Earlier in the week, I published an article that didn’t go over well. It doesn’t matter what the article was about or what specific reactions the internet had, but needless to say it was upsetting. A lot of the reasons people were angry had nothing to do with my opinion on the topic, but about the labeling of the game.
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
In video games, people often judge a game by its category. If a game is labeled ‘horror’ or ‘psychological’, I am likely going to ignore it. A game category that causes me pause is FPS. Both of these types of games would have to have something extremely compelling for me to play them.
Anyways, I’ve been a big follower of Totalbiscuit for years and as we all know, he often ridicules video game award shows because of their arbitrary voting nature. Sometimes this is because the categories aren’t specific enough, or the games fit the category but achieve it in an odd way. You see, not all categories are created equal.
Let’s look at MOBAs which are games that fit under the strategy label. Urban dictionary describes it as “a new gaming genre. Spawned from early forums from the custom map for Starcraft called ‘Aeon of Strife’ and evolved into the most recent Defense of the Ancients or ‘DotA’.” Basically, a MOBA is a style of game that requires players to use powerful heroes to take out the opponents’ base. Players use a strategy to do this, but most won’t describe DOTA or LoL as strategy, they call them MOBAs because that is ‘most appropriate’.
The problem is this: if you google MOBAs, Overwatch will show up. Overwatch is actually an FPS but it also fits in the above definition of a MOBA. Players have to eliminate the objective, play strictly online, and use different paths to get to these objectives. The difference between the two categories is that an FPS is strictly a first-person view (as the label describes) while MOBAs tend to be top-down. Neither of the definitions describes the different in-game perspectives. For reference, Urban Dictionary describes FPS as, “a computer game genre that puts the player in a first-person perspective and usually involves shooting down opponents.” That is the genre of game but it is lacking in description, as you can tell.
Again take a look at Google for ‘Battle Royale’. This is a game genre that is only won once there is a last man standing. Players must hunt for supplies and kill opponents along the way. Unfortunately, this label is too broad. For example, a game that could fall under this category is Worms. Nowhere does the definition say that the game has to exclusively be 3D. However, it’s classified as the following tags: strategy, multiplayer, action, and turn-based. While these tags aim to give players a better understanding of the game style, it doesn’t always do the job. This is what I am talking about.
Finally, I’d like to use an example from The Game Awards in regards to labeling. Different games are nominated in categories with little or no description as to what qualifies. The largest example of when a category didn’t quite work comes from last year under Best Action/Adventure. Mario Odyssey was clumped in with games like Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, Assassin’s Creed: Origins, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Horizon Zero Dawn. It’s not that Mario isn’t action or adventure; it’s that this game is more of a platformer. The game is classified as both labels. The issue I have with Mario being in the running with the other has a lot to do with its graphics. The art styles in all five games are unique but four of them are much more realistic while Mario is more cartoon styled. As I said, the game can fit a genre and yet not be at the same level.
My main point is that labels are subjective, at least in their current state. While they serve gamers by assisting in purchase decisions, it is never going to be perfect. I’m not saying labels shouldn’t exist when it comes to video games. Think of it this way, if someone says to me, “Hey, there is a new battle royale game on the market. You should check it out.” I’m likely to ignore anything they’ve said after ‘battle royale’. If I didn’t know any better about video games, I would never have cared about Fortnite or PUBG because they fall under that label. Instead, I actually have some passing interest in Fortnite where I’d love to forget about PUBG’s existence. See how not all labels accurately explain a game? That’s why I think they are a bit ridiculous.
Why is any of that important? Because in case you forgot, the issue people had with my article had to do with a label and not about what I actually thought. People focused so much on the flaws that they failed to see that the article was a good impression of a video game. Most people in the chat were not aware that I could read all of their comments. The moment someone said negative things about the article, the floodgates opened to hatred. One guy even said he was ‘triggered’ by the article. I hate to break it to you but that’s not a trigger but a “hot button”. Other words can certainly trigger people and while I’m on that topic, to be triggered means, “to experience a strong emotional reaction of fear, shock, or worry, especially because you are made to remember something bad that has happened in the past.” I highly doubt that my article was that traumatically inducing…
Anyway, I had offered to write an article about the game. I wasn’t asked to do it. I wasn’t told to do the piece. I simply asked the company if they wanted some extra impressions publicized about their game. Regardless of how the article was written, I gave the game an overall good rating, but that didn’t seem to matter to the community. Their reactions spoke much louder than the offhanded commentary about the people ‘appreciating a good review’. While I refuse to apologize for the article’s contents, I now have a sour taste in my mouth. The community just drove away a fan.
So I’ll leave people with these handy tips when dealing with people on the internet:
- Writers are human and you never know when we are reading/watching/listening.
- We are entitled to have opinions too. In this case, it was good but because of the label, I was ridiculed indirectly.
- We writers respond much better to constructive feedback than flaming on Reddit, Discord, or Facebook.
- We writers WILL post a reaction, for better or worse.
- We WON’T forget initial impressions. Any future interaction will require much more work to be in our good books.
You reap what you sow and I’m not apologizing for my fallacies. I urge people online to think before acting especially when interacting with members of the press.
As a very quick addition to today’s article, this year’s LAN has been announced. June 8-10th Season 5 World Championships will take place in London, England. The prize pool is at $250,000 and the venue will be The Copper Box. Be sure to check out the website for more details. Also, be sure to watch Twitter for updates!
Until next time peeps!