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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Gamasutra - Game Fandom and The Church of Gamers

Default Gamasutra - Game Fandom and The Church of Gamers

April 5th, 2008, 22:18
Gamasutra has an opinion piece up by Douglas Wilson, exploring the idea that the stereotypical gamer has become over-focused and defensive and suggesting that both gamers and developers need to view gaming from a wider perspective:
…The problem is, the “gaming community” has become a kind of cult. Organized around worship sites like Kotaku, 1UP, and Penny Arcade, the Church of Gamers congregates in Internet forums and online games, rallying against the Great Satan of Jack Thompson. Smitten with near-religious fervor over their hobby, these so-called gamers increasingly treat digital games as a devotional object, a thing morally good in itself.

It’s great to be a passionate about one’s hobbies. But when fans lose touch with reality, they also lose perspective on the more important parts of life. And in doing so, gamers ironically stifle innovation in the medium they so love.
On mixing gaming, politics and real life issues:
…There are many good reasons to both laud and criticize Senators Clinton and Obama. But their views on videogames strike me as irrelevant. In 2008 we face a number of complex problems, including faltering economies, large-scale environmental change, viral epidemics, healthcare policy, genocides, terrorism, war, and souring foreign relations. No matter how you spin it, millions of human lives are at stake.

And yet, some gamers remain acutely concerned with what kind of regulations will be levied on future Grand Theft Auto sequels. This is not just outrageous, it’s altogether absurd.

I don’t mean to suggest that we should all give up games and go join the Peace Corps. After all, I’m not exactly a saint myself. Nor am I saying that we should altogether ignore issues of media policy. A candidate’s view on media usage could be indicative of their more general views on free speech. But I do know that it’s essential that we always keep the larger picture in mind and not fall victim to our overly narrow interests.
Conclusion:
Of course, my depiction of the militant gamer is itself a stereotype. For every crazed devotee to the Church of Gamers, there are videogame players who do community service, get involved with their church, or volunteer for their political party. But unfortunately, as the Mass Effect controversy demonstrates, the rabidly protectionist gamer is the public face that [the] gaming community increasingly presents to the larger world.

Thus, this article is a plea to the gaming community - both developers and gamers - to stop talking about Jack Thompson; to hold itself to higher ethical standards than its critics; to stop falling into the victim complex; to resist exclusivity, and embrace players from all walks of life; to demand that gaming blogs stop the hysterical muckraking and misogyny; and most of all, to get more political, and not just about issues of games and media policy.
More information.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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April 5th, 2008, 22:18
This reminds me of this article plus discussion we recently had:
http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4073

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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April 6th, 2008, 06:13
Crap is still crap!! Church of Gamers my fat @#$%!! Really how desperate and puerile can you get.

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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April 6th, 2008, 09:13
But how do you really feel, Corwin?

I'm not sure which part of this is ticking you off, but I do think the guy is in about the same boat as the people he's slamming for taking games too seriously—that is, he's taking them a bit too seriously. Most gamers I've known can tell which is more important, game regulation or world war and recession.

@Alrik—yes, that's a very similar discussion—this must be the latest controversy.

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April 6th, 2008, 13:33
It's interesting that after so many years that the word 'gamer' is used to described some underclass of society. I totally disagree with this guy, the fact that people are passionate about something will always lead to them being degraded by the pompous and ignorant. The fact that gamers want to protect their freewill is a good thing. Perhaps games are not the most important thing in life but they are certainly an important medium of expression, and if gamers don't 'toe the line' that is no bad thing in today's submissive mass culture.
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April 6th, 2008, 14:59
Yeah Woges, a voice for reason!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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April 6th, 2008, 15:25
I'm not a 'gamer' I'm a free man!
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April 6th, 2008, 17:27
Great article! He is talking of course about that small segment on their high horse that is militant about these things and he's telling them they should get off and get on real issues. Fortunately, that's not most gamers as he says.

Developer of The Wizard's Grave Android game. Discussion Thread:
http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22520
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April 6th, 2008, 17:32
This article was pure arrogance: I'm a Ph.D. gamer (don't call me "gamer") who is above it all and encouraging everyone else to elevate themselves to my level. In fact, don't call anyone "gamer." "Gamer"…how droll.

Having said that, I wish all those inferior gamers were more like me .

Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on. But it don't snow here. It stays pretty green. I'm going to make a lot of money, then I'm going to quit this crazy scene. — [Joni Mitchell]
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April 6th, 2008, 18:39
I personally fear that the "Chuurch of Fanboys" (that's what I mean) has too often too much influence on a system (no matter whether P&P or/and C-RPG).

I think everyone should already know my prejudice against the increased difficulty level of Gothic 2: The Night of the Raven, which was - as far as I know - included due to fan demand.

Another me personally very irritating development is that of the Dark Eye RPG system. From edition 4 on (4.1 is the newest), it has become (this is my very personal opinion !!!) rather a complex simulation than a "game". What i greatly miss there is the "game" factor. There is no 1quick & dirty ply" anymore, imho, it has grown just too complex for my taste. Even the character generation literally took me 2-3 hours ! Others don't seem to need this much time, though …

And yet stil it is said to be the "best edition ever" - by the majority in the forums.

However, what I don't know, is, whether this majority in the forums is comparable to the Dark Eye players outside the forums … What I mean is just that I can't really say how many people actually find this edition as the best one.
But maybe that's just my personal problem … ?

However, what I mean to say with this is, that I believe that "fanboys" of any kind are able to push the development of a system or / and of a game into a certain direction …

What's good to a minority (?) might not be good for the masses.
This doesn't mean that games should be totally/entirely oriented towards the mass market, but I personally believe that rather hardcore players might push a game or / and system into an direction where it isn't that accessible anymore.

As a symbol to illustrate this, just take the strategy game called " Z " : At one point, the developers (the Bitmap Brothers) admitted, they knoiw the game so well that they didn't realize its difficulty anymore.
The result was that the game was so difficult the sales decreased. They just didn't realize, because they knew the game too well.

And I fear that this is a common theme among hardcore players. Aka the Church of the Gamer.

"Inquisition against those who try to meddle with / distort Our beloved Game !"




Besides, for the Dark Eye RPG there's planned a newer, "lightweight" edition, not directly tied to the Dark eye system itself, but rather for a rather general use.
I don't know much more about it, however. And it won't be used in Drakensang.
Drakensang is based on the 4th edition.

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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