Monthly Archives: December 2012
So many times those words you see in the title are my unique way of describing a thought. Sometimes in articles, they have no other meaning then a hook to appetite the mind to read further. Sometimes they have a deeper meaning and bring the article back to that point. However, rarely do I ever make a point to highlight it in my articles like I’m about to.
Mother’s Day has been cancelled, news at the 11 PM broadcast….
When tragedy strikes like it did on Friday, I have a policy of doing my best to avoid news. It is not out of hatred, ignorance or not wanting to know but simply the point that has been so clearly made to me before. Anytime a tragedy happens, what unfolds can best be described as a formulaic, scripted drama. First, you see the scrambling, then the info starts trickling with misinformation, corrections, interviews and on and on it goes.
Not so long ago I had a conversation about the show Undercover Boss with my wife. I am willing to give anything a shot, I had seen the British version of the show (I am a big fan of British TV) and in a few episodes, I had become tired with the formula. What I had “learned” from the show was that every Boss in every job had to deal with the “exact” same set of employees. And “unbelievably” by the end of the show everything was settled in the time format allotted. It was “Reality” TV at its best. Two episodes made me see the formula and I gave up on the show. As some know, the show exists on American shores and my wife started watching it. I tried my best but just could not watch the show. It was too formulaic. I remember that first watching of the US Version, my mind was putting together the book ends of all the people on the show. It was sort of a game could I guess the future? I turned out right on all but one and told me Wife I just cannot watch something like that.
What really bugged me and made me shrug about the show was how much it wanted to mix reality with something very real for a cheap reward. I completely understand that television is scripted to draw you in, but I believe there is a line any show can cross. When a show takes reality and mixes it with real life, while trying to hide the fact just rubs me the wrong way. While I am sure someone out there is about to say that describes most Reality TV. While I agree, I found Undercover Boss throwing away its fake “reality” to make sure the climax of the final act of the show would work better. As long as the viewer felt good about the Boss, no matter how we got there was all that mattered.
Think about that for a moment: Reality did not matter when it came to a “Reality” show.
Friday the tweets started flowing (Yes, I use Twitter.) The first one popped up, it was pointing out how two networks had already blamed video games. More tweets came in, and I finally gave in I tuned in and had to hear the “amazingness” for myself. Within a few moments I was reminded why I usually do not pay attention, the formula was in full affect. Journalists who pride themselves on facts were stuck with no facts, starting playing Mad Libs with a tragedy. Moreover, on full display was what I can only describe as, IHOTM (Ignorance in the Heat of the Moment.) One of the first questions, and amazing how it can be I might add, was why? Of course, our crack reporters were on the job, getting answers. According to them, it started with Reality TV and Video Games. Then it spread to everything but, conveniently, their own field of work.
They were Undercover Bosssing the tragedy.
That is the News networks, journalists, were taking the tragedy and forgoing the reality to make sure they were satisfying anything but reality. The news was constructing a formulaic “reality” show. Again in front of me was playing out the very thing I despised in Undercover Boss, and it was about to enter other areas of my life.
The news reports were quick to put a name to the killer, or so they thought. However, for some in our society, this was enough to pounce.
Quickly a mob attacked a video game and deemed it the ultimate killer of all those children.
A Facebook pile-on began. “There is a connection between violent games and senseless violence in real life,” wrote Facebook user Becky Laird Gluff. Another user, Melanie Bowers, said, “Ban this game and the people who created such sickness.” And Catherine Barowski Plummer even wrote, “I am sure none of these precious children had this game on their Santa list… God help protect us from all the evil our society promotes.”
And that was not the end of the craziness. A gamer by the name of Antwand Pearman wanted to do something, he wanted to send a message and asked other gamers to join him in an online ceasefire. He wanted to do something to allow the gaming community to show its respect to the tragedy. A gaming moment of silence for the victims.
“When I thought of this cease fire I saw it as a means for gamers to come together and show their love and support the families. The one thing we can’t get in this world is peace. War will always rage on but in the virtual world we have an opportunity to be better. This isn’t something for the media it’s for the families and us.
“So what if people stop playing shooters for a day? It will be forgotten the next day. The point is that in that silence you’ll have time to listen to something you haven’t heard in a long time. Something you have been too busy to hear. Too social to notice and that’s…your Heart.”
This is not the first time people in the game community have shown they are human. The guys at Penny Arcade started Child’s Play to give back to the community. It was also to combat the negative image people perceive around video games.
Child’s Play seeks to improve the lives of children in hospitals around the world through the kindness and generosity of the video game industry and the power of play. When gamers give back, it makes a difference!
So what response did the ceasefire bring out of people?
You’ve got to be kidding. They are putting down their “virtual bullets”!!!! Is everyone clueless here or do liberals only despise guns because of agenda pushing but find kids killing people in video games for entertainment acceptable. The producer of this mass crap has the nerve to say violent video games doesn’t generate killers – yet the mass killer of our babies played violent games. You can’t condemn guns without condemning this stuff which caters to sick individuals who crave killing for entertainment or worse, preys on the minds of the mentally ill until killing becomes reality.
