Today, I made a pass as I often do through various gaming forums. As you’d expect, the console war is raging, and fans of Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are taking potshots at each other. Then I looked over at recent Kotaku article called ‘Why I’m a Console Gamer‘. It was pretty tame stuff, and I didn’t expect to see a massive shitstorm in the comments. However, I would be wrong. Flooding into the comments were a variety of PC gamers, who were pretty much the walking stereotype of the PC elitist. They seemed to be extremely upset that anyone could possibly have a different opinion than them, and were willing to go straight to name calling in order to prove how superior they were. This made me angry. Not the random swirl of hate that is the internet, no, I expect that. What angered me is how much of a non-stop loop this is, and it’s all because people think they are on a side in some huge war. There isn’t a war, people. There are products, and there are consumers. Your choice of product doesn’t enlist you into some kind of battalion.
Let’s start with the console war because that truly is the stupidest thing ever. Right now, if you go to any message board on the internet related to the Xbox One, the PS4, or the Wii U, you will see the words ‘Xbot’, ‘Sony Pony’, or ‘Nintendrone’. What are these strange words, you might ask yourself? They are the opposition. People are squabbling so much over their choice of electronic gaming device that they need to make up some insulting name for people who are doing the same, but on the other side. Yes, I realize that there are obnoxious people out there. This is the internet, after all. But, that doesn’t mean that I can’t lament it. What we have is a marketer’s dream. People are willing to go tooth and nail against each other endlessly repeating the same slogans over and over again until their (metaphorical) voice is hoarse. And people wonder why there’s a strong segment of the gaming populace that’s expecting a crash.
PC gaming isn’t any better. The words ‘PC master race’ sound like another insulting epithet, right? Unfortunately, that’s not true. PC master race is a call from PC gamers themselves against console gamers, who are often accused of being sheep, stupid, or, the perennial favourite, peasants. These people are on the attack as much as console fans, only, they don’t have major companies trying to fuel the flame. No. They’ve taken it on themselves that anyone who doesn’t do exactly what they do are peasants. Of course, that requires you to hold an equal amount of allegiance to your PC that many console gamers have towards their systems. In other words, it’s all ludicrous.
The problem is that some people have stopped asking “what can my gaming device do for me?” And have begun asking “what can I do for my gaming device?” These are the kind of sick people that prayed that the Xbox One would have a high failure rate so they could shove it in the faces of Xbox One fanboys/girls. The worst part of this whole thing is that it has a tendency of blinding the user base and stifling innovation. If everyone followed the suit of these uber-fans, then why would any of the companies try to improve? They know they have a fanbase, ready and willing to buy anything they shove at them. People should be critical of consoles, and PC gaming, and everything. Not being critical is a problem. If you end up blinding supporting your side, while constantly tearing down the other for no reason other than they are on the other side, then you are the problem.
Of course, this isn’t limited to gaming. It’s basic factionalism. A large number of the population loves to have a side, and they equally love to be right. When you have enough like-minded people together singing about how right you all are, and how wrong/evil the other side it, there’s no question that you’re going to have warped views on the world. It’s the danger with isolationist cults. And make no mistake, these console/PC gamers I’m referring to might as well be in a cult. The biggest question that one has to ask one’s self is “why do I care so much about some other person’s choice in product?” Secondly, and I know this one is really hard, “If this wasn’t the internet, and I wasn’t shrouded in anonymity, would I still be such an irrepressible asshole to these people?”
Does this mean we should all hold hands and sing peace songs? No. It’s important for consumers to be informed. What console is selling more matters, and the pros and cons of PC gaming are important to know. However, warped opinions dipped in the honey of judgment and shame are not the way of teaching anyone. I realize that asking for sanity on the internet is like asking a bear to fly, but here goes – Buy whatever system or rig you want, and enjoy the games that come out on it. While you’re enjoying them, why is it important that other people are enjoying themselves in a slightly different way? Of course this line of thinking only works if you don’t accept that internet trolls exist and the depths of human misery can only truly be seen on the internet.
-Mistranslations for the Modern Gaming