Finally, A Comment About Texas and Counter Strike

Posted by | May 4, 2007

Via Joystik, Dennis McCauley of Game Politics writes a column about politics and gaming for Joystik blog called The Political Gamer. This week’s article is all about how the climate has been changing recently: it’s been getting damn cold.

In the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings the nation has been antsy. As everyone has seen is that when people are under pressure the get sloppy and wrongheaded, such as totally jumping the gun over a map because it was created in a video game:

But Hwang ran afoul of school authorities and, for a time, the law, when he shared the map with school buds for online CS matches. A parent recognized the school being used as a backdrop for the shoot ’em up and sounded the alarm. In short order, Hwang’s home was searched by local police and the senior, due to graduate in a few short weeks, found himself transferred to an alternative education facility and barred from attending his own graduation ceremony.

Of late years, people in various spheres have been noticing that video games seem to have become the contemporary bugaboo. Every era has one, something that raises even innocent or otherwise ordinary events to a level of hysteria inscrutable to less restive minds.

This can only get worse before it gets better.

The problem is in the culture. There is a lot of misunderstanding about video games and the industry that is running rampant to create this swell of shock, surprise, and awe—and people will be looking to the news media for explanations and comfort. Unfortunately, there they find Jack Thompson pumping out totally baseless accusations that proved to be untrue and politicians who want to make quick popularity by being tough on this newest phantom threatening society.

That’s exactly what people will end up doing: battling shadows, swinging at phantoms—and in the end, a great deal of the punches will land square in the jaw of people like Paul Hwang.

Who didn’t deserve any of it.

What can we do about this? We can speak up. We can point out, vocally and carefully, when people are totally or utterly wrong about an issue dealing with video games. We can show our disdain and distaste for people like Jack Thompson by sending letters into the media organizations who prop him up as an authority and point out that he doesn’t bring anything helpful to the table. As gamers it is important that we be the beginning of the shift in our culture. This is the power of “No.”

No, we won’t stand behind school boards who apply harsher penalties for gamers that would be ignored if it was anyone else. No, we won’t put up with journalists who take the easy way out and don’t research their subjects. No, we will not feed trolls; but we will promote environments cognizant that video games are just another form entertainment—like books, movies, operas, and music.

Right now, we would tell everyone to game on, but we’re off to watch a friend of ours play Grand Theft Auto.

Game on.

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