To say that gamers are a passionate bunch would be like saying the pope is Catholic.
It would also be a serious understatement. I myself have been known to resort to throwing a controller across a room in a fit of rage over not beating a boss. Call of Duty players are some of the most imaginative smack talkers the world. Die-hard raiders in any MMO sacrifice a social life in search of glory and epic loot. Lines form down the street when a new Madden game comes out. Yes we love our games, and we are not afraid to show it.
But what happens when we take that passion too far? When another human beings life is threatened with bodily harm? When racial slurs are spat out with a hatred and rage that seems spawned from the depths of hell itself? How does that make gamers as a whole look in the eyes of the rest of the world? The sad part is that these are not hypothetical questions. These really happen. And in some cases happen more than most of the gaming community would care to admit.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 released a patch in which three guns were made a little less powerful. Suddenly David Vonderhaar, design director at Treyarch, was receiving death threats. He was told that he should kill himself. People wanted him to die in a horrible fire. Granted the COD community is well known for its lack of maturity and its overly passionate, and often times outspoken, attitude… but this kind of behavior isn’t exclusive to COD. Many MMO communities are just as bad. When the Defiance servers crashed for almost fourteen hours recently the forums were on fire with rants and threats towards the developers and community managers. Yes, there are those who tried to be a voice of reason, but they were drowned out by the voices of madness and rage.
Most recently the senior writer for Dragon Age II decided to leave Bioware after her children received death threats because gamers didn’t like the way the game was made. These threats stemmed from a six year old interview in which the writer claimed that she was not a fan of combat in games. This led to hardcore fans of the series to blame her for the changes made in Dragon Age II.
We as gamers go up in arms when senseless violence is blamed on the games we love. Yet we do nothing to quiet these accusations. We actually give fuel and validity to these arguments when we lash out at developers and game companies over things like a patch, or a server crashing. I for one am always amazed that people actually notice the little tweaks in a patch. I cant see any difference in a tenth of a second. And if my favorite game’s server crashes, well, I take it as a chance to go out and do something else.
I love videogames, I am passionate about video games, but I will never feel the need to threaten someone over a video game. For me its just a game, and it is just a way to have some fun with some friends, and to relieve some stress. When you start raging you have taken the fun factor out of it, and are giving mainstream media fuel to prove that we are all just a bunch of immature little children. So the next time there is a change or a crash take some time to breath, go do something else, and really think about whether or not it is really worth getting up in arms over.