Sunday, September 6, 2015

Things To Avoid: Hating On Japanese Splatoon Players

I came across this short post by Nintendolife.com on Friday. It's title "Some Western Splatoon Players Would Prefer Not To Compete With Japan" implies that there is some animosity between North American and Japanese players (probably the two largest Splatoon markets). Where this animosity has been posted in quantifiable terms, I am not sure, but it is not that far of a stretch to say that Americans consider Asian nations (mainly Japan and Korea) to have very skilled gamers. The addition in this case is that the post states that there are complaints of a lag effect in Japan's favor. I will not comment on any possible lag benefit as I have yet to experience any regular lag that I can attribute to giving Japanese players an advantage against me. I am occasionally killed by a lagging opponent but these have been few and far between and I cannot say they have affected my ranking or individual matches. I would prefer to use this jumping off point to discuss some observations I have about Western players with regards to Eastern players.

Growing up during the advent of online gaming has given me some interesting perspective. While I remember a time when multiplayer on a console exclusively meant splitting your CRT TV into 4 hard to see squares, by 5th grade I was looking for free to play PC/Browser MMO games like GunZ, Runescape, and anything else I could play without giving credit card info. I played these games with my friends and GunZ in particular had a reputation among us as a fairly difficult game due to the number of Korean players. While there were many skilled Korean players I created this stereotype of the all-powerful East Asian Gamer who is beyond any ability I may ever achieve. This was a stereotype I held for a long time and over all, like all stereotypes, is a bad one to have. It's detrimental to create those kind of biases in your mind and may cause a faux-pas or full on insult. Yet, this stereotype seems to be pretty common in North America. On a more personal level, it's detrimental to put those kinds of limits on yourself as a player. There are plenty of Japanese Splatoon players that are very good, but I have yet to encounter one I consider to be beyond reproach in the B+ to A- rankings.

Splitting Splatoon servers would be bad for the overall online playability and I hope that this particular topic of commentary remains on blogs and does not sway any actual game management. Play against the best, get better, learn to beat them.
Don't use the Slosher.

Splattingly your,
-Peter