Race and Classism’s Effects on Playing Video Games

By Daniel Ortiz, Staff Writer

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Gaming is a favorite pastime for everyone, but sometimes people are left out based on financial or social reasons.
Photo courtesy of www.qygjxz.com

Gaming as a pastime is a good way to destress and have fun whether it be by oneself or with other players if the game allows it. However, when it comes to the social aspect of gaming, there are some caveats brought by the sometimes toxic nature of online players. The gaming community has some of the friendliest people but also may contain some of the most toxic.

In online games, where players are usually waiting in lobbies for a game to start, some players will just blurt out slurs and curse words to others in the lobby. Some may send offensive personal messages as well which is the negative side of the gaming community. Though it does not happen frequently, it is definitely bound to happen at some point when a person plays an online game.

The strong suit of online gaming is that nobody ever actually knows what the other looks like. This means that one’s race is irrelevant when it comes to gaining an online friend, which I feel is the best part. Throughout my twelve or so years of both offline and online gaming, I have experienced the ups and downs of the gaming community. I have met some long-lasting online friends while playing games like “Call of Duty,” but I also have had my fair share of offensive messages sent to me.

These online relationships have become bonds that have lasted for years. The color of my skin or what I looked like had no place in determining who I made friends with from online gaming. Yet, what a person looks like has no place when it comes to playing games online, and that is how it should be.

So while race has a minuscule effect on the way a person plays games, a person’s class is a factor that will inevitably determine the way they play games. Video games as they are now can be played one of two ways.

In order to play some games, there is a certain price one must pay to purchase them. Then there are some free games which have been popular in the gaming market for years now. These games require no payment to play but can have a certain paywall when it comes to enhancing a character, buying cosmetic items and getting items that enhance progression in a game.

Games that must be purchased initially can be a reason why people who are tight on money may not be able to play the games that they want to play. Most popular games like “Call of Duty,” “Destiny” and any other mainstream game are usually full-priced at around $60 on release. This leaves people wanting to play games immediately out of luck.

Sadly, gaming is also a business, and all businesses require a profit to be made. If one lacks the funds to purchase games or consoles to play games on, then they are locked out of this entertainment medium. Luckily, free-to-play games can be an alternative for those who lack funds to purchase games. While these games offer in-game upgrades and items for real world cash, most cases are not necessary to buy.

If a game depends solely on using real world cash to make the game playable, then it suffers from what is called “pay to win,” which essentially means that a game is fundamentally based on making people pay for in-game items to have a competitive edge. This formula is usually used in mobile games but is also apparent in some computer and console games.

Thankfully there are various choices on every platform whether it be mobile, console or computer. There is bound to be something that caters to a player’s taste.

Unfortunately, gaming is definitely not the cheapest pastime. It requires initial investment to play games and then to purchase them, which is not viable for everyone. Therefore, even a social factor, like class, can have a deep effect on the way video games are experienced.

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