The video game industry has finally matured enough and become main stream enough that it is currently being attacked by every pundit and ultra moralist looking for a wind mill to tilt. Itís no surprise really considering television, movies and music have all gone through the same battle. The problem is a lot of gamers and gaming pundits advocate ignoring these misinformed fools in a vain hope that they and the rest of the anti gaming crowd will wither and die if we donít pay any attention to them.
I can think of one prime example that makes that attitude dangerous and possibly harmful to the gaming industry. For those of you to young to remember I present for your viewing pleasure the PMRC. The Parents Music Resource Center was a group founded by Tipper Gore, Susan Baker, Pam Howar and Sally Nevius in 1985 and their goal was to censor and rate music. They felt that a lot of music was glorifying violence, sex, drugs and alcohol and it was harmful to the youth of the country. Eventually the whole fight ended up in front of congress and in the end the RIAA chose to voluntarily label music with warning stickers. While being forced to label music wasnít the best of out comes if the RIAA and artists themselves had chose to ignore the PMRC the outcome could have been vastly different.
I was 11 years old when the PMRC made the RIAA tap out in front of congress and because I had parents who cared my music purchases where monitored for the next few years. The PMRC never intended to reach parents who donít care what their kids do. Their audience all along was the concerned and caring parents of the world. In that respect they had a small victory against the music business but never attained there ultimate goal of music censorship because the RIAA chose to fight. The case can be that the gaming industry finds itself in much the same situation. Concerned parents still exist and they are a very formidable group. If pundits, groups and media outlets reach this audience with a bunch of misinformation and propaganda the gaming industry is screwed. It wonít be long until we see a rise of another PMRC type group only this time they wonít settle for labels and ratings like the PMRC did. They will want out right banning of video games and this is why these pundits must be brought to task for attempting to spread misinformation to their audience. By doing this we can make them think twice about using video games as a vehicle to fame and fortune. The trick is to respond to these attacks in an intelligent fashion which will is the only way the community will be taken seriously.
Threats of violence and necrophilia on the author of something we disagree with was hilarious in 1997 it just isnít going to cut it in 2008. Its time the gaming community and the industry they support start putting thought and care into how we respond to attacks and critics otherwise we will forever be viewed as basement dwelling mouth breathers. Making intelligent and constructive arguments for gaming will help us shed this reputation but we must do far more than just answer our critics. Because answering the critics is great and all but if we donít trumpet the positive aspects of gaming nobody else will. In my mind doing both of these will be the last steps in making gaming as much a part of the mainstream as music or movies. The critics will still exist but they will be forced to make more intelligent attacks on the industry or suffer the consequences.
Ultimately one thing is certain, the mindless attack on the gaming community are just too juicy a target for our critics to pass up. If we ignore them they will continue until they reach their goals of seriously doing damage if not outright killing video games as we know them today. That may sound a bit alarmist but it wasnít long ago they wouldnít show Elvis from the waste down on television due to his swiveling hips so itís not that much of a stretch. To my mind itís also the reason we need to answer them every time they decide attack the gaming community.