If you've spent more than a passing moment on the popular gaming subreddits — principally /r/gaming and /r/games — you know that they are inexhaustible fonts of information, creativity, art, and humor.
You also know that, on a regular basis, they turn into unbearable swamps of self-righteousness, myopia, amnesia, vitriol, karma-whoring, and humble-braggery.
In other words, like any other influential and sometimes tone-deaf publication, it's ripe for a little satire.
That's where /r/gamingcirclejerk comes in.
Dedicated to the lampooning of the most annoying Reddit gaming clichés, /r/gamingcirclejerk takes the form of a series of hyperbolic, linkless threads. Most often they are focused on Reddit gaming sacred cows and blind spots, such as:
The evils of Electronic Arts: "Can you believe EA has the AUDACITY to offer me a FREE GAME because of problems with SimCity?! WHAT A BUNCH OF ASSHOLES"; "HOW THE HELL DID EA STILL MAKE A PROFIT OFF SIMCITY WHEN REDDIT SAID IT WAS BAD?!",
The hero-worship of Valve and Gabe Newell: "DAE hate it when you have to pay to unlock guns, unless it's Valve?"; "New game Idea! Gabe and Zelda vs. EA"
The rose-tinted glasses for all things old: "Look at the dent my Gamecube put in my shitty $10 table. DONT MAKEM LIKE THEY USED TO, RITE? (Cause everything nowadays sucks!)"
The outsized excitement shown for crowdsourced projects of dubious nature: "REMINDER: Kickstarter for "Chezz", a spiritual sequel to Chess, has less than 24 hours to meet its $1,000,000 asking budget!"
And of course, the vexed (at best) relationship between Reddit gamers and women: "TIL Samus is a girl"; "A picture of an attractive cosplayer as the sexiest gaming icon ever. Happy fapping!"
/r/gamingcirclejerk is a variation on /r/circlejerk, the subreddit devoted to the mockery of all of Reddit's various vanities, sanctimonies, and canards, but it didn't start as an outgrowth of that hugely popular board.
Ryon Hunter, whose Reddit handle is "IAmAWhaleSexologist", got the year-old forum off the ground four months ago when he posted a link to it in /r/gaming. He was inspired to create the critique, he said, because of "how reactionary the subreddits are, then how quickly they forget." Hunter, a 20-year-old college student in Virginia, gave as an example Reddit's shocked outrage over the recent disastrous SimCity launch even after years of complaining about the business practices of Electronic Arts.
Underneath the pointed humor lies a community with a profound affection for games. Says Hunter, "Most of our users come from /r/gaming. That's generally true of most circlejerk subs: The people who mock a sub are the most active in a sub they mock." The games the mods list as their favorites — Dark Souls, Persona 4, Fallout — are among the hardest of the hardcore. Some users in /r/gamingcirclejerk even work in the industry. One of the mods, lolpancakeslol (real name Jonathan Rodriguez) is a game tester in the L.A. area.
Though the community is relatively small (there are currently about 2,000 subscribers), it's likely here to stay. As the influence of /r/gaming and /r/games continues to grow, so should /r/gamingcirclejerk. Or as Rodriguez puts it, "People need an outlet to express their annoyance with how ridiculous the Reddit community can get."
Joe Bernstein is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Joseph Bernstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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