‘Why don’t people just say what they mean’? A few weeks ago I was watching The Good Wife and I heard those words. The character, an accountant turned glorified debt collector, was talking to a woman who had tried to use him and his position to hurt the firm whose debt he was trying to collect; she reacted badly when he turned her ruse back on herself. It’s been ping-ponging in the back of my mind that phrase. Three things happened this week to bring it back to the forefront of my mind.
This week Electronic Arts won an award, along with Microsoft, for being the most LGBT-friendly company in America from the Human Rights Campaign. It’s not exactly a prestigious award, but it means something especially to people who live differently than most Americans. Reading the comments around the internet though, you’d have thought that it was some pointless PR grandstanding by a company run by The Man. Rather than be silent or simply congratulate EA for its policies, the talk quickly devolved into the usual brand of nonsense best reserved for the gutter.
The F2P game Glitch shuttered its windows this week. A darling by the media and gamers alike, Glitch was branded as niche, but a beautifully made game. Its creator said that after running the numbers it was apparent that they’d never make enough money to pay the bills and that the subsequent death of Flash was an easy come, easy go scenario. Glitch was something different, better yet it was something good and yet gamers by-in-large ignored it. A complaint often heard about new games is that it’s the same old, same old and yet time and time again, new ideas are lauded publically and ignored privately. Like the dilettante who buys a library of classical literature but never reads a page, there are those who wish to appear one way while acting another way entirely. A pastor I knew once said "People talk with their wallets. What matters to you is what you spend your money on". Gamers say that they want change or innovation but they spend the most money on the old tried and true.
Oftentimes I’ve criticized game writers for being part of the problem, instead of the solution but this week I’ve seen the problem is bigger than I believed. The Old Republic went free to play and many a site, including MMORPG.com and Massively, gave out relevant information about the switch, and yet site after site in the comment section, it quickly devolved into bickering using false/incorrect information that could have been corrected by simply reading the article they were commenting under. I could see how the writers had clearly gone out of their way to present clear and concise information, understanding the storm they were about to create, and yet clearly it didn’t matter. Game writers can lead people to water but they can’t make them drink. Perhaps the biggest disappointment to me is the further erosion in confidence I have of my fellow gamers. I used to believe that gamers represented the best and highest ideals; sadly those days are gone.