Thursday, December 12, 2013

Answering viewer questions : "What happened to Tyger?"

So this gem trickled into my in-box, posted on a video with minimal views (link here) :

Well considering the poster in question has posted other gems on other videos such as "FIRST!", I can tell that this is a true leviathan of the education system that has to be reckoned with. But it's not alone. I've seen other posts on my old paintball videos, usually people who go at least a year back in the archives, slamming me for not creating content for paintball anymore in a place they know nobody will attack them.

Cowardly, sure.  But this is about par for modern paintball keyboard commandos.  It works for their heroes, why not them? I've noticed that these people love to watch others try and fail rather than try themselves.  Another typical thing for them, but now I'm getting personal so I'll stop.  But, if you need to know, here's the simple answer.

Paintball isn't worth my time anymore.

I came to realize that paintball, as an entity, does not want progression. Players and talking head e-celebs SAY they do, but when it all comes down to it they don't. Progression, in this case, refers to the embetterment of the game. Solving problems, moving forward, making it better. But when I look at the game as of now, it's the same problems we've had for 15 + years.

  • Overshooting : People don't like getting lit up with 100+ rounds, but love dishing out the punishment. It's been this way for years.
  • Paintball "needs" to be mainstream : Most instances of televised tournament paintball have been glorified infomercials, paying the network for the air time to show a game nobody would watch otherwise. Hell, if tournaments didn't deliberately plant themselves in people's faces, the general public would never watch the games.
  • The gear costs too much : Back when I started a Piranha LB sold for about $200. Now the top end tourney guns that "everyone needs" tips the $1500 mark.  When you ask these players why you would need a $1500 water balloon shooter, they scoff and say "You just don't get it!"
  • (whatever) team attitudes SUCK : I heard this about woods tourney guys back in 1990, then arena tourney teams in 1998, now about scenario team guys in 2013. At least teams don't trash hotel rooms anymore, amIright?
  • Cheaters : Most of you won't remember the "Cheaters live longer" shirts, but most of you have heard the "it's not wiping, it's a foul, like in basketball!" routine. It's the reason corporations won't touch the game in general, they don't want to be associated with the player base who they see as "WWE" with goggles.
And I could go on, but you get the idea. The problems have existed for years and years and years. So why haven't they been solved? The simple answer is that financially speaking, it's not worth it to the companies. They figured out that if they basically let the players do what they want, the players happily give them money. They complain about tournaments and scenario games, but they come back to the next one. And besides, even if they don't, a new crop of players will be here in 3-5 years. The burnout rate is offset by the incoming player rate.

This brings me to, well, me. I took stock in the current paintball scene, and figured out it was the same basic game as in 1994 or so. The guns changed, the fields changed and the tech changed, but the player and industry attitude was the same.  the sales pitch was slicker, but the same "responsibility is for losers" mentality. The only difference is that with video sites like "youtube", you could make a character and oversell the image. The "E-Celeb" culture is really hurting the game by marketing themselves as immature, irresponsible players who know everything and are NEVER wrong. Scream and swear at a camera, trash people who disagree with you, go after personalities and not problems. Most of you won't remember the Henrys, but those who do will understand why I mention their names. Cult of personality. The game is nothing but a vehicle to push the persona, just like it was around 1994.

Paintball players claim they want progression. They want to see an end to overshooting, cheating and so on. They want to see paintball on TV. In the end, however, they won't do what it takes to actually make it happen. If you don't believe me, ask an e-celeb to walk up to a major distributor and ask them to stop making high ROF guns or to make their sponsored teams sign a code of conduct.  Hell, ask them to stop using their high ROF sponsor gun or sign a code of conduct for themselves. They more than likely won't. They'll mock you for making the suggestion, then push their penny auction site or branded t-shirt store with new jerseys with their logo on it.

Paintball hasn't changed, and for that matter paintball, as a sport, does not want change.

And after taking stock in that fact, I had to re-evaluate why I was wasting my energy on something that did not want to evolve. And believe me, it would be easy to sell out. I could shave my head bald, make a persona of myself, scream at a camera, swear at kids, show highlight reels displaying how awesome I am, trash everyone else, always say I'm right, make videos of "guy sitting in front of a camera" and "keep it real" by spouting off anything that came to mind for 20 minutes but pushing my own brand name....

Or I can walk away clean.

I haven't fired a shot on a paintball field for over a year, and I don't miss it. In all the hobbies I do now, there's a sense of "progression". Snowboarding, for example, in the same timeframe as paintball's lifespan has gone from "hooligans on a mountain" to "Olympic discipline". I don't fool myself, I'm not a halfpipe or park kinda guy, but I still see real world benefits every year from them. In paintball, not as much.

There are still unfinished projects. My old computer died some time ago, taking the "Legends" movie with it, but I've been trying to save what I can to fulfill my promise of DVD's. It's like picking needles from haystacks scattered across Nebraska, but it's still being worked on. I also have one more project I want to do, self funded, of which I am not going to promise anything. Just, for now, if things hold out I'll try to film it after spring. But other than that, I walk away clean.

Paintball seems to be a monster to me, always hungry. You can feed it all your money, all your energy, all your effort, and it still wants and demands more. Not just the industry, but the e-celebs want more of your hits and time, the players want more content and complain when you're not playing more so they can have opponents... But if you get nothing out of a monster but crap, why keep feeding it?  This is why the burnout rate is so high.  Paintball takes, and rarely gives.  And even then, yeah the giving has strings attached.

So, let me return to DanielPaintball. A person who's previous works include "First", "MOARRRR GEAR BAGSVIDEOS!!!!!!" and "You shoulddo a gear-bag video". "wtf" am I doing now? Something you'll be doing quietly in about 3-5 years if statistics are valid. Walking away.

Let Rome Burn.