What is salt? A chemical compound that makes popcorn taste great – yes. But it’s also a colloquial descriptor for how someone may feel after being made fun of, attacked, or generally being embarrassed. Gamers in particular get referred to as being “salty” for things like losing without grace – or just shitting on a game they don’t like. And it’s ruining the experience.
Being salty is typically a negative thing. No one wants to deal with a salty friend – the salty guy at a Super Smash Bros. party is the friend you don’t invite to the next game. And yet, we all love salty reviews. I personally love calling Volcano Bakemeat’s Grant a “salty motherfucker” – just look at his most recent piece on Pokémon. But he’s not alone. We all adore writing about how horrible a game was because it didn’t meet our expectations in some way. I know I’ve found myself talking about what a garbage game is.
And it’s not just us here at Volcano Bakemeat. Professional reviewers have some salt, too.
These are some cherry-picked blurbs from Metacritic, but as I’m sure you can see, the salt is just too evident. The salty tone continues in their full-fledged articles those blurbs link to, as well. Ryan McCaffery of IGN is especially salty about how Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst turned out.
But obviously the professionals tend to keep things fairly toned down to they can remain as analytical as possible. What’s especially great is reading user reviews.
My personal favorite is the “This is not a good game if you are stupid” review – that one was for The Witcher: Wild Hunt.
In the user review world, everything is black or white. Either you’re the second coming of Christ, or you’re Hitler (and we’re salty as fuck about it). Not that gamers are alone in this. You can find this salty atmosphere in any user review forum anywhere.
We like complaining. A lot. But is that ok? Salt is bias against something in its nastiest, loudest form. What if we’re salty about something another person loves? Or, going for the empathy angle, how does it feel when someone else gets salty about something we love?
It’s fun, and often funny, to complain. But here’s the problem: it sucks to listen to someone spout that crap about a game we like. I, for instance, greatly enjoy every game that I have cherry-picked salty reviews for. I can read and laugh at each of these comments, but what’s worse is when the attitude is presented in person. If you haven’t experienced it, I’m envious. To have someone call my favorite game series, Mass Effect, the worst piece of trash they’ve played (and it’s happened more than once) – well, it stirs up some of my own salt.
So do me a favor; stop ruining my games by telling me how salty you are because they didn’t live up to your absurd expectations, or that if you wanted to play a particular style of game you’d be playing some late-80’s, early-90’s title instead. Do that for me, and I’ll do the same. We’ll talk likes and dislikes and respect the fact that all games have merits as well as flaws – and leave the salt for popcorn.
What’s your salty story? Tell us in the comments, or send it to firstname.lastname@example.org!