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Posted by mrfluke

quite interesting, the ratio of views to comments on this story is almost 50 percent, thats quite high for a piece of content on GB,

looks like alex fully has an audience!

Posted by FengShuiGod

Really enjoying Guns of Navarro.

Posted by Korolev

The reason why Alex, is because media companies are still owned by old people who have never touched a video game in their life. Plus, while the average age of game-playing folks is rising, our advancements in Medical Technology means that the elderly aren't dying. A lot of those old, non-video game playing folks who were grumbling about it in the 90s are still alive today.

Edited by ArtisanBreads

Good read Alex. I mean it didn't come to much of an ultimate conclusion... I guess that's the issue. As you say, we are talking to ourselves at a point. They don't want to hear us.

Frankly, I just think we aren't ingrained enough in the corrupt system, which is sad.

Just someone who is very down on our government here but I think, for good reason.

@tescovee said:

Weird that never does any one just say "fucked up families make fucked up kids", instead of blaming things. Any who...Ill be dead and people will still be bitching over guns, weed, abortion and violent media.

This and mental health. Why will we never talk about these issues? Because they cause people to look at themselves?

I'm not sure. It's a very sad thing to me.

Posted by Veektarius

@Chumm: The truth of the matter is, we can't be sure whether you're right about that, and we can't be sure whether I'm right about it either. The sorts of longitudinal studies that would be required to determine the behavioral outcomes of gaming would be hugely invasive in raising children. However, for what evidence there is, there's more to suggest that violent stimuli lead to violent behavior than there are to suggest that violent stimuli suppress violent behavior. I think that it is, at least, a very strong/bold statement to claim that there is no one who is so unstable as to improperly blur the borders between video game and reality.

Posted by Judakel

@towolie said:

@Judakel said:

@towolie said:

@Judakel said:

@towolie said:

@Judakel said:

@Alex: My comments are simply a warning against emboldening the individuals who have no qualms about declaring violence to be a "fine" thing in games and all media. To get rid of America's detestable gun culture, all forms of media will have to look really hard at the content they are creating and reevaluate their stance on gun violence without purpose.

Discussing what needs to be done as far as game violence is particularly difficult with games, since it is such an artistically immature medium. It is difficult to separate games that have artistically justifiable reasons for their gun violence from those that aim simply to attract eyeballs.

There will come a day when games are no longer singled out. Whether this will be due to the influence of lobbyists or an artistic maturity which makes it clear certain forms of video game violence are artistically legitimate remains to be seen. I hope it is the latter.

plz don't do that, we in Europe love to keep having fun/violent game's. don't ruin my games because your culture apparently can't handle it.

if you should do one thing, its to stop all this gun madness. in my country all these problems are practically unheard of.

( not trying to offend you, we should even give them ground of acting like this is a serious problem )

Sorry, but you must "suffer" so that we may endure. The prospect of changing our gun culture should be appealing to you despite the fact you live in another country.

hehe, nah what you do with your gun's is fully your choice. i just have the silly hope the we as a species can one day move beyond all the silly violence in the world.

i am however glad that gun's are illegal where i live. and i'd like to keep violence and sex/nudity in my entertainment. ( watching spartacus right now, its amazing! )

I don't think the problem is just any gun violence, but rather some gratuitous violence and the way we advertise violent games so as to make them appealing to people who are far too young to be playing them.

than explain why this is a non issue in at least northern europe. we play the same game's and watch the same show's. again its not my country and by extent not my choice on how you should deal with it. i'm just wondering what you think the difference whit these things are between america and europe.

also wanted to say sorry for my very first reply, i was a bit pissed and that rubbed off on my response.

The problem is the gun culture in America. Hence the "we" in my post. No one is talking about you and your country.

Among the ways to fix our culture: Change the way we advertise games with gun violence in them, stricter gun control laws (I am all for a weapons ban, period), saner drug laws that don't add to the disenfranchised, "criminal" population of this country, etc. The list goes on and on. The problem is so multi-faceted and so far-reaching that we need to tackle various issues. The three main areas are culture, gun violence by non-career criminals, and gun violence by career criminals. Each requires some comprehensive changes.

Posted by Judakel

@darkdragonmage99 said:

@Judakel: I'll gladly blame something other then guns because I know a certain number and I know the driver of america's murder rate.

80% of murders in this country are gang related gangs are killing each other over drug turf just like gangs killed each other over alcohol turf. If you want to solve the violence problem in this country end Prohibition. it is truly as simple as that it worked the first time it will work again.

