Posted by: seanmalstrom | October 28, 2016

Email: Hardcore Gamers

Hey Malstrom,

For the longest time, I didn’t understand how you separated yourself from “hardcore gamers” or how you weren’t being hypocritical about separating yourself from hardcore gamers. “He plays old PC games that no one’s ever heard of and writes about video games on the internet, how is this not a hardcore gamer?”

Your post about hype and marketing made more sense. I always considered hardcore gamer to be someone who plays video games as a hobby or at the extreme end, as a lifestyle, whereas the “casual” gamer is someone who just plays once in awhile to kill time or act like a dork, I’d stopped taking the marketing and hype into account because I’m old enough to recognize that the marketing and hype isn’t meant for me anymore.

I think the kind of hardcore gamer you’re railing against is really just a product of being young. Young people want to be part of passionate, exciting movements larger than themselves because they don’t have enough personal experience with things to make their way through every situation or bad decision, there’s strength in numbers. That can manifest in scary ways like gangs, political extremism, nationalism or revolutions, or it can manifest in dumb shit like sports team fandom or console wars.

I’ve seen it play out as I grew up among a number of video game friends

– As a smaller child, you want to play every video game ever because video games are fun.
– As a tween or younger teenager, if your parents are buying you a console or gaming PC or something for your birthday or Christmas and because they’re expensive they ask you the choice, you usually only got one, and afraid that you made the wrong choice, you cling harder to it. You’re probably on the internet by now and have found even more of “your people” online, and have found the people to wage the war with (people on the other consoles) and the people who get in the way of the war (the filthy casuals who don’t care about any of this and just fall for fads but are the crowd video game companies are most desperate for)
– Actually that probably goes for a lot of college students too (I don’t know, I never went) since they’re mostly living on debt or someone else’s dime.
– At some point you get your own money. You’re still clinging to the choice but it’ll weaken because you have access to other consoles now. You’ll also get burned a few times somewhere (console hardware failure, disappointing game that you can’t look past, poor console generation) and start to question why you’re limiting yourself because you’re probably missing fun games elsewhere too.
– At some point the passion dies and you start missing the excitement you felt about video games when you were younger, so you try to manufacture it. You want the hype to feel real again, but it mostly doesn’t. It’s kind of like a mid-life crisis for a gamer, a threat to the identity you’ve built up and you want it to be fun and cool like when you were a kid, but now you’re just old and decrepit and what the hell is this “VR” garbage and whatever happened to chiptunes?
– Eventually secure in your advanced age and the limited time left you have on the planet, you just want to have fun with video games, and seek them out where the fun, nostalgia or price-point works the best for you. Welcome to adulthood, video gamer, you made it!

I find most of the “console wars” being fought among me and my old fogey friends is actually based on multiplayer gaming: they want to play certain multiplayer games together but don’t necessarily want to play the same games, so there’s a negotiation that goes on where each side tries to convince the other to try to buy their console of choice so they can play together.

Oddly enough, there’s never negotiations over buying Nintendo consoles for multiplayer: someone’s always going to get one and they always have four-player couch multiplayer. It’s going to be interesting to see if Switch is gonna continue with that or not, since we’ve only seen two-player split screen and heard mention that you can tether Switches together.

 

Perhaps I need to make a FAQ or something. There are many inside jokes and things I assume the reader knows, but the audience of this page is vast and constantly flowing.

I look upon gaming as Satoru Iwata did or Richard Garriot does… as a type of digital art. To my generation, computers represented the future. It was a future of technology. But games are FUN, are humorous, and artistic. Most of all, games represent digital craftsmanship. The making of games is the most amazing thing I have seen. After thousands of years of the audience being passive, the audience is on the stage. The music, the sound, the graphics, the entire stage revolves around the actor. The ancient Greeks would be stunned over gaming. Like Iwata, I too made games on my calculators and games/mods throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

The game designer to me is no different than a passionate gamer. A passionate gamer wants MORE GAMES and BETTER GAMES. Since they do not exist, he decides to MAKE HIS OWN. This is how Sid Meir got started into game design. These original game makers, which were really highly intelligent passionate gamers, were social pariahs. Making video games meant you became a pariah to your family and to society. Iwata mentioned how his father wouldn’t speak to him because he wanted to program video games. Folks, you have to understand that most of our job choices in life revolve around social standing. Most men become lawyers because they think it will get them laid with women. Being a doctor gives you a type of social standing. Making video games was never seen as ‘cool’ or as a way to get ‘rich’. It wasn’t seen as a ‘real job’.

Now with the rise of the Game Industry, this is different. I would say the majority of people in the Game Industry are suffering from the ‘hardcore psychosis’. The Game Industry consists of two words: game and industry. Game Industry is not about games, game industry is about industry. When analysts talk, they do not do so from the vantage point of gamers, but as industry-men. “What will happen to the Industry? Will the Industry be happy?” Most of the game designers of the ‘Game Industry’ are talent-less no-balls (they really have no balls) seeking only to enrich themselves and/or to live a digital life on non-existence. The psychosis wishes to be enveloped by more of the psychosis. It is why the Game Industry is fascinated with Virtual Reality and ‘omg 3d’, and they are willing to lose billions over it. The Game Industry does not ask, “What are great games that need to be made?” but “we need a new business model in order to do what we want…”

The risk of psychosis is the big downfall of video games. Video games cease to be a ‘fun activity’ and become a therapeutic agent. This is the ‘disease’ the hardcore suffer. Let me use WoW as an example.

