Game Politics (gamepolitics) wrote,
Game Politics
gamepolitics

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
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 17 comments
=====
"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."
=====

And the next logical step is that ignoring all these risk factors in favor of a scapegoat is ultimately harmful to society.
Posted this in another forum.

As of 2000, the population of Los Angeles was over 3,700,000. The FBI estimates that there are between 35-and 50 serial killers active in a given year. If 5000 people a year are being killed by serial killers then each killer must be accounting for between 100 and 142 victims. To kill off the whole city would take approximately 740 YEARS, barring birth rates. Even Joel Norris's own figures of 500 serial killers (Michael Newton's Encyclopedia of known serial killers for the entire 20th century has contained less than 500 entries) mean that they would have to be killing ten people each annually, a number that few of known serial killers reach in their entire "careers". This being put into light means that if 5,000 people in L.A. were being killed a year, you'd have a .14% chance of being murdered by a seriel killer each year.

Why bring this up? Because newspapers, News stations and other "Informative" sources love to inflate the numbers by keeping them real and exaggerating on the method behind deaths, the targets, and pointing out it could be ANYBODY without saying that "Most likely, it's not you," and saying "Most likely, it's nobody BUT you."

My point?

The same works for the psychotic gunman who played video games. Nevermind if there are 5 fatal school shootings each year with relations to video games in the loosest connections. Nobody's going to go here ----> http://www.theesa.com/facts/top_10_facts.php for facts because the news will tell you there is definitely something to worry about by bringing in idiots like JT. As long as every person believes their sorry ass is at risk of being shot, and that .14% is a good-enough reason to be afraid, nobody cares about the facts.
I'm not challenging the validity of those facts, but where are the ESA's sources? At least when JT makes a claim, he backs it up with a source, however poorly he understands it.
At this point in time, video games are pretty ubiquitous...most crazed gunmen are going to have played video games...like most of them are going to have watched television...I bet all of them have consumed alcohol...milk. I bet all of them had access to guns.

I mean just because people have something in common doesn't mean it is the cause. Like that weird article that came out last year equating Star Trek with pedophilia because a bunch of the pedophiles the police in Canada arrested also liked Star Trek.

Commonality does not equal causality.
That's the big problem with the evil one.

He hears about a tragedy from what one would consider the typical gamer demographic (which is becoming quite large), and he assumes that:

A> The person is a gamer.
B> Games caused the tragedy.

Assumption A ends up true most of the time just based on blind statistical luck. Of course we have seen in the Robida case where it was not, and rather than just admitting that, he throws a tantrum, threatens the DA, and ultimately claims that Robida ditched his games, while leaving all his Neo-Nazi stuff around for anyone to find.

But after a while of tracking this, he has, let's say, 20 murderers who also HAPPEN to be gamers, and to someone who doesn't know anything about logic or statistics, that looks like there might be some kind of link (until you bring up ideas like all 20 are also eaters of bread, and things like that).

And of course he has no explanation for the MILLIONS who game and never commit any violent acts, something that shouldn't be possible if games are CAUSING violent acts.
Deterrent statitics..Why not to create an organisation which should spy these facts, and take some decisions?
GamePolitics has moved....

We're no longer on LJ. Check out the NEW GamePolitics at:

www.GamePolitics.com

-GP
Video games back in the day didn't involve thieving and killing?

Was he playing the same video games I was? Space Invaders...actually all of the scrolling shooters. Lots of the text games has all sorts of theiving and killing. There was even Leisure Suit Larry. It wasn't all just Pong.

And yeah, I remember video games being in bars and restaurants...those funny table versions of Ms. Pac Man. They always had cigarrette burns on the them.
“But making sport out of theft, murder, prostitution and senseless destruction seems wrong on every level.” - Tom Martin

Ever play Cops and Robbers or Cowboys and Indians when you were a kid? Same thing.


Andrew Eisen
Yeah, but you see those don't count because they weren't video games.

You see, when you turn something into a videogame it gets filled with magical violence causing... stuff*. And it turns people into killers! Cops and robbers can't make you a killer because I played that when I was little and I don't want it to count so it can't.

Cynic sence, tingling...

*coincidentally, this is the same mystic stuff that makes bottled water better than normal water, helps pills cause you to loose weight, and make a $5 shirt cost $50 when you put a brand-name logo on it.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! You beat me to that very point.

As an extra note, my friends and I used to claim that the other 'missed me' no matter how false that was. That's important because we didn't know about video game god-moding yet.
I wonder if that works now among the CS kids in the playground. (Do kids still play in playgrounds, or have they been banned yet?)

"Bang bang! You're dead!"
"omg hax!"
Haha, me and my friends do that still, but only I've played CS...i think its cause we watched Pure Pwnage.

Yeah, i see a bunch of playgrounds. They are pretty empty, let alone a rare person or 2 with their kid. It's either fear or its too far of a walk/drive to it
See, the problem is that most of these people we're talking about have never played video games, especially not as a child. So there's the typical fear factor there always is of a new medium.

Cops and Robbers, Cowboys and Indians... these people KNOW that's harmless.

Basically, the only way this problem's going to go away for good is the kids who grew up with games eventually taking over the political leadership.

I could just see it now in the near future.

"Mr. Attorney General, you have to ban video games! They're directly causing murders! Lives are at stake!"

"Mr. Thompson, I grew up with video games. They're absolutely harmless. Real life violence has far more insidious causes that we should concentrate on."

"..."
Why is prostitution one of the main focuses? How many games actually involve prostitution? Grand Theft Auto does not account for all games in existance. While Take-Two releases "Bully" (even though it's freaking T for Teen, JT), Nintendo releases Mario Soccer and no one takes note. This happens thousands of times, as any gamer knows, there are a thousand "kid-friendly" video games for every "Mature" or violent video game.

ugh
Vampire the masquerade: bloodlines has prostitution ,so did Fallout1-2 a PC game and I mabye can think of more games that has it in it 0-o
LOL
they jsut hate sex and violance when its not wining them wars and or expanding their rule....
Pong is what...how old? How many remakes of that game were made? Theres a difference in Pong and GTA, first of all.

...however the point he does bring is a good one. When Tony Hawk's Pro Skater came out. I found it pretty cool. The sequel was great too, and it made me want to go skateboarding myself. I even went out and bought a skateboard. However, i failed miserably.
I also played Doom and other games, especially prior to THPS. However, I didn't go out and buy a gun and try to find my way into Hell, killing everyone in my way.

Moral? There is a defining point between reality and fantasy. What was fantasy was teh violence, and what was real was skateboarding no matter how many times I failed to try and "ollie" (in skateboard terms, it means jump with the skateboard)