How important is the gaming community to gaming culture?

community panel

With the way the internet can be sometimes you would expect gaming communities to be bunch of Comic Book Guy’s from the Simpsons complaining about everything. While it is true there is no shortage of anger and criticism there are a ton of great communities that not only help the gamer, but the industry as well.

Since the beginning of the internet there have been places where people can go to find information on games from where to locate them, how to install them and even how to play them. From general information communities branched out to bring you mods for games so you can play custom maps or even a completely new type of game within an existing game.

User created communities have exposed us to the history of a game from the development process to behind the scene tidbits. We have seen games in a whole new light with special codes and bugs being found by communities. Through the eyes of fellow gamers we have listened to new versions of video game music and have seen player created videos from our favorite games.

That same criticism that is sometimes looked upon negatively has helped make games better. From FPS to RTS and even MMO’s, many companies look to players and their communities to test and perfect their games. They have taken suggestions from communities and even entire games have been created based on community feedback.

Beyond business there is the social aspect of gaming communities. They can be a place where even those who feel they have nobody that understands them can find comradely with someone else. Friendships can be built with people of all types from around the world brought together by the love of gaming and someone dedicated enough to create a place where they could meet.

There is no doubt that communities have helped gamers and gaming culture in extraordinary ways and we at Obsolete Gamer are happy to do our part which is why we will continue profiling communities in the future.

If you have a community or know of one you would like to see profile please click on the envelop tab on the side bar to e-mail us about it.

Let’s turn to our panel to see what their thoughts are on gaming communities.

Juan Gril from JoJu Games wrote: It’s very important. The fans and their passion are what have always driven us to make better games.

Jason Shankel from Stupid Fun Club wrote: There’s no mystery as to why user created content is becoming more and more important for the long-term shelf life of games. This is because, moreso than in other media, the audience is part of the artistic creation.  Successful games have to resonate not only with the audience’s tastes, but with their own interest and willingness to participate in the experience.

Players are co-creators of the gaming experience, if not the game itself, and the gaming community gives players as a group the voice they need to make that contribution.

Aaron Hunter from Playtechtonics Inc wrote: The community aspect of gaming is new for developers and a bit of a surprise. It is not our specialty, but the vibe of the community is probably as important as anything else to how much fun it is to participate in an MMO.

Mathew Anderson from Petroglyphgames wrote: For most games I’d dare to say that without a community, there essentially is no game, even single-player offline games. In today’s world of social networking, a game’s pulse is dependent on who talks about it, and a community around the game is this core discussion base. And since by definition “culture” is dependent on a community base of some sort, it’s as important as it can be.

Community Profile: Meet A Gamer

Meet A Gamer logo
Meet A Gamer logo

Meet A Gamer

It has long been a criticism that gaming can and does lead to anti-social behavior. The vision of children and adults alike playing away for hours on end in a cold damp basement has caused many parents to cringe at the thought of letting their kids get into gaming. While it is certainly true that becoming too addictive to games can pull one away from other important aspects of their lives including social interactions, it has also been proven that many gamers have found their own community within the gaming world.

Just as there are those who flock to sports bars to find companionship with sports fans, the same is done with gamers. It started with groups of friends getting together to play games and expanded with the internet to forums, chat rooms and user groups. Today with the explosion of social groups and communication tools such as Ventrilo, Instant Messaging and Facebook, gamers can connect with other gamers in a way just a decade ago was not possible.

In our weeklong look at gaming communities we first wanted to discuss the growing social interaction between gamers. When one begins playing games they will quickly find friends they can play and communicate with through online lobbies and programs such as Xbox Live and Playstation Network. In addition with online groups and social media such as Facebook, gamers can find their niche be it FPS games, MMO’s or even classic gaming.

What about a social site that is just for gamers? Perhaps the next big thing in social media is not a general place where everyone can meet, but more specific places where people who share the same hobbies or likes can congregate. The question is can something like this work? As a former owner and administrator of many message boards I can testify to the difficulty of getting users to come to your forum with so many others out there.

However, the culture of gaming is different. A place where you know everyone is a gamer just like you might be a haven. Connecting with new gamers from around the world and being able to share everything from videos, to music to pictures could be very appealing.

