The Philosophy, Art, and Social Influence of games

"Elitism" and taste

by AppleQueso Sat Nov 06, 2010 3:41 pm

I was going to address this in the Halo troll thread (which is a fun read, by the way), but I figured that since what I was going to say was somewhat off topic anyhow, perhaps we can spark a more serious discussion out of it.

People don't like "elitists". The second some guy comes in blasting your favorite games because they don't measure up to genre classics or something is the instant everyone seems to simultaneously roll their eyes. Thing is, these guys are generally knowledgeable and experienced, so naturally they'll tend to have far more discerning tastes than most gamers would. I think that last sentence describes most racketboy members pretty well too, we know what we like and have developed fairly discerning tastes ourselves, nobody here would dare (seriously) claim that say, Bubsy is better than Yoshi's Island for example.

So what is it that separates a picky and knowledgeable gamer with an "elitist" one? Is it just a question of mannerisms? It's almost a dirty word it seems, most people will do anything to dodge the label, so I wanna know how you define it.

Secondly, how do you judge taste, personally? Is there a certain mental criteria you use? Do you think it's more important for good taste that someone appreciates the classics or that they dislike the "bad" games?

(oh and by the way the first person that tries to claim that I called the racketboy forums elitist in that second paragraph gets whacked with a stick)
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Re: "Elitism" and taste

by brunoafh Sat Nov 06, 2010 3:43 pm

Bubsy is miles ahead of Yoshi's Island. You're crazy.
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Re: "Elitism" and taste

by Xonticus Sat Nov 06, 2010 4:01 pm

I read that thread and too bad it was locked before I could respond.

That guy reminded me of some of the regular people on SA or LL, or 4chan.
I'm glad that people on here are less tolerant of blatant asshatery like that... refreshing.

I feel bad for people who act that way in real life, and almost worse for people trying to troll online by acting the same way.

The only way I know to combat these individuals is through logic, that personal opinions are not facts. These people need to realize this and to open their minds. If they won't, then their loss.
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Re: "Elitism" and taste

by alienjesus Sat Nov 06, 2010 4:12 pm

what made that halo troll thread guy elitest was the way he stated his opinion as fact, and was completely unwilling to even accept that anyone could enjoy the games he listed as bad. He wouldn't hear a reasoned argument, and he considered the words he said to be an outright truth.

That's elitism to me - the idea that your opinion is right, and those with other opinions are somehow beneath you.
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Re: "Elitism" and taste

by MrEco Sat Nov 06, 2010 4:13 pm

To me "elitism" is when someone thinks that their opinion is for some reason more important and holds more weight than your own. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and anyone who tries to say that one opinion is better than another is an idiot. Their is no such thing as better or worse taste. In doesn't matter if were talking about video games, music, TV, movies, graphic novels, books, or anything else. One opinion is never more important than another. If someone told me that they thought ET on the Atari 2600 was the greatest game of all time then I would be fine with it. I wouldn't tell them that they were wrong or that they needed to play a better game or anything like that because then I would wrong (On top of being an ass-hat).
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Re: "Elitism" and taste

by Czernobog Sat Nov 06, 2010 4:29 pm

alienjesus wrote:
That's elitism to me - the idea that your opinion is right, and those with other opinions are somehow beneath you.

I think this is the simplest and possibly the best definition I've heard for what I typically consider elitism. I really don't mind people having opinions which differ from mine, especially when we have a chance to discuss why our opinions are what they are. (I was on a debate team back in High School and it was important to realize that everyone's opinion matters even if it's radically different from yours.) It's when people refuse to listen to other opinions and hold their own opinion as holy that the elitist attitude seems to crop up. It's that arrogant refusal to consider the possibility/validity of other people's opinion which makes me think of someone as elitist.
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Re: "Elitism" and taste

by Mendoza Sat Nov 06, 2010 4:50 pm

Video games are like anything else, people will always disagree on what amounts to good.

I think a lot of it comes down to the same reason people love to bash a band or any other artist that finds mainstream success.

They as a fan stop being special. Its no longer something that separates them from others.

Yeah i discovered Halo in a college dorm like a lot of people, does that make me less of a gamer because of it?

Elitism is never about something being valid or not, its about someone being insecure.
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Re: "Elitism" and taste

by Hatta Sat Nov 06, 2010 6:13 pm

There's nothing wrong with being elitist, as long as you're not a dick about it. The fact is quality doesn't matter to a lot of people. That's OK. But let's not pretend that the lowest common denominator is better than something finely crafted just because lots of people like it.

I just don't buy that anyone can actually argue that quality is completely subjective. Your likes and dislikes are your own, and completely subjective. But that's not the same thing as quality. You honestly can't argue that Taylor Swift makes better music than J.S. Bach, or that Budweiser is a better beer than Bass, or that Zynga makes better games than Treasure.

That doesn't mean I'm going to look down on those who like mass marketed crap. I'll even drink a Budweiser if offered. But I'll also try and nudge someone in the direction of quality. If you like something, it's worth seeking out the best and learning to appreciate it. It makes you a well rounded person. On the same token, being able to appreciate the mundane makes you a better person too.
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Re: "Elitism" and taste

by GSZX1337 Sat Nov 06, 2010 6:40 pm

Damn, I missed a good opportunity to talk about my thoughts on Halo.

I'm also surprised that no one has posted the dictionary definition for elitism:

consciousness of or pride in belonging to a select or favored group.
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Re: "Elitism" and taste

by the7k Sat Nov 06, 2010 6:49 pm

Knowing that, say, Bioshock was a better game than Bioshock II, doesn't make you an elitist (at least in the negative, modern-day usage of the word). Needlessly arguing with and belittling anyone who enjoyed Bioshock II just because it isn't as good as Bioshock, however, does.

Games like Halo and Call of Duty are kinda like the McDonald's of video games. They aren't anything special - heck, in many ways subpar compared to other choices out there. However, there's nothing wrong with enjoying it when it's available rather than just completely abstaining from it.

I mean, hell, I quite dislike SF4 compared to SF3, SFA or just about any other 2D Fighter... but if my friends are playing it, why the hell not? When in Rome...
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