The toxicity of gaming culture

Many people will think this post is some man hating rant about how male toxicity is ruining the gaming industry. This simplistic idea is shared by a bunch of people who don’t understand biology nor how our environment affects us.

Take a human being, someone who is already introverted and shy, stick them in a room alone, barely interacting with other humans face to face, not learning proper social cues and emotional control, make them play something aggressive with other people who they cannot see or hear or touch, and we wonder why gamers can be assholes.

Twitter, facebook and instagram are another perfect example of what happens when you remove people socializing face to face, let them remain relatively ambiguous and free from consequences, and the shit will fly.

There are aspects of male biology that make men fall into this trap more often, higher testosterone levels can really play havoc on aggression, especially considering many gamers are young teens who are already have very little control of their emotions.

But it has nothing to do with male toxicity, and everything to do with the toxicity of online gaming culture. In the same way that the toxicity on social media has to do with its culture.

Social interaction online can be a great thing, people can connect from all around the world. But we have to be realistic about the fact that most humans in the world get zero training on how to take care of themselves emotionally, physically and intellectually. They sit around in front of screens banging away, feeling like shit, cut off from the real world, and it all goes to hell.

Gaming in and of itself is great, regardless of the type of game. What we need is a paradigm shift in how we raise our children, we need to focus less on math skills and more on life skills.

We need to teach ourselves how to behave, with empathy, with courage and most especially with a higher level of understanding of how our brains are primitive and need our higher consciousness to rein them in constantly.

This takes training, lots of it.

Let’s begin, shall we?

Meshing the online and offline worlds

The popularity of anime such as Sword Art Online and other works has shown us a glimpse of the possible lives our children could be experiencing in the future, a time where the real world becomes mundane and the online world becomes one of fantastical possibilities.

The actual issue is not people spending all their time online, but of them losing sight of the wonder and majesty that exists in this reality. Most people never leave their city of birth, hell most people don’t even explore their whole city before they die.

There is so much out there to see and experience, and so many of our own physical and mental boundaries that we can push and explore.

The online world is an amazing place, and when we achieve full depth virtual reality experiences it will be beyond belief. But we must not lose sight of all the beauty we have in our own world.

If anything it would be incredible if we can mesh the two worlds together, much like Pokemon Go and others have attempted to do, although hopefully in a much better fashion.

The future, I hope, will be a blending of the two realities, creating a far richer and more meaningful experience, one where our very real animal bodies get the much needed stimulation they need for improvement but also get access to the incredible swath of experiences the online world can provide.

There is so much potential in our technologies and I am still optimistic about the future, even if we manage to screw up a lot of things as we usually do.

Stay positive folks.

Novelty without quality

Novelty is a driving force in our modern age.

We are suffering from a surplus of novelty and a severe lack of quality.

Whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, books or video games, the more unique your content is, the higher the chance you’ll attract attention.

In the past this was most definitely not the case.

For centuries any changes to the status quo were met with fire and brimstone, but huge leaps in technology, leaps that take mere months instead of centuries, have completely revolutionized our way of thinking.

Now if you aren’t cutting edge then you might as well give up before even starting.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that older methods of doing things don’t still hold promise. I personally see great value in long form content such as podcasts, video and written word.

But those mediums have become increasingly popular to create in short form , little bite sized nuggets to share with the world so that their toilet breaks are more memorable.

Every year that goes by sees people giving more of themselves to the online sphere, a never ending stream of content blasting your synapses into oblivion.

I am not against technological advancement, or even living a big chunk of your life online, but I think what we choose to spend our time on matters, and the internet is mostly a sea of garbage.

I just hope with time that the culture of pumping out new, flashy¬† redundant apps and content that capture attention but don’t add to the improvement of our species slows down and people start focusing more on quality work.

Cross your fingers with me.

 

 

Old game nostalgia

As I have been traveling, I’ve taken some time to replay some old classics on my Nintendo 3DS, specifically Zelda: Ocarina of time and Majoras Mask.

It’s a strange feeling, to play a game you first discovered when you were a child, especially one that really started your journey into being a bit of a gamer geek.