No, you should blame guns as well. They are most certainly a part of the problem. How could they not be? In order to extinguish the gun culture in this country, we need to change the laws so those gangs can't thrive, we need to improve education, and lots of other things. However, you can't destroy gun culture without controlling the guns. You're going in the right direction with ending prohibition, but you're not thinking big enough.

Posted by PrezAbeLincoln

I always found it funny that the people blaming video games are always the people who have never played them.

Posted by Cold_Wolven

Another great insightful article from Alex, the link to Adam Sessler's video interview with Fox provided a good perspective from Sessler as the man knows what he is talking about.

Posted by Dark_Lord_Spam
@Hobosunday said:

We need a leader. A person who can rise among our ranks and help stop this thought process. Someone who is charismatic and intelligent. Someone who breaks the stereotypes gamers have held for so long. It might not fix everything, but it's a step in the right direction.

Alright, I can take a hint.
Posted by ArtisanBreads

@Cold_Wolven said:

Another great insightful article from Alex, the link to Adam Sessler's video interview with Fox provided a good perspective from Sessler as the man knows what he is talking about.

For sure.

Also nice to see them just actually listen to what he has to say. Fox News has its bad hosts of course but that was good to see.

Posted by ArtisanBreads

@LPRaver89 said:

I always found it funny that the people blaming video games are always the people who have never played them.

Just look at the picture provided. You know he has never played those games for a second and you know he would NEVER hold up some DVD cases like that.

Posted by featurepreacher

The answer is time and generations. It just takes time for this generation to get old enough to dominate congress so when anyone tries to scapegoat video games the conversation is immediately squashed and the people who bring it up look like complete idiots.

Posted by LikeaSsur

While this is all well and good, how exactly am I, Joe Schmo Nobody, supposed to show that the gaming culture as a whole isn't as bad as the stereotype claims it is? That's a huge hole in this article that Alex didn't even touch.

Posted by thekingoftoilets

Superb write-up Alex, per usual. I view the whole debacle over violent video games = real life violence to be a bit of a naive statement myself, and I think when it comes down to it, the culture of today's multimedia needs to be examined as a whole upon individuals that allow different types of media to alter their mood and attitudes. I have a full-flung opinion I could harp on about, but if I were to summarize, I would say that when people do their jobs (parents taking attention to what their child's watch, play, and listen to, and store clerks ID'ing customers for Mature purchases), and someone is there to listen and be understanding and take the proper steps towards help when it is needed, then maybe something could be stopped before it even remotely starts.

Edited by Vigil80

@Judakel: No, he shouldn't. All this "culture" buzzword talk is overblown. It's just attractive to assign blame, especially when the actual perpetrator isn't around to take it himself.

@thekingoftoilets said:

Superb write-up Alex, per usual. I view the whole debacle over violent video games = real life violence to be a bit of a naive statement myself, and I think when it comes down to it, the culture of today's multimedia needs to be examined as a whole upon individuals that allow different types of media to alter their mood and attitudes. I have a full-flung opinion I could harp on about, but if I were to summarize, I would say that when people do their jobs (parents taking attention to what their child's watch, play, and listen to, and store clerks ID'ing customers for Mature purchases), and someone is there to listen and be understanding and take the proper steps towards help when it is needed, then maybe something could be stopped before it even remotely starts.

If people want simple answers so badly, I wish they'd take a closer look at statements like your last sentence there.

That's why when people ask, "But wait, what if violent media does have an effect?" I don't think it really changes anything. It isn't like banning and censoring would suddenly become a good idea, the right answer. People with problems need options. Parents need to parent.

Posted by ManlyBeast

Cause people live uninteresting lives and have to come up with something to argue about to pass the time. Common sense isn't always common

Posted by dudeglove

The problem, Alex, is that video games don't really have public figures that can express/defend/whatever their game/company. Films don't have this issue, because the news media can go straight to the actors for the inside story, or get shouted at by Samuel L. Jackson. As for books and music and other mediums, they all have their easy-to-access figureheads. Sure you have your Cliffy Bs on Twitter and Reggies on Fallon, but the latter's shtick isn't exactly conducive and the former just comes off as another suit. Even Conan O'Brien's video games slot is a little hamfisted, as the only way he can seemingly refer to games is in a jocular and aloof manner.

The past year has pretty much shown that the sickness has long been identified, surely we can find a cure by now. I don't have an answer, because it's an esoteric matter that requires debate among a recluse industry.

Posted by bricewgilbert

I don't know. This is obviously anecdotal, but the straight up sexist crowd seems to be quite large, and the anti-feminist crowd is even larger. Sometimes it feels like it's the majority.

