I am honestly embarrassed for the game industry when I see people say and do things that reflect poorly on everyone who’s job is less than 3 degrees of separation from video games. I’m not talking exclusively about the kid who can’t help but spew out an endless stream of foul things he wants to do to my mother. I’m talking about developers, journalists, and even professionals in sales and marketing. Everyone lately seems to be in a piss-y mood and the industry is supposed to be growing up not down.
Nintendo recently had another one of their online press releases through Nintendo Direct, something that I feel was not ground shaking but a nice treat in the morning. I am happy to see a (Japanese) company that is very traditional and often tight-lipped to open their arms and invite everyone from the elite to the common consumer into the fold. The thanks they get is an endless stream of twitter comments from “professionals” who have nothing but damnation for Nintendo. Not good will, or even hopeful thoughts, but purely venomous language. I would love someday to read posts and articles about Nintendo that wasn’t about what Nintendo didn’t show at any given press release. I’m glad to see them skipping out on E3 because I think I’ve had my fill of the angry open letters to Nintendo and whining that WiiU needs more TFlops and Mpixels in order to make a good game…
Early this month we were treated to a press release of a new Wolfenstein game. With only 1 id Software property hitting the store shelves every 10 years, it was a nice surprise to see a new Wolfenstein before 2029. Video game figurehead Warren Spector thought it would be a good idea to piss on that parade because it was about yet more Nazi-robots. I didn’t realize the Nazi-robot market was so crowded, but I’m still happy to see another game make it out period. Risks are getting higher and less quality titles are being made as a result of that and rising expectations from increasingly entitled consumers. We should be thankful the industry is still standing, not bitching about some nuance in the subject matter. Though Mr. Spector later apologized, he is not alone in his high profile outbursts; he is a gamer after all.
Journalists comb the internet, searching for these kinds of “scoops” and post articles about them. They find and report this immature behavior like it was news when it really only serves to incite more negativity against the person and the company they work for. People say angry things all the time and in a digital world the first place they turn to is often a platform like Twitter. Spreading this kind of “news” will only serve in keeping the cycle of hate. I personally feel that too many journalists are too close to the material. They are gamers themselves and, like most gamers, are full of opinions that are creatively retitled as “editorials” or simply short articles in hopes to build a discussion around a topic that is obviously tainted. Like many people I probably would have never known about the Nintendo bashing, the Microsoft employee who was fired for voicing his opinion, or Spector throwing a tantrum if these things weren’t considered news-worthy. But I don’t feel more informed, I just feel embarrassed when a non-gamer asks me about one of these gamer rages and I have to downplay it and explain that it’s just part of the culture to scream and yell at each other and talk about how the world is black and white.
Hate. AAA Hate, Indie Hate, Hate on The Man, Hate on Nintendo, Hate on Sony, Hate on Microsoft, Hate on EA, Hate on Activision, Hate on everything. Hate on the game you just put 100 hours into because it’s in your blood as a gamer to spread some kind of hate, even if that hate is morbidly out of love. The industry is in an abusive relationship and no one seems to care. This industry is swimming in foul intent, so much so that it’s a wonder anyone is still standing. Who is left to defend video games when everyone seems to have a chip on their shoulder about something related to video games?
When it cost $50M to make a game, we need to at least respect the risk that is being taken here. We need to work harder at building up the industry, not tearing it down. There is an infinite density between 0 and 1, and games don’t have to be bad or good alone. Games can have some good in them and we should celebrate those good things instead of finding reasons to hate it. Trust me, there are plenty of forums out there all primed and ready to hate on your products that haven’t even been created yet and they don’t need your help to start that fire.
High cost or not, games are just too freaking hard to make these days. It takes teams of varied discipline and an unreasonable level of enthusiasm to power through to the end of a project. These projects often need to span 3-8 different platforms just to turn a profit; each platform requiring special attention. There is so little room for failure that it is paralyzing, it is suffocating when you put the last 18-24 months of your life out there and people do nothing but defecate on it because it’s what we do online. Expectations are so high, risks are so high, and emotions are so high with video games that we forget how bad it can really be without them.
So let’s put down the pitch forks and try to think positive for a change. When Microsoft releases the name of their new console let’s all try not to snicker and post articles about how hard it is to say or how consumers won’t identify with it. When Sony finally shows us their form factor lets try not to complain that it looks too similar to PS3 or it’s too large or too square or too round. When Nintendo offers new first party titles like Donkey Kong and Luigi games lets celebrate that instead of complaining that we haven’t seen a WiiU version of Kid Icarus or new Metroid. Let’s celebrate Pikman 3 instead of complaining that it’s not enough. In the end, you don’t need all the hate. All you need is love.