of a video game. 11 television films were made based on a game.  nine live action full-lengths were made, and five cut scene films (cut scenes taken from a game and meshed together to make a full movie using the game’s plot) were all a part of the game-to-film movement. And that’s just video, major video, that was made from gaming. I could never ever pull statistics on worldwide success from comics/novels, toys, merchandise… and so on. You can get on and order a t-shirt with almost any video game character or saying on it nowadays. It’s ridiculous. It’s amazing.

A scene from "Killer7", the AI walks at you like zombies as you shoot them.

Now, I’ll start by offering my examples of why video-gaming is fun, then I’ll go to the haters. My biggest concern with a game is the plot, so it’s easy for me to play a role-play game or a first person shooter with a decent story. Do all the games I like have a good plot? No. Perfect example: Killer7 on Playstation 2 and Xbox. This game is absolutely breathtaking to me for several reasons. The visuals are stunning, the cel-shading is done correctly and works. The controls, although weird, are extremely easy to learn and interesting to use. The characters in the game are absolutely insane and hilarious, and the plot itself will make sense for maybe 2 to 3 cut scenes then completely throw in a random tangent that confuses and baffles the audience. The game itself is scary, weird noises, small quirky moments, dark environments… and I loved every second of it.

Next example: Zone of the Enders. This game (I had it for PS2) was a

Cover for Zone of the Enders (USA)

far-cry from MY kind of game. I honestly thought it was quite dumb, until I actually paid attention to the opening scenes and the cries of the main characters going on through some of the early fight sequences of the game. You begin as a kid who hops into a big, flying/fighting robot (like Gundam) and you start the game not knowing what these robots are or what’s going on. As the game progresses, so does the story. In this future, humans have colonized Mars and built space stations around Jupiter. These colonies are looked down upon by those who are powerful/rich back on Earth, and they call the outer colonists the “Enders”. Earthlings begin to tax them heavily, they fight, the Enders are given a weapon dubbed an Orbital Frame (giant fighting robot) and thus begins amazingness in the form of a virtual book!

While I have little confidence that lots of people will enjoy the actual gameplay of Enders, I can easily say that the story draws you in as a player and offers just as much as any movie (if not more) by allowing you to feel like you’re really a part of what’s going on. Now, let’s revert this to my original argument.

I have a friend in particular – let’s call her Susan – who hates gaming. She thinks it’s a boring, big waste of time, that it’s unrealistic, not entertaining, so on and so forth. Every time Susan and I talk about anything to do with gaming, she instantly gripes about hating a specific game: Halo. Halo is one of my favorites (I’ll save the why for another time) and it’s easily her least favorite. She says it looks fake, like cartoon people jumping around, and shooting each other isn’t real, like a Call of Duty game. Well, let’s stop and break this up.

First of all, Call of Duty is 1) repetitive, 2) hardly realistic at all (fire a real gun and tell me it does what the M4 does in COD), and 3) just as big of a waste of time as Halo is, depending on how often a person plays it. Halo and COD are a lot alike, actually: both include a plot, both are based in a 3D environment (walls and windows) and both have the joy/interaction of killing an interactive opponent, whether that be online or in the story.

So first of all, Susan, you can’t call one thing a waste of time and the other not. She would probably agree with me, which is why I will give my stance as this: no gamer should be playing ANY game for more than 20 hours every day. You must

This is a photo directly from the game Halo: Reach. NOW tell me the game is unrealistic.

have balance and moderation in everything, and gaming isn’t excluded. Second, I realize that Halo is futuristic, and they jump higher than a person could actually jump. But do you know the lore behind it? They jump high because they’re super soldiers, they’re augmented. Also, I can agree that older Halo’s look more like Lego brick people, but go play Halo: Reach and tell me that the environments aren’t pretty believable.

Just because those I love and care about hate gaming doesn’t mean I’m going to quit playing. I enjoy pulling up my Lancer and chainsaw an opposing player on Gears of War 3. It’s so gratifying and fun, and that’s why I play it every day. I don’t particularly enjoy button mashing and sword slashing my enemies in a two-dimensional view, like Mortal Kombat or Soul Caliber, as much as shooting in first person, but realism isn’t everything. Also, find me one gamer hater in our day and age who has NOT played a video game. When they say “No, I haven’t!”, look at them as smugly as you can and ask if they’re played Mario Kart, 007, Pac-Man, Tetris, or Call of Duty. Chances are they’ll say yes to one. If they don’t, then maybe they’re right – but again, who cares? Show them the opening scene for Mass Effect 2, and when it’s over in the 13 minute span or however long it is, ask them how they couldn’t be interested in what was going on?

Video-gaming is a fairly new industry and has its own horizons and boundaries. Sometimes games cross the boundaries between real and fake, much like Halo, and a lot of people in the world simply don’t like that. Which is totally cool. Just because Susan enjoys riding horses doesn’t mean I’ll ever get on one. I’m gonna be speeding by it on my four-wheel Banshee, with a smile on my face and dirt on hers. Then sometimes, games just do it right. In one of the ending levels of Modern Warfare 2, you fight alongside your squad of foot soldiers in the streets of Washington DC, looking up as the Nation’s Capital city as it’s being torn apart by bombs and explosions. Very few words can describe a moment like that, and just

Washington DC on fire, in Activision's Modern Warfare 2

because it’s in this video game doesn’t mean that it would be any less emotional for someone watching it on a movie.

The Susans out there will constantly nag you about gaming. But if you love gaming, then really there isn’t much of a problem. And if Susan loves you, she’ll still be your friend in the end. Until you rage-quit from matchmaking and throw your controller at her… I can’t answer your problem for that one!


Posted on February 17, 2012, in IMHO and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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