He Is The Most Interesting Gamer In The World

I don't always write columns, but when I do, I don't hold back.

He snipes in Carentan.

He once asked an ambulance to drive him to a save point.

He laughed when Aeris died.

You know what I've noticed about myself that doesn't seem to be true of a lot of gamers? I respect your opinions and don't think your lifestyle is inferior to mine. Yeah. This seems like common courtesy, but much in the way that "common sense" is the least common of all senses, "common courtesy" is also a rare drop — the legendary treasure of gifts from gamers.

I've seen this a number of times through the years, but the Vita's launch has brought out a whole new batch of gamer-haters out. Want to express your thoughts on one of the many hot topics the Vita has been at the center of? Get ready to have your intelligence insulted, and treated like you're an idiot for having the preferences and way of life that you do. For example, Sony recently revealed that the UMD passport program — a setup which allows gamers to get the digital versions of their UMD PSP games for about $5 each — would be exclusive to Asia. The conversations about this fell far short of anything resembling intelligent debate. Basically:

Hypothetical: This issue doesn't matter to you. You express this. Gamers' Conclusion: You are a stubborn idiot who does not realize the value of this program in raising the marketability of the item. Shame on you. You also must clearly hate PSP games, and what have you got against PSP, huh? If some people want it, you should want it too and quit ruining life for the rest of us. Wise up, you ignorant douche.

Hypothetical: This issue does indeed matter to you. You express it. Gamers' Conclusion: You are living in the past and can't let go. Fuck your endless clinging to days gone by, it's time to forge ahead. Your ass is dragging us along like it's 2008. I'm buying a Vita to play Vita games, you industry-ruining cave man.

The tone of this debate and others like it is astoundingly uncivil, and I believe discussions like this are one thing keeping the industry from being taken seriously. So many statements begin with…

  • "Didn't you ever consider…"
  • "Ever think of…"
  • "lol yeah like anyone…"
  • "Yeah well I'll make my point in ALL CAPS"

My personal favorite is the "What, you mean…(insert poster's lifestyle or preference)?" Nothing says out loud that you can't comprehend, let alone endorse, another opinion like the classic "What you mean" at the beginning of your sentence.

  • "What, you mean people don't have smartphones?"
  • "What, you mean people are going to play this thing anywhere other than at home?"
  • "What, you mean it's too hard to put your digital games on your PC?"

In common internet use, this phrase is to the beginning of a sentence what "lol" is to the end of a sentence.

This permanently sarcastic communication pattern isn't new to gaming or the human race in general, of course, I've simply noticed the Vita features creating an odd spike in snarkiness and replies purchased directly from the Jerk Store.

Hypothetical: You wish PS Vita had more 3G carrier options. You express it. Gamers' Conclusion: "Oh cry me a river. You have the most powerful handheld of all time in your fat fuckin' fingers and all you can think about is how you want more more more? You don't even deserve your Vita. Plus don't you have a smartphone? Honestly I can't see any reason for any adult to be without a smartphone. Maybe you should stick with your Game Boy Advance, son.

Hypothetical: You are satisfied with AT&T's Vita 3G packages. You express it. Gamers' Conclusion: See, YOU're the problem right there. We shouldn't be happy about this, we should be calling and writing to Sony DEMANDING that our rights as consumers be honored, and that we be able to take our Vita to any provider we wish. You know who else only had one 3G provider? Hitler.

Dissatisfied with how the Vita screen handles the outdoors? Man the hell up and play your games indoors, clownboy. The list is endless.

It's seriously some of the craziest shit I've ever seen in internet discussion, and that's saying something. Calmness and civility earn you no favors in the land of the gamers.

One of the earliest instances of this that I can remember, though still somewhat recent, was when I expressed moderate disappointment in Valkyria Chronicles 2 and 3 not having mid-battle saving like the PS3 game did. I take advantage of the portability of my portable systems; I ride a train to work for an hour, twice a week. I ride other planes, trains, and automobiles all over the place on a regular basis. This is my lifestyle. I like the PSP's (and now Vita's) big variety of features, but lamented that in order to switch from gaming to music, I had to exist the game. In Valkyria Chronicles 3, battles are very strategic affairs, and almost every move is a high-risk one. These can take anywhere from 5-20 minutes, and when things are going your way, you don't want to screw that up. So imagine how much of a bummer it is when my train ride is over, and it's time to begin my 10-minute walk. I'd like to switch from game to music on my PSP, but if I'm in battle, there's no way I can do that without ditching all of my progress. Why was there no mid-battle save — the kind that erases itself once it's loaded?

It's not a complaint that applied to all gamers, but it applied to me and other gamers who commute to work or school (read: a lot of people in Asia). Moreover, it is indeed a lack of a feature that many other games have included since the 1990's. But how did people react? Much to my surprise, I was met with a barrage of comments and replies that I was "whining," and that "The PSPgo can switch. It's your fault for not owning a PSPgo." Wow. Someone who already owns a PSP 1000, a 2000, and a 3000 is at "fault" for not owning a fourth PSP. It amazed me the lengths people would go to, in order to justify their disagreement. Instead of understanding a complaint from someone with a lifestyle different than their own, they had to find ways to demonize or discredit the writer. In this case, as in countless others I've had the unfortunate experience of reading since then, the gamers could not simply say "Well that doesn't apply to me because (insert lifestyle difference), but for you, yeah, that must kinda suck." I was amazed.

So take comfort, my fellow gamers: when you have an unpopular opinion or a lifestyle that's different from that of most other people, not everyone is out to behead you. I accept your lifestyle, even though it may be different than mine, and I respect your opinion. In this world, I guess that makes me a rare case.  You're welcome to disagree and discuss, under the assumption that you're probably wrong.

…What you mean you thought I was serious about all that civility crap?