Monday, October 30, 2006
I was talking to my wife this weekend about how bummed I was that I'm very quickly becomming one of the most hated men in video games.
I told her: I just don't get it. I try to do interviews and blog in the same way I talk to most people in my real life (i.e. being a pretty nice guy, when I'm not ultra stressed out). And yet, more and more, I'm seeing people who are like: FUCK JAFFE! HE'S AN ASS!
Now, sure, some of that is to be expected. When you are in a public role, you can't escape it. And when you pursue a public role (like I have), you're really just asking for it. And when you pursure a public role where MOST of the folks who buy your products are avid net users, you are pretty much fucked no matter which way you slice it.
Now yeah, you gotta chalk some of it up to the fact that some folks are just little babies who will complain and bitch about ANYTHING as long as they can do it hidden behind a stupid-ass user name. That stuff does not bother me in the least. Hell, most times it's kinda of funny (albeit pathetic).
But that's not what is happening here, at least that's not what it feels like. It feels like I've really offended some nice, normal, forward thinking people. And I don't want that; not in my real life, not in my 'public' life. I like gamers alot and feel a strong connection with fellow geeks, with folks who love games and movies and comics. So it bums me out that every step I take these days, I keep putting my foot in my mouth.
So I was talking to my wife about it; about WHY I seem to be doing it....and she really opened my eyes. She's real smart that way :)
I told her: look, I'm just a normal guy who doesn't want to bullshit people and do the PR dance. I want to just express how I really am; what I think. I'm not saying anything that most other geeks don't say when sitting around shooting the shit.
And she says: that's your problem.
And I go: why?
She says: Because you are in the public eye amongst gamers. And you CAN NOT just type and talk when you are in the public eye like you talk to your friends or co-workers. Because, like it or not, what you say carries weight. NOT because what you are saying is necessarily worthy of weight but because you are in the public eye (as far as console video gamers go). And so when you go "Dude, Xbox Live Arcade is lame compared to Sony's Downloadable Games", this is 100% fine to do sitting around, shooting the shit with your buddies. Everyone does it. You may not even mean what you are saying, but are saying it for the hell of it; to get a rise out of someone you know is a hard core Xbox fan. Again, this is totally fine with your friends. But when you do it on a blog or in an interview, it comes across as being more than just shooting the shit; or taking the piss out of the competition. It comes across as REAL. And that is why people are getting upset. They don't view you as a guy just sitting around gabbing and tossing off stuff that may be true, may be biased, may be just you goofing around, or may be just you saying something that is true for one day but not true for the next. They view it as the opinion of someone who works for Sony. And to some of those guys, that means war!
She told me she was watching The Dixie Chicks on Oprah and the lead singer- who said the Dixie Chicks were ashamed of Geroge Bush- didn't get why she could not just express her opinion like everyone else. And hearing that, it was clear to me why I've made a bit of a mess of things in regards to whatever public image I may have. It's because I really did just want to be 100% me with everyone. And that's a nice wish. But now I see that it's naive to assume that you can do that when you are NOT just a guy hanging out at Taco Bell while bitching about the latest game release or the latest hardware slip up.
When the spotlight is on you, I guess- within reason- you do need to put on a bit of a show. Nothing fake, no lies. But you need to realize that what you say is never a tossed aside flip comment. Whatever you say lives on.
So new leaf time for Jaffe, folks.
I'll never lie and never sell you bullshit. Ever. I just don't want to be a part of that. But I will hold my tounge more often than I used to and I will think before I speak/type. And not because I want to come across as a likable guy. But because it's the right thing to do. And because I LIKE gamers and even if they don't like the games I make, I want most of them to like me. Because we are brothers in our geekdom, I feel. We all love games and comics and movies and we should all be getting along alot better than we do and saving our real hatred for those folks that really deserve it: the jocks.
I'm kidding! Jeeze, I'm kidding!
Ok, back to work!
ps. and if you happen to be someone reading this who works for a gaming web site, please for the love of God, do NOT make this into a news story. I mean, it's your job so if you think it's news, go ahead. I guess that's part of it too. For some reason, some sites out there insist on turning 80% of my posts into news stories. And I guess I need to be ok with that as well and know that this is always a possibility.