So You Think Videogames Are Bad? - ADAMMWOOLLEY Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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So You Think Videogames Are Bad?

**I'm aware I've already tackled this issue to some degree, but watching this movie really made me rethink my approach. I am currently working on another list (don't give me that look) but decided to post this in the meantime. Enjoy (or not)!!**

As gamers, we often find ourselves locking horns with anti-videogame extremists over the perceived "evils" that are believed to be rampant within the games we know and love. Last week, I tried using logic and a few personal examples to illustrate why bashing our games is nothing more than a lack of accountability, but I neglected one fact; those people are not prone to using logic. Instead of repeating this mistake, I've decided to fight fire with fire. I will be just as ridiculous with my argument as the opponents of videogames choose to be. I implore you to venture with me in a noble quest of fighting the absurd with something as equally absurd.

 Yeah, I know, I'm digging up a dead horse and pulverizing it, but here's a different twist on the subject that will serve as a message all you gamer haters out there: if you believe videogames are detrimental to our youth and society in general, then you must also fight against Peter Pan.

That's right, the beloved Disney classic that just recently saw a re-release with its "diamond edition," whatever the heck that even means. Was Blu-Ray edition too obvious a route to travel? Anyhow, one of the benefits of being a parent to small children is the fact that you can watch all sorts of classic children's movies and cartoons and not just out of wistfulness. They're like little excuses to act like a kid again without judgment being passed. Unfortunately, those memories are quickly tainted when you view them through the prism of adulthood. Peter Pan was not that innocent classic I remembered. In fact, there were moments that felt very Grand Theft Auto-esque. Here are 5 examples of how Peter Pan is worse than any videogame.

But Adam, videogames contain substance abuse. .

Disney depicts Captain Hook's portly first mate as a loveable buffoon these days. Yes, a loveable little drunk who likes to play with pistols and knives. That's right, Mr. Smee is a booze hound (among other things, but we'll get to that later), and he gets schnockered right in front of your kids. Worse yet, he's visibly upset when some of his precious liquor spills to the floor. Indeed, a shining example for our youth. Not only does this make drinking look harmless, it makes sipping on grandpa's cough syrup look like a blast.

And then there's Hook's two pronged "cigar" holder that he puffs on throughout the movie. The word cigar is in quotes because I find it hard to believe that it's just tobacco in there. He's a pirate with a hook for a hand. Perhaps there's a little something to numb the pain? With no government or law enforcement in Neverland to try and regulate the drug trade, is it so hard to believe a pirate is doing a little self-medicating? If you have any familiarity with pirates you know they're a dubious lot (and if not, Google it), so this is not exactly some far reaching stretch of the imagination. At least when substance abuse happens in videogames, there are usually consequences involved, making them a far better instructor of life lessons.

Okay, but videogames depict racially insensitive stereotypes.

I have six words for you; "What made the red man red?" Yes, this catchy little tune is not only racially insensitive to Native Americans, but it's available to download as a ringtone so you can seem like a racist even on the go. I mean, seriously? I tried to count all the stereotypes used to portray the "Injuns," as they put it, but I quickly gave up as they are hurled in your direction at break neck pace. And the Chief isn't even dignified with a name. He's just plain old Big Chief. That's not a glaring cliché at all (you can't see, but I just rolled my eyes indicating sarcasm).

While it may be true that the game industry gave birth to a particularly offensive game called Custer's Revenge, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it hasn't been experienced by nearly the amount of people that have seen Peter Pan. Also, that particular game isn't revered in any way, unlike this movie which has been labeled a "classic." So sure, videogames may at times boast a few stereotypes, but I'd argue nothing to the level that Peter Pan does.

That may be so, but videogames contain violence that can desensitize our youth.

