04 January 2010

January Challenge #4:

Reposted on new bog at http://dynamitochondria.blogspot.com/2010/01/january-challenge-4-jingoism.html.

The term jingoism is mainly used in the context of nationalism, but I frequently use it in other contexts. I like the flavor of the word. If you know what it means, it almost can't help but imply an accusation of bigotry without saying it outright. Of course nine times out of ten, when I use the word, I get a blank stare or the online equivalent. "lolwut?" So much for impact.

Gaming seems to arouse jingoism in both players and developers. Being a gaming jingoist doesn't mean just having a favorite game or genre. That's just knowing what you like, loyalty perhaps. Nor is it simply defending your favorite game or genre when it's attacked in discourse. That equates more to patriotism than jingoism, to keep the metaphors consistent.

Gaming jingoism is when you attack games or genres that don't happen to be your favorite or the players who play them or the developers who make them. "MMOs/RPGs/FPSs/RTSs r teh suxxors!!1! ur stupid if u play them!" Translate that to your language of choice. If you've said or typed this in any seriousness, you were being a jingoist. A bigot, not to mince words.

I want to think that it goes without saying that there's room for every kind of game and gamer in our big fun-loving community and marketplace, but apparently it can't go without saying. It needs to be said more often.

Before you think I'm just being holier-than-thou and trying to preach from on high, realize that I do not exclude myself from needing to hear this message. People who know me in real life may have heard me spout something I call Dave's First Law and its corollary.

Dave's First Law
People are retarded.
Corollary to Dave's First Law
Dave is no exception.

Case in point: I don't like FPS games. I don't find them immersive, and I don't find persuasive the argument that the camera locked inside the avatar's skull encourages immersion. Without making a whole thing of it, I've held the M16 and I've kicked in the door, and FPS games not only don't convey the same experience, they don't convey anything even close to the same experience. In the real world, you maintain 360-degree awareness that can't be simulated by a camera angle locked to your avatar's facing. In the real world, you have a natural sense of scale that is nearly impossible to attain in a game perspective where you can't see your avatar's body.

Know how to solve these two criticisms? Give the player complete camera control, or at least back it off by about five feet. Suddenly, you have a greater sense of scale and immediate surroundings, but guess what. It's not a FPS game anymore.

So yeah, I think FPS games are stupid. And I've attacked them in Internet and face-to-face discourse, been a gaming jingoist, a bigot. I forget at times that there's room in our community and marketplace for every type of game and gamer.

I'll remind you if you'll remind me.


  1. What is funny about Dave's first law, is that I see it everyday in my line of work. However, a key point here...there is ignorance...not haveing knowledge or experience and that is different from stupidity. Stupdity is have knowledge and experience to make a good choice but for some odd emotional reasoning not making the correct choice.

    On one hand we really can not judge people as stupid and look down them. Because we are all stupid to some degree. We make a decision to fulfill a desire or need we know better... or as it once said in a great work ..."A wizard should know better..." Treebeard, Lord of Rings...

  2. So...do we want the player to make emotional choices or reason-based choices?.... or what makes money?