Bloodborne came out last week, and it’s gotten plenty of people talking. As a site, we had plenty to say ourselves. Underneath the praise, frustration and lamentations about Father Gascoigne, however, are two specific undercurrents of negativity. If you don’t enjoy the game (or do) but are perfectly content to let others have fun with it (or not), then feel free to move along, because the following is not addressed to you. To everyone else, however, I would just like to say: Stop being such a jerk about Bloodborne.
The jerkish behavior in question varies depending to which camp you belong, either pro-Bloodborne or anti, but in either case, it’s the kind of self-absorbed perspective that weighs down gaming conversation and gets in the way of genuine discourse. It’s also just plain obnoxious, and while some of it is undoubtedly simple trolling to get a rise out of the “other” side, some of it is meant genuinely. Most people don’t really want to be jerks, though, so perhaps by pointing out the kinds of things I’m talking about, at least some people will wise up and shut up. Or at least maybe choose a different way to express their thoughts.
If you’re a Bloodborne fan and have ever found yourself suggesting that someone who finds it to be too difficult simply needs to try harder, practice or (my personal favorite) “git gud,” then congratulations, you’re being a jerk. Yes, of course the person in question could more than likely get through the game if they worked at it, but the point is that they don’t want to. They’re not wrong to not find enjoyment in repeated failure, just as you’re not wrong to love it. Both reactions to Bloodborne’s baked-in frustration are totally valid, and by telling someone that they just need to keep playing even though they’re not having fun, you’re negating their feelings. Knock it off.
An adjunct to this attitude is the immensely obnoxious assertion that “Bloodborne isn’t hard.” Oh, shut up, yes it is, and you know it is. Ask yourself why it’s preferable for you to suggest that the game is easy, and the person you’re speaking to is failing at it because they’re an inferior player, rather than declaring that yeah, it really is very challenging and you’re good at it because you put in a lot of time and effort. Maybe you’re unusually gifted and you truly don’t need to try all that hard to succeed at the combat, but odds are that you’ve simply been honing your gaming skills over an extended period of time and you’re willing to exert the necessary patience to learn all of Bloodborne’s quirks. You should feel really good about that, because that’s not something everyone can or is willing to do. If it’s easier for you to put someone down than to raise yourself up, you’re being a jerk. Knock it off.
On the other side of the Bloodborne yard are the people who don’t enjoy the game and can’t figure out its appeal. That’s ok; Bloodborne is a niche game that’s only going to connect with a relatively small audience. That audience is quite vocal, however, and as a result it can sometimes seem like everyone but you is playing it because that’s all you see in your social media feeds. Some non-Bloodborne lovers choose to react to this by loudly complaining about how Bloodborne isn’t that good and would everyone just shut up about it already, or - best of all - accusing anyone who enjoys it of being an elitist.
This isn’t a reaction specific to games, of course. You’ll see it pretty much any time there’s a huge sporting event taking place, like the SuperBowl, Wrestlemania, or World Cup. People will seemingly go out of their way to mention how much they don’t care about the “stupid” thing that everyone else is raving about, determined to rain on as much of the parade as possible. If they genuinely didn’t care, of course, they’d simply shrug and go about their day, but instead they make snide remarks, complain that Bloodborne is getting “too much attention” and suggest that hyper-difficult games are actually bad for the industry. It doesn’t feel good to be left out of the fun, even if you wouldn’t want to be in on it in the first place. It’s perfectly human to be uncomfortable and unhappy when you’re in the middle of a big party and you feel unable to join in, but trying to make people feel bad for liking something you don’t is a real jerk move. And make no mistake, that’s exactly what you’re doing when you try to bring someone down for being into a game that you think is terrible. Knock it off.
Bloodborne is an acquired taste, and whether you love it or hate it, you are correct. Be confident in that truth, and appreciate the opportunity to either embrace the game and bang your head against its very particular kind of wall, or to dismiss it and play something else that’s excellent instead. It’s cool if you love it. It’s cool if you don’t. So stop being such a jerk about it, already.