Identifying as a gamer is usually all fun and games, quite literally. A rich culture of memes, inside jokes, friends, hours of escapist enjoyment; a not-so-secret society where like-minded individuals share their love for games.
Our numbers grow as gaming becomes increasingly accepted as a permanent fixture of the modern cultural landscape, and with this the possibility of things going totally wrong starts to rear its ugly head. There are times when we just want to bury our heads in the sand rather than weather the criticism and disapproving looks of the outside world. Here are 5 times we wished we weren’t gamers.
Starcraft 2 Match Fixing
Starcraft 2 is big in Korea, like American Football in the US big. Broadcast on national television, played by millions in countless PC bangs, and with a market value well into the hundreds of millions of dollars, the Starcraft bubble was bound to pop at some point. In 2015 and 2016, it all came to head when it was revealed that high profile pro players Lee ‘Life’ Seung Hyun and Bung ‘Bbyong’ Woo Yong had colluded with various industry suits linked to the vibrant gambling scene surrounding the game to purposely throw games. Where there’s money, there’s greed, and people willing to bend the rules to make some quick cash. The controversy marks the moment eSports became like any other sport and was lost to millions of gamers who had found a niche devoid of the evils of the wider world. Or maybe we’re being a bit too idealistic, it still sucks.
The League of Legends Community
Passing through the hallowed halls of champion select during a ranked game of League of Legends usually results with a teammate readily typing a damning ‘kys’ at some point or another. Accidentally miss a flash as you’re trying to peel away from a losing team fight and you can expect a torrent of disproportionate abuse in chat ranging from ‘you suck’ to comments questioning your mental aptitude. These are just snippets of what the daily life of a LoL player looks like and it can get much, much worse. League of Legends is by far the most toxic gaming community around to the extent that many are put off what is at its core a fabulous game. When this bleeds over to pro players, we know there’s a real problem and it’s hard not to be embarrassed. Furthermore, recent revelations of Riot’s own questionable inner culture suggest the issue is institutionalized. Bleak stuff.
Vaporware, a rip-off, absurd; however you want to describe it, the ongoing Star Citizen saga is an irksome reminder of one man’s mission to inconspicuously con a devoted community. The clues are there for anyone to see; a $27,000 DLC, the biggest crowdfunding run in gaming history, an ongoing 7-year development cycle, missed deadlines, and the lurking feeling the game will never get finished. The hopes of sci-fi fans manifesting as thousands upon thousands of real-world dollars invested in a pipe dream bound to end in disappointment. It’s all incredibly sad and a blemish on the gaming landscape we’d wish would disappear for good.
That Time Pewdiepie Said Something Very Naughty On A Bridge
Visit any online lobby or multiplayer match and you’ll invariably be met with a maelstrom of expletives ranging from innocuous to deeply offensive. Liberal use of language is an accepted part of gaming, notably when engaging with a younger audience pea-cocking their expanding vocabulary. However, when Pewdiepie spluttered out an unutterable racial slur on that bridge during a heated PUBG match in late 2017, the mainstream media propped up its prying ears. Whether you like him or not, for better or for worse, he is seen by countless outsiders as one of the faces of the gaming world. His words tarnished not just his already fragile standing, but gave gamers a bad name across the board. But can you do this?
Feminism, progressivism, diversity, agendas, harassment, death threats, targeting of female developers; Gamergate was a mess of epic proportions if there ever was one, a messy bundle of gaming’s worst elements on a rampage which left indelible scars. A few select individuals were eager to convey their fear that issues of sexism were having too much of an influence on the gaming world, blaming collusion between the media and those of a progressive persuasion. Rattled beyond words, they engaged in a targeted campaign to harass and disparage countless women involved in the gaming industry with death and rape threats, doxing, and general trolling on social media. With no clear goals or demands, the inconsistent Gamergate groups rampaged across the internet, failing to get their message heard, or even stir up healthy debate. The association with right-wing groups didn’t help things either. Anyone in the gaming community with an inkling of humanity held their head in shame.