People that are into video games are really effing serious about it. A significant subset of the video gaming audience prefers to immerse itself in video games to the exclusion of all other media/hobbies/interests, they spend a lot of time in online environments such as forums and fan sites and media newsfeeds waiting for eye-catching headlines that may or may not be true to pop up so that they can argue about it in the ‘comments.’
Because they spend so much time in these environments, over time they begin to become confused, feeling as if ‘people whose names they see online from the world of video games’ are actual people that they know and whom they should discuss on a personal level, possibly write emails to. Video games might be one of the only entertainment media where the people who write about the medium receive more attention than the people who develop products within the medium.
Most people who like video games feel like ‘becoming a video game journalist’ is pretty much the best/most ideal career path. Seems like they think they will just get to play video games all day, shake hands with some guy they saw on G4, get free games and stuff. This might help explain the fixation hardcore fans have on people whose job it is to write about video games.
As a result of this fixation I receive a large volume of emails/comment forums/formspring questions/tweets etc. from people who have either become ‘fans’ of my work, are consulting me re ‘how do I become a game journalist,’ or who harbor a murderous rage toward me such that they wish I would commit suicide/stop working forever because I am stupid/ugly/a bitch/wrong about [popular core audience-targeted game]. It is constantly fascinating and alternately validating and ‘depressing as fuck’ to receive such a high volume of communication.
I have received a mail suggesting I should marry the sender when we are sixty and something to do with that they would/wouldn’t wear bow ties, can’t find the mail. I regularly receive drunk mails from a friendly Scottish guy with an aggressive brand of humor. I have received a mail about how I destroyed someone’s life somehow, by writing a bad review of something maybe.
On two different occasions I received text messages from Twitter followers [maybe a single Twitter follower] reading simply ‘=O)’ and then ‘;o),’ seems like this person had ‘culled’ my cell number from some professional correspondence of mine, thought it would be totally chill just to send me a ‘kawaii’ fucking hello emoticon face or something on my personal fucking cell phone, seems the ‘winky smile’ just made me fly into a rage. I did not respond the second time.
I have multiple portraits of me drawn by people who have been longtime readers of my blog. They were pretty good actually, felt touched that someone like devoted that much time to rendering a likeness of me, but felt kind of concerned about the artists, wondered if they had a lot of ‘irl friends’ or whether they should like diversify their lives. Asked one of them gently something to that effect, he said he was mad happy with his life and that online friends were ‘real’ friends to him, and that he didn’t see the need to like ‘get out more’ or do other things since the things he was doing were so fulfilling to him.
Found that someone had gone and made ‘Zazzle Merch’ of this portrait of my face [drawn by a different person]/ Don’t think anybody bought the ‘Zazzle Merch.’
One time I got a package in the mail, it was a US Postal Service box, feel like it was probably just ‘press materials’ being sent to me by a video game company. On the box someone wrote:
I’m glad I moved to a new neighborhood.
Still I respect even my weirdest fans and don’t want to like ‘call them out’ or quote them directly here in fear of making them feel as if they are ‘being roundly mocked’ by me or something. Except for the other day when I got POSSIBLY the weirdest email I have ever received in my career as a game journalist.
It is too long/insane to reproduce in entirety, but the subject line is “Gaming — reply to my son who loved your article and runs the reactors on an aircraft carrier.” From what I can gather, a person read and ‘loved’ one of my articles and sent a link to his father, his father wrote his son a scathing reply and copied me.
Seems the dad is really vehemently opposed to video games, thinks they might be like ‘drugs’ or ‘mind control.’ His letter begins:
Interesting, but the author is totally ignorant of human consciousness and the abilities scientists now have for mind influence/control. She is so far down the rabbit hole she can’t see the sun any more. Once she gets pregnant and has a chance to do real life instead of the addictive virtual bullshit, she won’t be writing articles like this any more. Or if she play violent games, she needs a trip to an emergency room in a rough part of any large city. That is one regret I have with you and Sam, is that I did not give you that experience of seeing the results of physical violence first hand.
Damn. Wonder how the son feels being like ‘dad I liked this video game article,’ and the dad being like ‘hi son, wish I had let you see someone get killed.’
The dad apparently does not like the constraint element of a simulated environment, says that if a game does not allow you to ‘go to France’ or ‘build a log cabin’ then it is like intellectually subjugating you/’ good training for people in jobs like the military who have to stay inside a really tight box.’
Life is not like that. We came here on this plane to become unlimited beings. Tricking people into spending thousands of hours agreeing to someone else’s limitations is acceptable only to humans who have succumbed to their programming.
Feel like this dad needs to chill.
The CIA stopped mind control research in 1980, simply because they developed the capability to do anything with the human mind that they wanted. They then went into the implementation phase, and have never stopped. Mind control is not limited to intelligence agencies.
Then he drags the illuminati into it:
To be blunt, games were developed by the illuminati to keep the masses stupid. They billions in profits are just the payoff to their lackeys for developing this for them.
Damn/whoa. There is a lot more stuff about how pets get sick from toxic food, how the dad wishes his son had used his gaming time to study metallurgy, about how many receptors there are in the brain, and then he concludes: “Still think there are no social costs to gaming? Wait until the players of Grand Theft Auto have a need to put their gaming skills into use on the streets to survive.”
I thought gamers who wrote me emails were pretty crazy sometimes, but it seems like the craziest letter comes from a guy who hates games. Tried ‘Googling’ him… found out he ‘likes’ a Facebook page called ‘Dear Lord, please give me the strength to not slap an idiot today……Amen’ and that he posted an unanswered query on a Mac OSX forum about his files disappearing.