We Need to Learn to Live and Let Game

We Need to Learn to Live and Let Game

At this time of the year, we like to focus on peace and happiness. We see the year end, and look forward to a brand new year filled with possibility. When I look back on gaming in this last year, I see a lot of fights. I see a lot of controversy. I see a lot of people professing to know exactly what gaming is, and what gaming isn’t, and who is and isn’t a gamer. I’ve seen Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and even our comments below explode with hate because someone, anyone, had the slightest differing opinion than everyone else. So, once again, I’m going to take the time to write a small sappy article and say “live and let game.”

There has been a mantra that has been circling the internet since the later days of #GamerGate. “Can’t gaming be about playing games.” It’s a mantra of exhaustion, of a tired community ready to just start doing the thing that they love again. While I don’t think it’s appropriate to forget #GamerGate as an important event, one way or another, in gaming history, I do agree with this sentiment. Gaming should be about games.

And so, this holiday season, I would like you all to open your minds a bit and accept the myriad of different types of games into your heart. Don’t claim that one type of gaming is superior to another. Just accept that maybe you don’t like the same games that everyone else does.

To the professional Call of Duty player ragging on the people who are hyped about games like Broken Age, Life is Strange, Dear Esther, and The Walking Dead, take a moment to realize that games don’t have to be tests of skill. People have been playing, acting, and roleplaying games long before video games were even created. Heck, one of the first games we play as children is “pretend” and improv games help actors hone their craft.

And to all the games as art crowds, ragging on shooter players and fighting game players and sports game players and anyone who enjoys gaming in a traditional sense, don’t act like you are better than them. There is a place in the world for all sorts of gaming. You can find deep and artistic meaning in the active frames of a punch or the gravity drop off of a bullet, just like you can in a narrative indie experience.

To all the people out there who have ever called someone else not a gamer, gaming can mean so many things to so many different people. There was a time when all of us weren’t gamers, and there was likely a time when all of us were called not real gamers because we didn’t like the same games someone else did. Instead of excluding people, like the bullies that excluded us on the schoolyards for enjoying a Mario game or two, let’s welcome everyone, no matter what their preferences, into our community, so that it can grow and thrive and flourish.

To all the people out there saying “the gamer is dead,” we should never judge any community by the worst of its members. Yes, bad things happen in the gaming world, but bad things happen everywhere in every community. We didn’t call all football players animal abusers when Michael Vick went through his dogfighting scandal. We don’t call all religious people bigots just because the Westboro Baptist Church exists. Let’s not give in to the fear that asks us to label entire communities as bad and wrong, and instead see the good gaming has done over the years. Let’s look at the charities is has created, the conventions it has run, and the many wonderful games that have brought happiness to everyone over the year.

We Need to Learn to Live and Let Game

Finally, I want everyone to remember that we game because it’s fun. No one is forcing us to. No one is holding a gun to our head. Gaming is, inherently, a source of joy, and when the world looks bleak and unfriendly, it would do us all good to stop for a while and remember that. Remember the smiles we had on our faces the first time we jumped over Bowser in Super Mario Bros. Remember the first time we successfully performed a Hadoken even when it seemed impossible. Remember the arcades and the LAN parties, and the friends we all made because we needed to get the top score in Pac-Man.

Gaming is about happiness and so I ask you to wish that same happiness on everyone you meet.

Live and let game everyone. Happy holidays and have a very happy New Year!

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