RPG: E3 2019 Made Me Question My Gamer Badge

By: Bryce L. Jackson

E3 is a gamer’s Christmas morning. This year, I felt like I had no home.

I was watching the Square Enix press conference and watching the reactions on Twitter. While the internet broke and JRPG fans lost their minds together over Final Fantasy VII Remake, I found myself watching and appreciating the trailer but I have never played any of the Final Fantasy titles so I had no connection. The same feeling happened during Animal Crossing’s trailer and Banjoe Kazooie’s reveal as a coming character in Smash during Nintendo’s presentation.

I may have talked about this before, but I grew having only one console in each generation, first an N64 then a Gamecube. However, I had no control over what games I had and I was mostly kept on sports and racing games, and Pokemon. So all of these old games that are getting that new coat of paint, I have no connection to. You may think, “Ok, but Animal Crossing was a Nintendo game. You could have gotten that.” As much as that may be the case, I barely remember seeing or hearing about Animal Crossing back home. No one in my friend circles had it either and we mostly played Smash, Smackdown vs Raw, NBA Live, and Halo back then. Those single player experiences never got to me, even though I was relegated to single-player gaming since my younger brother couldn’t even speak yet.

I also never subscribed to having an unconditional affinity to a single developer/publisher. Back in the day, my games were made by Midway (they’re no longer around) and EA before they were the 2-time worst company champs. At best, I’d say I’m recently drawn to Naughty Dog only because I was late to the party on the Uncharted series and my favorite game of all time is The Last of Us. So as I watch reactions during the press conferences of Square Enix, Ubisoft, and XBOX, I was questioning if I missed something in my gaming upbringing. Even Bethesda who had a horrid 2018 because of the state that Fallout: 76 was released in and the head-scratching moves they made thereafter, their fans still celebrate that company.

I realized then that it wasn’t necessarily that I didn’t have an allegiance anywhere, my entrant didn’t show up. Sony opted out of an E3 showing and didn’t even release an episode of State of Play during the week. And in retrospect, the news I wanted to hear were PlayStation exclusives: The Last of Us: Part 2 and any hint of a clue on a Horizon: Zero Dawn sequel. There is a console Pokémon title coming which I am stoked for and I would say that I would go hardest with that. I’ve been a Day 1 fan of the Watch Dogs series and was excited for what was shown for Watch Dogs: Legion. Then there’s Call of Duty which I’ve fallen off of after Infinite Warfare. Activision is “soft rebooting” the Modern Warfare franchise and from initial trailers, they may get me back.

Every 6 weeks or so, a section of gaming twitter aims to chastise another (either women or mobile gamers) for not being “real gamers” because of the selection of games they have chosen to fancy. For no real reason, that mentality slid into my psyche as I watched E3 press conferences packed with diehard fans (or employees) of that developer or publisher with an inexplicable case of retroactive FOMO. However, as gamers, we build our own communities around the games we enjoy. E3 is a time where each community gets to have an open house of sorts for all of us to engage and appreciate the art before we return to our respective houses. Some titles, genres, etc. have more to show than others in certain years and rather than be jealous of the attention or doubting the choices made that lead to not being involved in a certain community, I and gamers as a whole must lift up others in this space.