Gaming is a Gateway

27 Sep

NOTE: This isn’t our usual fare but it is a very important subject.

If you’re the media then gaming is a gateway to murder, rape, assault, prostitution, hijacking, terrorism, drug use, theft, gangs, vehicular manslaughter and the use of firearms.

If you’re not in the media and not a gamer but a gullible idiot who believes everything the media tells you then see above, plus you think those that game of no life and no girlfriend (NOTE: that is from a friends Facebook feed)

If you’re anyone else, ie someone with half a brain then gaming is a gateway to another world where you can relax and forget about the crap in your everyday life.

With the release of GTA V all the games naysayers are back out in force and of course there’s been a terrible tragedy recently which, in their “factual” opinion the whole reason this tragedy happened is because the person played video games. You may have guessed I’m talking about the horrific events at the US Navy Yard where a former Navy reservist gunned down and killed 13 people.

Now instead of using their (media) powers to say this guy had PTSD from being present during the 9/11 attacks, that he needed help but was instead left to commit a firearms related attack in 2004 and still nobody thought that a young severely traumatised former Navy reservist having access to firearms and not getting the medical help he needed was a problem? And instead of the media using that to help push forward change in how those with PTSD and other mental illnesses are just left and ignored, they blame it all on video games.

This is nothing new, before video games it was Rock and Metal, before that it was cartoons like Tom & Jerry. Blaming something or someone else who can’t defend themselves is the way we have been forever.

Gaming is just like every other form of entertainment out there, it provides us with escapism. Yes, instead of watching things unfold or reading it on paper you are in fact acting out whatever is happening on screen but that doesn’t mean you’re going to act it out in the real world.

I’ve and heard first hand people’s responses to those that play video games, go to conventions, cosplay and read comics. It’s seen as something for children, no scratch that, it’s seen as something BOYS do. Yes boys, not girls. Girls and women don’t play games, read comics or do any of that stuff. That is the attitude of people I used to work with and unfortunately it’s the view of far too many people.

It’s a world that is very much misunderstood, it’s not dark, it’s not evil and it doesn’t eat the souls of new born babies. Gaming, just like anime, comics, sci-fi, fantasy and many other great genres is a place of creativity and inspiration, a place where communities are built and people can be themselves without judgement (for the most part).

Are there games out there which are incredibly violent? Yes, there has been for a very long time but they aren’t meant to be played by kids, hence the age restriction. The one thing those that want  games banned or the people who play them monitored like lab rats forget that games consoles come with built in security measures, on the PS3 for example you can block the web browser, the Blu-Ray player, PSN purchases and for games there are 11 levels each with their own parental control restrictions.

Games consoles, DVD/Blu Ray players, satellite/set top boxes are giving you all the tools to prevent your child from viewing content that you don’t want them exposed to; it’s your job to use those tools. If you fail to do that it’s no one’s fault but your own.

What are your feelings on gaming or how people perceive the gaming industry? Let me know in the comments section below. I’m more than happy to discuss/debate the subject but please keep it civil.

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