Working in videogames can sometimes be an exercise in patience and a test of one’s understanding. Why? Because we follow the various news articles and gaming news sites, and recently it’s seemed like a litany of gamer privilege, elitism, and nerd rage. We all suffer from it to some degree or another… we are fans of games. We love them, we play them, we dress up like our favorite characters, we listen to game scores, we design mods, we write stories about them, we know which actor plays which character, we plan out our character progression, we live the game, we eat the cereal…

…and don’t tell me that if there wasn’t a Chocolate Mass Effect-ios cereal on the market that you wouldn’t have one open right now eating the Commander Shepherd and Joker marshmallows first and digging in deep for that Garrus plastic action-figure in the box! To be honest, I would too, though I’d have a closed cereal box that I never opened just in case it became a collector’s item.

But I digress! All these in themselves are not bad things. Our love of games and the worlds created by games has driven the success and growth of an industry that has overtaken movies as the pre-eminent entertainment medium. We are in the driver’s seat in many ways so… now… as fans… can we PLEASE stop driving with a permanent case of road rage? I’m not asking you this as an employee of any company or as a grunt in the industry. I’m asking you as a fellow gaming nerd. Stop the madness!

Let’s acknowledge a few realities now that are making our industry better for their inclusion:

  • Women game. Women write. Women write for games. And I have had the privilege of working alongside BioWare’s Ann Lemay and with Ubisoft’s Jill Murray, both of whom understand/play/adore/design games, and both of whom are fast becoming voices in the industry. And I cannot imagine an industry that would exclude their voices.
  • Women game, period. Maybe it’s time we stopped treating their genders as plot hooks?
  • Games change, they evolve. It seems like Blizzard can do no right in the eyes of its very vocal fanbase and yet the numbers indicate they can do no wrong. Yes, they made Pandas. Yes, they have Poke-Battles. Yes, they have an online card game coming out. And yes, all those things are awesome. I repeat… awesome. Any company that is willing to experiment like this just shows that they’re out to give you a fun and well-designed experience and that they won’t be limited by past success to repeat past experiences.
    • And in that vein… would you like to hear a theory? You want to know why I think Blizzard keeps modifying and tweaking Talents (for example) in World of Warcraft? I think it’s because as an online game ages, the barrier to entry becomes the veteran community itself. They feel privileged and they feel owed, and a gap builds between the newcomers and the vets. So by changing how the game plays, I believe Blizzard is effectively putting everyone back on the same footing so that new players can come in to experience the new content. So bring on the Pandas and the Pikataurens and the new starting zones… let’s be equals and play the game like it’s new.
  • Oh, and what’s with all the misogyny towards women in Cosplay? I love the dedication and craftsmanship that goes into many of these costumes, and I love Cosplayers for their unbridled enthusiasm. But how about we stop insulting people who don’t fit our idea of what a Cosplayer should be, huh?
  • No ridiculing overweight people for getting in the spirit of things.
  • No insulting individuals like Chaka Cumberbatch for dressing up as Captain America or Sailor Moon because she’s black (http://www.xojane.com/issues/mad-back-cosplayer-chaka-cumberbatch).
  • No objectifying beautiful women who dressed up like their favorite heroine. Your arguments are creepily similar to “she dressed like she was asking for it.”
  • And be nice to the cross-players who dress up as a character of the opposite gender. Your heroes are fictional, so their representation of those heroes are (dundunDUN!) equally fictional! And creative.
  • And to my industry peers… please, please, please stop putting scantily clad booth babes behind booths and on stage. Those are days are over, and it was questionable even then.

Now you’re probably thinking to yourself, why should I stop complaining? Well, for one simple reason… you’re blowing through your cred. You’re like the boy who cried Bowser. After a while, you’re desensitizing the industry to legitimate grievances. It’s that simple. And maybe… just maybe, as the industry evolves and struggles on its way to maturity, we should all follow suit? Maybe we should stop giving outsiders the impression that we’re not a critical form of entertainment and that our fanbase is as varied and as diverse as our interests. Or maybe you should catch up to the bus, because like it or not, the bus is moving.