BITMAPS 79: The Hardcore Gamer’s Damage

BITMAPS

Overture

Having a girlfriend has exposed be to several things – romantic comedy type things – against which slovenly bachelorhood insulated me in days past. Most recently this exposure lead to the live action adaptation of Nodame Cantabile, a show that anyone – provided they have ever laughed at someone falling down – will love. Watching the show dredged up a number of past biases, and not just those targeted at shows involving irritating and never-ending love stories.

 

Door

Somehow I’m ok with a show when the girl gets her head slammed in a door.

The classical music scene is dominated by intolerance and pretense which irks me to no end. To me, music is a powerfully emotional expression of emotion and humanity. It should make you cry, laugh, headbutt someone in the face, and run around your apartment shrieking while tearing off your clothes. However, classical music is not treated this way. Hell, at a concert you’re not even allowed to cough during a performance, much less shriek your head off at an awesome part or yell "YOU ROCK" at a shredding soloist. No no, classical is far too classy for that – so refined that the only proper way to appreciate it is to sit (e)motionless in a chair and nod approvingly (provided you nod slowly and deliberately).

Bullcrap.

I think you should be allowed to sing along, mosh like crazy, or rush the stage at a concert. The idea that you can’t (or shouldn’t) is the height of intolerance. If you don’t want to, fine, but why tell someone else how they should or shouldn’t enjoy something? Luckily, Nodame treats classical music with a degree of levity – making it much more enjoyable. As most of my thoughts trend, I inevitably consider ‘How does this apply to videogames?’ Sadly, there is a trend in gaming today analogous to this with the potential to be just as divisive.

Hardcore

If you’ve ever described yourself as a "hardcore gamer," you’re guilty as all the classical bourgeois, creating a false air of superiority and exclusion. Hardcore gamers like to think that they "get" games. They’ve been playing them for so long that they’ve earned deference. All of these casual gamers come in on their turf, playing their crappy games, and not truly understanding games like they do. How dare these newcomers playing The Sims, Peggle, Wii Sports, and Carnival Games call themselves gamers. After all, gaming is serious.

 

Gamer

Is that guy smiling? Oh god. Rock Band isn’t fun and games!

This mindset is dangerous. When applied to music, these attitudes soured me towards a whole genre. I can’t listen to Strauss now without thinking about the guy that sat next to me at the Meyerson Symphony Hall, huffing at everything around him and passive aggressively complaining about my shaking foot (it’s a nervous habit, sue me). It’s all well and good to prefer one style of game to another, but why poison an entire generation of emerging gamers? One of the greatest benefits of casual games is the gradual conversion of casual to hardcore – but all this intolerance and superiority is just going to scare people off.

Video games are wonderful. While not as universally appealing as music, they’re an amazing experience that everyone can appreciate on some level. Nobody has the right to tell anyone else that they don’t "get" it, since everyone’s experience is unique and personal. As gamers, we need to set aside our biases, bruised feelings, and notions of entitlement. I’ve thrown on Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (2nd Movement) to get me in the right frame of mind – why not invite over a friend and throw down with Wii Play? If you – just for one second – forget how disgraceful these games are, you might actually have fun.

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