Scapegoating - are we doing ourselves any favours?
Posted on Thursday, March 12 2009 @ 09:49:28 Eastern
Any gamer should be aware of their favourite media being used as a scapegoat for... everything. We have been at the sharp end for every school shooting ever featured on the nightly news, for the perceived increase in knife crime, for the cockiness of teenagers today and now, for childhood obesity. This advert is one I saw in the local Metro, free to pick up from any form of public transport here in England, but I forgot about it until I read the GR manifesto.
There are various situations certain individuals would love to explain away with the evils of video games rather than accept life is more complicated than that. Wouldn’t it be so easy to just say that troubled young boy shot up the school because Grand Theft Auto told him to? Knife crime would be simple to explain away if only Kratos with his cool ass weapons and stabby ways were somehow solely implicated and the sexual corruption of youth would be a little more palatable if Jack Thompson was right in bashing the Hot Coffee mod so vehemently. Of course, real life is more complex and, while not many people (if any) are claiming video games are totally blameless, there are far more factors involved and games could hardly to be separated out for culpability.
There are many arguments against the likes of Jack Thompson; video games are but one element in a rich tapestry of modern culture, the average human does not resort to murder after playing The Getaway, games are certified against minors playing them, and so on and so forth. I particularly like the age certification argument. GTA is an 18, Killzone 2 is an 18, Fallout 3, Gears of War and Dead Space are all 18, hell, even Fable 2 is the proud owner of a 15 certificate, presumably for the sex ‘scenes’. Think of that kid who shot up the school, which one? It doesn’t matter. Chances are they were playing a game not designed with them in mind, couple this with the fact that some people are just plain unstable and we have a recipe for disaster which would result in the same foul cake if we replaced ‘violent video game’ with ‘violent movie’, ‘violent music’ or even ‘violent book’. More to the point though, why are kids able to play these games that are meant to be restricted against them? I remember advising my hairdresser not long ago to secure her child's Xbox 360 against games of a certain certificate, an ability she had no idea existed and this lack of understanding is one element I believe needs to be addressed.
Of course such sane arguments are not enough for the insanity of the more vocal of critics and we need to deal with studies like this, and please be aware that I’m using the descriptor ‘study’ loosely. It is a weight games seem to need to bear at the moment that they will be considered the source of most problems. But do games really deserve to be overlooked? Is the industry helping itself in all cases? Do not get me wrong, I have been playing games since my early memories, I recall going shopping with my dad for 50p C64 games and waiting for as many minutes while the tape slowly turned and loaded the simple affairs into the computer’s memory before I could play them. I remember getting my SNES and loving every second of Super Mario Bros. 3. I have lived through the PS1 and PS2 days and love the moments gaming has given me. But are we helping our case that games are, overall, harmless?
One game triggered this thought. RapeLay, even the name conjures up a desire to stay the hell away. In this... game you play the role of the rapist, premeditating and executing. I feel no desire to become more intimate with the details of this particular example of depravity but I do wonder about the rest of the industry. It’s obvious that RapeLay and so called eroge push the boundaries of what is acceptable as an interactive work of fiction and does nothing to help the public image of the gaming industry as perceived by the uninitiated. However, this shadowy genre is not the only thing potentially harming the image. There are countless games that allow the player to storm their way through countless enemies and, in the days of HD entertainment, many of these games depict antagonist deaths in a very graphic manner. The amount of (relatively high profile) games that allow the player to engage in consensual sex could probably be counted on the hands and feet of a person. Admittedly this fault doesn’t just lie at the industry’s hands but it is the industry bowing to pressure from the lobbyists to not include what is arguably the most natural part of life in their games. Only in today’s media is it more acceptable to perforate a person with bullets than it is to gently caress them into the night.
I have nothing against the violence in the media. But despite Grand Theft Auto earning every bit of its 18 certificate so many kids know about it, want to play it and, worse, have easy access to it. This state is doing no favours to the gaming industry and makes it that much more simple for tragedies like this to be blamed on the video games the kid was playing. Those of us privy to gaming culture can clearly see there are millions of people playing violent games who do not shoot up a school but there are plenty of naive rule makers who seem to feel a generation’s source of entertainment should be extinguished because of the instability of the minority. Instability, I add, which would present itself regardless of gaming.
There exists beautiful aspects of gaming which serve to not only add to our entertainment but also demonstrate we are not a group of simpletons suffering from bloodlust. While they have little effect on the blinkered views of Jack Thompson and Fox they do serve as a wonderful reminder that gaming is capable of encapsulating enigmatic, charming scenes. Games of this ilk include Flower, fl0w and Braid. There is no combat in these games yet they all fill the player with joy with their gameplay. Of course not all games can be fluffy, colourful and nice, but that doesn’t mean they have to possess senseless brutality. BioShock, which is filled with violence, possesses more than vicious scenes and fleshes out the violence with a reason for its existence.
