The Ultimate Catch-22 Of Being A Gamer
If you type “define catch 22” into Google, you will get the following as the result: “A catch-22 is a paradoxical situation in which an individual cannot or is incapable of avoiding a problem because of contradictory constraints or rules.”
A paradoxical situation. Contradictory constraints or rules.
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Want to know what I think gaming’s greatest paradoxical situation currently is?
Do you know why Half-Life 3 is currently gaming’s greatest paradoxical situation? It’s simple, really: If Valve were to opt not to release Half-Life 3, fans would clamour for it forever and they would ultimately be the bad people who left a devoted fanbase wanting, but if Valve were to opt to release Half-Life 3, it would most likely never live up to the unrealistically high expectations of every fan currently clamouring for its release. Effectively, in both scenarios, Valve is well and truly fucked.
Now I’m taking it for granted that if you read this, you’re a gamer. I don’t want any of that pretentious “oh but we don’t call ourselves ‘gamers’ because movie watchers don’t call themselves ‘movie-ers'” crap. Yes, that’s true. I’ve championed your cause as much as anyone. But it serves as a point of reference, or would you rather I call it ‘person who plays videogames’ each time? So. Gamer. Most likely if you’re reading this, you are one. Splendid.
Recently it’s become plainly clear to me that a catch-22 exists in gaming, related specifically to the gamer. Let’s call it the ultimate catch-22, since it applies to every single person who plays games, ever. Now a fair amount of you are already plainly aware of this catch-22, however, and I was surprised to discover, some are not, and more to the point, some are perpetrating this catch-22 without even realising it.
Allow me to explain with a personal anecdote.
A few weeks ago, I made mention of picking up and trying out Dark Souls but opting to leave it for a future period when I have enough time to dedicate to a two-hundred-hour game. This was not me quitting the game but rather putting it off until I could make the time for it. Still, this didn’t stop a few people from hurling accusations at me of being a n00b, a poor excuse for a gamer, a quitter and so on. Fair enough, I passed up the opportunity to play a really difficult game and people thought it prudent to be derisive about it. I won’t judge
like they do.
Then a few weeks later I posted about finishing DmC: Devil May Cry on the highest standard difficulty (Dante Must Die) and mentioned that I was almost at 77,000 GamerScore and halfway through BioShock Infinite on 1999 mode and had hardly died, and you know what? I got more abuse. This time along the lines of me being a lifeless recluse with zero ‘real life score’ who only sits around and plays games all day, and why don’t I go and get some actual life achievements instead of worrying about meaningless gaming ones, and so on. Life.
So let me get this straight: If I claim that a game requires too much from me, currently, I get abuse. If I claim that I am really good at a game, currently, I get abuse.
Is there no winning?
You’ve seen all the memes and internet funnies, surely. Of gamers being hypocrites or never owning up for their actions, or what have you. I could post hundreds of them in this very article, but why bother when a quick visit to Memebase can do it for me?
It gets worse. There are people who actively judge others for talking about games they’ve played.
As an example, if you didn’t enjoy the same games they enjoyed, then your opinion is immediately inferior or negligible. If you didn’t play the game on the same difficulty they did, then who are you to speak? It’s just like those Halo 3 veterans who judge anyone who hasn’t finished every Halo game on Legendary, who suddenly hush up or find other excuses when you beat the games they challenge you to complete on Legendary (Reach, in my case) and still claim a disliking of the series.
And I have to say, although none of it is new, it is downright disgusting.
The damned if you do, damned if you don’t mentality ought not to exist in gaming. Suddenly everyone else is better than you always, and there’s always a reason why you are wrong in the way you choose to play a game. Play it on easy? Filthy casual. Play it on medium? You don’t challenge yourself. Play it on hard? You have no life. Play it on nightmare? How does it feel living with your parents.
Stop this, guys. Please. We’re all gamers, we’re all in it for fun, and for fuck’s sakes, I will get around to Dark Souls when I can…