All too often is gaming taken for granted.
You’d have it heard it all before: “GTA turned my man into a murder machine”, harks a heartbroken mother. In swoops the media, adding fuel to the fire – three cases of murder in just the last week may be linked to the new Call Of Duty, it seems. Technophobic parents might turn to violent games to excuse their child of wrong-doings, but I understand it very differently.
All too often is gaming taken for granted. All too often do people believe it to be bad.
Yet, not often enough do I see the news praising a break-through in video-game technology. When the Wii made families get up and move with the likes of Wii Sports or Wii Fit, where was the celebration and the fanfare? Where was the praise and the support?
No. All too often do the public blame games on what is wrong. I can see where they’re coming from; World of Warcraft seems to harbour the capacity to be “as addictive as crack cocaine”, according to the Daily Mail in 2009.
But while the public is caught up in mass panic, it’s very easy to forget the reality of the situation. It was one boy, out of the many millions of gamers, who happened to out-stretch his gaming capacity. While this may reflect a portion of the gaming community, it cannot begin to reflect the amount of responsible gamers out there, who take control of not only an in-game avatar, but also their own well-being and lives.
Responsible gamers do exist. But the media can’t get a story out of that, can they?
Thus do we see gamers represented as a problem; from just a small glimpse of what just happened to go wrong. Now, we bear the tag of being hopeless and lazy, outnumbered by the public opinion.
Should I have to disclose my interest in gaming for the sake of seeming responsible? I don’t think I should. Yet gaming is universally perceived as a hindrance: “Oh, he plays games. He must be detached from life.” But have you considered the idea that gaming is a beneficiary tool? For example, an exercise in valuable workplace skills?
Yes, you read that right: work-place skills. What are some traits that an employer wants from their employees? Teamwork, communicative skills, time management, and more. While some people might get this experience from opportunity, what about those of us who just aren’t that lucky – where will we practice our skills?
Take to a controller and play a team-based game; why not? Left 4 Dead, for example. Sure, it’s zombies and violence. But never before have I seen a community of people who have perfected the art of verbal communication; gamers who give orders, gamers who strategize on the fly; gamers who overcome a challenge by simply planning and working together as a team.
All too often is gaming taken for granted. Yet as a gamer, I perceive it very differently.