Gamers are no stranger to buzzwords – from pre-release marketing to on-the-box catchphrases, we see it everywhere. But did you think you’d start seeing buzzwords on discussion forums or in website comments? I’m not talking about viral marketing, either. Far from it, gamers themselves are now employing them to get arguments across quickly and more easily than ever before. It’s like a new weapon in the arsenal of conversation and debate to these people – and if there’s one debate that’s heavily ignited the wider gaming community in recent months, it’s the new Devil May Cry reboot, titled ‘DmC’.
At risk of being accused of copycatting, I will point out now that Forbes ran an article on a similar subject a short while ago but Erik only really scratches the surface of the emergence of ‘debate buzzwords’ (I do agree with him on the treatment of DmC’s detractors though and he’s not entirely unfair in his piece either, I recommend reading it). The usage of the world ‘entitled’ basically points to a more recent incarnation of the old chestnut, ‘fanboy’, a term still used today but to varying levels of accuracy.
What is it about disliking DmC that makes gamers ‘entitled’? Do they feel entitled to a fifth entry in the original series? Do they feel entitled to a continuation of the old Dante’s story? Perhaps a few do, but I can see clearly that for the majority it is less entitlement taking hold and more a case of wondering something simple, ‘why?’ While the original series may not have been on top of the world by the time Devil May Cry 4 rolled around, it was a solid experience and sold enough to warrant another sequel – maybe a continuation to the cliffhanger ending of DMC2, a game which was supposed to be the final chronological entry in the series. However, for whatever reason, Capcom decided not to continue with the story that fans had grown to love so much and instead opted to ‘restart’ the franchise.
Now, I’m not going to pick a side in the argument over which is ‘better’. I’m sure DmC is a fine hack-and-slash title and from what little I played at Eurogamer last year, it’s certainly enjoyable enough. I also won’t pretend I’m not a fan of the original series – you probably guessed from the previous paragraph. All I will say however, is that rather than being so quick to assume each other’s reasons, as a community we should be striving to understand those opinions and ask questions of each other. I’ve seen many DmC fans accusing series veterans of disliking the new game because of Dante’s hair, of all things – while I’m not a huge fan of NT’s choice in character design, I can’ t say that I’m bothered by it that much. It’s certainly not a reason to dismiss a game and I’m sure many realize this. I’ve seen fans of the older games pointing out glitches and exploits as if to say that the game fails because of this. It’s true that glitches are an unwelcome bedfellow in gaming, but they’re hardly a dealbreaker – if it was DMC5 and had these glitches, I’m sure people would be defending it in spite of them.
You can also look at the fairly recent unrest over the ending of Mass Effect 3. This topic saw much debate as well and neither side seemed to back down then, either. On one hand, fans were in an uproar over the illusion of choice they had been given up to that point, only to have it dashed away by a totally underwhelming finale and on the other, defenders of the game stated that it wasn’t the destination, but the journey that mattered. That the ending offered little choice for variety was a non-issue when you’d been given so many options throughout the course of the series. Eventually, Bioware caved into fan pressure and added a new ending through DLC – while this wasn’t done as badly as say, Asura’s Wrath, it still asks a lot about artistic licensing in video games and how fans impact the franchises they love. This doesn’t sound like entitlement to me though, it’s more like constructive criticism. If we’re ready to allow gaming into the ‘art’ or ‘expression’ fold, content creators carry the responsibility of accepting these complaints or standing by their finished product through think and thin. Was Ninja Theory’s adding of a ‘Classic Dante’ costume pandering to these fans without compromising the experience? I honestly don’t think so, but then again it’s only one of many things fans have shown disdain for.
So, why are we cherry-picking things to bitch about? Well, it is of course human nature – if you don’t like something, it’s always going to be hard to convince yourself otherwise and the best way for you to show your lack of appreciation is to pick out the flaws in the subject and express them. The problem with arguments like ‘entitled’ is that it boils an entire point down to one word – it doesn’t make you look better than the ‘other side’ and in fact, devalues your own opinions and arguments through your lack of respect for others.
In short, let’s cut with the buzzwords and start using actual words, rather than playground-level insults – we’re old enough and smart enough now.
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