Thursday, December 11, 2008

Games: societies sin, scapegoat or savior?

I dunno what they have been putting in my tea recently, but I've been feelin awful high and mighty (my guess based on the symptoms would be THC and Steroids). So anyways, I was cruisin escapistmagazine.com in the news section after getting a delightfully weekly dose of our surly australian friend yahtzee, when I come across two conflicting news articles.

The first was a story about a virtual reality experience called "snow world", which is being used to treat burn victims. Specifically in this video a Iraq War Veteran who is recovering from an injury sustained from an RPG blast.



I assume the penguins and snowmen are up to something insidious. They usually are. If there is anything I have learned from backpacking through Greenland, is to never trust penguins and that their thug snowmen are usually in tow. Regardless, this seems like a great use of gaming as a powerful means of suggestion, by taking the focusing and redirecting capabilities of gaming and building a treatment specific experience around it. This is just the tip of the iceberg, where they go from here is going to be interesting.

Then... THEN!!! I come across this horse shit of an article.

FCC says online games are leading cause of college drop outs



I mean we have all heard about it. The story about the guy that had a free ride to "insert posh expensive college" and got kicked from school because he was playing too much "insert time consuming brain vacuum MMORPG". I mean FFS I am tired of hearing this shit.

GTA causes school shootings. WoW causes people to flunk out of college. Spore causes people to strap bananas to turtles and try to mate with them. No, I am sorry this is all bullshit.
Video games, like any other form of entertainment media, are inherently devoid of ethical leaning. They are a vessel for the expression of the people creating it AND playing it. They are a reflection of our society. The fucked up shit in video games is the result of fucked up shit in the world. Not the vice versa.

Now in the context of the first article, it is undeniable that video games do have a powerful suggestive force, that derives primarily from it being an experiential form of entertainment rather then a passive one. So if it can convince someone that their burn wound doesn't hurt like fuck, then some douchebag jagoff with a chip on his shoulder playing GTA might think the game was a suggestion rather then a hedonistic release from everyday toils inspired by gangster movies such as scarface. Then again there is also this story about a guy who shot himself in the leg because his unsafetied gun was slipping out of his sweatpants in a club. Maybe you have heard the story?

My point is: people are fucking dumb. Putting blame on video games and trying to regulate their content is treating the symptom of a much larger problem. There are many steps that led to the behaivor of these individuals and although a particular game might be a step along the way, it certainly is not the cause.

The more we treat people like mindless drones capable of being manipulated at the tiniest suggestion, the more they are going to act like it. We have to hold people responsible for their actions. Also, we have to realize that there is a problem here that we either aren't aware of or just flat out aren't addressing.

Wow is what you make it. So when you see this article or someone tells you that you are a sweaty shut in social retard, tell em to fuck off. I am proud to play WoW. I have met (thanks to blizzcon, literally met) interesting people from all around the United States, that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to.

Sorry about getting all preachy. I promise more surly comical game blog content soon.

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