Enter Meet A Gamer a social networking site where gamers can create a profile and interact with each other. You can discuss games, chat, and even meet up in your favorite game. Obsolete Gamer had a chance to talk with one of the owners of Meet A Gamer and we had some questions on what it was like to start your very own social gaming network.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet A Gamer advert
Meet A Gamer advert

Obsolete Gamer: How did you come up with the idea for Meet A Gamer?

Nick: Well I was gaming with some local high school buddies of mine and after a while I felt like it was getting too boring and need new people to start playing with.  I slept on it and figured out there was no “social network” for gamers.  So making Meet a Gamer was the perfect concept to find new gamers to play with.

Obsolete Gamer: Can you give us an overview on why you created Meet A Gamer?

Nick: To expand people with new gaming friend.  Creating a way to be able to find the better group to play video games with and of course socially.

Obsolete Gamer:  How difficult was it to create and get the word out to gamers to join?

Nick: It has been very difficult of course, since people use Facebook/Myspace/Twitter etc.  They feel that they don’t need another social network to deal with.  But then when people give it a try they notice it is a great addition with the other social networks because now they can have facebook/myspace for personal use and have a MeetaGamer account for gaming!

Obsolete Gamer:  What did you want your site to bring to gamers?

Nick: I wanted the site to allow gamers to overcome the trash talking and become more social.  Giving gamers the chance to actually meet new gamers without being beaten in a game or harassed.

Obsolete Gamer: How important is social networking to gamers?

Nick: With the way social networking took a spin in the past 6 years it’s really allowing the gaming community unite and kind of give the chance to build a gaming experience they have never experienced before.

Meet A Gamer logo
Meet A Gamer logo

Obsolete Gamer: How has the overall response been to your site by gamers and non-gamers alike?

Nick: The problem I noticed the older generation that played Atari feel that if you only play Halo and Call of Duty series, you are not considered a true gamer.  We all know that is the most played multiplayer on the xbox 360 platform.  Definition of a true gamer is if you play video games, not what type of video games you play.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obsolete Gamer:  What is your gaming background?

Nick: What is gaming?  Just kidding, I’ve been gaming since I was a really little kid started off playing Mario Bros series on the original Nintendo, when you had to blow into the cartridge of the game to get it to play.  And I was really addicted to Excitebike that game had me going for hours.  I finally moved on to Super Nintendo, Sega, and now the next generation consoles.  I am really into the Call of Duty series now.  I’ve tried out the Wii and Playstation 3 but it really isn’t for me.  Those two consoles are collecting tons of dust right now!

Obsolete Gamer:  What is your favorite classic games and why?

Nick: Excitebike has to be my favorite classic game because when I was little I would tell my parents I was sick so I couldn’t go to school.  And I would play that game for hours on end.  I am not sure why that game made me so addicted but it was a blast!

Obsolete Gamer:  What are you playing now?

Nick: Right now I have just been playing NHL 11.  I got bored of Modern Warfare 2 and Madden 11 too quickly.  I am really excited to see what Black Ops has in store for us gamers!

Obsolete Gamer:  In your opinion how important is the online community to gaming and gaming culture?

Nick: If the online community can adapt to the gaming culture it will allow an expansion of networking.  Giving the chance for developers to listen to the people.  If we can all somehow stomp our feet and grab the attention of gaming companies now just imagine what could happen in 5 years!

I would like to thank Obsolete Gamer for contacting us, it was a great pleasure!

Want to join this up and coming social site and connect with gamers? Then check out Meet A Gamer.

My Own Misconceptions of the Word Mature (Warning: This gets mature, guys.)

Super Mario Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Picture is Irrelevant!

Hello all! We are a new guild/community called Satan’s Bastards! We are now recruiting and/or are always looking for more members to join our mature community. Come join us if you are like-minded and looking for a fun gaming experience!

And there is the bait…

It seems online that many gaming communities seem to not understand what the word mature implies. There is also the possibility that I do not quite grasp the definition of this term but before you dismiss me, please bestow me a chance to rant about the latest and past online injustices I have witnessed in regards to the word “mature”.

