There is a subtle yet virulent strain of video game bashing that runs through the non-gaming mainstream, day-in and day-out. And it simply drives GP crazy.
It takes many forms, but its bottom line message is always the same: games are bad, games are a waste, games are a drain on society. The latest politician to push this line is U.S. Senator Barack Obama, (D-IL). As reported by the Barrington Courier-Review, Obama spoke at Barrington High School last week.
While addressing students about their future, Obama said he would try to reduce the deficit, improve healthcare, advance the economy and move away from dependence on fossil fuels. So far, so good. But then, needing a cultural whipping-boy to invoke, Obama trotted out video games:
"The bad news is you're going to have to work harder," Obama told the assembled students, criticizing youth culture as "watching TV, playing video games and avoiding tough classes in school."
Obama also expressed concern for American students' collective low scores in math and the sciences.
GP: We have no problem with Obama's setting high goals for young people. But why blame video games? How about talking about some real problems, instead of this red herring?
Sure, there are many problems and challenges facing the United States right now. Most of them were either created by or exacerbated by our elected officials. As such, those issues are uncomfortable for elected officials. So Barack Obama blames video games. And he's far from the only one.
As for low scores in math and science, is that a problem in Japan? No. Korea? No. Are video games huge in those places? Yes.
Please, Senator Obama. Stick to the real issues and don't perpetuate the unfair characterization video games as some sort of cultural drain on American society.