Have Games Lost Their Innocence?

This article originally appeared here

When I was a kid, a game was running around with my friends playing Ghostbusters. Video games were something very different, something you tended to play alone, or maybe with one extra player. The pinnacle of “social” gaming was to have a tournament of something like Street Fighter, where you’d each pick a character and take turns playing.

Today it’s become something of a beast, and every aspect of video games is scutinised on the internet. Budgets for AAA titles rival big-budget movies. Marketing is off the scale. There’s an entire second industry in telling people how to play games right.

And there’s the hate.

This stuff started off small, and people dismissed it. Trash talk during tournaments and online play. Arguments over which console was superior.

Today, a video game critic can receive what amount to threats of domestic terrorism so frequently that it’s regarded as being ordinary for them, and no longer considered a viable threat.

Let that sink in.

Anita Sarkeesian receives so many threats of being assaulted, raped, murdered, and blown up that the FBI didn’t think that someone threatening the worst school massacre in American history was to be taken seriously as a danger to Sarkeesian and to the public.

This is what hate brings us. A world where the more someone is threatened, the less their safety is taken seriously. Where the response of many who hear that such violence has been threatened is to accuse the threatened person of falsifying the threat (see the comments to the article here).

I don’t know when things started to turn so dark in video-gaming*. What I do know is the video-game industry is changing. More diverse people than ever are playing games of all kinds. They are becoming an ever more mainstream form of entertainment, and as such will, and should, be subject to a broader range of criticism than graphics and gameplay. Whoever these people are, who think they’re entitled to hurl accusations and mount hate campaigns and send terror threats, if they’re serious, they need to be arrested. If they’re “just kidding”, they need to wake up and realise that the world doesn’t revolve around them and their insecurities. They’re not champions protecting anything precious and sacred. They’re selfish children, desperately clinging to a pastime which is no longer exclusively theirs.

Games have already lost their innocence. Now it’s time for them to grow up, too. No-one, anywhere, deserves to be threatened and have their lives disrupted just for expressing an opinion or critiquing a game.

*As a roleplayer, I tend to think of “gaming” as referring to more than just video games

– Paul Anthony Shortt

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Paul is an author, parent, and gamer. He believes in magic and monsters. In ghosts and fairies. The creatures that lurk under the bed and inside the closet. The things that live in the dark, and the heroes who stand against them. Above all, he believes that stories have the power to change the world, and the most important stories are the ones which show that monsters can be beaten.

http://paulanthonyshortt.blogspot.ie/

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About pashortt

A child at heart who turned to writing and roleplaying games when there simply weren’t enough action figures to play out the stories he wanted, Paul Anthony Shortt has been writing all his life. He believes in magic and monsters. In ghosts and fairies. The creatures that lurk under the bed and inside the closet. The things that live in the dark, and the heroes who stand against them. Above all, he believes that stories have the power to change the world, and the most important stories are the ones which show that monsters can be beaten. He lives in Ireland with his wife Jen and their dogs, Pepper and Jasper. Their first child, Conor William Henry Shortt, was born on July 11th, 2011. He passed away three days later, but brought love and joy into their lives and those of their friends. The following year, Jen gave birth to twins, Amy and Erica. Their fourth child, Olivia, was born in January, 2014.
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One Response to Have Games Lost Their Innocence?

  1. Prof.mcstevie says:

    With a growing popularity and more importantly growing worth exceeding even music, video games attracted a lot of the worst kinds of people, who honestly joined the small group of negative people already there.

    The problem that really comes from thinking so little of these threats is if just 1 in 1000 threats is from someone who genuinely has the mind to do good on it, someone will die. This has happened before and it will absolutely happen again if dangerous threats aren’t treated with at least some consideration of seriousness.

    Like

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