(edit: Apologies, this was written yesterday, but I forgot to hit “publish”. Whoops!)
Starting today with a video:
Reading about Destiny, and the (silly named) Gamergate, I notice a lot of people conflating opinion and objective reality. This is probably not a surprise to anyone; the monologues look something like this:
“I don’t like X, therefore it’s stupid.”
I blame our increasingly simplified, increasingly black-and-white outlook on this. We don’t have space in our 140-character tweets for nuance– a statement must be direct, simple, and straightforward. There’s no room to qualify statements, and in an atmosphere of sound bytes and hyperbole, a nuanced discussion is lost.
I feel like Gamergate (man, I dislike that name, I don’t even enjoy typing it) really exacerbates the problem. With so much hyperbole on both sides, it became increasingly difficult to be heard as a moderate, reasonable person participating in the discussion, and the debate is, at that point, very easily hijacked by extremists who argue with one another.
I think it’s really important, especially in light of recent events, to consider perspectives. Someone absolutely loves every game you hate, and hates every game you love. A close friend of mine hates The Fifth Element, and loved Guardians of the Galaxy. To me, those two movies are cut from the same cloth, with relatively minor variances throughout (obviously better FX in the latter), but it’s really important to me to understand that him disliking a movie I love is not some kind of existential crisis for me, nor is my perspective on those two movies the All-Encompassing Truth (and, indeed, it would be insufferably arrogant of me to think so).
Which brings me back to Destiny. It’s a great game, one that I’m having a ton of fun with. It’s not the perfect game, because it has flaws, but these flaws don’t destroy the experience one bit. It is, objectively, a well-made, high quality game, even if you don’t like it.
It’s cool if you don’t like Destiny, or FFXIV, or Gone Home, or Transistor, or whatever other game people are talking about, but it doesn’t do you, anyone else, or the discussion itself any favors to be dismissive about things that are categorically false. Saying “Destiny has bad graphics” as a cover for “I don’t like their art style” or “I’m salty about the game not being released on PC” muddies the water from an actual discussion and sabotages any attempt at discourse into a series of unidirectional one-liners.
Not liking things is important. I’ve played/watched/done a lot of things I didn’t really enjoy, and being able to recognize both that they’re good and that I don’t like them and that that isn’t a paradox is useful. We no longer live in an era where media (especially games) are released so infrequently that you can’t afford not to like a game because that might be the only one you get to play that year. Now we have Steam backlogs that would take years to work through, and massive console libraries that could never be completed. A friend of mine refused to buy a PS3 until he finished his PS2 backlog, and wound up nearly skipping that generation entirely as the PS4 rolled around, and he’s still not done with his PS2 backlog.
There is enough entertainment around that we can all have the things we like, and we don’t have to feel challenged by disliking something that other people enjoy.
It’s okay to not like things. Just… don’t be a dick about it.