The Bill of Rights for Beginning Gamers
The Bill of Rights for Beginning Gamers
By: Brit McGinnis
Starting out as a gamer is hard. I love the culture and there’s a lot of stuff coming out that I’m interested in trying, but like starting anything new for the first time, being around others that know more than you can be very intimidating. And there are a lot of people out in the world who know a lot about video games.
At the same time though, it feels like it’s getting easier and easier to start playing video games. More people are playing different kinds of games every day, and systems becoming more socially oriented has led to different kinds of people “discovering games.” Like Japanese women and Animal Crossing, holy sh*t.
The point: They’re a ton of really cool stuff coming out. Gamers in general are becoming a more multifaceted crowd. So if you’re contemplating becoming a more serious gamer, don’t hesitate! Because you really do have more leeway to start than you think…
1. All newbies have the right to ask “dumb” questions.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking questions about a game’s key mechanics or plot, and this doubly applies if you’re planning a new video game genre than what you’re usually used to playing. If you’ve never played a first-person shooter before, you’re not supposed to know how to check for ammo. Get over yourself.
2. All newbies have right to curse. A lot.
It will happen. It will. So don’t hold back.
3. The right to avoid forums.
Forums are a huge part of American video game culture. And for games that could require a great deal of initial deciphering (i.e. Monster Hunter), they can be essential. But if you’re just starting out, don’t feel like you have to immediately jump into them. Feel free to play solo for a while, or just read forum responses, before contributing.
4. The right to disagree with experienced gamers.
As long as you’re respectful to everyone involved, there’s no reason not to disagree with experienced gamers. If they feel that they’re correct because they have more knowledge of the game or its history, they’ll explain their reasoning. And if they do so rudely, the rest of the community will probably call them on it.
5. The right to not avoid spoilers.
This stems from my pre-gaming love of horror movies. I love a good, solidly scary flick. But I also scare very easily.
I know, it’s weird. And sometimes being easily scared can infringe on how much I can enjoy a film from a critical point of view. Which is why, if I’m really excited about an upcoming movie, I’ll read spoilers that people have written after seeing the movie already. Sure, it ruins the shock and emotional experience that comes from watching something with no forewarning. But it also allows me to have objectivity about the technical aspects of the film. The same applies to games—if you’re worried about being able to concentrate on the controls, you might want to learn the plot before playing. Just so you’re not caught too much off guard.
6. The right to revisit games from your past first.
When I decided to get back into gaming, the first thing I wanted to do was complete Pokemon Chrystal. Yes, it came out a while ago. But that game was one of the first to ever fully captivate me. It was one of the few I was ever drawn to as a non-gaming civilian. So I owed it to myself to finish it, so if nothing else I could start my gaming life off with good feelings.
7. The right to take breaks.
If you need a peanut butter and banana sandwich, get yourself a freaking sandwich. Take a nap if that’s what you need in order to keep going. This doesn’t make you a wuss.
8. The right to “binge and purge.”
In getting through Bioshock, I played 90% of the game in the space of one weekend. Then I took two weeks and did absolutely nothing game-related.
I needed that time to decompress, because Bioshock was genuinely like nothing I’d ever played before. I had an intense emotional reaction to all the holyfreakingshite that happens near the end. So I needed time to decompress.
I really do think that this kind of activity is common to beginning gamers, just because gaming at its best is an intense and visceral experience. So don’t be afraid to give yourself a break.
9. The right to have emotion-based favorites.
I really REALLY want to play Bayonetta. Not because I normally play games like that, or because I’ve heard great things about it from my friends. I want to play that game because Bayonetta is one of the most famous women in video game lore. And I freaking love her design.
At this point in my life, I don’t really care if my reasons to like a video game don’t make sense. I don’t care if they’re based mostly on emotion or on whether or not I think something looks cool. If I want to play something, I want to play something. It’s all about what draws you to a game period, right?
10. The right to not like everything you play.
No one like every video game they play, no matter what their level of experience. If you don’t like something, you don’t ever have to play it again.
Just don’t be afraid to try something new.
About the Author: Brit McGinnis’ nerdiness emerged very young, mostly centering around The Princess Bride and The Lord of the Rings (her elf name was Sorcha). It re-manifested in many other forms, but currently she is obsessed with Firefly and beating the Elite Four on Pokemon Crystal. This nerdette writes. A lot. She became famous in her college town for writing the only negative review of a local play (prompting a call of protest from the director). Brit has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Oregon. In her spare time, she writes a weekly erotica e-book series titled TIDBITS. Brit also has a day job as a social media consultant, where she shows people how to use Facebook correctly. Check out her blog Happily Cynical, find her on Facebook, or ogle her pretty modeling photos!