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Good News Never Made The Papers Sell

I know a lot of the readers of this website and the IMAGinewS group already either read Penny Arcade, play video/computer games or both, but I liked this Wil Wheaton article on the utter lack of media attention on the Penny Arcade lads' Child's Play fund-raiser for the Seattle Children's Hospital (especially when compared to their usual reaming of games and gamers) so much that I'm doing my bit to make sure it reaches a broader audience.

Please pass it on to your friends, and, just as importantly, your (and their) parents.

(With apologies to John Williamson for the theft of his lyrics for the title of this post.)


Hi all,

I was reading some of the articles related to this post (http://imagines.herstik.com/archives/000382.html - Good News Never Made The Papers Sell), and I couldn’t help but to think aren’t both sides simplifying the whole argument. We live in a society where we can watch Bruce Willis run around a building for about an hour shooting people, and that doesn’t affect us, however before the movie started we saw snippets for things like coke and adds other movies for 1-2 minuets, and that is supposed to affect us. – ummm no, I don’t think so. I think the real answer lies somewhere in between.

As Alfred Hitchcock proved by adding subliminal elements to movies to intensify the whole emotional roller coaster, people can be programmed. At this point you may be asking yourself “why is this guy a gamer if he thinks this way?” Well that would be because I believe where as professional athletes for more conventional sports are physically adapted to their sports. Most gamers have the proper “mental muscles” for gaming, but lets admit it everyone, we need to acknowledge that there are people out there that aren’t mentally fit enough to get into serious hard core gaming. Just like I know that playing a prop forward position in a professional game of rugby would probably end up with me in hospital.

I have actually seen occasions where people that weren’t fit to game have lost it big time, I was at a party where a guy I was in a dragon warriors campaign with got angry with someone else at the party and he started to scream about his “death vow” (a dragon warriors assassin ability - this guy played an assassin.) Now I know this example seems vague and unfortunately there are a multitude of reasons why this example must remain vague, but I can assure you I was there.

I think in the end what we are left with is the fact that there is good and bad of all sorts (both gamers and media). And I think we need to stand up and say something to the effect of “yeah, there have been people hurt by gaming, but there have also been people hurt by football, cricket, and tennis” I don’t however think we can get by with putting gaming up on a pedestal and saying “it’s all warm and fuzzy” we need to be responsible as gamers, and lead from the responsibility front.

anyhow thats my 2 cents worth, what does everyone else think?

Posted by: Chris at January 5, 2004 06:43 AM

Hi, Christian,

Firstly, my apologies - I've been meaning to reply to this for ages, I've just never actually sat down and done it. Quite cowardly of me.

Hmm. I do agree with your points on how movies and avertising work to get their audience to feel how the production team want them to feel (and think, whenit comes to ads). Still, I think the point being made was less that some people will be affected negatively by certain types of product (as you point out, there are those who are fanatical to the point of mania about their chosen interest). It's more that popular media tends to tar computer and video games (and by extension gamers, hardcore or no) as a whole as evil, subversive and dangerous on the strength of a few titles such as Doom and Grand Theft Auto whilst ignoring the fact that the biggest selling computer games in history are Myst and The Sims (which has stolen the crown from Myst and, I think, thoroughly beaten the pants off of it).

It's the antithesis of your "putting gaming up on a pedestal and saying 'it's all warm and fuzzy'" comment. Right now, gaming tends to be put up on a target-mount, with people saying "it's all bad and icky". Penny Arcade's Child's Play effort was intended to at least offer a rebuttal viewpoint - that gaming and gamers aren't bad and icky by default - even if it was masterminded by a pair of hardcore gamers.

Personally, I tend to distrust "hard-core" anybody. I believe (or at least, try to believe) in moderation (there's not enough time in one's life for everything in moderation). It's why I'm usually a generation or two behind when it comes to my hardware, and my shelves aren't full of Xbox games despite owning one for over a year.

Nonetheless, if a pair of hardcore gamers can organise a charity benefit that gets a huge response from the gaming community, from the casual to the hardcore - isn't it worth at least a little media attention with a "well, maybe they're not all bad" end-note?



Posted by: IMAGinES at February 13, 2004 08:51 PM
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