Posted by FierceDeity

@Lazyaza said:

I do love how American politicians point the finger at games when their is practically a vending machine on every street in US selling assault rifles for $5.99 meanwhile joe-mc-average-crazy is in a room for 12 months, alone and ignored and then everyone asks GOSH why'd he go crazy and shoot a bunch of people? vidya games of course!

Right. We're just tripping over guns left and right here in the states. Can't go more than 10 feet without seeing a gun.

Posted by FierceDeity

@towolie said:

@drakesfortune said:

Eh, who cares. It'll work itself out. Though your comment on Biden and Alexander shows your own political bias more than anything. Either inanimate objects are responsible for killing people, or they are not. Either we hold the people who do the acts responsible, or we blame scapegoat X, Y, or Z.

YOUR president, Obama, has been going after the video game industry since day one. Yet, he gets the pass, because he's got a D after his name, and you like them there fellers, and you don't like dem der fellers with the R after their name.

The video game journalism industry has the same problem the regular media does, in that you suffer from group think. You all have the same political ideology, and it seeps more and more into your regular coverage every day. It's nauseating. NAUSEATING.

I'm here for GAMES. I don't want to discuss politics here. Yet, the only way conservatives are heard in your industry, is in forums. Because you all have mind melded, you're all followers, you all think the same. It's group think in the extreme.

To sum it up, we have the right to carry arms not to protect ourselves against our neighbors, but to protect ourselves against a tyrannical government. Some people are going to die to keep that freedom. Cars kill many more young people, adults, and others as a result of their use. Yet we live with that risk. We get in our cars every day, and your much more likely to be killed maimed and destroyed in your car. Giving up our gun rights, to prevent a tiny amount of deaths, is short sighted, stupid, insane, and makes no sense. I can think of about 10 different ways, without a gun, to inflict more damage than was done at ANY of these gun massacres. To think that taking away guns is going to prevent crazy people from going on a killing rampage, is pure stupidity. What was used at the Oklahoma City bombing? Yeah, not a gun. How many people died? Many times the total number of these mass shooting sprees.

Liberal video game journalists (the only kind there are) are quick to go after guns and try to blame them. Just like liberal and conservative old people are quick to blame video games. Truth is, the killers kill the people. Most, if not all, of them are mentally ill. They are probably influenced negatively by games, and movies. Putting ideas in their heads. Then, having those mentally ill people have access to assault weapons, also makes things worse.

So can we try to solve this problem, without giving up basic rights. History is littered with democracies that failed. Ours has been resilient because of our protection of minority viewpoints, and because of the protection of our liberties. Both are eroded as time go on, and eventually our country will fail. Let's try not to rush to that failure...

i respectfully inform you that you are wrong about gun's, just look at the rest of the first world country's and you will see a HUGE difference in regular violence, gun violence and prison counts.

the one major difference between those country's and America? guns are illegal ( unless you take proper training and with background check ) and lets be honest here, like your guns are ever going to overthrow your self created monster of an army...

United States and Vietnam. Soviet Union and Afghanistan. United States and Afghanistan. And many, many more examples...

It's as if you've never heard of asymmetrical warfare. Sorry, but his argument is completely valid when you look at those historical examples. You, on the other hand, didn't present one iota of evidence to back your assertion.

Edited by Ares42

The premise of this article does not line up with it's content. To directly address the main question of "why are we still fighting the same stereotypes?" is actually very easy, it's just ignorance. A racist will always consider mexicans lazy, a sexist will always consider women weak, a homophobe will always consider gays dirty. It's just the nature of ignorant stereotypes. For the ignorant videogames will always be something addictive that kids do that messes with their heads and makes them crazy.

The problem isn't that we need to change the issue, we need to minimize the ignorance. And over the years we have, but the ignorant crowd (no matter how big or small) will always have the same ignorant accusations. Because that's how ignorance works.

Online
Posted by KoolAid

Both Patrick and Alex have mentioned this eurogamer article. I don't really understand what is so surprising or "disturbing" about it.

Maybe it depends on where you fall on the gun debate, but I read it as 'companies like it when their product gets more exposure' Not really an earthshaking revelation to me. Did any one feel like it was an eye opening article?

Posted by hidys

Great right up and I thank you for linking the article about gun licencing in games, which may be one of the best articles written by a games journalist I've read in a very long time.

Posted by njean777

Wow, great article Alex, keep it up.

