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Ageism among the gaming community.

So what is ageism, a word I made up? Nope, but it is a word that I rarely hear these days, but a concept that happens all the time. It basically means discrimination against someone solely based on their age. It applies to young children and teenagers, but it can even apply to middle aged people and the elderly. Itís more acceptable toward youth than older people. People that do this may not even be aware of it themselves or they are aware, but keep doing so anyway. This is something that happens just about everywhere, but in this case, Iíll just stick to the gaming community, as much as I can anyway, since a lot of this wonít be strictly related, but possibly on topic enough to not be NVRG. To be clear, this doesnít directly apply to me since Iím not a teenager myself, but it still doesnít mean I donít find it annoying to see it happen anyway.

He hasn't reached adulthood yet, which means he sucks, right?

How often has someone treated someone else as stupid and immature, simply because of their age? Now Iím not denying that adults are generally more mature and wiser than younger people, or at least are supposed to be. Iím also not denying that the stereotypical 12-year-old racist, sexist, homophobia, loudmouth doesnít exist in Halo matches. Iím not even denying that in my personal experiences that I largely dealt with teenagers that I felt like punching in the face. However, it has gotten to the point where younger people are treated like those people even before they act like those people. Itís like young people are guilty before proven innocent by default. Itís like you basically suck just because youíre not an adult. Its one thing to be treated a certain way for acting a certain way, but itís another thing to be treated a certain way for being a certain way. Seriously, this is almost everywhere in one form or another. How often have people said someone was stupid just because they were young? How often do people say stuff like ďyoung people shouldnít have mics because I find their voices annoyingĒ? How often do people act like M rated games will rot the mind of anyone under 17 (or even 18)?

Have us adults forgotten that at one point or another, we were not adults ourselves? Sure we can look back and see that we were not as wise back in the days as we are now. However, did we liked to be treated like crap just because we didnít hit 18 at the time? Did we enjoyed being told we were annoying and stupid because we didnít live long enough yet? Do we want to relive the times where adults thought they were better than us because we were not adults ourselves yet? Of course, everyone likely gone through this and may have accepted it because the adults ďknew betterĒ. Just because there are people out there who do feel it was for the best to be kept away from certain stuff based on their age doesnít mean everyone else will or should feel the same way.

So yeah, we matured and gotten wiser and realized that we didnít know everything like we thought we did. However, how did this newfound wisdom lead us back to treating children and teenagers poorly? How did we turn the tables or saw nothing wrong with some of the treatment we may have gotten? How does this cycle repeat itself over and over? I guess with ever changing generations, especially with the Internet likely not being a part of our history, this issue can get super complex.

I think one of the reasons that teen rebellion is so common is because of ageism. Of course if someone feels like they are being mistreated, they will act out against it. Itís like ďyou have very little rights and freedom and I expect you to behave yourself and obey without questionĒ. Are we seriously expecting teenagers to not act out if we treat them like crap before they even done any wrongdoing? Put someone in a corner, especially for something they have no control over (like age) and they will likely want to get out of that corner, especially by those that put them in said corner. No wonder they turn to older friends to get stuff from and find a place to belong. Now Iím not saying children (or even adults for that matter) should be able to get something just because they want it or that they are entitled to anything besides whatís required for staying alive.

Its one thing to protect young people from stuff that adults think will negatively affect them growing up, but I canít help but wonder if weíre becoming over protected. I think an example of this are the ESRB ratings. Not so much the ratings themselves as how they are being treated. For what is only supposed to be a guideline for parents is being treated as if it were law. Look at how many people are trying to pass laws making the sale of M rated games to youth illegal. I even heard stories where adults may not even be allowed to buy M rated games if any youth is with them, because surely the adult must only intent to use it to poison the youthís mind right? Basically, this is such a sacred cow that I notice it hardly gets challenged without being told that you want to ruin our future since after all, todayís youth will be tomorrowís adults. I know various stores may not sell M rated games to those under 17, but to my knowledge, that is there choice, not something required by law.

