I’m tired of the antagonistic tone we take towards the people who pay for and play our games. I’m tired of the us versus them attitude fostered by large proportions of the mainstream (I’m not excusing indie devs here but the mainstream shouts and thrusts louder than anyone pissing and whinging onto the twitters might). I’m tired of the amplification of the noisy drum banging minority, the easy fall back on “entitled” as a pejorative and I’m especially tired of shit like this.
The tone of a thousand Daily Mail readers screaming into the void about the kids on our lawn, this time via the medium of Eurogamer. Ridiculous Littlejohn-isms like “X-Factor generation”, “ego-frotting evil is a surge of righteous individualism” and “the feed-me-more generation”, meaningless abuse, hateful abuse and demonising an entire generation of kids and for what? To say “developers owe you nothing”. Except their fucking livelihood, right? Too easy? Yeah, I know.
The redacting of terms from the “demands” of the folks behind A Call For Communication, to leave out anything that doesn’t fit the bill, to make them sound like spoilt brats stamping their feet and screaming at Valve does not make the case that they are in the wrong, it makes the case that the case is already on the shakiest of grounds.
Their “demands”, via the piece:
“The lack of communication between Valve and the Half-Life community has been a frustrating experience,” it reads. “Fans of the Half-Life series have waited years for a word on when the franchise will return. […] Waiting patiently for over four years is a daunting task […] fans should at least be acknowledged in some way, regardless of developmental plans for the next Half-Life project.”
The group goals via A Call To Communication.
“The lack of communication between Valve and the Half-Life community has been a frustrating experience. While continued support for current and future products is greatly appreciated, fans of the Half-Life series have waited years for a word on when the franchise will return.
So, Instead of focusing efforts in a negative and disrespectful way, we have decided to gain Valve’s attention by delivering a basic message:
Your oldest and longest running fanbase would like better communication.
Waiting patiently for over four years can be challenging as a fan, especially when E3 comes and goes without any sign of the Half-Life series and its continuation. Valve had stated that information was scheduled to be released towards the end of 2008, and we believe that if they have chosen to change those plans, fans should be acknowledged, regardless of developmental plans for the next Half-Life project.
The entire trilogy of episodes was scheduled to be completed and released by 2007, and if Valve have decided to do other things for the time being, that is fine; all that we ask for is a basic response on the matter, and to let fans know whether or not the current story arc is scheduled to conclude at another point in time.
In addition: This message is in no way, shape or form attempting to rush the development of the Half-Life series; in fact, most members agree that Valve should take the time needed to deliver a complete and polished product.
If you agree with the above message and statements, please join this group and share your support constructively.
Hopefully such attention will be recognized by Valve, and the community’s voice will be heard.”
Emphasis mine, naturally. Egregious entitlement now, according to Mr Davies on Eurogamer is people asking nicely for not really very much at all? For a single line on the development of a game that ended on a cliffhanger where a number of years later, the fans are unsure as to whether the series will reach a conclusion?
And to deliver this message, they played Half Life 2 together. Lots of them. 13,236 people playing a game they loved to ask for a note on whether the series will be concluded is egregious entitlement, a sign of the end times, of a generation fucked? You’ll excuse me if I tilt my head and raise an eyebrow here. These people did nothing wrong.
I don’t think so, do you?
It’s an easy lie to believe though because the internet, well, it amplifies noise. It’s easy to pick out the negative comments and have those things all that you remember. I’m sure most developers, writers or creatives would be able to tell a tale of how, amongst 30 comments praising their work, one negative one stuck out far more. It’s an easy trap to fall into, sure. But amongst all this talk of entitlement (taking the podium alongside “you’re bias”, “addicting” and “pretentious” as OH STOP IT things), how quickly we forget how wonderful most people are. Yes, including this generation that some of you old bastards want to spit on for your own self satisfaction.
They are the people who buy, with their own money, our work. They are the people who make making the next game possible. And the lunatics are in the minority.
To focus on those who would DDOS Minecraft when at the time of writing, 4,938,283 have purchased the game is to a great disservice to everyone. To focus on the people who left a one star review for Where Is My Water when in one week alone it was downloaded 6 million times and clearly is making a great deal of money is to do a great disservice to everyone. To focus on maybe twenty people complaining about the price of Terraria when the game sold 50,000 on its first day alone is to do a disservice to everyone. I’m pretty sure that most people who are fans of Devil May Cry didn’t send death threats to Ninja Theory and nor would they. I’m pretty comfortable in guessing that’s the case, y’know?
This isn’t the entitled generation. This is the generation where more people are more supportive of more things and they’re more supportive in the most wonderful of ways. There is no X-Factor generation, there’s just people and people are, mainly, pretty damn fucking good and do amazing things at the drop of a hat. They brony up the cash to the Humble Bundle, they allow Double Fine to buy their creative freedom (even if it is only for just one game), on a personal note, they saved my Christmas and made sure I didn’t starve when I fell ill from pneumonia, an illness that took me over six months to recover from so bastard close was I to shuffling off from here.
Being a fan is not just a case of sitting in a chair as the Eurogamer piece would have you believe, it’s a case of going out there and earning the money to buy the product, to support the developers, the publishers and whoever else has their skin in the game. It is the decision to choose us, to choose what we make, over something else where that something else might well be more food or a pair of jeans.
It’s important never to forget that. This is not us versus them, this is us cannot do what we do without them. We should all remember that and respect that people choose our works and treat them with respect too. Because unlike being a fan, being respectful *is* something we can all do from our chairs.
That doesn’t mean bowing to the lunatic minority, obviously. It does mean remembering they are just that though, a minority. Don’t damn a generation on the back of a few forum threads or comments sections. Don’t make it us versus them by our actions and our words.
We can do better than that. And by “we”, I mean developers, publishers, journalists, all in.
Let’s give it a try, eh? It’s got to be better than having to mangle quotes to make a point and making Littlejohn seem like the voice of reason, right?