Posted by Richardpie

Video games as a medium for entertainment is still relatively new in comparison to it's peers. Right now we're at a weird point in time where we're still between a generation of people that grew up with video games and people that have not. This creates a divisive perspective concerning how people view games as a whole and it's impact on society.

Still I feel that even people that are passionate about games and it's industry have a hard time defending it because we simply do not know ourselves of the extent of how games can influence our overall lives. Just my 2 cents.

Posted by bruno0091

Here's the thing I don't get, and maybe it's a culture thing, why don't you guys just make ESRB ratings legally enforceable? PEGI is legally enforceable in the UK (and other European countries), but it's still a self regulated body.

It's not going to stop kids getting there hands of games that, really, they probably shouldn't be playing, but it will at least make it harder for them to get a hold of those games and in theory, shift more blame to the parents and their part in all this.

It's not a cure-all, but it's a step in the right direction and to me, makes perfect sense, but then I've grown up with a rating system like this, before PEGI it was the BBFC.

Posted by spaghettitime

@bruno0091: If you're at all familiar with the MPAA/RIAA here in the United States you might have some semblance of an idea why that might not exactly be at the top of our interests.

Posted by TheHT

Man... maybe we need Judges.

Dredd was awesome.

Edited by President_Barackbar

@bruno0091 said:

Here's the thing I don't get, and maybe it's a culture thing, why don't you guys just make ESRB ratings legally enforceable? PEGI is legally enforceable in the UK (and other European countries), but it's still a self regulated body.

It's not going to stop kids getting there hands of games that, really, they probably shouldn't be playing, but it will at least make it harder for them to get a hold of those games and in theory, shift more blame to the parents and their part in all this.

It's not a cure-all, but it's a step in the right direction and to me, makes perfect sense, but then I've grown up with a rating system like this, before PEGI it was the BBFC.

That's basically what the recent Supreme Court ruling in Brown v Entertainment Merchant's Association was about. Since the MPAA (films) and RIAA (music) ratings aren't legally binding, video games should not be singled out like they are more harmful than movies or music. Forcing ratings is harmful, because then smaller indies who don't submit to the ESRB would be barred from selling games. Besides, if ESRB ratings WERE legally enforceable, it would just cause parents to shift more blame to the government. Lazy parents will always find a way to make sure they cant be held accountable for anything.

Posted by Grimluck343

We're arguing about gun control in a comment thread for an article titled "The Guns of Navarro."

Posted by Feikken

Alex you rule

Posted by Dan_CiTi

I remember like 5+ years back G4 had a segment on a show about Columbine, and how the kids who committed the shooting played Doom. Lorne Lanning of Oddworld Inhabitants was interviewed and essentially explained human beings have the ability to compartmentalize, and if you actually go through with committing an atrocity such as a school shooting, you have plenty of other, far more serious and fucked up things going on in your life/head.

Posted by Mars_Cleric

We need a sign.

To rally the people, to call them to arms, to bring them in line!

Posted by ErisRon

This is such a great read, Alex. Thanks.

Posted by DedBeet
Posted by bruno0091

@President_Barackbar said:

@bruno0091 said:

Here's the thing I don't get, and maybe it's a culture thing, why don't you guys just make ESRB ratings legally enforceable? PEGI is legally enforceable in the UK (and other European countries), but it's still a self regulated body.

It's not going to stop kids getting there hands of games that, really, they probably shouldn't be playing, but it will at least make it harder for them to get a hold of those games and in theory, shift more blame to the parents and their part in all this.

It's not a cure-all, but it's a step in the right direction and to me, makes perfect sense, but then I've grown up with a rating system like this, before PEGI it was the BBFC.

That's basically what the recent Supreme Court ruling in Brown v Entertainment Merchant's Association was about. Since the MPAA (films) and RIAA (music) ratings aren't legally binding, video games should not be singled out like they are more harmful than movies or music. Forcing ratings is harmful, because then smaller indies who don't submit to the ESRB would be barred from selling games. Besides, if ESRB ratings WERE legally enforceable, it would just cause parents to shift more blame to the government. Lazy parents will always find a way to make sure they cant be held accountable for anything.

Got ya, I thought Movie ratings were already legally binding in the USA, like the BBFC ratings in the UK are. That's weird, maybe they should sort that out as well, I certainly don't think one medium should be exempt when another isn't. I can't think of a good reason for them not to be legally binding, if parents want their kids to still be able to watch films rated older than their age, they can buy it for them. That's what happens here, but at least then the onus is on the parents.

