Whether it’s gasping at that moment in the cinema or valiantly defeating the final boss, there’s just so much joy to be had in fantasy & sci-fi worlds! Geekdom has flourished, thanks to the wealth of passionate artists, writers, streamers, YouTubers, podcasters, collectors & developers. It’s always incredible to find like-minded fans, and with so many unique stories, hear about new things to discover! There are just so many positive benefits to gaming.
Despite how far communities have come in shattering age-old Hollywood stereotypes, there’s unfortunately still so much negativity towards gaming & geekdom online.
What we’re aiming to do is try to shift perceptions, not to point the finger at haters. Rise above the crude comments and really highlight just how special the fandom is. Showcase how a small thing within gaming, fantasy and sci-fi can really make a big impact on your day. Gaming brings joy, engages the mind in different ways, and is, ultimately a lot of fun!
The excitement of fantasy worlds
Undoubtedly the most incredible thing about playing or watching fantasy worlds is emotions it stirs. Everyone has a unique geeky adventure to tell! From adventuring kids with Jedi robes that are a little too big or a grandparent that’s hoarded comics for years. There’s so much passion that brings like-minded gamers together, so much excitement that spawns geeky debates deep into the night!
Some onlookers may find it excessive, but even a quick ten-minute escape on a mobile game can bring much needed comfort to overcome a stressful day.
It’s the sheer passion from the fandom that keeps these franchises alive and kicking after decades, and inspires new artists, writers and developers to give birth to even more incredible ideas. We may never quite end up fending off vicious dragons with swords in real life, but powerful stories and characters can really make a lasting impression.
No dress code needed
We talked about embracing your passion for gaming in a blog piece about gaming stereotypes last year. The notion of what the fandom should look like has dwindled over the years but is still rooted in society. Still, many commentators outside and inside the fandom still have a stale definition of “geek”. What we should wear, look like and act. It’s stale, and out-dated. Surely having more people from different backgrounds playing, watching and reading similar franchises should be a good thing? It’s one of the positive benefits to gaming. We’re all unique – from our interests, how we present ourselves and what we enjoy.
Perhaps one of the most disheartening recent tweets was from a streamer, Corastus. He was told by a new viewer: “Wow, you’re kinda old to be playing video games.” The streamer is in his 50s and dedicates time to sharing his passion with viewers on stream. Should age, dress, gender really matter? Definitely not.
The message could have been more of a surprise statement than malicious. Regardless of intent, we need to get to a point where it shouldn’t be a surprise. A streamer doesn’t need to tick any checkbox to do their thing. There’s only one important criteria: You simply enjoy what you’re doing! Ultimately, steamers should be streaming for themselves first and foremost; the audience will follow if they enjoy what’s on show.
The appeal of services like Twitch or Instagram is that everyone is unique. It’s a place to be yourself, to showcase what you’re about. There’s a wealth of inspiration out there – whether its someone’s aesthetic, or their history, their individuality. Why should we restrict creativity?
It’s disheartening to see these sorts of comments about people who are simply creating content, enjoying themselves. It’s something when unwarranted criticism comes from the audience, but perhaps worse when it stems from fellow content creators. No one style is better than the other.
The root of gaming perceptions
Why should someone who has followed their favourite heroes for years suddenly drop it all? Why is it still acceptable in some circles to mock a person who has a geeky passion?
A lot of comments stem from what’s been rooted into our mindsets from a young age. “You’re X so you can or can’t do this”, “Only X plays video games!”, “Video games are a waste of time!” Messages from old stereotypes, films/TV or simply passed down through generations. These statements may come from a harmless place, but inventively can do more harm than good. It limits what a person feels they can do; or can do socially. Surely more choice for people to enjoy, discuss and have passions for is a good thing? It has to be one of the positive benefits to gaming.
Celebrating geeky passions
Social media, Twitch/YouTube and the ease of starting a blog has really amplified all the love for all things geeky. From the collectors who tirelessly seek out rare gems to YouTubers who deeply analyse every frame in a trailer, the love and dedication is undoubtedly there. We’re chipping away at old stereotypes, helping those who may not feel included to find that place. Forging lasting friendships and introducing each other to undiscovered classics!
For a huge chunk of enthusiasts – we have day jobs, families to care for, study and other creative projects. There’s no fixed remedy for the grind of the norm. Despite this, having a fiery passion for magical critters can have huge benefits for your well-being. From how photographs are taken to podcasts, YouTube round-ups to extended Twitch sessions, we all present our ideas in many ways.
That’s the beauty of how much the fandom is now visible online. We’re no longer bound to half hour slots once a week at 2am in the morning on TV. Collectors, streamers, video stars, artists each have their own distinct style – there’s no set ways or paths to take, and that’s the greatest part of where we’re at today. We’re constantly embracing all things geeky 24/7, talking and inspiring one another to drive the fandom forward.
Rising above the haters
Things like art, reading, sports, watching Game of Thrones seem to be more easily digestible, socially acceptable. Whilst gaming, sci-fi and comic book heroes have come a long way since the early 90s, there’s still a foul smell that lingers in the air, like Wario’s unrelenting farts.
It’s easy to pick on those who don’t fit the mould. We see it through Tweets with high-numbers of RTs, through harassment in message boards and directly to creators in DMs or chat. A large chunk of it is undoubtedly bullying and needs to be stopped. Unfortunately, it is hard to shift perspectives when they’re already that deep set – but there must be a way to bring more positivity into the mix, and not sink to their level. Why mock someone for being themselves? For sharing their dedication for something with the community?
It works both ways, too. Whilst there is a lot of positive comebacks and discussions with those spewing these negative comments, there are those who end up sending threats or negative comments themselves. It’s never the way forward, and often worse, than the original poster’s message. It can be tempting to in the heat of the moment, but it’ll often escalate into a far more vicious beast with little resolve.
By highlighting just how strong the community is, how many benefits there are to playing games and celebrating fandom – we can push for changing how its perceived. If we can help make the geeky world be that bit more acceptable, and make it more open to all, all the better for it. That’s the benefit of the internet – everyone has a place, has an audience. People don’t need to necessarily agree with everyone’s decisions, but respecting that everyone has different styles will go a long way.