The Gamers Dark Age... Is it here?

Having gone through the "Satanic panic" of the 80's, and the "vidya games are murder simulators" of the 90's... It seemed as if a new dawn arose at the turn of the century. Suddenly Wizards of the Coast had stores all across the Puget Sound opening up and gaming overall stopped being just for geeky nerds in mommies basement. Before I knew it Lord of the Rings, a long time fan favorite of neckbeards and pudgy pale outcasts came into view and didn't just do well, but shattered expectations and dominated the box office. Up to this point a vast majority of gamers of the tabletop variety quietly waited just out of view daring not to break out Magic cards or a rulebook lest swift mockery came calling. So too video gamers were just lazy kids who should get off the couch and do something with their lives and stop wasting away the day doing nothing.

Then without warning geek became sheek. And it has only picked up steam these last 15 years, I dare say, with reckless abandon. Now gamers can play full time while streaming for donations on Twitch. Dungeons and Dragons has a rabid following on YouTube. And most surprisingly it has been shown that gaming is good therapy for everyone from our senior citizens to those with anxiety and anti-social behavior.

But this unrelenting welcome of a fairly new pastime among the world of hobbies and entertainment seems to have an equally noxious dark side. And no, I am not referring to the scape goats that the media and politicians have woefully embraced time and time again. But the parasites in plain view that we, as gamers, condemn while gracing with support.

As the saying goes, power corrupts. And the corruption is seemingly everywhere these days. Video game companies are most notably the most obvious offenders. EA games with their predatory loot boxes, Bethesda going full Scrooge on their customer base... The list goes on and on... Really, anyone who watched E3 the last few years and paid attention to all the legal battles cropping up left and right can see that we are very much looking at the downswing of the bell curve for video gamings golden era. Only a few notable holdouts remain...

Then there's the politicizing of games. Both digital and in print. From Wolfenstein to Magic the Gathering, to EA allowing Manveir Heir to casually tweet blatantly racist comments without any retribution... Even movies have felt the touch of political agendas, case in point and most obvious is Captain Marvel.

These days with gaming being more successful and prevalent than ever, it seems at every turn every studio wants to gouge your wallet for every last penny in shady microtransaction practices, tell you what to think, and if you disagree... you're either a sexist or nazi, or both.

A collapse is inevitable, the question, is when. Gamers have noticed the buy and agree or be shamed into submission practices of video game developers, likewise there is a growing resentment of being shoved aside and made unwelcome at the tabletop by studios such as white wolf (Vampire the masquerade) and Wizards of the Coast by shaming the demographics who gave them enough money to become powerhouses in the first place. Indeed the venomous contempt major studios have for their customers is palatable.

Perhaps we should welcome the collapse, as many of these entertainment providers have forgot what humility feels like. They have forgotten that when bills need paid and you have a product someone wants, you sell it to them without shaming the customers who built up your storefront in the first place. Perhaps I'm old, or perhaps spending 5 years as the guy behind the counter slinging books, dice, and cards, I learned the wrong lessons in treating every. single. person. who came through the door as important, not gouging them for every buck I could, and not imposing my world view on them.

Just my 2 cents. ~Game Goblin

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