Monday, 19 September 2016

Gaming and Social Media

The fact that gaming and social media have sort of come together in recent years is such a strange phenomena to me.  Back in my younger years if I shared gaming related things on my Facebook wall then I would be ridiculed for being a loser but now I have game systems that let me, at the push of a button, upload screenshots, videos or even put out links to my Stream direct to Facebook and other platforms.

Allow me to share a little story about my first experiences putting gaming content on social media platforms.  A long while ago I used to play a lot of Monster Hunter Freedom Unite on my PSP, it was a grand old time.  Just when I was starting out, I managed to grind enough of a certain creature in order to get my first full, self crafted armor set so I was pretty excited.  I thought I'd share this excitement with some of my so called "friends" on Facebook so I snapped a picture, uploaded it and put a caption on it like "woo! first proper armor!".  The comments that I got back were things like "holy shit you're such a loser" or my personal favorite "there's casual, hardcore and sad.  Guess which one you are".  THEN fast forward to 2016 where I can smash a button and upload a screenshot from Bloodborne where I just killed a boss or something and suddenly the comments are things like "well done that game is hard" or "omg I wanna play that game so bad".

This is just one example of that happening but it happened many times more and with other titles.  If you were to go through my old photo albums and look at the screen shots for Left4Dead, Guild Wars or Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine then you'll see a lot of abuse but viewing similar content on newer titles or even posts for this blog clearly shows that gaming content has become a lot more "acceptable" on social media.

Gaming platforms have always had their social elements to them with things like Steam offering ways to share pictures or content with other players but with that it's always self contained within it's own community of gamers.  Facebook is where a lot of the filthy non-players reside, the kind of people who don't understand games and think they are either for kids or for lonely, fat basement dwellers with nothing better to do with their lives so the fact that people now are willing to more openly share their gaming experiences is a bit of a shock, but a good kind of shock.

This improving of the relationship of social media and video games is something we all frowned upon back during the launch of the next gen systems.  You had people on stages at press conferences harping on and on and on about social media this and Twitter that and we just turned up our noses and said "where are the games?".  However we now live in an age where there's a large number of people working within gaming media who are trying to smear and shame it.  Lot's of articles about gamers and games being sexist or violent.  It's stuff that happened before but now it's coming from within.  Except what these social media features allow us to do is show the people directly, the people who don't know any better and would buy into this shit otherwise, that this just isn't the case.  We have been given the tools to fight back against the clickbait, sensationalist bullshit that would seek to damage gaming for a fast profit rather than help us evolve the medium.

Times have changed drastically and I'm actually rather thankful for it.

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