The Nature of the Uninformed Beast

by Justin Harwood 

Well, folks, itās happened again. The entertainment industry, and video gaming in particular, are being blamed for the ills of society. Earlier this decade it was rap music and hip-hop that were going to bring the downfall of western civilization, and now it appears to be time for gaming to take a ride on that lovely roller coaster. Now, to start off with, Iāll admit that the more violent games being produced these days could be linked to child violence, if only as a contributing factor. But, at the same time, anyone with enough foresight and intelligence to look at the facts would know that not all games are bloody and violent.

In truth, what we have here is not a case of wrong information, just a lack of it. Itās not that politicians, angry parent groups, and other malcontents donāt have a sound argument against violent video games; they do. Unfortunately, they incorrectly label the gaming industry as a whole, not as a group of many different games and themes. Therefore, all games get lumped together, and you and I are left fearing that an attempt to prevent violence will affect the next Final Fantasy game.

Therefore, what we as an RPG community should, in my humble opinion, do, is not scream and shout and rant; it makes us look bad. Instead, we should attempt to present those in charge of making these decisions with a full and complete look at the gaming industry. Many people out there do not realize there are games that fall between Mario and Doom. Far too many people donāt even know the difference between the two.

If we can educate those in power, give them knowledge of the depth and scope of the games available to children, then I believe we stand a good chance at convincing people that there is not a need for direct governmental censorship of the industry. When the public finally realizes that every game is not Doom, we will have a shot at stopping this wave of criticism before it goes to far. Our greatest ally at this point in time is going to be educating the masses, not drawing battle lines.

Remember, we are trying to seem better than the fools on the hill ranting and raving about how ćevilä our favorite pass time is. The facts ARE on our side here. The problem, is, many people are unaware of them. Letās try and change that. Now if this approach doesnāt work, then I stand willing and ready to defend my right to game. But, please, letās try the calm and reasonable first.