It's easy to take personal offense when you disagree with a game review. It's easy to believe dissenting opinions mask ulterior motives.
"How could that guy love Dragon Age 2?" you might think to yourself. "That game sucked! EA must have paid him off."
Or maybe you're angry about a video game's ending. Or a designer's disparaging comments about Japanese games. Whatever the subject, it can be easy (and gratifying) to get together with likeminded gamers and form a digital mob to take down your newfound opponent (who you will go on to forget about after a week or two, when the next controversy comes along).
Posting on his blog Insult Swordfighting today, writer Mitch Krpata has penned a reasonable essay asking mobs to tone it down a notch. Here's an excerpt:
The way so many people default to this line of attack tells me that they don't have anything substantive to say. They just want to gang up on someone. They want to elevate a simple disagreement into a clash of good versus evil — with themselves radiating pure white light, of course, no matter what garbage they sling, because they are armed with the correct opinion about a video game.
Really, though, it's not this particular case that bothers me as much as the pattern. Whether it's a negative review of The Witcher 2, or the ending of Mass Effect 3, or somebody saying he felt weird at PAX, the story is the same every time. The mob moves, locust-like, from one controversy to the next, with no sense of perspective or decency. They'll pick Bobby Hunter's bones clean today, forget the whole thing within a month, and then swarm the next one who strays from the pack. Guaranteed.
Read the whole piece—it's a great reminder that passionate disagreement is almost always a good thing.
An impassioned plea for apathy [Insult Swordfighting]