World of Warcraft is one of the greatest games ever made. I was there falling asleep at my computer trying to get through Blackrock Depths and all. The game was addictive as hell, and I didn’t want to stop playing. But anyone who has played WoW for a while understand that the game has severe risk of psychosis. It is the Illusion of Achievement. The way how WoW works, which is a social environment in itself, is that you are given quests or tasks. If you complete them, you get the reward. You get stronger. The real world does not work that way. If you do X and Y, the Z reward often does not come because the person ‘change his mind’ and because the world sucks. I had to quit WoW, despite being an excellent game, because it kept triggering that psychosis. Many WoW players look for achievement in the video game because they cannot get it in the real world. And that is the foundation for the ‘hardcore gamer’ psychosis.

The Game Industry targets and milks the psychosis and attempts to spread it. The Game Industry wants us all to be in dark rooms, drinking soda, literally destroying our physical and mental health, so they can make a buck. Most people are resistant to self-destruction, but not those susceptible to psychosis.

You are right that many young people become ‘hardcore gamers’ and fall into the marketing. This is because kids lack agency. Gaming becomes a type of agency for them, a way they can prove their persistence and skill. However, taking that into adulthood and beyond when they DO have agency is very dangerous to the person. “I don’t need to get a job, I have the feeling of achievement because I beat a video game.” Very destructive. It is actually useful in our lives to feel like failures and losers at time because it gets us off our ass.

When it came time to make the Wii, Nintendo specifically made a console that was not for the psychosis and to even help eliminate the psychosis. Wii games were social in nature. They were physical in ways games had never been before. The hardcore gamer reaction to the Wii was hilarious. They thought it was the EVIL THING THAT MUST BE DESTROYED. Any true gamer would welcome the Wii because it was different from what we had seen before. We do not need three game consoles that do the same thing. After the way how these gamers mocked the Gamecube, Nintendo was wise not to listen to them.

Even the term ‘hardcore gamer’ is ridiculous. Apply the word hardcore to other entertainment. “I am a hardcore TV viewer.” That’s a nice way of saying you watch way too much TV.

Here are signs you might be a hardcore gamer suffering from psychosis:

You buy more games than you actually play.

You use gaming to hide away from real world situations and needs.

You think playing a video game console or game makes you ‘cooler’ than someone playing another game console or game.

Your daily happiness is dependent on a video game company’s financial statement.

Gaming is being held back by the Game Industry who is engorging themselves on profits from the mentally imbalanced hardcore gamer psychosis. At least smoking would get you outside and make you social, gaming can have worse effects.

Look, these ideas I present are not entirely mine. They were crystallized by Shigeru Miyamoto. Miyamoto sees and fears this psychosis. He knew video games had a problem when he looked at the cover of David Sheff’s book ‘Game Over’:

Image result for david sheff game over

The image of a child staring blankly into the screen… this is when Miyamoto knew of a downside to video games. This is why the DS and Wii were made. The child in the image, in his head, he is fine. But in reality, he is acting no different than a child in a psychological institution.

I can go more into this topic, but you get the gist. Good food is not always good. You can eat too much. You can overindulge. Video games have their risks for psychosis. If you accept that premise, that it is possible for video games to enable a psychosis and hurt you, then the next question is pivotal:

Which game companies are pushing for ‘more psychosis’ and which game companies are pushing for ‘less psychosis’.

I am a Nintendo fan, a Wii fan, for a big reason that Nintendo was fighting back against the psychosis. I see Microsoft and Sony enabling it, pushing it. As far as PC gaming goes, that is a different demographic group. Children are not PC gamers.

The reason why I keep championing shorter games and retro games is because they are largely psychosis free. I can be enthralled with Turbografx 16’s Soldier Blade and not have the game destroy my life. The game is too short to do that. Also, there is no ‘achievement’ made today for playing Soldier Blade. There is no online trophy. No one will sing my praises. A big charm of the retro games, aside from that they are more intense and shorter, is they were never designed to milk psychosis out of people.

On another subject, I believe there has been a major shift in the mental strength of gamers and game designers over the years. When gaming or designing games was to be a social pariah, to be uncommon, it required a great deal of mental and character strength. You had to go against what was ‘cool’. Today, it is the opposite. Look at the phenomenon surrounding ‘No Man’s Sky’. Has there ever been an incident of ‘No Man’s Sky’ in the past? I cannot think of any. No Man’s Sky was made possible due to psychosis ridden people who fell easily to a marketing campaign.

You know what the solution to No Man’s Sky is? It is ‘wait until the game is out for a while before you buy it’. But what do you hear from the Game Industry?

“No, no, we cannot do that! We need everyone to pre-order the games. We cannot have gamers wait a few weeks after a game comes out to determine whether or not it is a good game or not!”

Does this sound like the Game Industry is interested in making GOOD GAMES or interested in ENRICHING THE INDUSTRY???

This is why in order to save gaming, the Game Industry must be destroyed.


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