Diehard video gamers zoned in exclusive world of their own

When I was growing up, my brother was (and still is) heavily into video games.

When I was growing up, my brother was (and still is) heavily into video games. I would casually play the Super Nintendo or Game Cube, or watch him play harder games that I didn’t have the patience for. As I got older, I switched to the Xbox and started playing more difficult and involved games.

And that’s when I started getting exposed to gamer culture.

It’s important to note that not all gamers are part of gamer culture, but as a whole, it really, really sucks.

Casual or beginner gamers are not allowed to exist. It generally takes me a bit of time to get used to the controls of a game and figure out what strategy works best for me. This somehow frustrates gamers to no end.

I was playing a game called “Condemned” at the behest of my brother, who wanted to see me get scared. I bumbled around for about twenty minutes, getting used to the controls and the unfamiliar first person shooter format. I got lost one too many times, and my brother suddenly stood up.

“I can’t watch you do this,” he said. “I can’t watch this anymore.” And he abruptly left.

However, I don’t give him enough credit. Most of the time my brother is helpful without being condescending.

One of our most heartwarming sibling moments came when I was playing a horror game. I reached a (at the time) difficult part, where I had to kill five or six monsters at once. I panicked and practically threw the controller at him. I remember him gently pushing the controller back at me, putting his hand on my shoulder, and saying, “No, Robin. You can do this.” And his words gave me the confidence I needed to defeat the monsters.

If only it was like that all the time. Recently, I was playing “Batman: Arkham City” as my brother’s roommate watched. Every time I took too long to do something or got lost, I could hear him sigh. And sometimes he would take the controller from me to get past a certain part. Even if I asked him to play a certain part for me, he would keep going for the next few minutes. Soon, I was stressed out and self-conscious, knowing that I couldn’t take my time to get through things by myself.

With pretty much any hobby, newcomers are welcomed and encouraged. Not so with gaming. The vocal minority wants to keep video games just for them, and wants developers to cater directly to them. And when they don’t get their way, they attack.

Jennifer Hepler, a writer for Bio-Ware (Mass Effect, Dragon Age) was the target of threatening messages and online vitriol when someone found an interview she did where she mentioned that games should have the option to skip combat in RPGs. Never mind that that would be a godsend for people like me — hardcore gamers don’t want things to change and they attack anybody who suggests that they should. They don’t realize that alienating the growing female and LGBT demographics — not to mention any newcomers to gaming — would seriously threaten the effectiveness of the industry.

It would be awesome if, as a relative newcomer to more modern games, that I could feel confident in going onto one of the multitude of gaming forums and asking questions or telling a story about a funny mistake (such as the time I was supposed to throw a bottle to distract an enemy, and instead just ended up almost hitting him and alerting him to my presence) but unfortunately right now, that’s just not possible.