With what feels like an eternity already 2020 has been one of the hardest years I can personally remember. Seriously, doesn’t it feel as if this year has been trying to cancel itself day after day? In this gamers humble opinion the time for gamers to unite and stand in the forefront has never been greater. With online access to streaming, podcasts you name it gamers can reach out. Sadly this has not been the case. The fighting and bickering over consoles only grew to bigger heights with the reveal of the new PlayStation and Xbox. We’ve struggled for many years to put gaming in the “acceptable” circle for so long and now we appear destined to tear it down. There are those that have their opinions on video games and for the most part I disagree with them but is it really that far from the truth? I don’t know for sure these days. I want to believe we strive for a better community but sometimes I feel as if all we want is the glory for one and not for all.

Gaming for me growing up was a Friday night filled with hopes that a certain game would be sitting on the shelf when you arrived at the video store. That moment could put such a damper on your weekend or could mean fun times ahead. The thing is we did this together. We played sitting in our dining room floor as we took turns or played against each other. It could have been my brother, sister, dad, mom, cousin, friend hell it didn’t matter who it was as long as we played. We gave it our all and played for as long as we could that Friday night and if we were lucky our parents rented the game for two nights!

The day came when a friend brought his PlayStation to my house and that is when gaming changed for me forever. I was mind blown and the next thing I could remember was seeing the growth of gaming skyrocket. It was a beautiful thing and all of my friends were enjoying the ride. More consoles came and went. The Xbox hit the scene, Halo and Fable! It was glorious. Not only did we have the PlayStation but we had the Xbox to keep this beast moving forward. Online gaming was something I didn’t know much about but I had watched my friend (the same guy that introduced me to PlayStation) play online with his computer. Things really started to get interesting as I began to play Madden like well…a mad man. I was living with my brother at the time and people would come to our house to play me in Madden. I was good, I was damn good. After each match we would shake hands, “Good game” we’d say. It was so much fun even when someone would finally defeat me in match. We were gaming fanatics at the time playing Tiger woods golf, Madden, NHL Hitz, hell that was when my brother and I got into Baldurs Gate. Then online gaming dropped into our laps and a whole new world opened up. Playing Madden online, holy smokes the first time I played a war game online. It blew our freaking minds. Everyone was so cool and I made a ton of new friends. I didn’t really speak to them at the time because I didn’t have a headset but hey we knew.

By the time I started playing with a headset I was a grown ass adult playing with people from all over. Everyone knew I was from Texas because of my slight southern drawl. I don’t hear it but I am from Texas. While I did experience some of the immature responses by people for the most part everyone was just happy to be playing. It didn’t matter where you came from and you certainly didn’t hear the term “gamer girl” because honestly nobody gave a shit. We played the game. No matter your race, religion, political views you were welcome. Why? Because we were gamers! This isn’t the boys club or gentlemen’s club or whatever. Gamers had each other’s back. Girl or boy it didn’t matter. We were united with one goal, playing games. If somebody bad mouthed gaming we shrugged because we knew that they didn’t get us and that was okay.

I can remember when gaming was trying to become more mainstream with the release of The Wizard starring Fred Savage and Luke Edwards. The film wasn’t a smashing hit but it found its place within the gaming community. The power glove, it makes you feel so bad. Anyways, the film gained cult status later on because it rocks and seeing gamers compete against each other was so cool. It didn’t exclude girls in the film either. Hell there was a girl playing in the final showdown. It showed that even adults can enjoy gaming as one of the best scenes was Beau Bridges playing all night much to the delight of Christian Slater.

Look I get it, nobody really cares what some mediocre indie game reviewer thinks but I care about you, the gamer. I am passionate about video games and I’ll defend them just like you. We are all alike yet different at the same time. Some enjoy RPGs while others desire more of the FPS. There are those that only play sports games or just want to kick back and relax with a simulator. Then you have those that want to experience them all from survival to open world adventure games. You have AAA titles to fill your needs each year. Indie games have seen a major boost in popularity, yay. We all have what we like and what we dislike. We even have those that prefer one console over another and this should be acceptable as well. The problem is that it isn’t and I don’t understand it at this point.

Being a gamer was a club and you were a part of it even if you didn’t know it. Being a gamer meant something and it didn’t matter your social status. Being a gamer was freaking awesome. Now people want to tear it down and bring you along for the ride. Something that we have all worked so hard to help build up. Yes YOU the gamer helped build this empire. Without you there are no games. Without us there is no competing for the better console. You shouldn’t just want for your game to succeed, you should want all gaming to succeed. If PlayStation and Nintendo were to fail why would there be a need to innovate? If the Xbox stopped selling then what would be Sony’s motivation to keep pushing the boundaries of what a console can do?

The gamer has the power. You have the power but we can’t keep this train rolling alone if we continue to tear each other down. Now is the time to show the rest of the world what it means to be a gamer. All that love that you have for your favorite game is because of some other gamer. Someone else from some other background made it possible. I understand that nothing will ever be perfect. I understand that what I want from the community could be impossible to obtain. Perhaps we are lost. Maybe we are already divided too much to come back from it. I don’t want to believe that though. What I want to believe is that gamers can find common ground. I want to believe that we can be better than the stereotype they have labeled us with. We are not violent, hateful, dangerous, evil or ticking time bombs. The gaming community can be filled with love, aspirations, generosity, compassion, friendship and so much more. The time is now for gamers to put aside their differences and unite. Unite as one as we once were. As Kratos says, “Be better.”

I love you all and if you are reading this I hope that it finds you doing well in life. I hope you are healthy, happy and enjoying video games. Peace out.