Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Axes to Grind

This rumination might ramble a little more than others.

Why'd You Have to Be So Mean?

Belghast is wondering when it became so "hip to be mean." Games are supposed to bring people joy, or at the very least some form of relaxation. Granted that there are many ways to relax—some folks like to lay on a beach, while others only yards away enjoy riding the waves. Some people spend their game time fishing, while others enjoy pitting their skills against each other in various forms of mock combat. But at some point, it became de rigueur to criticize—to judge—the pastimes of others. We accuse people of cheating when their playstyle or resources are different than ours. From our armchairs, we criticize the decisions of creators, athletes, and performers we can't possibly hope to emulate.
There’s a huge number of gamers out there who don't comment on websites, who don't know the ins and outs of the industry, who don’t care about who’s who. They don't know or care how exactly or technically games work. They're just interested in the experience of playing them. And I think that there is a hundredfold more of those people than the thousands who get paid to talk about games and write about games and the tens of thousands who leave shitty, nasty comments on game blogs and elsewhere.
~~An anonymous game developer on Don't Die
Politics Don't Only Happen in the Capitol

I can sympathize with game developers. I work in an industry, on a project, that always seems to be getting bad press. Some of it is perhaps deserved—we do a lot of internal critiquing ourselves—but much of it is not. The criticism is more about unrealistic expectations than any actual failing of the project. It's compared unfavorably to products that don't possess half the features, by people with their own axes to grind. Perhaps it suffers a bit from feature creep. Ultimately, it represents years of effort by people who just want to make the best product they can with the resources they've been given.

So many of us, and now I'm talking more narrowly about gamers, and particularly the gaming commentariat, come from a history of being bullied. And yet how quick are we to become the bullies ourselves? How often have we declared that someone not playing the way we do are doing it wrong? I have found myself on that bandwagon all too often. We become so defensive about our own interests that we wind up tearing down the interests of others. When we like a game, it becomes the delicious chocolate dish that everyone should love. But if we don't like it, we can't imagine why anyone would. And, therefore, those that do must be mentally defective in some way.

Look Beyond the Monkeysphere

We forget that these people are actually people. They have hopes and dreams, and hurts and difficulties, just like we do. We forget the long hours they devote to their endeavors, only to have someone come along and criticize, whether it's developers working on a game, or players playing it. We forget that those "evil" corporations are mostly just a bunch of people trying to make a living for themselves and their families. We forget that those other players may not have as much time as we do, or maybe not as much money. Or maybe they have some disability that simply makes it harder to play the game. Or, possibly, they just don't prioritize their lives and their game time the way we do.

I guess what it boils down to is that I think we should have a little less pride in our own supposed abilities or accomplishments and a little more empathy for one another.

Show a Little Appreciation
Someone I consider a good friend started something a few years ago he called Developer Appreciation Week. He wanted to shed a more positive light on the industry. I don't think anything like that has been organized this year, so you know what? I am declaring this coming week to be DEVELOPER APPRECIATION WEEK. If you're a blogger reading this, I encourage you to spend at least one post between tomorrow, 28 March, and next Saturday, 4 April, expressing your appreciation for those hard working people that make your life a little more enjoyable creating the games you play. And spread the word about DAW, because you reach people that I do not. If you do such a post, please send me the link either in the comments below or on Twitter. I will do an index post next week.
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  1. Ty! I appreciate you and all the bloggers with positive attitudes.

  2. I try to be positive on my blog - there is so much negativity out there already. People just need to be nicer to each other and let them enjoy the things they do in the manner in which they prefer. Society would be such a better place if people just smiled more. I still have my opinions on what works and doesn't work with specific titles but I have become a lot better at always using the qualifier "for me" or "in my perspective".

    I'll make a post for sure - I always do when I hear of layoffs, and I have pushed a LOT for the industry to mature (it is one of the few industries that doesn't value time, experience and expertise....). Gaming for the most part doesn't know how to treat customers or employees, but that is another story. One I'll write on my blog in the spirit of this endeavor!

    1. Thanks for your "pledge." :) I know not everyone is cynical or negative. In fact, I tend to avoid such bloggers, and there are plenty of blogs still worth reading.

  3. Here is my own DAW post. Here's hoping I get some more traffic coming by!


  4. Here is my submission for the event:


    And thanks for doing this! :)