“””I’m confused, growing up we’ve all been told to show love and support in anyway we know how.”””—- Because it isn’t actual support. It does nothing but make the person partaking in the event feel better about themselves. Yes, call me a cynic but putting crosses beside roads where people die or having a ceasefire in a video game or praying for the deceased does absolutely nothing for the deceased. The time to honor someone is while they’re alive. Once a person is dead the grieving need real support not nonsense that amounts to nothing more than platitudes and lip service.
Sigh, I guess the message was not clear enough…
NOTE: Let that second comment sink in for a moment from MegaProcrastination
Before I hit the note of the crescendo…
Some may wonder why I am focusing on one aspect of the shootings and that is the subject of video games.
It is a valid criticism, I am taking the time to write an article on a multi-faceted tragedy about one aspect. Some might say it is callous to concentrate on the subject of gaming when something bigger has happened. To say I am desensitized to violence, to only care about the attack on something I have a passion about.
My only answer can be human nature. It is a part of our nature to defend that which we care about. As some who know me, I am trying to forge a career in game design. So for me it is more personal then for others. In addition, I cannot sit idly by and let people add the fuel of ignorance to the conversation. Yes, this is selfish on my part. I would only ponder would you sit by if people attacked your profession with ignorance.
And this isn’t to say valid criticism isn’t valid (see what I did there?) However, it is the ignorance that is bothersome.
Which leads me to this:
Sorry I’m about to flip some tables…
Game design is all the constant questioning of decisions. It’s the pursuit of an elusive perfection that can never be obtained. Every design choice made will be questioned, and it is not for the faint hearted. As with many creative fields, not only will you scrutinize every decision you make, but other people are more than ready to off their own opinions. Moreover, those design decisions are made for many reasons. However, one thing I can tell you is that there is not one collective force driving those decisions and questions.
That is not to say that some make games that are aimed at purely violence and carnage. However, to simply focus on .000000000001% of the industries output is ludicrous and sadly way over the lines of ignorance but pure stupidity. I almost want to say that ignoring is the best way to confront it but it is not.
Gaming encompasses so many different thoughts and emotions that saying the industry is about carnage and violence ignores the fact that there is more than one type of game genre. This is as good as saying TV shows are only sitcoms, while ignoring drama, soap operas and sports. Moreover, even worse is the attack of those that make the games.
I know some of the people who make the games that people say are killing trainers. To say that there only goal in life is create games that teach children to kill is an even more pure form of stupidity. A stupidity has no brain behind it, because the logic to get there is beyond reproach.
For some reason, there is this thought that games can only be for children or youth. Moreover, those same people spouting this belief will merrily go onto point out how they cannot wait for their favorite adult movie or latest book that is about subject matter that is taboo. Instead, they point the finger at something they do not care about.
They seem to forget the one finger pointing, three pointing back rule.
LET ME MAKE THIS CLEAR: All forms of entertainment share the same similarities, characteristics. It the form of the vessel and medium that changes. Books, Music, Games, TV, Movies all have subject matter which encompasses different ages, genre and thoughts.
It sometimes make me wonder why people who read books ever move on from Green Eggs and Ham or why Dora the Explorer is not a prime time staple for TV viewing.
LET MAKE THIS CLEAR ALSO: Gaming is not mandatory nor the only form of entertainment.
Again, it has not to say valid criticism isn’t valid. To bring up the question of game violence is a valid criticism. However, to attack an industry, a group of individuals and imply they never have thought through this question is ignorance. It conjures up images of a group meeting in the secret of the night, diabolically trying to figure out ways to destroy the innocence of childhood.
Am I supposed to swallow that sewage-filled cup with a smile on my face?
It is as if gamers and game designers are not real people or somehow not human:
I opened a chapbook in front of her, and she touched its pages, and then she took the magazine from me and shut it and kind of massaged its cover with her thumb. Then she dropped the magazine into the folds of the bed and reached for my hand, and she took my hand and squeezed it.
And squeezed it again. And then I cried, and she squeezed my hand another time, and I looked up and right into her eyes, which were wet and meaningful and so clear, and her face was obscured by the breathing mask but her eyebrows were furrowed the way they always are when I cry, and I apologized to her for hurting her and for being so sad, and I looked down again at our clasped hands, and then I folded myself in half and cried into both our hands.
And then I pitched forward off the chair and onto my knees and I cried into her bedsheets and kissed her hand, because there was that mask forcing air into her and there was too little of her face to kiss.
One final point, as this always bears repeating when the subject of violence and gaming comes up:
WARNING [NSFW] LANGUAGE
It’s been cancelled… FOREVER
When it came to this article I wanted someway to convey how seeing, hearing and reading the criticism on gaming stuck me. I wanted to make it crystal clear how these statements sound to me. I wanted to convey a thought that would spell it out in layman’s terms that would make sense to the general public. How me as a gamer and game designer saw the criticism of video games during tragedy .
MOTHER’S DAY HAS BEEN CANCELED
See using the same logic that I saw this past weekend, that is the best way I can put it. Seeing as the shooter had a loving mother, it must be her fault and seeing as she is the only mother in the whole universe they must all be like her. So the only solution to a tragedy like this is to cancel Mother’s Day.
and in other news pigs are flying…