Hidden sex mini game on top of everything else in this game? A must have!

Now granted we do have many parents who act like they are not smart enough to notice a big M printed on boxes that also reads Mature +17 on them or even look at the back of the box for more detailed information on the rating. Even so, what the game looks like right from the cover isnít usually enough to tell what itís about? Do they even deserve to be parents if they canít tell a game named after a major crime that shows guns, drugs, and other stuff right on the cover might just feature that content? These parents tend to have no problem with realizing this stuff when it comes to movies, but many are still under the misguided belief that games with mature themes simply donít exist or are just ďa kidís toyĒ. Since in their mind, they are never at fault, they tend to blame everyone else.

On the other hand, not all parents are like this, but regardless, if they get a M rated game for their child, they are automatic labeled as bad parents. Sometimes even discussing such games with children is considered too much by many. Itís like there is no such thing as anyone mature enough under 17 that can handle such a game. Have we became so over protecting that fourteen year olds will forever be ruined if they even know a M rated game exists? How it is even possible to go by for long without knowing games like the GTA series exist? Itís like smart parents are not even allowed to make choices for their children anymore that doesnít strictly fall within idealized standards that may have a lot of fantasy involved. Again, isnít the rating just supposed to be a suggestion so that people will know what they are getting into? They say the content may be unsuitable for anyone under 17, not will be unsuitable for anyone under 17. Iím also aware that games have generally gotten more violent and such over the years and that many of the edgy games back than may be tame by todayís standards.

This will only be appealing once you're at least 17.

How many of us avoided playing a M rated game till we were 17? How often does someone say ďdespite me playing M rated games when I was underage, I donít think others should do the same thingĒ? Itís one thing to have a bad experience and encourage others to avoid it, but this seems to be more of ďIím a special case that played GTA at 12 and turned out just fineĒ. No, youíre not the only ďspecial caseĒ out there. Of course people tend to make themselves look better than what they really are and I think this is just one such case. Itís like we set up this unrealistic fantasy where we act like we were saints when growing up and expect others to be the same. Itís like there is so much lying about this stuff, I find it hard to separate reality from fiction. Iím not saying I myself never made myself out to be a better person to people than what I am, before someone claims Iím on a high horse.

Iím aware that ďthe line has to be drawn somewhereĒ and 17 or 18 is that line where a person is supposed to be mature enough to handle such content. After all, it is much easier to assume that someone will be mature enough around those ages than for a much more complex case by case basis. However, I still canít help but wonder if itís getting so out of hand that we look much more at a personís age than how they act.

"I get to be a man that gets to choose what women I can have sex with? Count me in!

Many people do understand that even adults may be offended by certain content, so warnings are given before hand and told not to go further if they find the content offensive. Itís also accepted that adults will simply have self control in not further seeing content that find offensive, like walking out of a movie theatre. However, itís assumed that non-adults will automatically be offended by the content and should be kept away at all costs. People tend to be very serious about this and will act like itís your duty to do everything in your power to keep non-adults away from content like a nude body. As much as people like to make fun of Fox News from overreacting to the sex in Mass Effect, see how many of those same people will get pretty angry themselves if they knew anyone under 17 saw it. Itís like younger people shouldnít even be given the chance to ďwalk awayĒ from content they donít like. Itís like we expect them to be in this fantasy world for 18 years to avoid the harsh real world.

How are we expecting teenagers to not be interested in this game?

Based on what I see, itís natural that teenager males will be interested in blood and boobs. Now just because something is natural doesnít mean its right. Do we really think that M rated shooters are only popular among adults? How many teenagers want to play Modern Warfare 2? Being a soldier that runs around and kills tons of dudes is relative to the interests of many people, including teenagers. What is the difference in many cases between a T and M rated shooter? In most cases, the difference in blood and swearing. The swearing in M rated games tend to be the same words that many young people speak every day, especially among friends.

No teenager would ever use a nude mod for this game, right?