Edited by Mofaz

I think the bigger issue with videogames is that they provide inappropriate coping with emotional issues by resorting to addictive escapism and perpetuating underwhelming management of aggression through playing them. Since it's only a single human being maintaining their respective aggression levels while they're playing a game, you're going to see people resorting to utilizing coping methods they've learned through isolative videogames. That means less appropriate social expression, a greater anger and aggressive response to things a habitual gamer encounters in day to day life, and less real-world coping and emotional management skills in response to real-world situations.

It's easy enough to smash and destroy controllers, self-harm by striking yourself or objects, or to scream and curse at your TV. The more you do these things in response to anger or frustration placed towards a videogame, the more likely you are to demonstrate them in other situations, it's a Pavlovian response, but to anger and other emotions, rather than external stimuli. That's just a tiny part of the issue however, understanding how and why videogames tend to exacerbate aggressive tendencies in individuals is something that still takes a lot of study before it'll fully come to light.

That being said, the issue is more along the lines of, a person who is already emotionally unstable or performs inappropriate coping responses, will only be further harmed through the playing of a violent videogames. Why? Because not all outlets are created equal, videogames are not like a sport, they are sedentary, there's no kinetic movement of your muscles, no physical exertion, no exercise, no real social experience to them beyond a disconnected digital environment with other players, and most importantly, the "fun" response you get from videogames isn't conducive to a healthy lifestyle like that of an active individual's.

So yes, excessive gaming is definitely a societal ill, but it's up there with things like watching too much TV, too many violent movies or etc. Media does influence you, but the greatest part of it is the fact that we, as human beings, tend to distance ourselves from our problems as much as we can, and videogames are just another one of those things. A regular, casual player, a weekend player, or an "hour a day" player is perfectly fine, but people addicted to videogames are definitely going to suffer as a result.

So why does no one ever respond to these issues in any sensible way?

1. The media turns it into "Videogames make people violent," they don't, they simply nurture that behavior, but already violent people will not be benefited in any way, shape, or form, by escapist entertainment, nor will young people benefit from it either, and since children have addictive personalities that are easily fascinated with repetitive and easily approachable concepts, it's even worse to let your kids play videogames compulsively. It's why good parents control their childrens' media intake and try to keep them from violent entertainment. To the impressionable, violent and aggressive expression is regularly reinforced by things that glorify them and when people have not have much emotional conditioning in their life (kids, individuals who are shut-ins), videogames can eventually create those tendencies by themselves. You can deny that as much as you like and give me all your anecdotal bullshit evidence pointing out how you "turned out" fine. But that's another thing.

2. Gamers are overly fucking defensive, pathetically so, even the VERY STUDIES that SHOW videogames aren't exactly a beneficial societal stimulus (like TV or habitual drug use) with absolutely no bias within them are viciously rejected by the gaming community. It's another thing that makes this industry seem so childish. Everyone is constantly holding their hands over their balls. They REFUSE to see, understand, or even register that there are things they might like that are not entirely sound in their implementation in the modern era. This is a young medium, and as such, it's trending towards things that are immediately consumable and drive towards appeasing more base requirements when it comes to entertainment. It's why a child obsessively watching exploitative horror or action films will become overstimulated, because it over-gives, and it does so simply to maintain rigid interest. Everyone should be able to watch a slow paced drama, but not everyone can, because they've been conditioned by different moldings of various mediums. That's just the way it is, but it's typically that way because of excess consumption. It's the same as drug use (since physical and psychological addiction typically have the same mental symptoms), you eventually dull your ability to enjoy things that do not stimulate on the same level. The industry as it is now is overstimulating, exploitative shlock with thousands of man-children willing to defend its every misstep.

And when you realize the simple reason for that is because they're already part of the consequence, it's even more sad.

The only thing I can say is, grow up, take a long hard look at the evidence, and stop jumping the gun at everything. Responding to the media with your own salivating bullshit and your own anecdotal insanity while ignoring the evidence that yes, videogames are not good for people who are already emotionally immature, or really, children either in anything even approaching a level higher than "low intake," and yes, the way it's regulated in this industry is complete stupidity. The way its advertised is utterly stupid as well.

Right now, gaming is either for children, or for grown-ups who are still children, at least, that's how the face of it all looks. Our image is shit, because our "drink" is Mountain Dew, because we're still a collective defined by memes, because whenever anyone brings up ANY problem with us, it's always met with frothing protestations or calm, yet entirely uneducated,"experts" in the industry who are people about as well versed in the subject as your average caveman. Sessler, mentioned in this article, is a prime example of that.

This industry's representation is shit, its response to every god damn thing is shit.

