The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 11
This isn't the blog I had planned for the night, but the
piece I was working on is the next episode in my conspiracy theory lineup, and
I just didn't feel right posting it today. Not yet. It's hard to focus on
playing video games (or blogging about them) when there is so much violence
escalating around the world. It's an unstable situation with riotous
demonstrations occurring at several of our overseas embassies. No doubt you
likely heard about the murder of our U.S. Ambassador serving in Libya and three
of our American diplomats. I only learned
this morning that one of them was a fellow gamer, a dedicated player of EVE
Online, who shared his concerns over his safety and security with a guild
member hours before the attack that would result in his death. It is no doubt a
volatile subject and one that I could, and perhaps should, avoid covering and maybe
just skip blogging for the night. But running from a challenge is not in my
nature, so it is with trepidation that I tread lightly about the matter at hand
as I carefully navigate around the sensitive nature often associated with
religious and political expression.
It's natural during these times to feel a sense of
reluctance about playing video games especially more mature video games with
violent content, when it is happening in the real world.
How can you sit there and play video games while people are fighting
Why don't you blog about something that really matters?
What I'm about to share is my own personal feelings describing
how and why I am able to continuing blogging and playing video games during
these periods of heightened conflict. I would never suggest that others should
mirror my own behavior especially if your own personal convictions lean towards
bypassing this activity. However, neither will I judge those who, like me, are
able to continue living life by carrying on with the daily events and
activities that fill our schedules, including those we engage in for
entertainment purposes only.
When I was a kid growing up and even still today, I recall
hearing in the news on more than one occasion, a particular musician was being
blamed for the death of someone, usually as a result of suicide. This list of
musicians blamed for inciting people to take their lives include Ozzy Osbourne,
Judas Priest, Nirvana, Marilyn Manson, and My Chemical Romance (all having been
accused before). I don't know about you, but I didn't quit listening to music
when these accusations occurred. I don't think most people quit listening to
It's estimated that every year 400,000 people die while
exercising or participating in sports events, yet the thought of not playing
sports games because of this seems ridiculous. Likewise, it's estimated every
year 40,000 people are killed in automobile accidents, but not playing
driving/racing games because of this seems just as ridiculous. I am a NASCAR
fan both in real life and in the virtual world, and on February 18, 2001 when
Dale Earnhardt, my favorite driver in the history of the sport, died in a
brutal crash on the final lap of the Daytona 500 I didn't quit watching NASCAR;
I didn't quit driving my car...and I didn't even quit playing NASCAR games. It
was a tragedy and I was broken hearted, but I didn't quit and just give up.
Now of course some will argue that this is different because
the nature of these games is different than sports or driving games...and if
that's how you see it, I can understand and support your perspective. But it's
not how I and I suspect many others see it. I play shooters, and yes they are
violent. But the violence portrayed in video games is not the same as real
While I don't claim to speak for anybody other than myself,
I know firsthand I have met plenty of people along the way who have a similar outlook.
Throughout my career, whether I was deployed to oceans bordering countries that
I wouldn't exactly call our friends, or during my time spent in the sandbox
known as Iraq, I have met hundreds of fellow servicemen and women. Many of
these were gamers. People just like you and me. At the end of a long
challenging day, they just want to go home (or their home away from home) and
play, just like you and me. Playing video games can be relaxing and
therapeutic; it can be an outlet for bottled up emotion; it can be a
distraction when more pressing matters try and overtake your ever waking
thought; it can make you laugh and smile and forget about life's cares, whether
you're alone in your room, playing locally with other buddies or online with
people across the world. I've known plenty of them who in one breath were
talking about their latest escapades in Call of Duty, and in the next they were
putting on their body armor, picking up their rifles and heading off to work. I
recall instances in Iraq when the "incoming artillery" warning sirens would be
going off and I would be lying in my bunk playing my PSP. Nearly every base,
post, fort, FOB or station I have been to has had a Morale, Welfare &
Recreation (MWR) facility and usually in
every instance this facility includes some type of game room where you can go
play video games...and other non-video games like ping pong or pool. The point
is, here are people who see violence somewhat regularly and they don't quit
resting and relaxing...they just keep on playing.
Anyway, I'm sure most of you here, while bothered by the
world events, are still able to continue on with life and playing video games
(and blogging about them), and I don't think there is anything wrong with that.
Obviously each circumstance affects people differently, especially if you had a
personal connection to the event and I think each person has an individual
threshold where they know when it's okay to play and when they just don't have
the desire because of what is going on in life. When we stop living and
enjoying life because we are so troubled by the world events, then the enemy
has won. Fear is a powerful weapon and can be far more damaging than
"Do the thing you fear
most and the death of fear is certain."-Mark
I couldn't in good conscience continue blogging and not
acknowledge this tragic event and the continued escalation of violence and
protests that even at this hour continues to intensify. I don't plan to let it
coerce my life and daily routine but do pray for peaceful resolution and a
quick diffusing of the situation.
In memory of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen
Doherty and the other unidentified victim of this cowardly act of terrorism.
You touched on a lot of hard subjects tactfully there Saint.
I feel the same way to an extent...i have a more military based family, so this is a subject thats really close to home for me. I've seen people boycott games like cod and battlefield because they felt it would tempt there children into a military life. I've been asked how i can play such games when i know my family, my brothers in Afghanistan,Egypt, out in undisclosed locations are getting shot at? I tell them the truth...they'd do the same thing! :)
I think the closer we blur the line between factual stories, and games set in our own time versus fiction and the future or far flung past; the more uncomfortable some people are going to get. In the end though you've got to remember...a game is always just a game. :)
Great blog as alway's! :)
Well stated Saint. Great blog, and my deepest condolences to the families of the departed
Well said my friend, well said.
