Console Wars, Labels, & Changing the World

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Oh console wars, why are you still a thing? It’s Team Xbox vs Team PlayStation… again <sigh>. Why do we keep debating this topic? The answer to this debate is so easy that at this point I really can’t help but wonder if maybe we just enjoy a good fight.

My Journey in Console Gaming

I’ve pretty much always been a PlayStation guy. I had an original Xbox back in the day so I could play Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR), but other than that, I just always had a PlayStation. I began my gaming journey as a kid with the original NES. Then, for Christmas in 1991, I got a SNES, which in my opinion is the greatest console of all time. In 1996, the Nintendo 64 came out but I just wasn’t as into video games like I used to be. For me, this is when the video game industry hit that awkward growth stage as most people do around the ages of 12-15 or so. You know they’re not fully a kid anymore but they’re definitely not fully grown either. Eventually, I got one and I also picked up a PS1 too.

I took a break from video games for quite a bit here. I felt like they had sort of lost their soul. This may be more of a “me” thing, but classics like Super Mario World, Chrono Trigger, and the early Final Fantasy games captured what I feel like games should embody. It wasn’t until I had played a few games of Call of Duty World at War that I began to be drawn back in. Modern Warfare 2, Black Ops, and the Call of Duty franchise captivated me until Advanced Warfare came out, and again, my passion for gaming faded.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 Title Screen

During some of my down times with Call of Duty, I ended up discovering the absolute joy that was Dragon Age: Origins. I was in love with KOTOR so it was not surprising that Dragon Age captivated me as well. It was actually my desire to play Dragon Age Inquisition that nudged me to buy a PS4 in the first place. I had heard so many great things about some game named Destiny that I bought the Destiny bundle (I have a white PS4). All these years later and I still have only dipped my toe in the water with Inquisition because Destiny became all I did when I turned on my PlayStation.

A Video Game Changed My Life For The Better

The friendships I made while playing D1 have been nothing short of life-changing for me. We shared triumphs and defeats and banded together to fight the likes of Atheon, Crota, and Skolas. We also assembled fireteams for Trials of Osiris and the memory of the very first time we had a flawless ticket is something I will cherish forever. I consider the people I met playing this simple game to be some of my very best friends, and I see no reason why that will ever change.

Guardians in Destiny

Destiny was a big reason why I began streaming and creating content in the first place. I had a passion for it and how it transcended simply “playing a game”. It became a community. It became a support system for us when times were tough or we just needed a break from the realities of life. Destiny was so much more than a game. It was the connection point that we used to spend time together. I ended up on “Team PlayStation” because that’s what my friends had. It was really that simple for me. So I find myself asking the question, is this really about consoles anymore? Eventually, I played Destiny on both PS4 and Xbox One and, other than the fact that I played with different people, I found it to be the same exact experience.

Labels, Division, & a Toxic World

So why do we still get worked up about this topic? Is this issue really about which console/platform is better? Maybe it’s just me looking at how 2020 has unfolded, but I can’t help but wonder if there’s more lingering beneath the surface. Something about fighting over this issue seems to meet a core emotional need that we have. Then, it hit me. Is all of this just another way we seek to categorize ourselves in order to make us feel more comfortable?

iceberg

There are so many labels that we all use when we look at someone and many of these labels are fine. For example, I’m 6’ 2” so people tend to label me as tall. Innocent enough there, right? For sports, I like the Mets, Jets, and Islanders. Maybe you can relate to the pain of your favorite sports team losing. Learning that I do too lets you know that we share common ground in that way. This is fine and even healthy. It’s part of how we naturally learn to not see each other as a threat.

However, some labels are heavier. They have the potential to bind us together or break us apart. Labels that define things like religion, race, sexuality, or political affiliation come to mind. As I mentioned before, we seek out these labels because they help us to know that we are not a threat to each other. But what do we do when we encounter people that are different than us? Do we look for ways to prove that our labels make us better than them? Do we assume that negative stereotypes about each other are true? We can do better. We must do better. How we think about others, treat others, and speak about others is on us. We all have a choice in how to handle these situations and adding to the list which console we play video games on isn’t worth it.

More Cross-Play

We need fewer things that divide us, especially now. There’s a lot we can learn from each other if we just give ourselves the chance. With cross-play becoming more and more prevalent in video games, let’s add more “cross-play”, if you will, in our lives. At the end of the day, the Xbox Series X|S and PS5 have more in common with each other than people realize. I believe there’s something we can all learn from that simple truth.

Anthem Cover Art

How we handle the different labels we carry is a major decision point that has the potential to define who we are. So the next time you encounter someone who carries a different label than you do, I want to challenge you to assume less and love more. I believe that kindness and brotherly love can change the world. I believe that no matter how different someone might be, there’s still one label that we all have in common. Human.

For more perspective on the Console War, check out this article from 2017. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic so feel free to hit me up on my Twitter, MHG Discord, and comment below.

I’m Jake. Dungeons & Dragons and Tabletop RPG nerd. Die-hard New Yorker. Co-Founder of JNJtabletop.

Dungeons & Dragons and Tabletop RPG nerd. Die hard New Yorker. Co-Founder of JNJtabletop.

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