Women are objectified objects in gaming? Examples of non-existent imaginary "reverse sexism" are thrown out by a much, much, much too large portion of the community, as well as a plethora of other pathetic excuses. The same goes for racism, the same goes for excessive pointless violence, the same goes for the inherently stupid exploitative shit this industry does.

So videogames essentially producing individuals with less appropriate maintenance of aggression? Same fucking shit, excuses, stories pulled out of their ass, articles like this that hand-wave it away and try to pull the same bandwagon communal shit.

Look at yourself, look at this cesspool of an industry, it's the reason why, when I come home, I play an hour of a game, then absolutely nothing for the rest of the day, or absolutely nothing the day after. Because I can't stand it. I can't play half the god damn games that come out these days simply because they were made by imbecilic troglodytes who apparently don't understand they're in the 21st century where entertainment should, but unfortunately doesn't, have a higher meter for being something other than an idiotic bushel of exploitative crap.

Videogames objectify women nonstop, videogames continue to make a pathetic joke out of anything that isn't white or male, videogames continue to have an utterly idiotic image catered to preteens, it's filled with excessively violent, ugly, stupid, insipid games that are nothing but fast food for the brain and junk food for every single part of your emotional well being.

So yes, quit letting your fucking shut-in kids sit in front of the computer all day. Stop that shit right now, because it's fucking bad. And stop getting so defensive at shit that is just the plain truth because it hurts your feelings.

Edited by MachoFantastico

Great article (and the ones you linked were great to, thanks for that). It's a fascinating and yes, sad subject. What scares me is how quickly video game violence as become the prime target. Now I don't live in the United States so don't know what it's like to live in a culture where guns are so, well accepted. Hell, I've never even held an actual gun in my life and I wouldn't be sad if I never did. So I feel that the perspective of those who live in countries where guns are technically illegal don't take into account the cultural or social impacts.

But making video games the scapegoat was always a possibility. Let's be honest, nothing will be done. The US government are to scared to make changes and if any serious action is taken, it'll be towards video games rather than gun control. We debate this continually, but at the end of the day it still makes me sad to think about what happened at that school and if that can't change anything, nothing will. Like I said, I didn't grow up in the United States so I can't appreciate the cultural acceptance guns have. All I know is that a cousin of mine lived, married and had children in the US a few years back and owned two guns (both pistols I believe) and I remember him saying how awful he felt having them in the house with kids. But he added that it was the 'done' thing in the US, a common method of protection. Yet it's two wrongs don't make a right.

It's a complicated issue and to be honest, I'm thankful we don't have to worry about this issue in the UK (though gun crime is still an issue over here, though no where near as bad as in the US). I just hope that once the dust as settled, it's not video games that take the hit... that would be bad for all. Great piece Alex.

Edited by biggest_loser

"We've let our awfuls become our default image. Angry commenters, forum trolls, and thoughtless haters are stealing our narrative and feeding into this resentful and fearful perception people have of what games are all about."

Have a look at this very community. The chauvinist things people on this site were saying about feminism and sexism in general were beyond comprehension. Rarely has a comments section been so misinformed. There was actually someone who said that gaming should remain male dominated and they were glad it was like that...

I'm only mentioning this because as a gamer I'm sick of reading articles and all the responses are part of this "us against them" mentality. Its so boring and childish. But then those same people think that gaming should be regarded as a medium of artistic merit. Well here's some news: art is criticised and read and misinterpreted regularly.

The amount of self-entitlement does no favours for an industry that deems itself now as "mature". Just go onto the GTA forums and read the comments about the recent delay. You might want to lie down afterwards. Games aren't just for kids anymore so they shouldn't be censored! Well stop acting like it then.

Build a bridge gamers. And not the virtual kind!

Posted by shishkebab09

@Mofaz: TL;DR, though judging by the first couple paragraphs and the last couple paragraphs, you yourself have a poor image of the average gamer. You speak of video games as though people use them to vent their frustration from their angry lives. Just like books, music, movies, or paintings, there are pieces of art made for different people, and of course it's the shitty stuff that gets the most media attention.

Posted by shishkebab09

Keeping in mind a global sense of healthy moderation, I think video game violence is healthy.

Take a good Jesus joke, for example. If Jesus weren't an important and renowned figure, the joke wouldn't be funny, so trivializing his grace actually reinforces it in your mind. Video game violence is fun, but your mind should realize why it's fun and credit the sanctity of life.

