Fandoms and Games

A few thoughts on fandom and gamers.

It’s amazing to watch online communities in gaming circles. 

There is an amazing amount of innovation, creative thought, and brilliance of execution.

But then, there’s the Dark Side…..

More after the Jump.

“C-130 rollin’ down the strip!  I ain’t singin’ no airborne Shi-“

Love you too, Bushcraft.

During the Kickstarter for Robotech RPG Tactics, there was a great feeling of optimism.  Questions flowed back and forth, jokes, hopes, ideas.  It was like the fountainhead of all things Robotech.  Considering that’s a 30 year old fandom, it was impressive to see.

The project funded, and then the wait began.

Deadlines passed.  Lots of deadlines.  Multiple apologies were issued.  Posts were made showing progress on the models.

Then that same fandom that was celebrating the game began to turn a bit dark. 

After a while, it turned outright hostile. 

Every time an update was posted, there was a very vocal group who criticized every single decision made.  There were the various “-gates.” “Spartangate.”  “Mold-line gate”  “Veritech wingtip gate.”  The one guy who posted that the wingtip design of the veritech fighters was wrong, and began to cite more obscure references than Dennis Miller doing a comedy routine.

While the depth of knowledge regarding the relatively useless minutia of the Robotech universe was impressive, it was largely displayed in a manner that could best be described as condescending.  Almost as if because we didn’t know (or particularly care about) the details, we were in some way wrong.

The worst part is, it didn’t stop.

Even after the gamed shipped, the criticism continued, unabated.  At times it grew worse.  There were some truly horrific things said, and even a few threats made.

Over what?  A game?  Fluff?  The mechanics of vehicles that don’t exist outside of animation?

Now, I firmly believe that everyone, and I do mean everyone has the right to say what they want.  It’s a free country.  But at what point does the talk cease to become productive?  At what point are people just arguing for the sake of arguing?

Here’s a few of the things that I’ve seen argued over.

1.  Female Spess Mahreens:

I particularly love those who point out that the (made up) biological processes needed to create (made up) Space Marines..er…excuse me Adeptus Astartes, only work because the (made up) geneseed only works with male physiology.

2.  My Primarch can beat up your Primarch:

Over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over….
And the subset argument of My Chapter can beat up your Chapter.
“Utramarines.  And Matt Ward is a GOD.  A GOD I TELL YOU!”

3.  Battletech:   The Clans, interesting or colossal mistake by FASA.

Was it bad game?  Or was it bad players?  Everyone likes to pack a ton in B’Tech.  Suddenly the entire Inner Sphere just became a punching bag…..yeah, I was guilty of it too.

4.  Mold Lines:

Holy shit, the arguments that were and are taking place on some of the Robotech boards I frequent.  They’re still going on.  As of the last update from Ninja Division and Palladium, the entire thing kicked back into high gear.

5.  Girl Gamers:

On this point, I feel it important to say a few things.  A close friend of mine spoke to me of her experiences in the gaming world.  She was part of a tourney at 15, and was told it was “cute” that “she wanted to play with the boys.”   Later, when she went to a game store to learn about wargames, she was given mouth-breather treatment.  My wife and I walked into a game store in Texas, and I swear to you it was like the trolls in that Frozen movie.
Some one actually said “Look…..a girl…..”  To this day, every time I hear/read some of the sexist comments that
people spout off, it makes me insane.

I’ve been a gamer for most of my life, and I will admit to having more than a few arguments in my time about seemingly trivial things.  I think that it’s fairly safe to say that we’ve all done it at one point or another.

My biggest question is why?

What possesses a seemingly well adjusted human being and causes him/her to argue in the most vicious, condescending manner possible over things that are not only unimportant, but more importantly

FICTIONAL.

I’ve seen knock down, drag out fights over a science fiction/fantasy/alternate reality that exists only on paper, and in the minds of those that play it.  I’m sure we’ve all seen the detritus of the gaming arguments.  Broken friendships.  Rage flipped tables.  Smashed models. 

The only thing that should be shamed are the dice which fail us.  Curse them.  They deserve it.

Part of me thinks it may be as simple as human nature.  The desire to be right.  Which is understandable, if a touch intolerable in some cases.   The relative anonymity of the internet and the lack of immediate consequence has given birth to the internet troll.   Some people just want to watch others fight, without getting their hands dirty.  Fights are started, inflammatory statements are made, and voila.  Pop some popcorn and watch the fireworks.  But trolls are clever.  Oh yes…very tricksy.  They _know_ which buttons to push.  So why do we let them?

I don’t have a high-handed message here.  Nor do I propose a solution, other than “Don’t start no shit, won’t be no shit.”  But in the last few weeks I have actively avoided some forums in order to ignore the ongoing, and annoying ranting and raving, immaturity, fallacious arguments, and outright bullshit.  I will admit to catching myself wanting to argue from time to time and forcing myself to close my computer and walk away.  I now make a conscious effort to avoid drama at all costs.    I make no claims of perfection in this one….

In closing, I just want to say this:

Let people play their game, their way.

Is that too much to ask?

What are your experiences with the problem?

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