Gaming as a whole is fine - containing a mix of violence and non-violence - its rating systems are, on the face of it, adequate but non-gaming adults need to be instilled with a greater understanding of the reasons behind the ratings. Non-violent games show the medium is more than a way of picking up a gun without actually firing one but until the world’s news vendors acknowledge their existence those without their ears to the ground will remain unaware (and possibly uninterested) that their favourite scapegoat isn’t all that bad. Unfortunately I can’t see Fox or CNN covering a story on the elegance of controlling the wind in Flower when given the choice between that and another school shooting committed by a lonely gamer and games such as RapeLay do nothing to help the image of gamers as a whole, let alone the underground subcultures whose desires cause the games to be made in the first place. Who cares about those freaks though?
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Posted on Thursday, February 5 2009 @ 05:31:24 Eastern
YouTube is a bastion of violent retardation. While I’m sure there are well educated people who choose to visit the internet’s video central walking through the YouTube portal is kind of like experiencing a temporary lobotomy: once well meaning people forget any word larger than two syllables and form a love of truncating phrases into internet acronyms such as ‘LOL’, ‘LMFAO’ and ‘GTFO noob ****er’. In an attempt to allow you to understand the sub-culture slowly evolving there here are some translations of what I think the YouTube users were getting at in their comments. Oh, and I was going to mark the comments and translations but I hope you’ll be able to tell the difference yourself.
Subject: Savings at some warehouse place
who wants to watch you solve a rubiks cube they are for gay lifeless people with nothing to do. and to actually make a video of it you must be queer. ****ing spastic
I must question the motives of whomever should wish to partake in the puzzle cube invented by Erno Rubik. Although rewarding once beaten the difficulty involved in doing so renders the so called ‘Rubik’s Cube’ a valid pursuit for only homosexuals and zombies and even individuals belonging to these two demographics must first have no other option to pursue before resorting to playing with this toy! Given that this is the case I have no idea who would want to watch someone solve a Rubik’s Cube. That you made a video of nothing but you solving indicates you are, in fact, a homosexual. I feel that I haven’t insulted you enough already and so finish by saying you are an unfortunate sufferer of cerebral palsy but have no sympathy for you or your condition and in fact must regard you with derision.
Subject: Snow in London
you sad bastard its only snow for gods sake
My good sir, I postulate that snow is simply a variety of frozen water and therefore not very special at all and therefore you must not be of the happiest state and perhaps not even belonging to the crowd with both parents in place, a bastard if you will, for you seem to think that snow is more than what it is. If this seems ridiculous to you I shall appeal to my deity to verify my claims.
Subject: World’s tallest woman
yao defen must be very lucky she is 1st place at being the tallest living women. 2nd tallest women is just 1.3cm shorter then defen so she must be very lucky
You lucky person! I lack the ability to differentiate between the plural (women) and the singular (woman) but I know luck when I see it and being the world’s tallest (singular) woman nails my definition of lucky! To think that you are 1.3cm luckier than the next lucky lady; that’s a lot of luck, I wonder if the luckiest woman in the world has ever won the lottery?
Subject: Weird cartoon
I lament! The country known as Britain has delivered comedic gems such as Fawlty Towers and Monty Python and yet this... travesty is all that can be delivered now? Wit is an elusive beast as this cartoon so ably demonstrates and I am full of woe as I must resort to the colloquial insult of homosexuality and what’s more, it must be elongated to convey my disappointment!
Subject: ... I’m not quite sure
damn andy is sooo ****in hot!
I WANNA MAKE HIM JIZZZ SOMEWHERE IN ME HAHAHAHA
Oh my word I’m going to swoon! Andy, by which I mean Andy Samberg is a rather dashing specimen of a man if I do say so myself! Forgive my crassness but I would quite enjoy causing him to ejaculate inside me, though I’d rather not specify where! Oh my I make myself laugh. Ha ha!
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What not to do during a zombie apocalypse
Posted on Tuesday, December 30 2008 @ 08:31:09 Eastern
We’ve all planned what we would do during a zombie apocalypse. If you’re anything like my mates when drunk you’ve decided on several contingencies to ensure you will know what to do at the various stages of the typical apocalypse. If you haven’t done this you should have. But it’s ok, it’s easy to think of what to do during a zombie apocalypse but I bet there are quite a few people who haven’t considered what not to do and this is where I shall begin.
