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Gamers – why so serious?

Gamers – why so serious?

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I’ve got news for certain sections of the gaming community – games are just entertainment, they’re supposed to be fun, it’s okay to have a sense of humour about them. Even the ones you really like.

Now, I do realise there is a serious side to games. There’s a lot of money involved these days and a lot of risk. One expensive flop can result in the closure of a development studio and the redundancies of hundreds of people with families and mortgages and responsibilities and stuff. And games in themselves can, on occasion, treat serious issues and themes with a degree of seriousness.

But the serious side of gaming rarely has any notable impact on the average gamer’s life and, for the most part, games are just toys. They’re something you play with. For fun. Aren’t they?

It would seem that not everyone agrees with me. If ever I post an article that refuses to put games on a pedestal and treat them with a grave reverence, I get flamed like I’ve just taken a dump in the Queen’s crown or something. Evidently I don’t treat the Queen with much reverence either, but you see what I’m getting at. Or do you?

See, the games industry does like to big itself up, and no one can blame it for that, but I see it as my job as a games journalist to shine the light of suspicion on everything games companies want us to believe at face value. I realise that gamers want to get excited about upcoming titles, but I wouldn’t be doing my job properly if I didn’t question hype at every opportunity. Even if the hype does turn out to be justified, that doesn’t make me wrong for calling it into question. It’s always right to doubt the hype – that’s supposed to be what separates journalists from games company’s own publicity teams.

But weirdly, post something that doesn’t tow the accepted hype line and a section of the gaming community is guaranteed to react like you’re some kind of subversive, deviant madman who’s trying to destroy everything they hold dear. Post something even remotely tongue-in-cheek and the same section will cry “You have GOT to be joking?” in a manner that distinctly implies they haven’t considered, even for a moment, that you actually might be. After all, why would someone joke about videogames? That’s like joking about death or rape or child abuse, right? No. No it’s clearly not. So, y’know, why so serious?




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  • Aron Baker

    Articles like this are why Play is the greatest videogames magazine available (well, for the PS3 anyway – no idea about other consoles).

    Well written and reasoned for a start, and I applaud you guys for NOT getting caught up in all the hype that seems to be generated around some releases.

  • Dave Moore

    well said gav.