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The Myth of the Media Myth Article Up

March 26, 2008

My new article, The Myth of the Media Myth, is up over at the Escapist.

In other news, I am shocked at how many emails department chairs receive during the first week of classes. I’d tell you more, but then I’d never catch up.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Patrick permalink
    March 26, 2008 11:24 pm

    Man, everyone is more conservative than I am. 😛

    The Joystiq editor comparing JFK and Columbine to snuff films – sheesh. Stuff like this is the very vitality and cutting edge of the medium.

    For the record, I think Ray Kurzweil is too conservative because he anticipates the Singularity in twenty years, instead of five. P_{

  2. James Caskey permalink
    March 27, 2008 2:55 am

    Whenever I get together with family and end up meeting new people, they love to talk to my sister whose studying chemistry to become a doctor. They talk about the school she’s in, the med schools she’s looking at, what kind of doctor she wants to be, their experiences with doctors and doctors they know, etc, etc.

    Then they get to me and I tell them I go to the Savannah College of Art and Design, and am majoring in Interactive Design and Game Development.

    “Ooh, what’s that?”
    “Learning to make video games.”
    “Oh….okay.”

    And that’s the end of that.

    I suppose in many cases a lack of interest is better than a mis-informed, negative position, but sometimes I feel like it’d be nice to have a real conversation with them about it.

    That said, I thoroughly enjoyed your article.

  3. March 27, 2008 8:58 am

    Awesome article! I’ve dugg it and I will write about in my blog.

  4. March 27, 2008 10:38 am

    I think that this issue is a circular one too. Parents don’t understand games, so they raise children who like but struggle to really understand games themselves. And this leads to the parents feared situations where a child plays a game that is wholly out of their age range, or simply plays it way too much.

    Do we hear a lot about people who watch TV far too obsessively? Not really, and I think thats in a large part that now when we’re kids our parents watch TV with us, and teach implicitly and explicitly what healthy viewing habits are. There always comes the point where you have to do your own thinking and realizations, but having your parents to guide you is a vast improvement.

    This is something that videogaming decidedly lacks at this point, because of fear, or disinterest, or lack of understanding. I definitely think that, especially in that regards, it is a fear of the unknown, specifically that their children will partake in something the parents do not know how to properly monitor.

  5. March 27, 2008 11:08 am

    Awesome article.

    I believe the media not only perpetuates the problem but plays its part in creating the problem. It is pretty difficult to argue against that when the many people only get news from mainstream media sources that seemingly are more interested in entertaining the masses rather than presenting legitimate news and issues that will effect your everyday life and future. If I want news CBS, FOX, MSNBC, ABC and other sources are not the place I look. More often they spend time misleading the public and twisting the truth rather than presenting an informative segment about a particular issue. I won’t even begin to talk about the way they twist their polls and the supposed public view. Clearly they represent a biased stance and a present a misinformed view on nearly every topic. Not impressive.

    In a time when our country is staring countless social and economic issues in the face many are still trying to blame art and entertainment for the failures of our education system, poor parenting and ignorance. It is almost like some wish to distract from the real issues that are really troubling the public.

    A camera hungry lawyer with a personal vendetta and an arrogant southern psychiatrist attempting to enforce his moral value upon his audience and patients are not the biggest problem this medium faces. In terms of a lawyer he really doesn’t seem that much of a worry after you’ve read how he conducts himself in court. He is obsessed with himself. Constantly researching his name online to troll any blog or online news article that mentions his name. I hope one day to become that important and full of myself.

    It most definitely is the pubic that is not properly informed and educated about games. But you can’t blame the public… look at who they get their news from.

    “What the industry needs now is for each one of you to get out there and be an ambassador for games, for game culture, for the profession of game development.” – Jason Della Rocca

    I agree with Jason Della Rocca’s statement above. We have a culture to represent and its difficult to find a place where it is accurately depicted. (Except for inside gaming culture and the game industry itself of course) It is up to game developers and gamers to be sure this trend is reversed. It is time to teach everyone about video games so the anti-game advocates and the mainstream media can be seen as the dishonest ignorant fear mongers they currently are.

    It also doesn’t help that the politicians we elect are obsessed with children. Not that children aren’t important but they way they wish to “protect the children’ are often actually ways they can force their moral value onto you and take away your rights.

    Sounds like I hold a grim opinion of the future of video games but I really don’t. It really is just about a generation or two going away and the younger generations taking over. Then that generation can blame another art/entertainment for social problems and the problem can repeat itself with another medium. History repeats itself because humanity refuses to learn from past mistakes.

  6. April 2, 2008 4:03 pm

    The hue and cry seems out of proportion to gamemakers, and it is, but perhaps not in the ways they are thinking about.

    The hoopla wouldn’t be a hoopla except for the limited range of genres/content found in modern high-end videogames.

    Contrast with the 80’s when there was a much wider variety of game types on the shelf: the pop culture and media culture were fascinated with computer games and the vibe was almost always positive, if not glowing.

    A dominating genre sticks out like a sore thumb. Violence, particularly gun violence, is a profitable staple, and because there are few other existing genres to buffer the criticism about violence, “games” are an easy and largely defenseless target for the high and mighty.

    If the spread of genres represented by our top selling videogames could be as varied as, say, what’s available in modern boardgames, criticism of game violence and myths about game violence would likely be more normalized. A detractor couldn’t make such a strong case anymore.

    Food for thought?

    Personally, I just make the game I want to make, and I’d suggest others be about doing the same. I don’t pay attention to all of that media hype and “mythmaking”. I try to not even give it lip service most of the time.

    Most of it –not ALL of it…I still empathize with parents and understand their concerns– but most of it is just so much blah blah woof woof, as they say. There’s nothing to fight here. There is only making games.

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