By saying that he doesn’t understand why gamers would want to watch other people play games, late night television host Jimmy Kimmel has discovered two very important facts. First, some gamers have very strong opinions, especially when it comes to their favorite pastime. Second, said gamers don’t typically hesitate to share those opinions with you, sometimes in vulgar, threatening ways.
In one of Jimmy Kimmel’s recent monologues, the late night host stated that he did not understand why anyone would want to watch other people play games.
“To me, watching another person play video games is like going to a restaurant and having someone eat your food for you,” he said. “If you like them, play them.”
Kimmel then went on to attack the recently launched Youtube gaming channel, as its primary focus is “let’s play” videos and e-sports streams.
This obviously offended quite a few members of the gaming community, who responded with a ridiculous number of dislikes on the video, as well as messages directed at Kimmel. You don’t have to be psychic to guess that a large number of those messages were vulgar and even threatening to Kimmel and his family. That is, of course, a huge problem.
Disagreeing with someone and sharing that opinion is fine. Resorting to name calling, vulgarity and threats, however, is never okay. It’s just sad. More importantly, those are the comments that are going to get the most attention and, thus, further strengthen negative stereotypes. You’re not doing anybody a favor by acting like a child.
To prove that fact, Kimmel has since released a follow-up video cherry picking some of the more unfavorable comments. He goes on to reiterate his opinion that watching people play games is ridiculous and that it doesn’t compare to, say, watching someone play football. In fact, he argues that it’s closer to watching someone play fantasy football (which exists, I might add).
My problem here is that it shows a general lack of understanding of gaming in general on the part of Kimmel, which is usually a sure sign you maybe shouldn't comment on something. He seems to be under the impression that playing games is similar to watching a movie because, yeah, why would you watch someone watch a movie? Playing games, though, involves a degree of player interaction and skill. Whether it’s people playing games like Call of Duty or Madden--or games designed to be competitive on a higher level like Heroes of the Storm or League of Legends--you’re watching someone’s talent on display. In other words, it’s exactly like watching football.
There’s also the crowd who enjoy video games but aren’t too keen on playing themselves. If you want to experience the story of a game like The Last of Us or Uncharted, having a player you enjoy watching walk you through the game is a nice alternative.
So, of course, we’d be interested to hear your take on this latest ruckus. I also find it kind of humorous that a person who makes their living being watched by others would attack people who are, you know, watching things. Also, if you talk down on an entire group of people, you probably shouldn't be surprised if they respond with such ferocity. It's okay if you don't get it, Jimmy. But maybe don't blast folks who do and act like they're the ones who are being ridiculous for getting upset.