Posted by TrulyAlive

My biggest problem with this issue is that everybody in games seems to be waiting for someone else to make the first move. The ESA are only responding to direct threats. The journalists are only responding to their audience. The consumers don't really have any means to make their voices heard, aside from a blog or a poll that no mainstream media will take seriously.

Developers aren't saying anything at all for fear of reprisal.

It seems to me somebody needs to go on some sort of press-tour and at this point, it doesn't matter who. The ESA, a developer or studio, or even somebody who has worked in journalism long enough to be taken seriously. Launch a campaign. Get a spot on every news show or public forum (and I mean truly public forum, rather than a gaming site or reddit) that they can work their way into to say "Look, we don't have all the answers but what answers we do have don't indicate any correlation between video-games and violence."

Everybody has seen that one guy that they didn't know on that one singular mainstream interview. Somebody needs to get out there enough to make themselves recognizable to people who aren't video-game afficionado's, who can present points as intelligently as possible.

The potential downside to this is that such a person could end up being seen as a 'spokesperson' for the industry, but hopefully at that point, this whole mess should have died down a bit and we can start integrating other personalities into the mainstream to help shoulder that burden. Ideally this would lead to an eventual mainstream presence large enough to support multiple opinions and voices so that there is no 'single spokesperson', but a variety of well known and trusted people within the industry.

I know none of it is *that* simple, but I don't see us making any progress without this sort of effort.

Posted by dropabombonit

Great read. Strangely in the UK I haven't seen any bad press about videogames lately except from papers like the Daily Mail who love to try stir shit up

Posted by haggis

Guns and violence are a part of American culture. More and more, though, it's become virtualized--actual criminal and gun violence has been declining in America for well over 30 years, in part due to prosperity and in part do to cultural shifts that video games are a part of. We watch a lot of violence, but we don't actually do a lot of it. Most of the horrific violence we see is done by people with mental health issues. Neither guns nor video games are the actual problem. I'm an NRA member, and I was a bit irked when LaPierre did his video game thing. I sent an email to them saying so. Most of the NRA members I talked to about it agreed that they thought it was stupid.

It's also worth noting that the vast majority of the NRA's funding comes from individuals, not gun manufacturers. And many of those NRA members are gamers. Trust me when I say there was serious grumbling and eye-rolling in the NRA ranks when LaPierre made those anti-gaming comments.

As for perceptions of gaming--it's changing as gamers get older. However, as many of us get older, we've gotten irritated with the focus most games have on violence. I certainly don't mind violent games, and I know they don't make people violent. But I'd like to see more variety in gameplay out there. We're getting there, but it's a slow road. There's always going to be a segment of society that dislikes violent video games and films, and blames them for society's ills. Evidence doesn't matter--it's not about facts, its about how they view the world.

Posted by kagato

A great and well thought out article, i often find myself falling into despair each time a killing happens somewhere in the world and immediatly the media points out the the person played video games, usually the finger the wrong ones as being dangerous and violent or just get the game he played completely wrong.

Honestly we have a battle on two fronts, first the perception of what we do, play and enjoy, as the article states we are viewed as loners sitting in a dark basement playing games and yelling obsenities at random people over xbox live. They also assume that a violent game can turn a perfectly normal well adjusted person into a raving lunatic which just isnt true. Does listening to heavy metal really make you a devil worshipper? Does reading a book turn you into an anarchist? Of course not, and video games that involve killing no more turn you into a killer than playing games like need for speed turn you into a street racer. Im sure a potenital killer will buy violent games and a potential street racer will buy a racing game, but the thoughts and impulses that create these kinds of people existed in them long before they picked up a controller. Are we really going to start blaming Batman comics and movies for the recent shooting in Colorado?

The other issue we have which others have quite rightly pointed out is just how we ourselves present our culture to others, it shocks me sometimes when i see some of the comments the users on this forum alone leave for others, its equally as bad on ComicVine which is always disapointing. On one hand there are people who want our gaming culture to become more widespread and include more people of all sexes, races and backgrounds, but then we have a louder smaller group of homophobes, sexist and racist people spreading their hatred and intollerance all over the forums. If our own people, fellow gamers are giving this horrible view of us, a forum where people are afraid to comment openly for fear of being mocked or attacked, how do we even begin to present oursevles as an example of what gamers should be? The worst thing is, even Giantbomb and Comicvine at its worst is 100 times better than the discussion groups elsewhere, the ones that the media all too often use as examples of us being monsters.