Try to keep the bitten alive
Are you a ****ing idiot? A bad case of the undeadsies is passed on THROUGH BITES. If you’ve been bitten you will die. Just a graze? I don’t care, it’ll kill you, you’ll come back and you’ll try to kill me. Zombie apocalypses are no place for Mother Theresa try hards: anyone who is injured by a zombie is fodder. Trying to keep someone alive is an exercise in futility so you may as well strap on a pair and come to terms with it now.
Run in to save your significant other/potential significant other
I know, after the first piece of advice you were thinking I’m a heartless piece of **** and after this second title you’d think that would be cemented as permanently as the Hollywood stars but you’d be wrong. I’m not advising you to leave that hottie you saw at the bar to be eaten by the marauding undead, I’m advising you to not rush the **** in and end up getting your throat ripped out thereby landing her in even deeper ****. All too often the protagonist of the tale rushes in with nary a plan in his head only to fail or make his job a whole lot harder and you don’t want that for yourself, do you? After all, the only reason the suicidal dipshit survived his cack handed plan was because he’s the star in a movie and... well, not being rude but you’re not, are you? My point is to plan your rescue; acknowledge that your significant other is an autonomous being and, if they survive the initial outbreak, should be capable of surviving for a day or two without your presence, so go in with your eyes open. And if s/he doesn’t know what to do in the event of a zombie apocalypse you better pull your finger out and start explaining to them quick smart, buddy.
Get to/stay in population centres
I suppose when you’re talking about the typical disaster; hurricanes, earthquakes, Leatherface, heading to a population centre would be a good idea, strength in numbers and all that. But unless hurricanes blow harder because there are more people around you’re going to have to adjust your game. Zombies are a whole different breed and require people to propagate. Malls, cities, pubs are all going to be full of potential undead so the best idea would be to become a hermit. Do the Cillian Murphy in 28 Days Later, or be like this guy, either way get the **** away from most people. Assuming that you, the reader, understand zombies to even the tiniest degree this would be fairly obvious to you. A hidden advantage, though, would be that humans are retards. Not all of them of course, I’m sure that anyone choosing to read this wouldn’t be because they’re choosing to prepare themselves for the coming apocalypse. Then we have scientists and so on who indulge in the finer intellectual pursuits available to them. However, in any given population you’ll have a fair amount of Big Brother viewers and perhaps (zombie Jesus forbid) even a couple of contestants. By avoiding places where large amounts of people congregate you avoid these less than stellar beings and raise the collective IQ of your small, possibly hand-picked group by several tens. Sounds good.
Run for the guns
Yeah, this list was shakey from the start and now you’re being told to not get a gun. Well that’s not exactly what I’m saying. Guns are great... in a manner of speaking, but they have a fundamental flaw: they need ammo. When you’re facing off against dozens, possibly hundreds of groaning shufflers do you really want to hear that hollow ‘click’ and not have anything as back up? So yeah, if you’ve got a gun grab that bastard like Charlton Heston but spare a thought for the humble butcher’s knife or baseball bat or golf club or pool cue or...
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The future of game media
Posted on Monday, August 18 2008 @ 17:33:04 Eastern
Gaming's come a long way in every way imaginable, but I'm here to talk about one in particular: capacity. Back in the days of the C64 (that's Commodore 64 bits) for you whipper snappers) entire games were held on cassette tapes. NES cartridges varied... read more...
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69 reasons why it's good to be a lesbian
Posted on Thursday, August 7 2008 @ 07:14:24 Eastern
I'm bored, I have a little green and blue button in my browser window with SU written across it. For those of you in the know you'll understand I'm talking about the magical internet site called StumbleUpon. This website gathers information on you (t... read more...
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Film/TV characters who suck at their job
Posted on Sunday, July 20 2008 @ 13:43:24 Eastern
Philip J. Fry from Futurama
This is obvious, I mean, Fry's (for that is what everyone calls him aside from 'idiot' and 'meat bag') whole... thing is that he sucks at his job. He is a lousy delivery boy when he worked at Panucci's Pizza. He... read more...
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Posted on Sunday, July 20 2008 @ 12:57:16 Eastern
So I've finished university. I've told certain GRians (for that is what you are known as once you taint this place with your essence... or it taints you) this fact already, in fact I've told one or two multiple times because this event has been stagg... read more...
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Video game characters who suck at their job part 2
Posted on Sunday, July 13 2008 @ 15:40:10 Eastern
CPU race car drivers
I like racing games, not lots, but I can play them without breaking out in a rash. I've played a few racers in my time including a few GTs, a couple of McRaes and Forza 2 and, despite being different games, I've notice... read more...
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Video game characters who suck at their job
Posted on Tuesday, June 24 2008 @ 18:08:09 Eastern
Let's get the obvious out of the way straight away. Mario sucked at his job and I don't mean plumber. Let's face it, the guy's never held a wrench in his video game life so I don't think that moniker holds any water at this point. Wh... read more...
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