As of late, I have been playing on a Team Fortress 2 server that is hosted by a community, which advertised themselves as mature. Upon viewing the group’s name I came to the assumption that they were the kind of mature that fit my definition of the term.

When Mr. Umar Khan thinks of the word “mature”, he thinks that there is a group of individuals who are adults and are willing to get involved in adult conversation and don’t scream over the use of foul language. The kind of adult conversation would be one in which you could say a joke you heard on a Comedy Central stand up routine and the use of foul language is used not to insult someone by calling them a “thunder cunt” but rather a shout out to the current situation at hand.

Here is an example of improper use of foul language online:

“You fat slimy cum dumpster piece of shit! Why don’t you choke on cocks?!”

A proper example for the use of foul language online would be:

“Aww, that’s a bag of dicks! I didn’t see you around the corner!”

See how the improper example is a direct insult while the proper example is more of an exclamation of surprise and self-loathing for not being careful? This would be my definition of a mature community. One who doesn’t mind the use of TV-M rated material found on HBO and FX. Unfortunately, time and time again I am proven erroneous in this view.

Giving the server a chance, I decided to join and play some 2Fort with them. After a few minutes I noticed there was one player probably no older than fifteen years old screaming about how no one was helping him on his team. He continued to rant how if he weren’t playing no one would get the job done. The player came to the belief that everyone was not helping him on purpose. As expected online, the admins and tagged members of this community jokingly said that they all banded together just to make his life difficult in this map. Noting that they had a joking demeanor, I decided when I saw an opening I was going to poke fun. The kid began to scream on the mic that a chunk of the wall was missing. I noted that one of the members of the community replied in the following fashion, “Stop being such a bitch!” Finding that opening I had longed for, I retorted to this angry teen that his mother was missing a chunk. It was a simple and mostly harmless joke. That’s what I thought at least. A few brief moments later I was warned to be respectful of other players’ moms. Being the snappy online bastard I am I asked if it was acceptable to state that my own mother was missing a chunk? I was told I would be kicked if I didn’t calm down.

The belligerent child was quiet for a good hour until his scout tried to jump onto our battlements and one of my stray rockets blew him out of the sky in one hit. He replied “Lucky ass crit rocket.” To his defense, he was truly correct in his statement. I didn’t mean to hit him but I certainly did by accident. The admin informed him not to use foul language. It was at this point I began to think about the word “maturity” and how these people seemed to have mislabeled it. The community was named after a very famous villain in the Bible who plagues mankind with bad stuff and they were his “gamers”. To fast forward the story a bit, the kid replied “Ok fuehrer. “ and they banned him for being a racist. Now, a group that advertises itself as mature and goes by the name of something evil isn’t really hitting their mark if by “mature” they actually meant family friendly. I quickly left the server because I knew with my kind of Internet white knight behavior I would’ve been banned at any moment.

I’ve been gaming online for quite some time now and I do have to say that in my journeys across cyber space that I have run into this situation before. When I played Everquest, I had joined multiple mature guilds and ended up getting guild kicked out of most of them because I didn’t know mature meant not to say “ Wow, that is pretty gay!” In World of Warcraft, I found one guild that fit under my definition of mature but I got banned from that one because one of the officers called me a racial slur directed towards a person of Middle Eastern descent and the guild leader didn’t believe me despite screenshots. The only guild I think fit the perfect example of maturity was the guild I found in Warhammer Online. They are the now defunct guild called “Da Lost Boyz”. We could talk as much garbage as possible and still be on good terms with everyone in the guild. We were like some sort of hive mind that all thought alike.

I’m not really sure I am grasping what mature means when someone describes it online but if you’re going to rant at me about being mature while you’re playing a seven foot drooling troll warrior, I think someone needs to step back and re-evaluate their own current situation. If mature means family friendly, then please say so. If mature means you’re willing to handle adult content then I believe you are currently on the right track to advertising your guild/community properly.

What are your thoughts on the definition of mature and how it relates to a guild/community? Have stories of your own where your misconception of the word got you or someone else in trouble? Please share! We want to know all about it!