Broadening Horizons in an Industry of Absolutes
By Brad Baker (Bakerman Brad), OnRPG Journalist
Gaming advertisements today are in a console based lockdown. Not because of a single console developer having a monopoly on the gaming world, but because of the heavy, singular focus in advertising for games on consoles. This narrow scope of game media is also putting a chokehold on the genres of games available with first person shooters (FPS) or role playing games (RPG) appearing to be the only two options for gamers, all of them with a single player campaign or story line. This style of gaming further constricts the potential for a gaming community as the multiplayer aspects of these games are overshadowed by the storyline of the single player modes. This long history of gamers playing in their isolated world has been challenged in recent years, but this challenge is still only really seen in the console world.
Now take a look at the individual games that are well known in the gaming world. Call of Duty, Halo, Final Fantasy, Borderlands, Gears of War, and some less known games like the Fear trilogy, all fall under two genres, FPS and RPG, and all of them have a story mode and a multiplayer mode. The kicker to these games popularity, however, is not so much the media on TV, but it's the people who have been playing these games since they hit the market. Gamers who found a game they loved and went and told their friends that they had to come play this game with them spread the popularity like wind fuels a wild fire. Word-of-mouth is probably the greatest way for a game to explode, and that begs the question, why can't computer based games and genres do this? There is really no reason other than the lack of commitment to a unified gaming community. Everyone has their own world and although the games are Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) or a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA), the gamers still seem to be very isolated from the Multiplayer aspect of the games. With everyone still so isolated in their own games I am not surprised that no one has really tried to spread the word to the console gamers out there. With that said, here is a challenge to everyone on OnRPG.com; if you have a friend that all they use is a Ps3 Controller, go tell them to brush off their keyboards and hit up OnRPG.com for some free-to-play games.
Bring them on into the games that you love to play and help them remember that the computer isn't just for college term papers or work reports. They can even stick to their guns, literally, and find some good first person shooters to break in to the new worlds of awesome if they can't seem to find their next niche. Help bring in the fans, that way we can see more events like the Red Bull Battlegrounds tournament at Austin City Limits Moody Theater. Better yet, go tell all your friends so that we can have more 27 year old professional athletes like Dave "Walshy" Walsh that can retire comfortably. This can happen if the gaming community steps up and broadens their horizons in many ways, and maybe even just blurring those horizons all together.
A recent example of what I mean: In the most anticipated MMO's for 2012 video, DizzyPW and JamesBl0nde drew in some rather unexpected criticism for Diablo III. Criticism not about the game being bad, as it drew in 3.5 million copies in its first 24 hours, but that the game was included in a MMO most anticipated video. This is where the nit-picking and that lack of community reared its ugly head and the "technicalities" that individual gamers hold when it comes to the game genres they hold dear won out over their fellow gamers. Perhaps this would be a good time to say that the gaming community should also consider branching out of their comfort zones and go enjoy all the potential genres of games that are out there. That way no one is ticked off by a game fitting only two letters of a genre title.
Oh, but one more thing! With this new call to action about venturing forth to great genres and beyond, perhaps we can get rid of a little bit of the immediate, bloodthirsty, unreasonable bashing of noobs for just a little while.
This comes as a little bit of a personal plea as I have answered my own call into branching out into trying as many new genres as I can. For my daring I was battered down brutally for just being new to the mechanics unique to online gaming worlds. It was ridiculous!! I hadn't died, or gave the other team any advantage, or killed my own teammates, which can justify humiliation, and I will turn a blind eye on that poor soul who earned their verbal noob thrashing. I was basically being hazed into the game. I understand the entertainment potential of trash talking during games or in the lobbies but after first-hand experience, I totally know why gamers stick to one genre. That way, they only have to be a noob once, which brings up the fact that, oh hey, everyone has been a noob, so chill out alright? Give the new guys at least a round or ten before crushing their dreams, or do the unthinkable and throw out a bone of advice instead of bailing out in droves to leave the noobs in a 5v2 MOBA match with no hopes of winning.
This is all just a thought, a hopeful, simple thought, but one that could bring a bigger and better sense of community. Then maybe instead of just about 2800 gamers on OnRPG’s forum at a time, we could add a few zeros to that number.