Despite the negative things in E3 2015, it was still the best one in years. The previous ones had either been underwhelming or just downright sedate. Due to its apparent success, there was something clearly observable through the proceedings. Some were giddy and elated by the announcements, while others responded with either poker faces or just outright exasperation. Each party looks at the other like they’re the enemy; the excited ones look at the cynics as bitter old men and the cynics look at them as idiots who never learned. Despite that, everyone involved cares about gaming, so let’s look into the root of this difference.
To be fair, most of the games shown in E3 events are AAA titles from big companies, many of whom have had their stumbles in recent years. Therefore, the cynicism is obvious through years of disappointment and growing distrust. But with the previously-improbable reboots and remakes, as well as all the brand new hotness we’ve feasted our eyes on throughout the event, it’s hard not to get excited like a Jack Russell terrier about to be taken for a walk.
Before we proceed, please watch these videos first. (At least the parts where they respond to the major reveals.)
Basically, GameTrailers was all hype while GiantBomb was all cynicism.
Determining Your Default Stance
If you agree to what most of those comments are saying, then you’re on the side of hype. If you were reacting to the announcements like the Giant Bomb crew were, then you’re on the side of cynicism.
Hype is about the now, having fun and being optimistic about what comes next without regard for potential mishaps and missteps. It’s having the glass half-full and expecting the waiter to fill it back up right away.
Those who are in the side of hype see negativity as a disease that plagues those who fall for the trap of doubt that shall pervade until the end of time. To them, the other side is devoid of any joy and silver lining along the dark clouds of life that being a gamer is all about.
Cynicism is about the past and the future, having learned from mistakes and being cautious of what may come. It’s having the glass half-empty and deciding whether to drink the rest right away or dump it because it may not be clean.
Those who are more cynical see overt positivity without skepticism as bliss in ignorance, which paves the way to disappointment and betrayal. To them, the other side is the foolishness of the blind being exploited by the greed of corporations who see gaming merely as a vehicle to great wealth.
What we saw from the video is an example of the two extremes; GameTrailers crew with pure hype and Giant Bomb crew with poker-faced cynicism. The thing is being on either side and nowhere else isn’t really the “answer” to what it really means to be a gamer (or a video game enthusiast, if you prefer).
My Personal Viewpoint
I’m turning 29 exactly two weeks from this posting, so I’m more with the GB crew in this one. The years of being disappointed by these publishers after leading me astray with their sales talk have turned my heart to coal, like how politicians do with citizens with every election.
Perhaps it’s kind of my fault for letting that happen, but can you really blame me for not being able to resist becoming a bitter old man (in gaming terms) who seemingly snobs at everything that seems good? As far as major releases go, big companies will always fuck up what can be fucked up due to their executives’ primary motive of profit above all else.
What kept me from not liking gaming anymore (I’ve seen some who’ve gone that route) are indie titles, especially roguelikes. I’ve been writing about roguelikes and their similarities to real life on this blog because I’ve found that genre to be the most fun I’ve had in a long while.
Despite my agreement with the GB crew, I still see myself mostly as an optimist. Mind you, the GT crew were quite over the top with their reactions. I don’t know if they had too much Red Bull that morning or they’re just disingenuous and are just playing to the camera. I’m sure that if I were watching their stream, I would’ve had fun watching them act like monkeys (in a positive sense), but I wasn’t. If I were watching the Giant Bomb stream, I’d most likely nod and shake my head with them.
For those who think that I had absolutely no fun with following the event, please take note that I wrote a post on the good stuff in E3 2015. I do look forward to a good number of titles previewed there; it just so happens that I also express skepticism over many others.
The Dual Role of Games Media
This is where we have to get our perception of games media straight. They’re there to both facilitate enthusiasm for the medium and critique the products for the benefit of both consumers and developers. This dual role demands balance; leaning towards only one of them means that you’re failing to do your job in the other as a member of games media. I myself am not really that big of a cog in that machine, but I do believe in what I just said there.
Despite what you may think of the GB crew there, they’re still pretty much gaming enthusiasts; otherwise, they’d be in a different field altogether. I don’t know why anyone would stick around with video games if they weren’t genuinely enthusiastic about gaming in the first place. As for the GT crew, they could at least act like adults while still having fun with it (but then again, it’s part of their appeal anyway).
Gaming is an interest that draws from enthusiasm, so being genuinely and wholeheartedly negative about it without any shred of positivity to lean on can burn you right out. It’s all about finding what part of it gives you the most joy at a particular period of time, and being able to share that joy with others is a force multiplier. The latter is exactly what both the GT and GB crew are doing as part of games media, so they’re fulfilling their roles and catering to their audiences either way.
Yeah, this does look like a cop-out post, but that’s just how it is. Seriously being on either extreme is hurtful, especially since gaming is supposed to be a leisurely activity. There’s nothing wrong with being enthusiastic, but some skepticism is healthy. Being pleasantly surprised is nice.