Jimmy Kimmel Backlash Highlights the Gaming Community’s Anger Problem

A couple of weeks ago, Jimmy Kimmel did a section on his US talk show about the new streaming service YouTube Gaming, in which he parodied the idea of watching someone else play video games. His comments, while not malicious or ill-intended, were somewhat ridiculous and dated, taking cheap shots at both popular gamer Pewdiepie and the service as a whole.

The video certainly struck a nerve, currently sitting at over 135,000 dislikes compared to 9,000 likes. A look at the comments below and it is even clearer of the response. Kimmel later highlighted the worst of these, with death threats being a common theme among them. While it should be recognised that a number of the comments made good points about Kimmel’s flawed logic, a large number were certainly over-reacting. And these weren’t just from a vocal minority. Far from it.

A bad reputation has formed over gamers, a dark cloud of over-sensitivity and ignorance. Unlike the typical unfair stereotype that gamers are all either teens or social recluses (even though the average age of the community is now 31), this new belief has actually been encouraged by a number of gamers who are harming the community in the process. When a gaming website like IGN or GameSpot publishes a review of the latest release, the comments will often be full of disgust at the published opinion, with many unable to comprehend that their opinion may differ from others.

As Roger Ebert once explained, video games are an interactive media, meaning that one person’s experience will always be unique from every other player. This is where games somewhat differ from films, meaning that the reviewer may have had a completely different time with the game. This is something many in the community have simply failed to grasp.

The last few years has been a somewhat rough time for the gaming community. The overwhelming unease that surrounded “GamerGate”, where gaming personalities were smeared for their opinions and concern over sexism in the industry, still remains, with questionable character designs in Metal Gear Solid V and disturbing scenes in Tomb Raider not helping matters. One of the worst incidents came upon the release of Grand Theft Auto V, when GameSpot reviewer Carolyn Petit questioned the portrayal of women in the game, commenting that the game has “little room for women,” and she subsequently got metaphorically ripped to pieces for it. A petition for her to be sacked quickly circulated and thousands of comments made it all too clear that they “disagreed” with her.

Metal Gear Solid V Quiet

This response, like many others, reflects a major problem with both the gaming community and the internet as a whole. We are used to being able to add our opinion to news articles and such but when we come across an opinion that we disagree with, our inability to influence or change it infuriates us. And this is why many gamers need to grow up and just deal with the fact that different people have different opinions. Jimmy Kimmel doesn’t see the point in watching gaming videos? Fine, move on.

But there is still hope for the community. A number of the top comments under Kimmel’s video, which has attracted over 27,000 comments in total, pointed out that watching gameplay videos was comparable to watching sports. To a degree, this is kind of true.

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People like Kimmel may question why you wouldn’t just play the games yourself, but perhaps we aren’t as good at the games. Some of the best YouTube videos are of highly skilled Street Fighter or Counter Strike players, who by watching we can experience the way the game was perhaps meant to be played while lacking the ability to do so ourselves. Same with sports, which we watch to experience the skill of talented players which we could never replicate. These are the kind of valid arguments that should have been made, instead of the many infantile threats and insults. This outspoken section of the industry needs to step back and stop damaging the reputation of the whole community.

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