The following is an editorial.
Christmas is often a joyful time for many people, kids and adults, that have looked forward to a new video game experience with brand new, shiny, and expensive gaming hardware. Many people scrimp and save throughout the entirety of the year to be able to afford one of these machines, and when the time finally comes to pull the proverbial trigger on a purchase of that magnitude, it can certainly be a defining moment for the recipient’s Christmas. One of my most memorable Christmases as a child was in 1998, when my brother and I both received a Nintendo 64 console. We had been hoping to get one for the past year, and our parents and grandmother pooled their money together to be able to give us both the gift we had most wanted.
Nowadays, gaming is a bit more complicated. Online services are the norm, with consoles requiring things like day 1 content updates right out of the box. There’s frustration, to be sure, but there’s also a great deal of satisfaction with the things you can do on game consoles now. Playing games with friends that are thousands of miles away is now just about as easy as pressing a few buttons, while you can also stream all kinds of media, and even have video calls between other friends and relatives. The online services provide more than just an environment to play video games: they can also provide an element of social connection, as well as a great deal of fun from ordinary people who try very hard throughout the year to be able to afford one of these increasingly expensive machines.
Still, though, with new advancements in technology come critics. Yes, these services are sometimes frustrating, either lacking features or overcharging for certain things, but at their cores they all allow us to have fun. So, when an organization comes along with the sole purpose of inconveniencing people by taking those networks down for extended periods of time, its natural that we all get frustrated. Should we react in a reasonably proportional manner? Absolutely. The inability to play video games online for a few hours or a few days is far from the end of the world. The issue, though, is that these people are actively seeking to destroy the fun that many people, including children, want to be able to have with their new machines after they unwrap them excitedly during the holidays.
As I mentioned in an earlier article dealing with the recent outages of the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, I don’t like to mention the name of this specific organization, since I don’t believe they should be dignified with any mention of them. So, I was very disgruntled when I saw their name being used in national news shows on major broadcast networks, since this is exactly what they’ve wanted. Even in a recent interview, the basic response to the question of “why would you do this?” is met with a very simple sentiment that can be paraphrased by saying, “because we can.”
No, the inability to play video games for awhile is hardly earth-shattering, but because these actions are so wantonly mean-spirited, gleefully depriving people of fun that they perhaps worked for a very long time to be able to have, is offensive down to my core. I have a hard time believing that cyber criminals of this kind can be found since they are active all over the world in far too many legal and international jurisdictions to be prosecuted fully. I do hope, though, that they might use their heads as well as their hearts to stop their mean-spirited disregard for people that just want to be able to have fun after a long day, or to connect with some friends over Xbox Live, PSN, or the Nintendo Network.
Video games are supposed to be fun, but when these so-called “1337 h@ck20rs” just knock down the services for the hell of it, all they’re trying to do is lionize themselves and be proud of the fact that Brian Williams or Scott Pelley so people can see “how great they really are.” Nobody’s impressed. If you really don’t care about how you affect so many people for something as simple and innocuous as wanting to play a video game, then that says far more about the kind of people you are than anything else. Try and do something good, because what you’re doing isn’t impressive, and its not contributing anything positive. Its annoying, mean-spirited, and offensive, and you should stop.
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