Why are so many people so shocked and surprised that heterosexual teenage males have a sexual interested in women? Do people really think that teenage males are not downloading nude skins? Are we to believe that teenage males are not running around fantasy settings or wastelands as women who wear little or nothing? Are people really expecting teenagers to not lie about their age to download such mods? If anything, this is setting up such concepts as forbidden fruit. The more youíre not allowed to have something, the more appealing it becomes. ďNo, you shouldnít see this because youíre not ready yetĒ is quite common. Thatís not to say its right to feel entitled to it, but something that just happens. No wonder why one of the reasons that sexual content is considered so dirty, itís because itís treated as such. Itís like the teenager is meant to feel that having sexual thoughts is wrong and dirty, so it puts them in a difficult position. Itís like a dark secret that they end up keeping and not discussing with anyone but close friends. Either they do their best to fight against their bodyís urges or go for the sexual content in secret.

"How dare you be a sexual being young man! I was never one growing up, really.

What, are we expecting teenagers to be perfect little angels? They are not little children anymore. Now thatís not to say they wonít risk running into something they find disgusting. However, people assume that anything they find will be disgusting. If thatís not the case, they want to completely protect them to avoid the risk of finding something that they feel like throwing up if they see. Since teenagers tend to be aware that sexual content is something that their not supposed to be interested in according to many adults, they will end up hiding it. They will pretend that they donít have entire families with nude lesbians or ranking up a frag count as a woman dressed only in boots and maybe gloves as well. Sexual interest is just one of the things that happen as a part of growing up and yet people unrealistic expect teenagers to not want to fulfill their sexual desires in any way. Of course we should maintain self-control, but I have a feeling this attempt to keep teenagers anyway from almost any sexual content can lead to greater problems. Like ďjust deal with bikini women for the next few yearsĒ is really gonna work.

So to not go too far off topic, at least with the gaming part, Iíll just quickly mention Iím aware of the risks like STDs, having unrealistic standards for women (and even men), being a parent while still being taken care of by one or two, and letting it rule your life. However, dodging the subject isnít gonna prevent these problems.

Iím hardly a popular member around here that carries a strong voice with anything I type or have my personal ďpromote to front pageĒ button, but it doesnít mean I canít catch someoneís attention and at the very least get them to think about this more. On the other hand, I could be very wrong about this and called out on it.
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About RBinatorone of us since 12:23 PM on 09.16.2009

I think it should be pretty clear that since I'm here, I'm a gamer and I would love to discuss them. Just like everyone else, I have my opinions about the current state of gaming and how I think it's good in one way and bad in another way. Quite frankly, I think the gaming community in general is pretty awful, like with console fanboys, but Destructoid looks to be different. However, don't expect to find me on the forums since I plan on sticking to the main site and the c-blogs. I should note that I'm very opinionated about stuff. I can easily find flaws in just about anything even if others donít agree with me on them. To an extent, I'm also a perfectionist.

I own the original PS2 model, a Wii, 80GB PS3, Pro model 360, and the original DS and PSP models. Just because I own all of them doesn't mean I value them all equally. I don't own too many games and I rarely buy them. I mostly play games by renting through GameFly since even the really good ones don't keep me playing long enough to justify buying them. I'm not just able to easily replay a game a second time through even if I really enjoyed the first time. I tend to only buy games that I feel will have great replay value, which usually means getting a game on the PC that can be heavily modded.

Iím also rather lonely when it comes to my friend lists on the 360 and PS3. Anyone mind helping out?

The following games I'm looking forward to playing off the top of my head include:

Crackdown 2
Fallout: New Vegas
Metroid: Other M
ModNation Racers
Super Mario Galaxy 2
The Elder Scrolls V (although not officially confirmed yet)

Game(s) that Iím playing now:

Bioshock (PS3)
Left 4 Dead 2 (360)
Red Faction: Guerrilla (360)

Game(s) that I'm currently waiting for GameFly to ship out...

Nothing right now...

Last updated: 04/26/10
Xbox LIVE:RBinator
PSN ID:RBinator


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