One Gamer’s Philosophy
by Joel Fernandez
To some, video games are a hobby. To others, it is a way of life. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to the games that they play as well as the difficulty level that they feel is congruent with a fun experience. Some people enjoy playing off-line in a game world that is entirely their own, while others enjoy playing online with friends or random strangers. Today’s conversation will be a celebration of why video games are great and why they should not be conflated with the imperfect world that we all currently live in.
When played correctly and for the right reasons, video games are an interactive way to momentarily escape some of the trappings of our day to day lives. The point is to relieve stress and enjoy the moment with a serene understanding that the journey is the destination. To that end, games are a way to exercise our agency in a way that is conducive to our subjective idea of what happiness is. Unfortunately, there are some kids who would rather use their toys as a means to harm others.
In most cases, the unsavory characters who inhabit some of the online lobbies of our favorite games are content to try and spread their vitriol to whoever will listen. Make no mistake, that is the kind of person who is unable to momentarily disconnect from the imperfect human world and thus feels compelled to bring their emotional baggage into the fantasy world where we go to take a break from stress. In the worst case scenario, there are some who turn to real life violence. In a perfect world, we would be free to enjoy our shared game world without having to bear the brunt of someone else’s bad day. Unfortunately, the human world is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination.
That is why a lot of people choose single player games instead of playing online. Video games are supposed to be fun. Yet, for some inexplicable reason, there are those who like to try and drag others into their misery. It seems that it’s not even possible to enjoy the simple pleasure of silently destroying the competition in PvP sessions without some troll hitting the report button because of their hurt feelings. As if that isn’t bad enough, the game developers who run the servers where the PvP of their game takes place often choose to take disciplinary action against those who are accused of cheating even if they play on a console instead of PC.
Nobody likes to play against cheaters. But it is actually impossible to cheat at PvP on consoles. Unless the console is jail broken, in which case it is the responsibility of the console manufacturers to police their online communities and ban those who deliberately choose to violate the terms of their end user license agreement. When the developers impose disciplinary handicaps on players who are simply superior to the trolls that report them, it means that inferior players are being given the upper hand in the most arbitrary way imaginable.
At the end of the day, video games are supposed to be fun. It is an unfortunate state of affairs when online prejudice is used as the basis to hinder an honest gamer’s experience. Imagine being told that everyone but you is allowed to enjoy a game to its fullest. Or that your experience, at some point, has to come to a philosophical impasse with a reflection of someone else’s seemingly random prejudice. It’s enough to make an honest gamer want to stay in the single player game world where at least the narrative prejudice is kept to an appropriate minimum as defined by the deceptively arbitrary consensus of among those who use their online platform to tell us that they simply know better when it comes the “true” meaning of fun.
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