Game Politics (gamepolitics) wrote,

Editorial Roundup: Longing for Pong, Games as Societal Scapegoat

This week's editorial/opinion roundup takes us to Canton, Ohio and San Francisco.

In the Canton Republic columnist Tom Martin writes, "When I was a kid, spinach was good for you and video games included neither murder nor sex. What a difference a few decades make."

"...I had Pong. I knew Pong. Pong was a friend of mine... I know Ms. Pac-Man ate a lot of those gremlin things... but as far as I know she didn't pop a cap in somebody's keister."

"I've seldom been one to wax poetic about yesteryear. Yesteryear often comes back to us with the blemishes airbrushed out... playing Pong didnt make me aspire to play pingpong, tennis or another racket game in the real world. So maybe no one will want to join a street gang after playing 'The Warriors.' But making sport out of theft, murder, prostitution and senseless destruction seems wrong on every level. Maybe our spinach isn't the only thing tainted"

Inside Bay Area columnist Tom Leupold writes about the public perception of games:

"...despite evidence to the contrary, games are still seen as the sole providence of teenage boys, at least by the mainstream media. I asked (Prof. Dmitri) Williams (seen at left) why..."

"In his research, titled A Brief Social History of Game Play, Williams recounts that video games began as an adult pastime, with the earliest arcade machines appearing in bars and nightclubs... In the mid-'80s, the collapse of the video game industry virtually wiped games off the map. When Nintendo revived the hobby in the late 1980s, it marketed its machines as toys... That solidified the perception in the minds of the public that games were kids' stuff."

"...Williams, 34, said those under 38 have a different view of games than their elders. Most have grown up with games and, like television for the previous generation, games are embedded in their culture..."

"As Williams points out, every new medium has been condemned by the older generation when it was new... As the report states, 'Often, focusing attention on the medium is a convenient way of assigning blame while ignoring complex and troubling problems... blaming an external force like media provides an excuse to ignore the primary risk factors associated with juvenile crime and violence, which are abuse from relatives, neglect, malnutrition and above all, poverty."

Tags: dmitri williams, game violence, pac-man, pong, tom leupold, tom martin
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