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The Double Standards in Gaming: We Are Hurting AAA Games

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You have got to love the double standards in gaming. They’re indemic from people who create the games, to the critics, to the players. I will admit that I am guilty of being quite hypocritical and sometimes hat games just because of the creator (the opposite of company loyalty). This is especially true in regards to Activision titles. However, I am making strides to avoid bias and hypocrisy. For example, I recently revised my method for reviewing games. Beyond just how the critics act, gamers themselves aren’t immune from exacting double standards on games. After all, the viewpoints of critics like me are often dismissed when met with fanboy/fangirl opposition.

It is important to see a game for what it is: the good and the bad. Far too often I see people exaggerate their praise for a game simply because a fan favorite company developed it and has a history of inconsistent masterpiece creation. This really started to shine with Dragon Age: Inquisition, but I have been seeing it for a while with the Assassin’s Creed franchise, Gearbox Software, Call of Duty, Nintendo games, and the eighth generation of gaming consoles. Let me reiterate that I am not acting like I am above this sort of thing. I am just as guilty of executing these double standards.

The double standard I saw between gamer reactions between Dragon Age: Inquisition and Assassin’s Creed: Unity damn near blew my mind. When a game is in development for five years you expect it to work on release. That’s certainly what I expected from DA: I. All versions of the game had their problems, including audio cutting out or just plain not working, visual/animation bugs, glitched quests, glitching through floors, and my personal favorite: full on game crashes. This is a game that got GOTY. That’s like MotorTrend giving Car of the Year to a vehicle that had its breaks recalled two weeks after it was released. Yet we have people that “overlook these flaws and see the great game that it is.”

On the other hand, gamers are up in arms and angry at Ubisoft for releasing the buggiest game this year: Assassin’s Creed: Unity. Yes, these problems were much more substantial, but that doesn’t excuse DA: I’s ridiculous bugs within the month of its release. Their patch also caused more problems, especially for PC players, many of whom saw their characters drastically age from the patch. If you can overlook the glitches in Dragon Age: Inquisition, then you can overlook the glitches in Assassin’s Creed: Unity. They are both AAA titles and part of a highly regarded franchise. “Oh but the game has been patched now.” Yeah, but it should have worked in the first place. You can’t hate AC: U for its flaws but overlook another game with incredibly similar issues. That, my friends, is what I was talking about in my Company Loyalty editorial.

The next problem is praising one game for keeping the formula but condemning another for the same reason. I am talking about Nintendo’s systematic releases of Super Mario games and how all of them are regarded as masterpieces when the same people condemn the Call of Duty series for not changing their formula. Let’s take a look at Advanced Warfare. The game received mixed reviews from fans, but the negativity surrounding the game eventually devolved into saying it is still the same old Call of Duty. Nintendo gets a pass with New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U despite the fact that they are the same game with slightly different mechanics, just like a new Call of Duty game. Yet another double standard in gaming.

My final problem comes with the eighth generation of consoles in relation to the seventh generation. The Xbox 360 was praised and regarded as the winner of the console wars because of the groundbreaking mainstream inclusion of Xbox Live. The PS3 was given a grave, why? “The console has no games”. Which is true, it took the PS3 nearly two years to start producing quality first party games. Then it became a relevant console. However, people these days are praising the PS4 for being the best of the Sony v. Microsoft debate, which doesn’t make much sense because the PS4 doesn’t have that much software on it to make it a console worth having. It is riddled with Steam indie game releases and PS3 ports. So you dogged on the PS3 for not having any great software, but because the average consumer bought into that bullcrap slander campaign against the Xbox One, it is suddenly the savior gaming needs. I regret buying an Xbox One and most of the people I know who bought a PS4 hardly play the thing. You can’t hate the last generation for having no software but praise the “successor” by ignoring its biggest flaw.

These double standards are hurting AAA gaming. They send mixed messages to publishers and developers. If you are willing to overlook glitches in a game on launch that is going to tell game creators that they can release a broken product with a promise of fixing it later. Worst of all, it tells creators that they can release a “new” game that is 80% similar to a predecessor and call it a day. You can’t blame Activision for releasing a new Call of Duty rehash every year. Nintendo releases rehashes all the time. You can’t blame Ubisoft and demand an apology for a glitchy game when you eventually show that gamers are going to like and play a broken game anyway. It hurts gaming, and we have no one to blame but ourselves.

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About Zach Martinez

Freelancer here at Armed Gamer, North American Video Game Correspondent for Following the Nerd, and a regular on Examiner.com, Zach has made somewhat of a name for himself at the age of 23. He has been writing professionally for just over 5 years now. He doesn't care about resolution or frames per second, he cares about what matters most, the games. You can reach reach him directly at zach.martinez09395@yahoo.com.

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