Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Night Lines

I would like to commend Jake Tapper and his crew for the great work they did on the War Games story that aired tonight on Nightline. It raised some good questions about who is getting paid as a so-called expert, and what expertise they actually have.

Unfortunately the anchor, Cynthia McFadden, had to add her own commentary at the end of the piece. Instead of saying something intelligent and giving the viewer some extra information, she chose to disparage the game featured in the story, and also the people who play it. She commented that 'Certainly none of us would endorse such a game, or allow our children to play it.'

Many of the people who play it aren't children. Most are probably in the vaunted 18-54 demographic to which broadcasters are increasingly trying to appeal. I'm sure attracting that demo is part of the reason for the current format of the show.

A Reuters article from a few weeks ago reported that the gaming industry has an $18 billion impact on the nation's economy. What does the gaming community think about the news media? Gamers feel they have a target on their backs. Publicity seeking zealots like Jack Thompson villify their hobby so he can make money. What's worse is that he exploits greiving families to do so. Gamers are not the anti-social gunmen-in-training that the national media make them out to be. The sick individuals who perpetrate these killings would do so anyway. Their parents have failed them by not being involved enough to teach them the values they ought to have, or see the direction their lives are taking.

Games are not the problem. I play them and consider myself a gamer. I am also a journalist nearing the age of 30. Playing video games hasn't caused me, or millions of other gamers, to attempt to take out a building full of people. If games had that kind of power, gamers would have already taken the country by force.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Senator. I can't offer any comment to the story on Nightline, mainly because I'm usually asleep. However you are right. The Gaming Industry has been around for decades and it's marketing their products to the working demo, 18 to 50, with disposible income. We are the group that played the old 2600, the NES, and so on. And while I was growing up I did not feel the need to jump on turtles or swing across platforms with a whip. What has to be done it that parents need to moitor what their kids play and explain the line between fantasy and the real world.