Devil May Cry 5 is an action game built around ripping apart demons as stylishly as possible. The game was released in 2019, over a decade (and after a poorly received reboot) from the last sequel. Predictably, this woke the Devil May Cry subreddit from its slumber. Suddenly, there was new material to dive into, to explore, to analyse, to show off. Because ultimately, this is what r/DevilMayCry is about: a community of video gamers passionate about a video game franchise.
But there is something particularly interesting about r/DevilMayCry that I feel other subreddits, particularly other video game fandoms tend to lack.
Context: subreddit positivity
The Devil May Cry subreddit, for example, is probably my favourite place to hang out on a Thursday morning for no particular reason. It helps I get to see someone share a super sexy stylish combat video (also convenient that they just had a freestyle tournament viewers had to vote on their favourite game play), fun photos from in-game, and oh lord the memes.Deanna Troy (me) 2019, We can use technology to feel included whenever we want.
Smith and Watson’s Virtually Me: A Toolbox about Online Self-Presentation tends to refer to “site” (2014, p72) as an all-encompassing description of a social media platform. However, for the purpose of exploring a singular subreddit community, rather than the Reddit platform, I’ll instead be approaching r/DevilMayCry as the sole site. I feel Smith and Watson’s concepts still apply, especially as r/DevilMayCry does have a dedicated roster of subreddit moderators that act as the subreddit’s platform management in a cohesive and, dare I say, professional manner.
It brings me great joy to report that r/DevilMayCry is arguably one of the most peaceful gaming subreddits I’ve been a member of since I joined in 2019. A little ironic given the franchise it’s based on has certainly had its share of community-dividing topics.
Smith and Watson state that “[o]nline venues assume, invite, and depend on audiences, sometimes intimate, sometimes not. How a site appeals to an audience and the kind of response it solicits deserve attention.” (2014, p74) The moderation team of r/DevilMayCry are influential, but in a particularly absentee way. It’s not that the mods aren’t around – they are. But the behaviour they’ve encouraged as become so ingrained within the subreddit’s culture that clear and apparent interaction with them appears unnecessary. That said, it is not unusual for r/DevilMayCry to take the piss out of itself.
Reddit’s platform is based on numeric ‘karma’ defining content worth. “The best way to gain karma is to submit posts that other people find valuable and interesting and commenting on posts with insightful content.” (Reddit, 2020) Good content (in the eyes of the community) is upvoted, ‘bad’ content is downvoted – suggesting the majority of users won’t see it. Sometimes this means the subreddit gets lost in the same kind of content over and over (see Jetstreem_Matt’s meme on the right). Like any kind of content machine, the popularity of certain posts comes and goes in waves.
Effect on… me (and probably others too, tbh).
I’ve been meaning to write about r/DevilMayCry’s ongoing collective attitude for a while now. David Allen wrote a piece that referred to the “cult of difficulty” (2020), discussing the negative perception of ‘Easy Mode’ in the gaming community. Difficulty curves is a meme in of itself in r/DevilMayCry as the original Devil May Cry games don’t have the ‘easy’ difficulty available for players to start with, only becoming accessible when the games decide you need it.
But what does this mean for r/DevilMayCry? The collective gathers with a familiar attitude: practice, practice, practice. There’s no negative attitude towards players who aren’t instantly amazing at the combos Devil May Cry demands of us. It’s a hard game and all of us recognise this.
Which brings me to my next point: “Some self-presenters consider themselves as primarily embedded within online collectivities; that is, they are part of a group of actors speaking as a homogenous “we”.” (Smith & Watson 2014, p84) r/DevilMayCry promotes a we mentality from the second you step into the subreddit, unintentionally or otherwise. “Where we celebrate the Devil May Cry series…” (r/DevilMayCry 2020) The longer I remain a resident of the subreddit, the more I seem to lean into the positive we mentality – for better or worse. But it pleases me to see a video game community able to take a step back, analyse what’s happening, and react with level-heads.
I’d like to conclude my little puff-piece with a thank-you to r/DevilMayCry. This subreddit sets itself apart by being open to new players, never limiting encouragement to those of a specific grade of skillset or difficulty. May we continue to engage each other in low-effort shitposts, meaningful discussions about our whacky woohoo pizza man, and the forever Smokin’ Sexy Stylish gameplay videos the masters of Royalguard continue to treat us to. One day, we will get our Lady’s Night DLC, as deserved by our quality community.
- Allen, D 2020, “Easy Mode vs The Cult of Difficulty In Gaming”, The Nerd Daily, retrieved 21 December 2020, <https://www.thenerddaily.com/easy-mode-vs-the-cult-of-difficulty-in-gaming/>.
- “r/DevilMayCry” 2020, retrieved 21 December 2020, <https://www.reddit.com/r/DevilMayCry/>.
- Reddit 2020, “What is karma?”, retrieved 21 December 2020, <https://www.reddithelp.com/hc/en-us/articles/204511829>.
- Smith, S and Watson, J 2014, ‘Virtually Me: A Toolbox about Online Self-Presentation’, in Poletti, A and Rak, J (eds.), Identity Technologies: Constructing the Self Online, The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, pp. 70-95.
- Troy, D 2019, “We can use technology to feel included whenever we want.”, Deanna is typing…, retrieved 21 December 2020, <https://deannaistyping.xyz/2019/06/13/we-can-use-technology-to-feel-included-whenever-we-want/>.