The media obsession with demonising computer games

A new version of the computer role playing game 'World of Warcraft' was released yesterday with a large fanfare and plenty of publicity, but as usual when it comes to computer games, the media couldn't help but have a pop about the apparent 'damaging effects' of computer games.

World of Warcraft, I should make clear, is not my cup of tea. I do own an X-box 360 and a Nintendo Wii (and I was keen enough to order them for launch day), but I do not have the time for the games along the style of World of Warcraft which requires making virtual and cyber friends in make believe worlds and spending hours every day online in order to gain credits. However, if someone does have this amount of spare time, if they really want to do this rather harmless thing in their own homes, I cannot see that it is dangerous or worthy of ridicule.

Yet the press yesterday spent hours debating the worthiness of such games, why "geeks" found pleasure in such activities and also suggested that it was damaging to the physical and mental health of the players, with a range of experts and professors brought on to further make the point that computer games are so damaging.

Anyone would have thought that a new gun had gone on general release of that a new 80% proof alcohol was on the shelves.

To my mind it serves to further underline that the press still denigrate anything they do not understand, and being a "gamer" is certainly not something most people under the age of 40 really get.


BIGDAN said...

Absolutely! Thank you very much for making all this clear. Let's hope somebody gets the message that most "gamers" are not in the habit of shooting people!

Andy said...

To be honest, what depresses me more is the kind of low-level judgments you hear expressed all the time.

I was listening to Liz Kershaw on 6 Music this morning (in my defence, I turned on to listen to Adam and Joe, and then they went away and I was too lazy to change channel), and their film reviews segment included Max Payne. Out came all the classic patronising stereotypes...

Kershaw: "If you're a pre-pubescent boy without a girlfriend, you might enjoy this." (NB. The game was an 18 last time I checked).

Reviewer: (paraphrasing) "It's not a very good plot, it shows its videogame origins."

Reviewer: "They have changed the plot slightly, so we'll have to see if that upsets the gamers." (ie. all gamers are obsessives who have no appreciation that adapting plots often necessitates tweaks)

Ultimately this is just a generational thing. Once these people die off, and stop spreading their ludicrous fear of something they just don't understand because they've never actually played them themselves, then we won't have to put up with this twattery and the world will be a better place.

And that goes for any Lib Dem MPs, etc, who have ever jumped on any of these fuckwitted bandwagons.

Anonymous said...

The worst for doing this sort of thing is Keith Vaz.