On the podcast a few weeks ago, Paul and I talked about the theory that different gaming communities were isolated from each other. Instead of “gamers” being a single amorphous mass, perhaps we’re really a dozen or so completely different hobbies that all happen to share a common set of hardware. Imagine if we took people that were into football, baseball, other football, lacrosse, rugby, and cricket, and acted like all of those people were into the same hobby. Maybe we’d call them “fielders” because all of their different games are played on a field.
That would be silly, right? But maybe that’s what we’re doing with “gamers”.
Now, the idea that gamers are broken into different silos is probably true to some degree. The difficult question is: What are the different silos, and to what degree are they isolated?
I was reminded of this yesterday when the new trailer for Battlefield 2042 came out…
Okay, it’s not actually the trailer. This is the cinematic trailer announcing the release dateJune 13, this Sunday for the gameplay trailer. (Let’s just stop and admit that our hobby is very weird.)
People are going nuts about this on Reddit. One moment in particular is getting memed to death: Two fighter jets are in a dogfight. They’re in a vertical climb, and the jet in front doesn’t seem to know how to shake his pursuer. So he hits eject, pulls out a rocket launcher, and blasts the pursuing plane as it passes. Then, through the power of camera cuts, he somehow returns to the cockpit of his jet and flies away. All of this happens while a modern remix of Kickstart my Heart blasts in the background.
This is it, folks. We’ve reached Peak Bombast.
Anyway, this is apparently a move that you can pull off within the Battlefield games, and the joke is that marketing embraced the madness and put it into a cinematic.
The enthusiasm for this trailer is intense, and yet I bet that nobody on this site would be talking about it if I hadn’t just brought it up. Going by sales numbers, the Battlefield / Call of Duty players are numerous – far more numerous than (say) Mass Effect players – and yet they’re unrepresented on this site. Whenever I do one of these “This Week I Played” posts I hear about a lot of esoteric (to me) stuff: Anime hentai visual novels, number-crunchy grand strategy games, indie side-scrolling platformers. And yet I never hear people talking about this incredibly popular tentpole game. Call of Duty and Battlefield are so popular and so dominant that they’re frequently used as symbols of the hobby as a whole, and yet nobody around here seems interested in it. (The other thing I never hear about is sports games.)
Maybe this means my website is very unusual, or maybe some silos are more insular than others. I can’t imagine how you could begin to study this without doing a massive (and prohibitively expensive) survey.
The sad thing is that EA CEO Andrew Wilson and Activision CEO Bobby Kotick are probably in a position where they could map some of this out if they cared. They have sales numbers tied to user data / account logins, and they could look to see to what degree different users are willing to cross genre lines. How many Battlefield players are also into Plants vs. Zombies? How many Call of Duty players are also into Starcraft? Valve CEO Gabe Newell could get even more accurate cross-genre data thanks to Steam, although obviously his data would be blind to the world of consoles.
It’s a shame. I’d love to know what percent of Playstation 5 owners also have a Nintendo Switch. Most of them? Half of them? Almost none? It’s hard to say. All we have to go on are anecdotes.
New Discord Logo
I was recently a guest on the Eh! Steve! podcast. Host Chris records the show through Discord, which meant it was time for me to log into Discord for the first time in six months. When I did, I saw an announcement that Discord is changing their logo. In that article, they sort of talk around what the logo is supposed to look like.
Our current logo has stuck around with us since the beginning of time itself… as in, since we first launched Discord in 2015. A lot of people aren’t aware that the little smiley icon in the Discord logo has a name: Clyde. Most people call him Discord, Mickey Mouse pants, a game controller, and of course, ugly. :(
I notice they don’t mention “Space Invaders”, which is what I see every time I look at the logo.Assuming it’s intentional, then they probably can’t say their logo is supposed to look like an invader because that could get them into legal trouble. I can kind of see “Game Controller”, although I feel like the “eyes” should be further apart for that to really click for me. I can also see “Mickey Mouse Pants”, but I never would have come up with that on my own.
I like that both “Space Invader” and “game controller” work as sort of universal symbols for the hobby, and I find it really impressive that someone cooked up an icon that can work as either.
Then again: Am I crazy? Am I the only one that sees a critter from Space Invaders when I look at the logo? Do only old-timers like me see that, or young people too? I’m honestly curious.
(I’ll link to the Eh! Steve! episode when it goes live. The episode is two hours long, so it might take a while to get through the editing process.)
This Week I Played…
Like I said on the podcast: I’m still playing Prey 2017. This game is going to be my next big retrospective. I’ve just finished my second run of 2021, and now I’m trying to decide what I want to do for my third and final playthrough. Bump the difficulty up to nightmare? Go for a Typhon-only run? Play as male Morgan? Do a “kill everyone” run? Try New Game+? Some of these options are mutually exclusive, and I’m not sure which ones would be the most fun / useful.
So that’s what I’m up to. What have you been playing since the last one of these?
 June 13, this Sunday
 Assuming it’s intentional, then they probably can’t say their logo is supposed to look like an invader because that could get them into legal trouble.
The Game That Ruined Me
Be careful what you learn with your muscle-memory, because it will be very hard to un-learn it.
The Loot Lottery
What makes the gameplay of Borderlands so addictive for some, and what does that have to do with slot machines?
Secret of Good Secrets
Sometimes in-game secrets are fun and sometimes they're lame. Here's why.
PC Gaming Golden Age
It's not a legend. It was real. There was a time before DLC. Before DRM. Before crappy ports. It was glorious.
The game was a dud, and I'm convinced a big part of that is due to the way the game leaned into its story. Its terrible, cringe-inducing story.