When it comes to discussing games, I am not a person you would think of when it comes to asking for an opinion. On a tiered list, I would at least be in the mid-rage. With my personal credentials seats me at around the “H” level, which is kind of optimistic on my end. My past experience speaks for itself, and my newfound search for becoming an authority within the games realm is certainly worth its salt. A part of this journey is understanding a very basic lesson learned from none other than Lin Manuel Miranda’s hit musical “Hamilton” where an important line was spoken, “Sit down John, you fat mother-”
Not that one. It was clearly “Talk less, smile more.”
With this idea in my brain, I tend to go forth on social media and see people post all sorts of hot takes, acting as if they have a seat at the table. The posts usually include cherry picked arguments and overall disdain for anything remotely logical. The truth is, they do not have a seat at the table let alone an invite. Yet building a base of fans off of negativity seems to be the way to do things, because somehow united numbers make bad takes legitimate? No matter what position people take, when negativity begins to flow, I tend to want to interject understanding the uphill battle I decide to venture towards.
Then I hear it, “talk less, smile more.”
Just before I hit send, I refrain from delivering whatever it was that I was about to throw out into the universe. I do this far more often than you think. This is for so many reasons, but one above all seems to be the motivating factor, another Hamilton quote: “I want to be in the room where it happens.”
It is very easy to express emotions on the internet. Whether that opinion is based on crunch or the journalist that brings it to light; there is always something to be said about everything. More importantly though, it isn’t about what it is that you are saying, it is how you say it. Which is why I try very hard to be tactical with my words, and if I can elaborate on them I will. I want my words to be based on the education that I have, because simply having an opinion is one part of the battle. The other part involves searching for the truth.
Research is a fickle beast. You hear something and you don’t know if it is valid or not, but some people tend to jump to the conclusion based on self-assessed criteria. For example, Cyberpunk 2077 (CP2077) reviews were met with mixed emotions. Some say that the game was great, while others lamented over their experience. Those that didn’t outright praise the game were bullied until the game got in the hands of those very gamers. Then the tables turned, leaving plenty of reviewers shaking their heads.
Researching if a game is good or bad contains a litany of elements, and it is incredibly hard to pinpoint what is right or wrong. Sometimes good games can be really rough, which is the case with CP2077. People who praised it were right, and so were the people that didn’t like it. Gaming tends to be very one-sided, with not many people speaking against gaming’s darling titles like Legend of Zelda. That was until I saw Jim Sterling give his opinion of Breath of the Wild, which also wasn’t favorable. Alas, he is established, and Jim very well wears his opinions on his sleeve. He is a rare breed that tells you exactly how it is, albeit with costumes and characters (which I love, by the way).
I state the above tangent because I could easily align myself to Jim’s opinions. I could not do my own research into the matters, and blindly follow his every comment like a lapdog. And yes, I love his content, but I don’t always agree with him. Some stances can be borderline extreme, but it makes me think. I tend to pursue the topic, performing my own research into the matter so that I can be more educated on the topic. The more educated I am, the more likely my opinion will be reinforced by facts, this way I am not spouting nonsense into the void.
Doing research also allows me to point to a source. If someone asks me where I found or read about a topic, I have somewhere I should be able to point a finger to. If I hear something about Destiny, I am going to find someone that knows the most about it, whether that be Paul Tassi at Forbes or Destin Legarie from IGN’s Fireteam Chat. These two figures know a lot about the game, so it is easy to take what they say with a sense of authority, authenticity, and accuracy.
It is very easy to dive into the personalities we see online, and take the words of folks who spit these uneducated hot takes. It is easy to fall into the world of clout chasing, saying whatever you want in order to make a name for yourself. I have plenty of emails that could erupt chaos at any moment’s notice. But I hold off because I think about that goal of mine. I think about that room, and if my actions will lead me there.
Some people want to be taken seriously, and those that do these takes without any regard for fact, well they won’t make it far. The industry talks. I know it, I have been told that names get thrown around, and reputation matters. I have been in rooms and groups where people discuss folks that I know personally. If my name is uttered, I want it to be for something great. Not because I started a flame war on Twitter, or made a YouTube video attacking developers. I want to make gaming a better place for reasonable thoughts and people who share the same ideas that I have. I also want to expose this level of disingenuous stances that hold no validity in the modern gaming world, which is incredibly difficult on its own.
For the people that don’t care, quit while you are at it. What you put into the world comes back tenfold, and I am not about to be on the business side of anything remotely bad. Not this year, and not the next.
So, I have professional goals for 2021 that will help me get one step closer to where I want to be.
1 – As a tech writer, I want to improve more. I want to release some fictional work that I have been mulling over, and perhaps that will assist me in becoming stronger, and more confident in my skills and abilities.
2 – I want to reach out to more outlets and produce at least two pieces a month. I want to tackle more personal topics that are more than just giving opinions.
3 – I want to make a weekly live podcast/show. I have already made a Twitch account for this purpose. You can follow it on Twitch.TV/StevesGamingCorner for more information. Shows will start in 2021.
These are just three things I want to work on in order to create a better place for gamers all over, as well as myself. I want to show people that unrelenting negativity is not the way to go, and what proper criticism is, and that it is okay to change your mind when new evidence presents itself. I know it can be difficult, and I must maintain this level of composure, so I will do all I can to inch closer to that table.
My work with Seasoned Gaming and other outlets will not end. I will continue to contribute to that wonderful site. It is filled with some of the most talented writers I know, with opinions that are educated and concise.
As much as I would like to leave with another quote from Hamilton, there isn’t anything directly motivational that would leave me in high-spirits. The story is rather bleak, but it is important to search for those meanings that could help give you the push you need. Draw lines, think outside the box, because no one is going to give you prompts to write. I have to come up with those on my own.
Thank you for reading, and I will see you in 2021.