Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Rarkthor's Response: Gamer Culture and Competition

This Rarkthor's Response is less of a direct response to Mike Brandt's post, but it is more musings on a question that arose from my reading the article.

Mike Brandt, in his own way, did an excellent job of explaining the issues in claiming that 40k is not a competitive game. His comparison to Football really made it clear just how silly the complaints are. It's a good read, and if you feel similarly, you should definitely give it a look.

After reading Brandt's post, I delved deeper into my own experiences concerning competitive gaming, and I reached an unsettling conclusion: All competitive games have a naysayer community somewhere deep inside them.

In every single video, board, card, or tabletop game that I have played with any amount of popularity and element of competitiveness, the negativity comes flying out, particularly from the most competitive of people. Those who hate to lose often find reasons why they shouldn't have lost. These people, at least ones who value social efficacy and friendship don't want to blame the person across from them. Then, the easiest person to blame becomes the creator of the game.

Riot, Wizards, and Games Workshop all receive a lot of heat for their business and game design decisions, and some of these complaints are justifiable. Some of the complaints, however, are not even close.

Do not mistake complaints for criticism; criticism is based on constructive and helpful analysis with a focus on a solution. Complaints, in a word, refers to just plain bitching.

The toxic gamers I have met are toxic in every game they play. It is not a matter of the one game and all of its inadequacies bringing out the worst in that person. A reasonable person would then simply stop playing that game. Really, it is their attitude that ruins the game for them. This leaves those of us, who love the game and wish to improve ourselves and the game, feeling crummy that our fun was ruined by their toxicity.  

Gamer culture really needs to take a turn for the better before this behavior ends. I certainly strive to find improvements within my own play and strategy before blaming something out of my control. I think that healthy competition needs to be taught and modeled, if we are to see change.


  1. Very well put. The toxicity needs to fucking stop, it's getting old. I know I was probably guilty of it in the past, which I've realized and addressed, but it really needs to end.

    1. That's really all anyone can do. I respect any gamer who is willing to own up to their mistakes and make efforts to change.