We’ve all heard it. We’ve all thought it. We’ve all essentially been guilty of it at some point. The statements like Final Fantasy >Barbie Horse Adventures or Action<RPG.
That’s right. Gaming elitism. Join me after the jump when I talk about my personal experiences with gaming elitism, how I got myself out of it, and a challenge I have to all of you to fulfill this weekend.
What exactly is gaming elitism? Before I can even begin to talk about the subject, I better make sure and clearly define what I’m talking about. Gaming elitism [at least what I’m talking about here] is the belief that a certain genre or series is far superior to all others, to the point where it’s the only genre/series that somebody will play. [Note: Saying games like Fire Emblem is your favorite game is NOT elitism, it’s just an opinion].
I know what you’re thinking.
BIG DEAL. Who cares what they think/do? Just let them be on their merry way, and let me get back to playing Fallout New Vegas while they play their stupid Hello Kitty Island Adventure.
Let me tell you why it’s such a big deal. Because gaming elitists are essentially cutting themselves off from the ability to possibly enjoy entire genres and/or series of games, because of stereotypes they’ve only heard about other genres.
I’ll admit it. I was a pretty bad gaming elitist. The only games I played for a LONG time were RPG’s. Final Fantasty and a lot of other Japanese-inspired RPG’s were the only things I played, and I was relatively happy about it. Then, one day, my friend asked me to play a game called “Saint’s Row 2”. Seeing that I despised shooting games [even though I’d never played them], I blew it off. what he said next was actually really wise in the gaming community.
“Come on man, are you really not gonna play it? You’ve never even played a game like this before. What’s it going to hurt you to try something new? If you like it, then you’ve got a whole new genre and series to play. If you don’t like it, then you’ve wasted about an hour or two of your time. Which one do you think is more valuable? Also, this game lets you throw poo on houses unironically. That’s got to count for something.”
I thought about it, and it made a lot of sense [except for that last part anyway…]. I wasn’t playing the games because I was comfortable and really good at playing RPG’s. Shooters and action games weren’t something I really enjoyed, but only because I’d never really played them, and only had a preconceived notion about them being only about violence and killing things, or about big military head honchos being in control/power.
So that weekend, I played Saint’s Row 2. After that weekend, I was on a mission to try almost every genre known to mankind! I picked up Halo, Metroid, Starcraft, and any kind of game that I’d always thought I wouldn’t like. That’s because Saint’s Row 2 was about as much fun as I’d ever had in a video game, and I quickly learned that there is more than one way to have fun with a video game.
Each new type of game I pick up is a brand new experience for me. Sure, I still love playing RPG’s, but I have other games to see the world of gaming from different angles now. Had I not played Saint’s Row 2, I’d probably have never even remotely considered the Fallout franchise, which turned out to be one of my favorite franchises of all time.
So here’s your challenge for the coming weekend [or Thanksgiving break].
Go pick up a game that you’ve never played before, but have heard other people say is fantastic for some factor. The game should be one that you’d never otherwise play, because you think you wouldn’t like it.
If you enjoy it, then you’ve got a brand new experience to enjoy. If you don’t, then you’ve confirmed that you didn’t like the game, and should try something else! All it costs is a little time, a little rental money, and a console to play it on.
If you need a game recommendation, the TSG forums have a thread for that!