The way I see it if we stop going about our daily lives and let the fear and sadness get to us we've let the people who commit unspeakable acts of violence get to us. We've let them win. So mourn the dead but do your duty to the living, live your life, because the men and women who gave up their life so you can keep yours would want it that way.
Great blog Saint, I appreciate hearing about this tragedy from someone who put his life on the line every day.
I feel the same way as AustinB. If you cave and change, then the terrorists have won.
What is really sad about this who Libya thing is the Romney campaign trying to politicize it, failing, and then the media attention turned basically to discussing Romney's reaction to the attack instead of focusing on the attack itself.
I think that the very reason for the popularity of games like COD and Battlefield comes from a need on the part of people to try and understand, visualize and connect to the things that they are hearing about. A form of sympathy if you will.
This was a thought provoking read.
Very respectful and empathetic blog. I agree; we can't let bad situations that are essentially out of our control have negative effects on our everyday lives. Horrible things happens to people every single day, and usually the most you can do is acknoweldge the suffering in the world, help out however/if you can, and thank your lucky stars that you're not in a worse place right now than you could be. Today could be anyone of us' last day on this Earth, but living in a constant state of fear is like squandering away what precious time we have. Until that day comes, game on.
About a year ago one of my friends committed suicide, and all of his friends signed their names on a copy of Modern Warfare 2 which was placed in his coffin. As somber as the funeral was, that made me smile; he was going out with the last good Call of Duty to keep him company.
If a friend dies, even someone you know only from a game, it's something that makes us think about life, death and other things. I don't know if it's good or bad, but I don't see anything spectacular or terrifying in this situation. US Embassy was attacked (which for you is probably shocking news) and 3 people were killed inside (which is a nightmare for you I assume), but, people are murdered every day in pretty much everywhere. Most deaths go unrecorded, some are brought up by news and public media.
For example, think about it this way. You feel sad or angry if an American soldier/marine falls in a battle. But why do we not feel sad when 10 Iraqi terrorists fall, who were killed by American soldiers. They are people too, are they not. The only thing that differs an American soldier from Iraqi soldier is the side they have chosen (or have forced to choose). If a person's parents were from Iraq but the person itself were a popular and successful American soldier/citizen, we would feel sad if that person would die. Meanwhile, we would feel angry towards his brothers, who are fighting against Americans in their homeland.
How I see things is the following: "As long as the world does not care about me, I do not care about the world." This means that people are given life, people die and things happen to people and I can do nothing about it. It's not that we have Pre-Crime or something active here. So, as long as this doesn't affect me directly, I really don't care.
The situation here is different, because one of Saint's friends died and this affects Saint more than a random homeless guy dying from thirst or something. But from my own perspective, not much has changed. Only a few less blog posts of the usual kind from Saint.
Saint, my dear buddy, such things can occur every moment! Be strong and it will be over soon...
I think you handled this issue very gracefully and respectfully. That was well put.
Thanks for taking the time to touch on this subject. I've played a lot of different games from MUDs to COD, and on with friends and other service members all on tours overseas. I know if it wasn't for the escape that games can give, the time spent over there would be much more unbearable than it already is.
I know the GI posted the story about EA giving money to veterans through a DLC. Perhaps we could do a gaming fundraiser over the winter break? I know you've organized a few events in the past. Just a thought. Game on Saint (and keep up the great work you do in this wonderful blogging community)!
Well done as usual sir. While I'm not very good at putting into words how I feel about world events such as the ones going on now, I can speak on what happened to Dale Sr. I had never gotten emotional over an athlete/celebrity's death before that day. When the word came through that he had passed, I was absolutely crushed. I felt really stupid that I was crying over such a thing, but I didn't care. He was someone that I grew up following and looking up to.
In the weeks that followed, I tried watching the races. I just couldn't do it, it wasn't the same. I understood the show had to go on, but there was such a void that it didn't seem right. I didn't watch NASCAR for a good couple of years.
Powerful stuff. I am glad you spoke out on it because people need to see both sides. On 9/11 I didn't play a game. Not because I thought it would tarnish the memory but because I wanted to spend some time with my family, my dog, and just enjoy the gifts I was given. I am thankful for all those who serve our country, my sisters and my 3 brothers all served along with our parents. I wanted too but was got a full ride scholarship and my brother talked me into accepting it to play football and I will never for get his reason, "If you aren't playing football, why am I fighting?" Your blog reminded me of his words because why would people stop gaming, if we stop living and doing the things we love then it seems like we dishonor all those who have fought to give us these freedoms. Just my opinion. Thank you so much for the blog.
A friend and I have actually been pretty down the past couple of days because of this whole situation. I just wanted to say thanks, for just discussing it in the way that you did. When anything like this is happening, or something goes wrong in my life, I tend to try and focus on other things.(work, family, gaming, etc) I don't always do this, but it does give me a bit of respite from it all.
Might not be the best way to handle problems, but sometimes I just need to do those things to stay happy and moving I suppose.
As you are fond of saying, Cheers brother.
It is very sad indeed that such an act could be carried out on nearly the same date as such tragedies many years ago. May these brothers rest in peace.