21 February, 2010

Aren't We Past This Yet?

written by Blain Newport on Sunday, February 21, 2010

I saw a familiar type of article yesterday. A young man was playing a game and yelling. He was told to quiet down. He got violent. Deplorable acts ensued. And the news was brought to me by a video game web site. I just don't get it.

It used to be that video games were mainstream media's favorite whipping boy because they were strange and scary to people. Now millions log into WoW, own Wiis, and play games on facebook. And games make so much money most media conglomerates aren't afraid of them because they make them now. So apparently it falls to gaming media to publish these stories.

We publish a headline saying violence related to a game happened, then have an article explaining how it's not really the game's fault. In times past I could understand this. It was an attempt to counter mainstream ignorance. But what's it for now? The last mainstream media kerfluffle related to gaming I'm aware of happened over two years ago.

Do these articles serve a purpose anymore? Or is the enthusiast press just acting out of old habits? Or is it just that violence gets page views? :(

For my part, I'm done with it. I don't care what site it is or what the headline says. Video games aren't any more responsible for violence than playing violence themed games on the playground was before video games were invented. Do you think Greeks wrote about domestic violence caused by "all that wrestling the young men are so into these days"?

This article was an hour late because I'm a lazy git.

I normally put these announcements at the top of the article but I wanted people to read the article first.

I sometimes say what game I was playing instead of writing the article on time, but given what I just wrote, I'm not going to do that anymore as it could be construed as blaming the game, which was never my intent.

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