Thursday, July 22, 2010

It takes two kinds

Someone asked me to write about gamer pride. This is a really awesome idea, so much props to that person. Ha!

Pride is universally a bad thing. If you're proud of your accomplishments, people who don't value those accomplishments kind of get demonized. This leads to elitism, and elitism is bad. I think I've written a lot of articles on elitism. I should probably add an elitism tag, heh. I think I have strong views on the subject or something.

I can't really further that issue much more than I already have though. Gamer pride, the idea that you're a gamer and you should be proud of that, is kind of a silly idea to me. Why should you be proud that you play video games? It seems like a very weird thing to be proud of. There are 12 million people in the world playing WoW. If you're going to be proud of something, it should be something awesome, like, I dunno, not paying 15$ a month to play your favorite game. Actually, if you play WoW or some other subscription game without paying the sub fee, I guess you can be sort of proud of that.

Yeah, I probably shouldn't be advocating gold selling, but at least it requires some actual accomplishment besides installing a game and paying for it. Also, there is always EVE where decent skill at the game lets you pay in-game cash for your sub time.

What this is article is really getting at though is that Tobold article where he mentioned how being a gamer is somehow shameful. I couldn't disagree more with this idea. I posted a comment saying how much I thought this idea itself was kind of shameful.

The first point is that people who do not play video games think that video games are an addictive, obsessive, self-destructive behavior. I think this is a completely valid belief to have.

In order to really talk about this properly I have to separate the term "gamer" into two groups, which of course is kind of elitist. The first group is people who play games for enjoyment. This includes people who use games as a medium for social interaction. It makes no divider between casual or hardcore. If I were to use popular labels for things, "casual hardcores" would typically not be in this group, but "hardcore casuals" would.

I think that anyone in that group would probably be a good target of that prejudice. Unless you are in a gaming-focused career, most likely being a gamer in this group is a bad thing. You enjoy games, you might even be a little obsessive about them or like them a lot, but if you are in this group, gaming has no real value. Other people (normal people?) watch TV, but you play video games. Video games aren't something you study or work at, because you use them as an escape or something to unwind.

When people say "gaming is self-destructive" they often refer to the extremely hardcore people in this group. These people game like it's their job, but it's because they're addicted to the escapism, the "fun" of gaming, and often the social aspects. It's a lot easier to make friends in a game than it is IRL, and thus gaming is an outlet for them. However, in the end, the game doesn't really benefit these people. It just provides instant gratification. Because anything that is enjoyable is addicting on at least some level, these people get really involved with their games and really take it to an extreme level of obsessive. These are the people that play games so much they forget to feed their babies.

Not everyone in that group is like that, obviously. The most insane hardcore people are, and that sort of mindset carries over so that the more casual people, who have healthy lives but also use games to unwind, carry that bad stigma. I'd say that these people have every right to be ashamed of being called a gamer.

I'm going to talk about the second group, though. The second group treat gaming as more of a hobby or a lifestyle. These people study games and learn from them. On the average, they play more games than the first group, because it's something they study and practice rather than merely play. However, actually playing the game isn't the only focus. These people watch other people play, read guides, write guides, and learn about the games they play.

If you are in this group, the idea of being ashamed because you are a gamer is absolutely ridiculous. Gaming is a positive experience for these people. Instead of surface "watching TV" satisfaction, these people learn and understand things that simply cannot be learned any other way (for most people, anyway). Gaming is a unique medium in that it has the ability to teach us things by involving us directly. For people in this second group, gaming is such a positive influence on their lives that being ashamed of it is sort of like being ashamed of the person who taught you how to read and write (for some of us, gaming played a big factor in that too!).

It's worth noting that many of the arguments presented by Tobold are valid, like wanting to keep your real name associated with other things, and I suppose those are reasonable. To me, as a person who has learned so many things due to the power of gaming, these seem awful. Almost any time I talk about a life lesson I learned from gaming, gaming gets credit.

I've got a solution, though. If you're in the first group, don't call yourself a gamer. Seriously. You are one of millions of people who play games just for the hell of it. If you're offended because you don't read guides and articles but you play WoW 13 hours a day, get over it. 13 hours a day of gaming hasn't made you a better person. If you haven't learned anything by being a gamer other than purples make you a better player, you should probably just play fewer video games.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Twitter is retarded

Someone secretly nagged me to write something. I've been almost at the cusp of writing something, but I didn't quite make it there each time. I couldn't quite consolidate my random thoughts into an article (yes, that is how random my thought process is).

Anyway, I hate Twitter. It's supposed to be a program where you subscribe to feeds that you want to read. I read almost all my Twitter feeds every day. They are typically stuff I want to read. Often they aren't (I'm probably going to unsubscribe to a few) but that's not a big deal. The signal to noise ratio is pretty good.

Some people subscribe to hundreds of feeds. I subscribe to like 20. How do you read five hundred twitter feeds? That's impossible, unless you're nonstop reading things on Twitter. I doubt most people do that.

The problem is that people treat Twitter like Facebook. Facebook is of course a similar can of worms, but when people reply to you on Facebook, you get notifications and can actually see the reply. In Twitter, that reply comes and goes SO FAST you are most likely just going to miss it. Ugh.

Now there are things you should do with Twitter. If you want maximum SEO, I have a dirty strategy. I'm going to be using it this Friday.

1: Go to the people you read, look at their followers and/or the people they follow. Follow a whole ton of them.

2: After your follower count spikes, unsub all of them. They'll never know and you'll get your tweets posted on a dozen or so new feeds. That means that any hyperlinks you post will pop up on their feeds.

3: If you never read your Twitter, don't unsub all of them. I actually read mine, but if you're using Twitter purely for SEO, just keep them. Anytime anyone else posts a relevant link that gets retweeted on your feed, it'll ramp up your SEO.

I really didn't want to do this, but sadly, this is the way of the internet. Optimal strategies are lame, but I guess that's the sacrifices we have to make.