Leave Your Baggage At The Door

While it seems much more positive to look upon the things we’re going to gain with the next generation of consoles, I’m much more concerned with the things we leave behind. Over the past seven or eight years, the medium has seen some dramatic changes and, while most of these changes have been for the better, there are a few attributes I would gladly condemn to the scrap heap.

I understand that connectivity issues, soulless FPSs or endless firmware updates would reach the top of many kill lists but there is a far more menacing and predatory nuisance lurking around video game culture – the elites.

I hate elites. I think they personify everything that’s wrong with gaming.

Luckily the number of elites has been diluted over the years and, hopefully, they will be totally impossible to detect by the end of the next generation. By making gaming more approachable and appealing to a far wider audience, there’s a wonderful diversity blooming within gaming communities which leads to more varied games and a richer experience for everyone. Everyone, that is, apart from the elites.

So, how do you spot an elite? Are you reading this and beginning to question whether you are an elite? Fear not. Chances are, the real elites, the hardcore of the furious hardcore, probably didn’t read this far. If you’re still with me, well done. Elites cannot be identified by any form of physical traits. They can be male or female, black or white, old or young – it doesn’t matter. It’s what’s on the inside that sets them apart.

Perceived ownership was born out of years of playing games. That’s it. Most of us get the bus every day, but very few of us lay claim to it after a set period of time.

What defines elitism is ownership, or perceived ownership at the very least, and it sickens me to the core. Perceived ownership leads to the majority of negativity towards honest, regular people who want to get on with their lives, go to work, raise their children, and play some games without the hassle of being marginalised by those with little else to concern themselves with.

Perceived ownership was born out of years of playing games. That’s it. Most of us get the bus every day, but very few of us lay claim to it after a set period of time. Elites are not special, just because someone’s played video games since they were in the womb does not give them the right to dictate who’s part of the gang. There is no gang; there are just bell-ends in comment boxes. This isn’t the difference between those who choose to play Angry Birds over ARMA 2, it’s the difference between elitism and… well, just people who play games.

After every article about feminism in games, there’s a whole mess of comments explaining why games weren’t made for girls. This is stupid. We should be talking about games, not having to explain to the pathetic minority that they do not own an entire entertainment medium.

During the E3 presentations, the internet was awash with discussions of who came out on top. This is nothing new, but that doesn’t stop it from being the most depressing thing on the planet. How can someone of sound mind align themselves with a console, to the point of insulting those who do not agree with them, before ever playing it and without questioning their own actions to some degree?

So how do we go about ridding video games of elitists? There are the old school techniques of ignoring them and hoping they’ll go away, or beating the shit out of them (verbally, of course), so they go in search of a weaker target. Both have been tried and can be quite effective, but we all know the way to stop a bully is to mend its broken heart. Unfortunately, I don’t fancy travelling around the world ironing out every elitist’s abandonment issues any time soon.

No, I’m not convinced there’s any way to get rid of elitists completely. They will always exist and they will always persist in their quest to lay claim to everything, like a two-year-old in a jewellery box. The most important thing is to not let them get you down. Like a dotty old grandparent who disapproves of every single piece of culture since 1938, they are the relic of a time when gaming was pretty small and required a certain amount of effort to be a part of. It’s not like that anymore, nor should it be. There’s nothing to be part of, just a laundry list of great games to look forward to.

So the next time you’re faced with an elite, just remember they are a dying breed with a confused ideology and extreme ownership issues, so jovially shake your head at their stumbling existence and wait for them to grow up a bit.


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