Over the last few years I’ve been called every name under the Sun. I’ve had all the usual Scottish jibes, I’ve been called every variation of homosexual you could imagine, and possibly some you’ve not, I’ve even been called a n@~%$r or n@~%$r lover, the last one is odd because I’m white. Oh that’s right it’s because it’s over Xbox Live so you can’t see me but feel free to throw out abuse as much as you like then.
Now, I don’t mind it all, I tend to play in private groups and if I’m not I’m very quick on the mute button; I have no interest in hearing people singing or talking shit in real life let alone over the internet, but as someone who loves games and as someone who often feels he has to defend games and gamers when the usual “they’re for kids”, “they are rubbish” etc etc drivel gets brought up in conversation or online my question is this, are we really that puerile? Is gaming the last bastion for the racist and homophobic?
Sadly I fear the answer may be yes, perhaps it’s because even though you’re supposed to be of a certain age many gamers online are much younger, perhaps gamers really are all a bunch of hillbillies gaming away their life when they could be out talking to people or perhaps people are just blowing off steam and feel that calling someone ignorant names is acceptable because it’s not face to face in the pub or at work but over Live.
This annoys me because I love gaming and want to be part of a culture which matures as I do, maybe I need to realise that games such as Call of Duty and Battlefield are always going to attract a younger and perhaps more ADHD crowd but then I remember the time I shot and felled a random comrade in Left 4 Dead, by accident I hasten to add, and was not only screamed at but sent a message calling me a string of bizarre things, including a Jew, which you have to admire for its originality at the very least, oh yeah I forgot about anti-Semitism, my word do I get called a Jew a lot, I’m not sure what part of being Jew would make me be shit at games, I’ll need to ask the Rabbi I pass in the street.
So, what’s to be done? Well probably nothing, Microsoft to its credit does stop people using offensive language in their usernames and will dish out the Ban hammer for a couple of weeks if someone gets enough negative feedback but it’s just not enough.
I’d like to point out here that I don’t get offended by being called names over Xbox Live, never have done and never will do, that’s not why I’m writing this, I’m writing this because it devalues games, it keeps them in the world of kids’ toys for the infantile mind and that’s what offends me. Personally I’d like to see a few more gay characters in games or perhaps a few more black characters that aren’t all guns and swearing, you know maybe a bit more grown up? Developers are making more sophisticated games every year with more complex stories, allowing players to fully immerse themselves in the game, unless you want to make Commander Shepard gay, no that’s just not on now is it?
We finally have a bill which will allow gay marriage so surely it’s time to allow a few more gay characters in games. I mean who wouldn’t be turned by Captain Price and that moustache? Just saying?