Well, I guess you got me there. I mean, all Captain hook did was shoot one of his crew for overextending his jam session. Can't a pirate sing a few sea chanteys without the fear of catching a bullet in the noggin? Is this Neverland or Compton? While we're on the subject of Hook's violent transgressions, what about the fact that he wants to eviscerate a boy who is a teenager at most? True, Peter did cut off his hand and fed it to a croc (yay, more violence), but doesn't anyone else find his obsession to inflict serious harm on a minor troubling? What example does that set? His violent streak led the man to play a game of Unabomber with Peter, fire his cannons towards children, threaten even more children with a walk down the plank if they wouldn't join his crew, kidnap a girl in her teens (age is a guess) and then left her with the intention of drowning her, and constantly abuses Mr. Smee.

Speaking of Smee, isn't he the one who told Hook that he and the rest of the scurvy crew would like to get back to scuttling ships and slashing throats like the good ol' days? That's right, that harmless bumbling pirate referred to his past of slashing throats as the good ol' days. He even attempts to "pop a cap" in Peter Pan. All this violence was crammed into 76 minutes. This might leave you wondering why the Grand Theft Auto series is so soft.

Oh yeah, well what about the way videogames portray women.

As valid as that point may be, I'd argue Peter Pan is still worse. Take for example that within the first half hour, every female character introduced to Wendy tries to murder her in a fit of jealousy (what do you know, more violence). That's right, Disney would have you believe that the women of Neverland are a bunch of jealous, homicidal witches who were scantily clad before it was cool. I suppose they felt as though enough damaging material was lavished upon the poor natives, as the women in the tribe were at least dressed appropriately for a children's movie and didn't try to exterminate Wendy (although she was referred to as a "squaw' and ordered to fetch some wood, so they don't escape the negativity altogether).

From Tinkerbell's attempt to have the Lost Boys "shoot the Wendy bird down" (in real life we call that conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder) to the mermaids' effort to drown her (once again, attempted murder), you would think Disney would take an opportunity to show that this behavior is wrong. Nope, the mermaids were "just playing" so no punishment necessary, and Tinkerbell was banished for a week. This is the proverbial slap on the wrist in terms of sentencing. These are all lovely lessons for our daughters to learn, wouldn't you agree? So while videogames don't do a great job with their portrayal of women, Peter Pan goes the extra mile to really enforce that oh so negative image.

Well, they're not rated "M" for nothing, you know.

Exactly, those videogames that are not suitable for children are rated appropriately. You're warned ahead of time that the game has content that our young ones just shouldn't bear witness to. You know what the ultra-inappropriate Peter Pan is rated? It's rated "G," as in what they must want you to believe Peter is. Here's a teenage (again, a guess) boy who can fly, has a gang of minions ready to go to battle for him, a rival gang (pirates), a harem of women apparently willing to kill for his affection, and he takes kids from their homes to join his little gang. I may not be that familiar with the criteria necessary for one to be labeled a "G," but I don't think I'm going too far in categorizing Peter as such.

Am I advocating the banning of Peter Pan? No, of course I'm not. I'm just trying to illustrate that you can demonize anything, and it isn't that difficult. In fact, I could do this weekly with a new children's title each time (don't worry, I don't intend to) and have enough material to blog about until the day I kick the bucket. Instead of working under the notion that we could somehow create a utopian society by simply banning or restricting violent or inappropriate content in entertainment, we should consider the fact that humans have never been able to successfully establish such a society. Even before modern forms of entertainment came into existence. We are inherently flawed, and I don't see that fact changing.

Did Peter Pan make any of you violent criminals? The likely answer is no (although I won't speak for all of you), just as videogames certainly won't make a person become anything they are not already capable of in the first place. Until we are willing to address the fact that the problem lies more inward than outward, more absurdities will continue in regard to what is acceptable to blame for our societal ills. In the meantime, I'll continue to let my son watch one of his favorite movies (over and over and over again), while taking the time to explain to him what is and isn't socially acceptable language and behavior when questionable scenes take place. I wonder if that same logic could be used elsewhere. Oh, sorry, I forgot I wasn't supposed to use logic. You know what they say about old habits.

 

 

 

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