Gamers are Insane

by Patrick Lindsey

“Insanity is doing the exact same fucking thing over and over again, expecting shit to change”

The Community of Gamers is a tight-knit subculture that spans the entire globe. Spend time at any gaming convention and you will see that gamers worldwide speak a common language that knows no international barriers; it is a language of cosplay and memes and leaderboards. But the Community of Gamers shares a bond that is much stronger and deeper than any mere surface platitudes.

Gamers are fucking insane. I don’t mean that in the pejorative sense. I mean clinically, mentally insane.

You can see the symptoms across any internet forum or comment thread. The mad ravings of our schizophrenia trace back to the very games press itself. The metaphorical lips of publications are frothing with the hyperbolic sputum of hype and demented excitement, repeatedly ejaculating superlative review scores all over our sequels, spraying our iterative genre titles and “gritty reboots” with rotten money shots of frenzied praise. Us gamers unceremoniously and unflinchingly lap it up and, from our position below them on our knees, beg for more.

And then in a stunning shift of bipolar rage, we abruptly turn on our games with vitriol and rage as fervent as the praises we previously lavished on them. Games that we once lauded for being ‘cinematic’ or for having ‘great stories’ or ‘visceral gameplay’ we now viciously decry for being ‘stale’ or ‘poorly written’ or ‘unoriginal.’ The market, we cry, is oversaturated with sequels and drivel and over-gamified bullshit. Games are dead. How did it happen? What went wrong?

We, the gamers, are What Went Wrong. We sit behind our computers and drool over the screenshots and teaser trailers for AAA game after AAA game, sucking down every 9.5 out of 10 review that we’re fed, actually having the audacity to get angry when the sites we read dare to bestow our favored franchises with any review score lower than the upper third of the scale. We do all of this compulsively, consistently, and most importantly, predictably, and then we complain that The Market is crawling with lukewarm blockbuster setpieces and that review inflation is rampant and that videogames are broken.

Well, if games are broken, it’s because we fucking broke them.

This is our psychosis. We fawn over the heinous practices of our industry and then complain when things don’t ever get any better. It is functionally identical to clinical insanity.

Consider this a worldwide wakeup call.

If we want improvement – honest to god improvement – if we want our videogames back, once and for all, we have to overcome our insanity and reclaim them. We need to stop excusing new franchise entries every single year because “well, I guess they’re still kinda fun.” We must shun the “cinematic” and the “setpiece” and instead demand actual game design again. All gamers, from the couch-sitting high schooler to the journalist playing a review copy from her office, have to snap out of the dementia we’re locked in and start actually loving videogames again. Forcing ourselves to find something to like in each new gritty FPS isn’t being accepting and open-minded, it’s fucking Stockholm Syndrome. We have to refuse to accept the shit we’re being spoon fed. Otherwise, we’re damning ourselves to a future as a bunch of mindless, drooling idiots who masturbate in public while muttering incoherently something about “Mass Effect 3 endings.”