You're a self-entitled insatiable games loon, and that's just fine

Opinion: As BioWare caves under pressure and Nintendo hits out at demanding gamers, Rob Crossley says the community shouldn't hide its passions...

There exists a hardcore group of bodybuilders who on a weekly basis will strip down to nothing but a thong and lay inside the jaw of a tanning bed for about an hour.

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Reasonable as it is to assume that this Melanoma-inducing ritual represents the furthest extent of their commitment, it actually doesn't. Pro bodybuilders also brutally restrict carbohydrate consumption, which in practice is a bit like pretending you can't eat.

Don't be fooled by their swollen frames and protruding veins the width of power cables; bodybuilders are nerds at heart. They may physically resemble the polar opposite of your Eve Online stereotype, but their dedication, passion and stubbornness is in philosophical harmony with hardcore gamers.

In fact, this is true of any pastime and its most devoted enthusiasts. Film buffs, theatregoers, swimming fanatics, cigar aficionados and car junkies each treat their chosen hobby with the similar levels of absurd worship, and quite naturally they are all vocal about the shortcomings of something they personally invest so much of their time and money into.

Yet often when the mirror is held up against games enthusiasts, when the culture is scrutinised, the 'angry nerd' stereotype invades the debate and clouds the issue.

This week the production lead on Tekken - Katsuhiro Harada - has asked fans to stop "whining and complaining about everything", after apparently being inundated with requests to use original voice actors for new editions in the series. Meanwhile, Nintendo of America executive Reggie Fils-Aime revealed he is "troubled tremendously" by the "insatiable appetite" of devoted Nintendo customers.

These, of course, are modest tales of so-called 'gamer entitlement' when compared to the outrageous controversy regarding the original Mass Effect 3 ending. Dissatisfied customers were not merely complaining, they were protesting. Advertising standards authorities were summoned, class action lawsuits were filed, and people even bankrolled an online campaign demanding BioWare change the game's ending.

Mass Effect 3's ending sparked online protests

No one in these three instances can rightly claim a high ground. It's simply a matter of perspective. Personally I struggle to find it anything but trolling to ask a fighting game director to work harder on his audio files, while Fils-Aime's views on the 'impossible-to-please' core Nintendo fan-base is borne from his company's own failings to even moderately satisfy them. And Mass Effect 3's original ending was a wonderful conclusion to an outstanding game that provided the blue-print for the first true videogame blockbuster. But that's just me.

The bigger underlying question is whether the sheer volume and vehemence of complaints from core gamers is an 'entitlement problem'. It is not.

Gamers are demonstrably excessive with their demands and highly vocal about their complaints, but this is natural of enthusiasts for any hobby.

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