As gamers, we have quite an annoying habit in our culture to hate practically everything new. Sure, we might come to love it later, but we’re seem to hate everything right out of the gate. If not, then we have to look for something to hate about it later. Once that minuscule flaw is found, the Internet immediately lights up with angry blogs, angry Photoshopped images, angry podcasts, and news articles about the new hate. I have fallen into this unfortunate valley a few times, and each time I realize that I’m down there, I force myself to realize that I’ve done so and take several steps backward. I’m having difficulty with my current hatred of the Kinect, but I like to think I’m making some progress.
So my big question is, why do we have to hate everything?
It doesn’t matter if it’s something old or something new. Gamers hate it when sequels are more of the same, because it’s nothing new to snag their money and attention. At the same time, they hate when things change. Two cases in point: Final Fantasy XIII and inFamous 2. With FFXIII, everyone hated how “linear” the game was and they hated that the battle system wasn’t their normal FF affair. Whenever I would point out how linear Final Fantasy X was, I would get shot down with how that sucked as well. Would these haters even give the story a chance or try to adapt to the new battle system? No. They were too busy focusing on how linear the game was and that since the open world portion didn’t appear until around 30 hours in, the game had a 30 hour tutorial. Would everyone have wanted a traditional FF game, going back to Final Fantasy V or VI? I bet not. I bet if they went with a style like that, to retro the game up a bit, the game would have been hated just as much.
The more glaring example is Cole’s redesign for inFamous 2. Why so many people were outraged over Cole’s makeover is something I’ll never understand. From what I remember, no one liked Cole’s original look either. So when Suckerpunch decided to make Cole look a little different and change his clothes, because let’s face it, there is going to be a time lapse between games, fans were in a complete uproar. The negative feelings toward Cole’s new look were so loud that the developer actually changed his design to look more like the original Cole. I really wish that Suckerpunch hadn’t done that, because now that they have given fans more power than they should have; the intensity of the outcries is bound to get worse.
A more recent example of hate comes from Nintendo’s arena with the 3DS. Last week, it was announced that the 3DS’s battery life is going to be around 3.5 hours (comparable to a PSP’s, which should be noted), for 3DS games and around 6 hours for non-3DS games. Gamers aren’t up in arms yet, but from several of the gaming journalism articles I have read, it seems as though both journalists and fans have forgotten about the initial excitement of the 3DS. Now they’re just focusing on the shorter battery life, which I guess I don’t understand what the big deal is. At least this battery is rechargeable. I was one of the few who bought a Sega Game Gear way back in the day, and the thing ate AA batteries (six at a time). Batteries would only last around 4-5 hours, period, and then you had to buy more. I didn’t complain back then, because this was the only gaming handheld in existence that had color! This is kind of the same situation; it’s the only handheld that’s going to provide 3D! What’s more, it’s going to be the only gaming device that offers 3D at all without glasses. Can’t we just focus on the amazing feat that is instead of harping on the battery life?
I’ve had several geeky hobbies over the last ten years or so, and I’ve never come across the amount of hatred for minutia as I have in gaming. Didn’t we get into gaming because it’s fun? Whatever happened to taking what you could get and accepting the fact that some people will like things you don’t and vice versa? When did we start to feel entitled to certain things, and why do we have to scream about it from every angle?
You do realize what we are, right? We’re the Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons. Biggest. Complainers. EVER.