Friday, January 31, 2014

Kingdom Hearts: The Fans, The Love, The Hate, and the Uninformed

Many of us that love the worlds of Kingdom Hearts have fond memories of playing the game from our younger years until the present.  Although I was not as young as some, being in my twenties at the time, I did enjoy playing with my daughters.  The coagulated appeal of both Disney and Square Enix ensured fun and nostalgia for us all.

Still, there are those that are new to the series.  To assist in bringing those "noobs" up to speed, as well as reignite the passion of us that have followed since the beginning, Square Enix has provided us with a fantastically created collection in the form of Kingdom Hearts 1.5 Remix HD and the future release of Kingdom Hearts 2.5 ReMix HD.

Despite being a family friendly game, themed with friendship, perseverance, and various life lessons, many of the fans choose to embrace the darkness when participating in various forums and groups.  We see this oftentimes when someone posts a simple message stating, "I Luv Roxas, why did he change his name from Ventus?", or"Star Wars/Marvel in KH3".  For those of us that are die hard fans, these silly posts are not only repetitive but detrimental to the Kingdom Hearts community because they inevitably invite the trolls into the mix.  Sadly, the poster tends to become the innocent victim of a serious condition known as "butthurt", when all is said and done.

Why is there such a strong level of hate and meanness in the fandom of Kingdom Hearts?  I think we can split this up into three categories.  The first being the uninformed noobs of the Kingdom Hearts series that have played one, maybe two games and believe they know more than they actually do, or ask questions that were easily answered in the games themselves.  Next, we have the roleplayers that hide behind a pseudonym and refuse to break character, even during a serious conversation.  Finally, we have those that understand the series, enjoy the complexity within, but dislike the annoyance of the other two groups.

If we start off by looking at the noobs, we find that they are usually the people that ask questions about Sora/Roxas/Venitas/Ven/Xion.  For a serious Kingdom hearts fan, explaining the differences and their roles
becomes tiresome and tedious.  Not to mention, the trolls feed on their ignorance, causing flame wards of keybalde war proportions.Despite their lack of knowledge on the games, especially with the individual titles placed on multiple platforms, the best way to treat them is to point toward the game that contains their answer.  Forcing them, or suggesting, to do their own research will draw them in further and provide them with he tools to be knowledgeable and intellectual members of the community.  Maybe they will even provide a different perspective on various theories.  As much as the noobs tend to get on my nerves at time, I do have a soft spot for them, assuming they do not take their minimal knowledge as a complete truth, while refusing to accept that answers lie elsewhere than Kingdom Hearts 2 and Dream Drop Distance, which seem to be the two games that many base their knowledge off of.

Next up comes the Role Players.  This group of fans actually become a character, oftentimes an original, and refuse to break out of the role for any reason.  Now, there are some that only role play in certain scenarios,
and that is fine.  However, those that dedicate themselves to the cause tend to upset the community to the World's End!  Why?  Simply because they inject their own truths into the role play that are not canon to the series at all..  This tends to not only confuse the noobs, but they can easily assimilate the falsities as truths, creating more confusion and ignorance among the fans.  At times, the Role players can become irate when others do not want to play along, hiding deeper within their character (which is usually an Organization Member) and cause arguments to ensue.  Oftentimes, those argument become grammatical in scope, bringing out the persistent Reich that aims to protect the English language to no end.  I will admit, I have joined the ranks at times.  The best way to confront a fickle band of role players is to simply dedicate a thread or two to their story, allowing them the freedom within to express their creativity.

Finally, there are those that know the series inside and out.  They are the leaders, the teachers, the peace keepers of the various groups and forums out there.  They show no fear when confronting those that are
spreading untruths, yet will take a noob under their wing to educate them on the ways of the worlds, all while encouraging the role player to be creative.  However, they also seem to be the meanest of the grammar Nazis, encouraging pride in their written communication, rather than give in to the darkness of internet speak.  They battle trolls with the ferocity of a Chernabog and the finesse of Marluxia's flowing hair whipping through the air on a breezy day.

Trolls are not included in the mix, because they are simply everywhere and cannot be avoided.  However, they can be controlled with proper adminship.

One of the most common questions asked within the Kingdom Hearts community is about the inclusion of Marvel or Star Wars in the next installment of the game. These questions upset everyone except those asking the questions, who are usually trolls in disguise.  Simply put, their inclusion should never happen.  Other than the original characters within the games, and the supporting actors provided by Square Enix, only the classical Disney characters and world's should remain in the current saga.  It would be ridiculously detrimental to insert something completely different just for the sale of fanservice.

With that said, we will be approaching a new saga after the release of Kingdom Hearts III.  Although I am
not a fan of Marvel or Star Wars included, because again it would be nothing more than fan service, I am not against the movement towards another set of worlds, like the Looney Tunes as an example.  Moving away from the safety of Disney to the more unpredictable and chaotic realm of Warner Bros. could be a perfect transition for the aging Sora and gang. The new saga could even begin in Toon Town, where Mickey and Bugs already live in chaotic harmony with each other.  But, that is just a thought.

Finally, there is much anger about the release of Kingdom Hearts III on the Xbox One.  Honestly, why does it matter which consoles it is released on:?  For the first time, Square Enix is allowing fans of multiple consoles to partake in the wonder that is Kingdom Hearts.  I think the real question here is why not the Wii U?  Some would argue that the Wii U is inferior, but they would be wrong.  A console is only as great as the games that are released on it, not by the graphics or the processing speed.  What if the PS4 was full of beautifully graphic enriched games, but they were all equivalent to Knack?  Not so great anymore, is it?  The Wii U would be able to natively provide an extra layer of challenge to the game, similar to the bottom screen of the 3DS when playing Dream Drop Distance, when using the gamepad by incorporating a flick rush type experience within.  However, for whatever the reason behind the decision, we should be happy that we are getting the game, someday, rather than complain about the launch consoles.

Despite the diverse fanbase, one thing is for certain, there are many that love the game and want to see it evolve beyond the Xehanort Saga.  If only we could agree on the path that evolution takes.

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