To be brutally honest, the older I get, the less I feel like I fit in with other Internet gamers.
Generally speaking, the modern gamer, and the games that enable them, is either:
- Too antagonistic (you’re all ruining games!)
- Too egocentric (building my brand and community!)
- Too idealistic (fighting for the important cause!)
- Too nostalgic (living in the 1990s forever!)
- Too analgesic (self-medicating against the real world!)
- Too fanatical (have you accepted our lord and savior game into your heart!)
I’m none of those things–or perhaps more accurately, I’m only a small slice of all of them–so I don’t feel at home in most gaming communities anymore.
I don’t know of any laid back, open-minded, pragmatic, middle-of-the-road gaming communities of average people from diverse backgrounds that just appreciates the artistic merit of a good game. The Gamers With Jobs podcast used to fill that role perfectly but I haven’t had time to listen to podcasts for many years.
The whole idea of “community” seems to have warped over the years. Since marketing execs saw the monetary potential of the fanatical fanbase, the word, in my mind, has become synonomous for “cult,” a place where you build walls around the faithful and ostracize anyone who deviates from approved doctrine, where “community managers” serve as a kind of roaming para-military police force. An Internet version of the homeowners’ association.
There’s no discernable benefit to engaging on social media in any kind of social way anymore. Most everyone who I might find consistently interesting has been intentionally or unintentionally drowned out or driven away by all the rampant Internet chaos of the last five or more years.
I’m strongly tempted to move exclusively to a Slack or a Discord server and hang out there by myself working on my laid back, pragmatic, middle-of-the-road projects, sending out occasional dispatches on the blog, like messages in a bottle, in the vain hope that there might still be some other pragmatic, middle-of-the-road people still left in the world.
It kind of sucks because I’d like to start or join a casual remote gaming group for tabletop games or maybe multiplayer games, but I simply don’t believe anymore that there are any like-minded people left on the Internet.
In the old days, you went to the Internet to “find your tribe” because you felt ostracized from the real world, but now it feels like the opposite: You have to leave the Internet to find your tribe, which seems like a step backwards in human evolution.