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Bill Murphy: Game and Let Game

By William Murphy on March 03, 2011 | Columns | Comments

Game and Let Game

Why do we care so much about what other people are playing?

I have a friend who incessantly badgers me about one thing: Wal-Mart is the devil because they’re a soul crushing mega-corporation and I shouldn’t bring my business there.  Now I will not entirely disagree with either of these statements.  I see where the man is coming from.  I drink diet soda because I like the taste without the calories and pray to Jon Hamm that the aspartame won’t destroy my spine or give me cancer.  I shop at Wal-Mart for my groceries because it is the one store in my local area that I can get everything I need for a reasonable price. 

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I realize the company has a lot of shady practices especially when it comes to their employees, but when I tally up all the things I have to worry about in my daily life Wal-Mart comes in a distant last behind paying my bills, excelling at work so I can keep paying my bills, and keeping my relationship strong with my wife.  As we grow and have a family of our own, I’m pretty sure any concern I have for the practices of this company will dissipate even more.  Frankly, I just don’t have enough energy to care about it.  If he’d like to waste his time campaigning against the suits and spending $80 on kale from Whole Foods, then he’s more than welcome.  Oddly enough, this same person will gladly smoke cigarettes at an alarming rate… but hey, it’s not like tobacco companies do any evil themselves, right?

My point is why should my friend care about where I buy my groceries?  I know there’s bound to be someone in the comments following this article who goes into great detail about why my friend is right and I should start following the thousands of aging hipsters to my local organic store and buy almond milk and free-range chicken.  Doesn’t he have something else to do with his free time that’s more pressing than to dig into me about how I’m “fueling the Man” when I shop at corporations.  I get it.  I agree.  Our system is out of whack.  But I just don’t have the time to give a crap about it on a consumerist level.

I understand the basic human need to be concerned when others of your species are setting a bad example for the rest of us.  Rapists, child molesters, corrupt politicians, and the creators of Gossip Girl… these are people we should pull the pitchforks out on.  But when it comes to what your fellow gamers are spending their spare time playing, I’m fairly certain your energy would be better spent just enjoying what you play instead of badgering others about their pastime. 

I know it’s because you don’t like the offending player’s choice of game, but really can’t you just get over it?  It’s okay that other people like something you find no value in.  Why must you hound them on forums and mock their tastes?  Why must you continually preach to anyone who will listen that you “remember the days when these games meant something”?  Chances are the games of today mean something to those who play them, so why can’t you just let that be? 

I’m pretty sure none of what I’m writing is going to wind up making any difference to anyone.  This is just me using my dedicated soapbox to whine.  I can appreciate the irony of me typing this all out in what amounts to little more than a useless diatribe.  But I’m hoping that somewhere out there this article will find at least one person who realizes in themselves the capacity to launch attacks on others due simply to their personal tastes, and maybe… just maybe… that person will ease up on the throttle a little bit. 

But who am I kidding?  This is the internet.  Hostility fueled by anonymity is King. 

Conversely there’s a pretty awe-inspiring tendency for people to champion those players whose opinions they agree with, while simultaneously slamming those who differ.  This site, and all editorial content about games, is purely subjective.  Meaning pretty much any review or preview or impressions you read on any game is going to be written from that author’s point of view.  Whether it’s a staffer here at the site, or one of our many forum members, the views expressed are just one person’s opinion.  Why on earth would you want to waste so much time and energy becoming so vitriolic just because you disagree?  Are personal attacks really necessary just because you don’t like something that someone else does?

Maybe I’m a rube, but I don’t think I’ll ever understand why we can’t game and let game.

William Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, and lover of all things gaming. He''s been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all of his pointless rambling.