Every so often someone will write an article that really bugs me and no matter what I do, I just can’t let it go. Today I came across one of those articles over on ‘Emerald Tablet’ – called ‘My pickup group – Vanguard‘. Imaginary or not (and whether the whole thing is a joke or not), the fact that another gamer has posted nothing but a list of stereotypical negatives about gamers irks me. It does nothing to help or promote anything positive what so ever. So I thought I’d write a rebuttal of sorts.
What you see: Terry – a twenty-eight year old guy, living in his grandma’s basement, out-of-work and lives and breathes the game. He is so highly organized and knowledgeable you ask yourself why he is living in the basement, without a girlfriend, and no job?
What you don’t see: Terry takes care of his ailing grandmother, his parents died in a car crash. He has no other family besides her and he uses the game to try to reach out to people in the only method that he knows how. He contemplates suicide more often than any one person should admit, and this game is his refuge.
What you see: Jeff Jefferson. This kid is twelve-years old, and his mom has found that the recent MMO is a cheap and proficient babysitter. While mom is off getting some at the bar, the group is getting their fill of Jeff who constantly begs for money, equipment, and cheats.
What you don’t see: Jeff’s Mom blames him for her recent divorce. She’s constantly tired, works her ass off, and has no time for him what so ever. She can’t afford to buy him the things he wants but she’s trying to do her best. He’s 12 and at an awkward stage when he’s not quite a kid and not ready to grow up. He misses his dad. He doesn’t understand half of the things that happen to him yet so he just pretends he does.
What you see: Wanda, a forty-five year old, divorced over weight mom of six who has no apparent income and often complains her kids have no shoes, socks, or pants, yet she is playing twenty-four — seven on the game with a rig that would make Jeff Gordon blush.
What you don’t see: Wanda was beat by her previous husband until she was hospitalized. She finally managed to get the support she needed to move on with her life but it’s not as easy as some people think it is. She has no life skills because she married at such a young age, and she is so out of touch with life around her that she clings to whatever gives her some sense of purpose and pride. She cries herself to sleep every night.
What you see: Mike, the thirty six year old bachelor, who is tanked by 5pm on three cases of beer.
What you don’t see: Mike was sexually abused by his father, and uses beer as a way to forget everything that has ever happened to him. He acts obnoxious as a way to stay in control and keep people at a distance. His last girlfriend cheated on him with his best friend, right after he was going to propose to her.
Those people we’re grouping with are human beings, with thoughts and feelings. They’re not just pixels on a screen. They’re not perfect, and they’ll make mistakes. Just like everyone else in this world.