Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hey now, we won't be scarred like that

Couple of things.  First, go read this.  No High Scores is one of my favorite blogs, and it's articles like this that keep me coming back.  Second, you know that little "adult content" warning that pops up when you try to come here?  Yeah, I'm going to earn it today.  Just a warning for the easily offended.

There is a very vocal group of gamers that has managed to stain an entire hobby.  I should be proud of being a gamer, but I'm really not, because when I mention gaming to your average joes, they tend to lump me in with this subset.  Some call them "dudebro's", but I don't think there's any one label that accurately describes them.  They are male, and primarily fall between the ages of 15-25, and, until recently, were the key demographic that a lot of companies catered to.  When pundits discuss violent video games and their effect on children, these are the examples they use.  They think rape jokes are OK, and have no problem taking trash talking to the lowest form it can go, especially if it means it'll get the female gamer out of their clubhouse, but not before they try to get her to show them her tits.  And they are not the majority they think they are.

You see, companies are paying attention.  The dudebro (for lack of a better catchall term) crowd isn't buying games.  Why should they?  Entitlement teaches them it's better to pirate or steal if their parents can't afford the game.  The Duke Nukem fiasco this past year was a very visible lesson to the companies.  They made the perfect game for the dudebro crowd.  First Person Shooter, lots of lewdness and violence, and rape jokes.  This should have been a huge success.  Here's the thing though, the gaming press raked it over the coals for going too far with it's jokes.  We know people listened, because the game flopped.  Hard.  After all, the dudebro crowd that the game was designed for were just going to pirate it, and the rest of the market wasn't really willing to pay for it.  The companies didn't make any money.  Then the company sees things like Farmville, and mobile gaming.  Games with no killing, violence, or lewdness, and they're making money hand over fist.  They've managed to tap into the female and mature gaming crowd in a way they've only dreamed about, and considering the mature gaming crowd tend to be employed and therefore willing to buy games, and, well, the current trend of game development should surprise no one.  The dudebro's are railing against it hard though, screaming about the "death of hardcore gaming" as if anyone other then themselves cares.

Now, I'll be the first to admit it, I do play some violent games.  But I'm picky about it.  Give me a well-written story and a decent reason for being violent, and I'm good with it.  Have violence for violence sake, and well, I might try your game, but I won't play it for long.  Uncharted for instance.  One of the most respected Playstation brands.  I have no interest because what could have been an interesting adventure series along the lines of Indiana Jones is just a shooting gallery with story pasted in.  I find, especially as I get older, that overly violent video games just don't do it for me.  Will I still log time in Saints Row and Borderlands?  Yeah.  But on the same note, GTA games are not allowed in my home (there are a number of reasons for this though, primarily my children), and God of War style games just don't hold my attention.  "Oh look, boobs.  Well, lets kill these 50 guys so we can see more boobs."  I'm not a teenage boy anymore, and the thing is, I'm still in the majority of gamers.

Do me a favor, if you choose to respond to this, please give your answer some thought.  I will respond to any argument that is well-written and doesn't resort to personal attacks and insults to get it's point across.  Feel free to call me out on my generalizations, or point out how I am in the minority, just do it with some thought.  Bonus points for attempting proper grammar and spelling.

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