An Old Man’s PerspectiveBy Rick Givens | July 9, 2011 | Editorials | 3 comments | Share
As the oldest member of the DeltaGamer staff, I am often reminded of how my age sets me apart from my peers in the Gaming Community. Alternately called Methuselah, Gramps, Old Man, or The Creepy Guy with the High Forehead, I am closer to fifty than I am to twenty. You may ask yourself what is a grown man my age doing playing video games and (sometimes successfully) writing about them. Fact is, I ask myself that too.
Simply put, video games are fun. While some people choose various sports or crafting hobbies, I prefer this one. It is no different really, than cheering for your favorite sports team, or sitting on a nice relaxing river for some fishing. Okay, so it is different, because while fishing, one never yells “DIE YOU SONOFABITCH!” at the top of their lungs, but the feeling of accomplishment is the same.
I started my gaming back in the days of Pong, I can trace my interest in all things science fiction and fantasy to the first J.R.R. Tolkien film The Hobbit, and the original Star Trek series. Something about the concept of a fantasy world took hold, and I soon found myself devouring Mythology and Science Fiction, and even modern day science. I became fascinated by what is, because in some books a few years ago, that was the fiction authors wrote about. As for Pong, well, all you did was hit a stupid pixelated ball across the TV screen with some little rectangular block, and it made equally stupid “Bloop, Bloop” noises as you did so. Not too exciting, to say the least, but it was top notch in the day. And a far cry better than watching after school specials on the television.
Games have come a long way since then. In recent memory (for me), the Atari 2600 was the top of the line console. As big as modern day consoles are today, all the games, which once required hard drive sized cartridges, now all fit on something the size of a book. In fact, some versions feature the original controller as the full console, and contain all of the games preloaded on it.
The next big thing was the Nintendo Entertainment System, with its rectangular thumb pad, and it still used cartridges. Games then were a far measure better from the Atari, but still, when compared to today’s titles, make me ashamed to say I ever played them…
Times have changed, and so have gamers. Gaming has gone from an interesting distraction at times to a full-blown profession, with professional gamers receiving something of a star celebrity status among the community. Game companies themselves have turned from small operations, with only a few programmers and development times consisting of months to full-blown mega corporations.
It’s interesting to look back, where the game console was just a fad, to today where nearly every home has a computer, and a large portion of those homes using consoles. Not only are they using these computers and consoles for gaming, but for watching feature length films.
My point to all this, is from the perspective of the old guy, things considered mainstream are truly remarkable when compared to what was, even a few years ago. What you look at as simply everyday activities and services wasn’t possible until recently. Hell, even the Internet has changed, from the days of dial up access to wi fi routers and data rates that a scientist could only envision at one time.
While the concept of gaming has matured into something that is far above and beyond what those original developers could have ever thought of, the society of gaming has taken a step back. The impersonal feelings of online connectivity have made it acceptable to say and do things that are reprehensible. I’m not talking about bad team play, stealing vehicles or base raping in some games. I’m talking about the actual communication and online interaction between gamers. Why is there such a divide among PC and Console gamers? Why to PS3 Gamers and Xbox Gamers flame one another and laugh at the other’s misfortunes? Why does everyone joke on the Wii?
On various games I have joined, the level of language is disgusting. I don’t have virgin ears, and you can cuss as much as you want to. But why is it necessary to use racial slurs in language or names? Why do clan symbols, tags or player cards feature symbols like the Nazi Swastika. What purpose does it serve?
Always, every time I call out a player for something stupid like that, they get offended. I honestly could care less what you do in your life, but I don’t bring mine out in the public, so why should I be forced to tolerate someone else’s? Have a fetish for feet and pizza? Great, just don’t tell me about it over a cup of coffee or a beer, and I won’t tell you about my proclivity for…nevermind. Mutual respect is the key, use it and things go smoothly. A dirty ass always stands out, don’t be offended when somebody points to it and laughs.
What is so truly earth shatteringly different about the game consoles, or even the games they play? How is one game franchise, which is completely different from the other, better? If you like cars, you probably have a preference. But what is so remarkable between a Chevrolet and a Ford vehicle? It’s a matter of choice, and often one is just as good as the other, but for different reasons.
So your console is so much more wonderful, your PC can do so many different things. Who friggin cares? You game your way, I game mine, I don’t give a flying hell one way or the other. It’s not a matter of which one is better than the other, which game is more awesome, or any of that. It’s a matter of what you want, what you choose and why. Just realize, no one but you really gives a shit.