Video Games and the Media - xplay92 Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Video Games and the Media

Now many of you probably know what is going to be said here based on the title but anyways here it goes. Video games, we love them, we loath them, and we constantly talk about them. Whether that game is Final Fantasy, or Grand Theft Auto we cannot stop playing them and asking for more. But what about those non-gamers? Most importantly the media?

Media and non-gamers alike are known to question whether games are healthy for us and their children and also begin asking themselves when developers are taking it too far. They like to assume that most gamers are the homophobic, racist, teenagers on Xbox Live and that we are fat. But when in fact most gamers are nice, team-playing, regular people who just want some downtime from a long day at work or school.

The media is very well known to take small bits of facts that would not seem like a big deal but they take, shape, and mold it into something that isn't true. Now I'm not trying to say that you should avoid or revolt against the media. I'm just trying to say that you shouldn't believe everything that comes from them, especially when it comes to video games. A great example of this would easily be the most recognized, the Grand Theft Auto series.

The GTA series while fun is known to have some problems with the media. Mostly regarding the fact that you can basically do anything to anyone. Want to steal a car? Go ahead. Want to beat up a homeless man just because he's sitting on the street? Sure why not? How about having intercourse with a prostitute/girlfriend and then kill them afterwards? Yeah go ahead. While many of these things are in fact terrible no one in there right conscious mind would go out and do any of this.

Now the media likes to take this information and spread it across the world to parents and adults saying that this will bring up the next public teen shooting. Jack Thomson, a famous lawyer known to degrade games, likes to use GTA as a cornerstone of bad games, but had some issues when he bought GTA for his kid and too commonly used it as a defense that he is now not allowed to use games as an excuse anymore. Back in October of 2004 a game called GTA: San Andreas was released and sparked a huge debate when the main character could have interrelations with another woman in a playable sex scene. I won't say "Hot Coffee" since that has been officially resolved with Rock Star and the term cannot be used in that way. Now the media tried to ask if developers went to far, why they would add such a thing, and why doesn't this get an A-rating. I can sum this up in one easy sentence. THE PLAYER HAS A CHOICE! The player has a choice whether or not to engage in it, and it is not even part of the main storyline making it near impossible to find. And the media is blinded by what the game is actually about. GTA while it lets you do horrible things, is pretty much about trying to rise to the top of fame and fortune when you start out with nothing. Basically that is the premise of the series and not about mindless killing.

Another game the media picked on that got a lot of coverage was the critically acclaimed game Mass Effect. This is where the media pretty much lost there credibility when trying to portray games in a ugly manner. The game Mass Effect also had a sex scene where the player could have sex with either gender, (depending on which one they chose in the beginning), with one of those being an alien. Media went into an outrage about it since it was a cutscene and that the developers would show such a thing. Now let me tell you, I've played Mass Effect, I loved it, I saw that scene and it was definitely not what the media said it was. Now if you remember the debate are good friend Geoff Keighley was on it and tried to explain that all it was, was an alien side boob and some kissing and nothing more. But noooo, the media didn't want to hear an opinion from someone who knew what they were talking about. So they ignored him throughout the whole interview arguing that games are turning kids bad. And get this they never even played the game to the scene so they didn't have first-party facts about it. So the media lost badly on that one for lack of information and trying to make the game seem as bad as they portrayed it.

There are many other games that are deemed bad for us and seen evil but it doesn't have to be this way. We gamers and companies do everything in are power to try and inform the uninformed. We have the ESRB, we have warning screens before the game starts, we have information on the game, and even have shown that games help promote brain activity and stimulation more so then television and watching a movie, they even have us. A great quote said by TheGameOverThinker who you can see right here 

said that "the media is afraid, afraid of the unknown, afraid of not knowing what it truly is". I agree with him since the media is afraid of this so called video game and once they see something that is bad they consider it bad for us children. It's like trying to introduce your great grandpa into playing Halo. With all the fancy controls and buttons, of course he's going to be intimidated by it, thus making angry complaints about the game.

In one year this game created by Quantic Dreams will be coming out, it's called Heavy Rain. I cannot wait for it, it will be fun, and possibly change the way we see storytelling. Only problem is that I can't help but predict that it is going to lead the same path as every other game that has been portrayed by the media. It doesn't have to be this way though. That is why the media, gamers, and non-gamers alike need to stay informed and enjoy the game for what it is and not for what is portrayed as violent, or sexist. So please, stay informed, and help future games not be demonized because of information that is irrelevant or non important. Besides we have bigger issues to worry about then violence being portrayed in games.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

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