I dont have any idea how we tackle this, the majority of us are approachable and friendly, but we wont be the people who have their quotes pulled and presented for all to see, the trolls, the vocal minorities of self entitled children pretending to be adults, those are the ones that will appear in our tabloids or on fox news shows. It is sad, its not fair and lets be honest, the media and the world out there does know better, but its far eaiser to pick a group as a scapegoat than actually admit we have problems in our society that we are not dealing with.

Posted by CaptRocketblaze

Let's try something productive, like helping the emotionally/mentally unstable people. Just a thought.

Posted by Slayer78

Great article and remember: where they don't play videogames at all there is a hefty amount of nasty violence. Try large parts of Africa for confirmation of this fact. We are our own worst enemy, and will forever be, at least until an infection ala the one portrayed in The Last Of Us come to take us away. That would be fucking funny alright.

Posted by Xymox

"We've spent way too much time allowing the media, politicians, and frankly a good chunk of the rest of the world dehumanize us into easily dismissed, mock-worthy caricatures."

I also find it sad, especially when political smear campaigns include things like "this person lives a secret & dirty double-life, raiding demons by night in world of Warcraft and by day poses as a politician" as if gaming as a past-time is something to be ashamed about.

Edited by FakeKisser

@Laivasse said:

Great piece, Alex. I was delighted to see that you were bang on the money in backing up Kris Graft's piece. The game industry has no place in a discussion about how to reduce the likelihood of gun massacres - because there is already nothing our industry can do to lessen their likelihood. This 'discussion' is taking place in bad faith, because the actual content of the discussion is irrelevant. The purpose of this debate, in the first place, is to make game industry figures behave as if they carry some kind of responsibility for violent crime in society. Participation merely lends legitimacy to these hostile external perceptions.

The reason we are locked into this recurring cycle of scapegoating is twofold. Firstly, these things work themselves out of the public consciousness over a span of generations and, as you say, it's been a relatively short period of time since the last bout of scaremongering. Indeed, comparatively speaking, it's been a relatively short time since video games came into existence. There are probably still some people around who believe comic books are a threat to the moral fibre of our youth. We will have to wait a while before perceptions of gaming match those of eg. comics, where the hysterical viewpoint is marginalised and therefore carries no political capital.

The second reason is gaming competes as a scapegoat with another industry which has more political clout. This is something that may or may not change.

Finally, I disagree with you that our behaviour within gaming communities will have any bearing on changing public perceptions. Those people who are quick to demonise and ridicule gamer stereotypes tend to do so either maliciously, for their own validation of ego, or irrationally, out of an uninformed fear response. People hurling insults at eachother over XBL are fairly pukeworthy, but they're not the root of all our ills. Youtube comments are some of the nastiest cesspools on the net, as well as being a higher profile forum than most gaming communities, but you don't see media pundits using YT comments to characterise the average consumer of media. Regardless of if we're all boy scouts and girl scouts, perceptions won't change because there is very little experiential crossover between our communities and the critics of the medium. Stuff like this is more a matter of slow generational perception shift. However, you are right in calling for more a more strident philosophical stance from industry figures, since these can help speed that perception shift.

I'm going to quote this, because I was going to write a similar response. However, I'll just follow-up and say that I think the last part of this article is unnecessarily snide:

"We have made major strides in recent years at diversifying this medium, both in terms of the kinds of games we play, as well as those who call gaming a personal pastime. But we've done this quietly, internally, and in a way that has clearly had no major impact on how those outside of our core group view us. As a result, here we are, however many years later, still facing these same issues, these same stereotypes, these same political push-backs that feel like they should have dissipated into obscurity long ago.

I guess I just find all of that a little bit sad."

I believe there are people in the industry trying to help the perception of games. No matter how you feel on the "Games as Art," the exhibitions in DC and NYC are helping to change perceptions about videogames by showcasing games that are not all violent. Many game designers are concerned with the perception that "videogames = violent media" and art trying to change that...from indie game designers on up to David Cage. I know your comment alludes to them, but I think you too easily dismiss these as being "internal." The fact that these games exist and are getting more press should be viewed as a positive - not just criticized for the fact that they aren't the biggest sellers, right now.

Honestly, I feel a more appropriate ending to this article is to talk about what you want to do to help change perception and how we, as a community can help more. Otherwise, the article just sounds like you are mostly just lambasting people without offering much idea on what we should be trying/doing, even if it is just your opinion. You did talk a bit about that in the middle, but that should be your conclusion, not just that you're sad that others aren't fixing the issue.

I'm sorry if this sounds too harsh. I really don't mean it to be. It is a good article. Above is just my opinion on how I think it could be better and lead to better conversations that lead to progress.