So, PC Gamer recently released an article talking about how some people have created mods in order to remove the combat element from certain games-particularly, in this instance, Alien: Isolation.
Personally, I think this is a pretty neat idea. It gives players the opportunity to really look at the games environment or experience the game’s story without having to worry about enemies.
And then I read the comments on the post, and some comments on Twitter. Let’s just say that a certain segment of the “gamer” population is…less than enthused about the idea.
(As an aside, can we retire the label of “gamer”? I find the level to which some of these people build their identity around this one particular hobby disturbing.)
One argument in particular that I keep seeing is that modding the game in this way “goes against what the developers intended.” Well, I’m pretty sure that Bethesda didn’t intend for people to replace all the dragons in Skyrim with Thomas the Tank Engine, but I have yet to hear people bitching about that particular mod. Admittedly because it’s hilarious, but the point still stands.
Then there’s the fact that it eliminates the “challenge,” to which I respond: So what? Who says that every game needs to be challenging in the first place? Sometimes, when I play a game, it’s because I want to experience it’s story, not because I want a challenge.
These arguments also kind of ignore the fact that a number of games have options to reduce or eliminate combat already built in. Fractional Games added a monster-free mode to Soma because fans were already modding it in, so clearly there was an audience for it. A number of Final Fantasy games have abilities or equipment designed to decrease the number of random encounters, or to keep them from happening altogether. Hell, another Square Enix RPG, Bravely Default, has these options in its settings menu.
Not to mention that all of the above are single-player games, so people choosing to use these mods have absolutely no impact on those who choose not to.
So why are so many people mad about this? Well, I think it simply has to do with the types of gatekeeping frequently associated with geek and nerd communities. There’s a definite attitude a lot of people in these spaces have, where if you don’t enjoy something the way that they do, you’re doing it wrong. It’s the geek equivalent of “I liked this band before they got popular.”
And, frankly, the attitude is unadulterated bullshit. Games, I think, should be more accessible to more people, rather than the opposite.
Can we just knock it off with the elitism over video games, of all things? Please?