What I am about to share is not fresh news, but a statement of fact: there is an alarming amount of hate flowing across the Internet. I’m not really sure why, but so much of it comes from the gaming community. You have your fanboys and fangirls, eager to debase anyone who loves the competition. There are players resistant to change, any small patch or tweak in a game leads to a massive group temper tantrum in every forum. Even public figures of criticism, who we look upon for guidance and reviews, are turning into cynical characters who piss in the stewpot to generate page hits. There is so much anger and vitriol being thrown about in a hobby that should be entirely based on having fun and creating engaging/entertaining experiences.
There is a place for criticizing games, but far too many people mistake constructive criticism for angry whining. Playing a game, analyzing what works and what doesn’t, and then explaining where things went wrong in an informative manner is completely different from hopping on a message board and screaming into the void. Even worse, players forget that behind the games they quickly digest and bitch about are actual human beings who put a massive amount of effort into making these products. There is some poor soul who lost sleep and quality time creating a game, who after all that work gets to read things like, “THIS GAME SUX! WHOEVER MADE IT SHOULD DIE!”
That is just how far these comments have gone: threats of death and violence against game developers and their families. Somewhere over the years, immature players deemed it necessary to spit out an unbelievable level of hate against people who make games for the public. As if playing a game that didn’t live up to expectations somehow demands you take the time to verbally attack someone and make their life a living hell. This sort of behavior is not only ridiculous, but downright damning for video games at large. If developers feel threatened by the very community for which they produce media, why even bother making games at all?
Thanks to the anonymity of the Internet Age, many of us cannot directly punish or deter these loathsome individuals who are running the fun for everybody. And engaging in any sort of conversation with such bastards is like trying to have a civil discussion with a screaming child; it just leads to more frustration. So I have come up with a not-so-novel idea to bring more positive words to the gaming world. When you enjoy playing a game, thank and encourage the developer(s).
It seems like such a simple notion, to say “thank you” for a positive experience. But think back to your childhood and every time someone encouraged your creative works. It took only a moment for them to say something nice, but the impact of these words made you work even harder to create amazing things. Imagine if you had put piles of effort into something, only to have your audience insult and threaten you. We need to combat this disgusting behavior with uplifting comments and words of affirmation.
So whenever you play a video game you really enjoy, take the time to thank the people who brought it into existence. We live in a world of social media and message boards, so there is no excuse. Write a letter of thanks, send a kind email, leave a positive comment, hell, just tweet something nice on the developer’s Twitter. Get specific, too! Did you like the soundtrack of a game? Congratulate the composer. Love the game world? Thank the concept artist and level designer. Is there a character you just adore? Tweet the voice actor, story writer, and director. It doesn’t take much effort and the impact of your encouragement will have a positive effect on the hobby we all love.