That nostalgia drives many gamers I believe, even though we enjoy experiencing new games and stories, challenging our selves to new forms of gameplay, many gamers I know will replay old games they love again and again. It’s similar to reading a book over and over, or¬† watching a film 20 times, there is something utterly blissful about experiencing something you adore and noticing little bits and pieces of newness you didn’t before.

This brings us to the concept of re-makes. There are obviously various forms, some we would consider more remastered versions, such as Zelda on 3DS, which is simply some crisper graphics and tiny modifications to the system. Some though, such as the upcoming Final Fantasy 7 remake, are complete overhauls of the graphics and system as well as what looks like a modification of the storyline as well.

Now this could be cause for concern, as older games, like older movies, sometimes do not lend themselves to being changed at all, but I hold out hope that square enix finds their mojo again and makes an even better FF7 than the original, as I do believe that it lacked many things.

Unfortunately if one remake does very well, then it opens the door to other older games as well. I say unfortunately more so because some of us may want specific titles to be remade( The Legend of Dragoon *cough*) only for them not to be and cause a wave of depression among fans.

There is obviously a lot of complexity when thinking about any sort of remake, juggling the happiness of old fans while reaching out to a new generation of possible fans is a thin line and very difficult to pull off and I hope that any company that attempts it is ready for some backlash as there will always be some unhappy campers in any endeavor.

Let’s all cross our fingers and hope for the best.

Until then, I will sit back and zen out to the sound of Links irritating Hiyyaa noise being repeated 10,000 times an hour. I might be a little addicted to rolling, who knows.

 

The evolving landscape of gaming

As the years roll by and gaming becomes more mainstream, it’s quite surprising to look at how much things have changed in the last 20 years.

When I was young, game tournaments were a rarity, usually being held in cramped little venues with a few dozen spectators, really only the most hardcore enthusiasts in attendance.

Nowadays, entire weekends are taken as thousands go in to watch professional gamers compete for million dollar prizes whilst hundreds of thousands more watch from the comfort of their homes.

Counter strike, league of legends, fortnite, overwatch and a host of other games have captured the mainstreams attention, creating a multitude of celebrities overnight through platforms like Twitch and Youtube, making rock stars out of what used to be the uncool geeks hiding in their parents house.

It really is fascinating to see this evolution, and the future of gaming will probably create an even greater disconnect from the past as technology advances towards full immersion gaming where people basically live within the online worlds companies create.

The popularity of anime such as sword art online goes to show the desire people have to be able to really live in these games, really experience what it is like to be a military sniper or a sword wielding faerie flying across a fantasy landscape.

I know many people who still consider games to be for children, and personally I try to create a certain distance between myself and games due to the health repercussions of spending all my free time playing, but the amazing stories and stimulating challenges offered by well done games are definitely worth it in many cases, and for those who feel these things are childish, I believe simply lack the perspective to understand that difficult games are just as or more complex than a game of chess, and I doubt you’ll find anyone saying chess is bad for you or a waste of time.

I am truly looking forward to the future of gaming, and I hope companies really draw back and focus on quality and storyline and not waste time with cash grabs, forsaking that which makes games truly great.

After all, a great game is as inspiring as a great book, and we all need a little inspiration from time to time.

Initial thoughts on God of War

I know I am quite a bit late on speaking about this game as it has garnered so much attention since its release and been reviewed 9 million times so I will make this short and sweet.

Ever since I was young the biggest draw of gaming for me was the ability to be drawn into a good story while also being able to interact with that story through gameplay, nothing else added that sort of depth. Unfortunately not many games put the same amount of effort into their storyline development as they do their game mechanics.

God of War is a breath of fresh air, combining solid mechanics and a visually stunning world while simultaneously fleshing out the worlds lore. But what really does it for me is the interaction between Kratos and his son and seeing them both develop as people as the story goes on, it has been so long since I have been really emotionally involved in a character as I am with Kratos and his son Atreus.

Atreus desperately wants his Fathers approval and to prove his worth as an independant man, while Kratos struggles with being both a tough guide for his Son and also there for him emotionally through his development. It is really great and so far the game has me hooked and really hoping they both succeed as a family.

I truly hope the gaming industry uses God of War as a springboard to creating more games which actually flesh out their characters and create that intimacy that has been sorely lacking in most games for the past decade.

For now I will cross my fingers and pray to Kratos.