Editor's Opinion: Just Play Games
Posted by Ken Barnes
Not long now.
The next generation of console gaming is right around the corner. In a day or so, the PlayStation 4 launches in the US. In a week or so, the Xbox One launches in all the territories that it’ll be launching in this year. A week after that, the PlayStation 4 hits the UK. The boys and girls over at our sister site, Push Square will be doing their usual bang-up job of keeping Sony fans up to speed, while we attempt to keep Xbox fans covered.
Of course, the current generation consoles are still receiving frequent service in the form of new titles, too. In short, it’s a great time to be a console gamer. There’s something for everybody to enjoy, whether you’re ponying up for one new machine, both new machines, or standing by your current generation system and waiting to see what happens.
For me as a lifelong gamer, console launches are easily my favourite times. Forget Christmas, birthdays, and anniversaries of any kind – none of them can top it. From working the counter at my local game store’s midnight launch for the Sega Dreamcast some 14 years ago, through to waiting at the door for the postman on Wii U launch day last year like a kid waiting for Santa, these things always get me totally jacked. I’ve saved long and hard, and with a bit of help from Mr. MasterCard, I’ll be picking up both new consoles on launch day. No, I won’t be getting free machines, as some people automatically suspect. When people question me about why I would spend that much in a month on what they see essentially as toys, I respond with “I write for an Xbox-centric site. I need a PS4 in order to present a balanced opinion,” but that’s only partially true.
The new machines are so close, that I can feel it. I don’t care if you get it. As a gamer, this is the way it’s supposed to be. Society (well, my friends and family, at least) might say that as a 32-year-old man, I’m supposed to act like an adult and show a little bit of reserve. I stick my tongue out and blow a big, fat raspberry in response.
I’m SUPPOSED to be excited to see what the new machines can provide in the way of gaming experiences. Screw HDMI pass-thru, DVR, Twitch.tv, Netflix, and controlling your console with your voice. Screw cable box nonsense that probably won’t matter to most people. Skype can take a running jump, too. I want games. I want to be wowed by shininess. Just like I was when I fired up Sega Rally 2 on day one of the Dreamcast’s retail life, or as I was with Super Mario 64 on the Nintendo 64 launch day.
This is who I am, and I’m OK with that.
What I’m not OK with, is people trying to kill that buzz. It’s disturbing to see just how many fanboys (and to a lesser extent, fangirls) are out there just looking to pick and pull and rip apart everything that’s good about gaming and the new machines. “Xbox One Game X doesn’t run in 1080p.” “The PlayStation 4 doesn’t have any games worth playing.” “The Xbox One is lame because Titanfall isn’t out until next year.” “The PlayStation 4 probably needs a firmware update every twenty minutes like the PS3 did.” “Both consoles are too large.” “Neither machine is as good as a PC with £1,500 worth of hardware in it.” “Microsoft are forcing you to buy Kinect and that sucks because…”
We’ve heard it all before, of course. Even as far back as the early days of console gaming, Intellivision fans would attack Atari VCS fans and wave colour counts and game exclusives in their faces, as if it made any difference to anyone. And of course, during Microsoft’s royal botching of the Xbox One announcement earlier in the year, I personally felt the wrath of the fanboy and no mistake. Having people hit up your personal Facebook page, Twitter account, and email address to throw a death threat or two your way because they’re as dumb as paint and they think that you actually work for Microsoft isn’t fun, but such was the ire. Things have improved somewhat since Microsoft’s about-turn on its controversial policies, but it’s still sad to see gamers turning on gamers. If you’re a die-hard Xbox fan and have no intention of ever buying a PS4, why the hell are you following Sony’s official PlayStation 4 page on Facebook, let alone jumping on every PS4 announcement to tell everyone that you think the Xbox One is the best and that they’re somehow a lower class of citizen for liking Sony’s console? You’re doing yourself no favours and undoubtedly, someone somewhere will feel a little bit worse for reading your inane and/or abusive comment. And it goes both ways. The Sony boo-boys hate the Microsoft fans, too. Pretty much every comment system online right now (apart from ours, of course!) seem to resemble a playtime fight that's gone too far.
Why are you that hateful that you want to make people that you don’t know feel bad during a time that, as gamers, should be exciting for them? Or is being a complete asshat 24/7 just the cool thing to do now?
I'm glad I'm not cool.
If you’re buying an Xbox One or a PlayStation 4 and think you’ll be happy with it, more power to you. Go have your fun, and let everyone else have theirs. Xbox fans, if you really are hell bent on making this into a “them and us” situation for the tenth year in a row, then at least try to be on the classier side. Let “them” take “their” potshots as often as they want. Don’t retaliate. You don’t need to attack Sony fans in order to support the Xbox community. Plus, be aware that both consoles have some fantastic games, the same way that the Xbox 360 and PS3 both had superb libraries of top-class titles. By cordoning yourself off and steadfastly refusing to look at what the “other side” have to offer just because…well…you’re a bit of an idiot, you’re missing out on a whole bunch of great gaming experiences. Don’t be calling yourself a gamer if you aren’t interested in games, no matter how they’re delivered.
Gamers play games, not platforms.
Y’all think about that while I go and peer through the letterbox again. You never know. A mistake is made at a retailer’s distribution centre and they ship their machines early. One of those machines happens to turn up at my door along with the games I ordered from…erm…a different retailer that also happened to make a similar mistake….
Well, I can dream, can’t I?