Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Dr. Bartle goes off (with my slight addition)

I love Richard Bartle.

Not in the way that a man loves a woman, or another, less-hairy man. Or a really, really good steak. But he's very well spoken, writes very well, is a major figure in the gaming universe, and is just an all around interesting guy. He writes great posts and leaves great comments on TerraNova, and responds amiably and intelligently there... as long as you provide some measure of amiability and intelligence back.

We don't always agree. He doesn't believe in God, and I think spelling "color" with a "u" is just batty. But other than those minor quibbles, he's one of my favorite people in the infogamingmediasphere.

And he just went off on  the "smug, out-of-touch, proud-to-be-innumerate fossils" who are perennially down on video/computer games. My favorite bit?
Gamers vote. Gamers buy newspapers. They won't vote for you, or buy your newspapers, if you trash their entertainment with your ignorant ravings. Call them social inadequates if you like, but when they have more friends in World of Warcraft than you have in your entire sad little booze-oriented culture of a real life, the most you'll get from them is pity.

Like I said: love.

Thank you, Dr. Bartle. I've been playing video games since I was about eight in 1974. I play them, now (and have for years), with my 8-year-old son. More and more people are playing. Both kids and people my age... and older. And we haven't seen a major up tick in violence during the Rise of the Game. The most violent parts of the world, methinks -- Israel/Palestine, Afghanistan, Darfur, Chechnya, Washington D.C. -- have many fewer gamers.

We are voters. We do buy newspapers. And we are tired as fuck of people (who don't play) telling us how bad it is for us. So let me add my 2-cents to the Bartle rant. I won't get quoted in the Guardian... and that's OK. But I am glad to be in such good company.

* * * * *

What Richard said. And...

I'm so flippin' tired of people who don't play games coming at us as if we're cellar-dwelling, no-life, dweebs. Or is if there's something really wrong with that. Watch "Triumph of the Nerds." The richest man in the world? Dweeb. Suck on that.

Maybe you like to golf, which requires that you take up inordinate amounts of space in order to whack around a small little ball. You can even do it by yourself, eh? And even when you play with others, it's not really playing *with* them. You're scoring against the course. OK. That's fine. But how is that any less dweeby than playing computer games? Go buy $1,000 worth of sticks and plaid pants and a weird, visor-y hat. That's cool. Drink beer while you're doing it, if you like. Also cool.

Just shut up about *our* games.

Maybe you like to watch sports. Maybe you memorize facts about players and games and leagues. Maybe you get so personally, psychologically involved in "your" team(s) that it gives you pain when they lose. That's cool. Buy the sweat-shirts and the caps and the big, foam fingers and spend four hours waiting in traffic and three hours in the rain waiting to sit on your ass for another four hours to watch 60 minutes of actual action. It's all good.

Just shut up about *our* games.

Maybe you like to shoot guns. Maybe you think they'll help you protect yourself, of just that it's fun to shoot at targets. Good. Cool.

Just shut up about *our* games.

My whole dang life I've put up with smug, superior glances when I tell people (yes, I admit it, and always have) that I play video and computer games. I've put up with people who've never played these games equating them to childish, whimsical pastimes.  Well, there's nothing really wrong with childish whimsy, but there's actually nothing childish nor whimsical about Sid Meier's Civilization or Assassin's Creed.

Some games are whimsical, easy and simply fun. Some are incredibly complex and downright diabolical. Some are art.

If you don't want to play, that's fine. But until you understand what you're talking about... just shut up. That's what I do when people spend hours discussing golf, sports and guns. I don't know much about them. So I shut up.

For the half of you out there playing games, though... I'd love to hear from you  :-)

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