The lights are on
Power Member - Level 8
Infinity Ward is definitely stirring up plenty of controversy surrounding its upcoming title, Modern Warfare 2, but, while some outrage and disappointment is not misplaced, my feeling is that we missed a major part of the story. Gamers were upset about the homophobic acronym used by IW, Fight Against Grenade Spam or F.A.G.S., during a promotional Youtube "PSA" about the common use of random grenades in online multiplayer. I, for one, think this is encouraging.
Personally, I am disappointed in Infinity Ward. They made a distasteful joke which is bound to happen sometimes, since humor is found when we push the boundaries of our comfort zone. However, in my opinion, the gaming community has been blinded by the weight of the forthcoming triple-A title. We did not notice the fact that gamers drew attention to the controversy, gamers that rejected the joke in distaste, gamers that are stereotyped for their homophobia.
I find this a surprising moment. I am very reluctant to go online for competitive gaming because of the hostile environment towards any minority. Hate speech is frequent during online gaming. I know I have been called slurs while playing, none of which even apply to me. Homophobia runs rampant on the internet and on gaming forums, yet the gaming community just rejected the irresponsible joke as unacceptable. This is a proud moment for gamers. We have shown that as a community we are not necessarily dominated by the intolerant and ignorant.
The "PSA" was certainly meant to be a joke, but it became distasteful with its first slur, against women, and the second against homosexuals. Most of the debate has surrounded the second slight, but gamers are equally reknowned for their sexism. Admittedly, many still excuse the joke suggesting people "lighten up," but nearly every major blog and gaming publication came out against the mistake. IW eventually "apologized" for the ad, but the most interesting part of the story for me is the pressure IW came under from the gaming community. The story did not spread to traditional media outlets, so little outside pressure was brought to bear. Gamers saw the indecency and corrected it. Gamers proved that they can be as responible and mature as any other community.