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Why the Mainstream Press need to STFUAJPG

I make very little secret about my distaste for the portrayal of video games and developers by the mainstream media. Games still have a stigma attached today that we still haven’t been able to shake off, that we gamers are a sweaty, pale acne-ridden faced bunch of nerds with bad body odour and less social skills than Forest Gump and the entire cast of the Big Bang Theory combined. Yet the reality is much different, contrary to what gamefaqs says. Many of us have other halves, have an adept social life at least, and enjoy other things apart from making long lists of combos and rubbing our own Solid Snakes whenever Meryl comes up on screen.

Yet it’s not the stigma I have a problem with, it admittedly makes me chuckle once in a while how the media portrays a lot of us, it’s the fear mongering and misleading articles that anger me. What happened to journalistic integrity in the case of “GTA: Northumbria”? Jerry Lawton a “journalist” and author of the so called article, not only made up a load of lies and called it a story, he deliberately upset a 69 year old grandmother of one of his victims to ask her opinion on the article.

“It is sick — it’s blood money. The game is beyond belief,” It is sick. Sick that the media can get away with upsetting a victims grandmother with an article like that, and it’s beyond belief that papers like the Daily Mail are still in business. They then have the cheek to look down at the video games world with the sort of snobbery that the Conservative party has for those that don’t sport a monocle and a top hat and proclaim that we aren’t “Real Journalists”. Thank fucking god we’re not, because i’d be ashamed to be associated with people as idiotic as they are.

” is baffled by the fury of adult gamers! These are grown (?!?) men who sit around all day playing computer games with one another who’ve today chosen to enter the real world just long enough to complain about my story slamming a Raoul Moat version of Grand Theft Auto! You would think I’d denied the Holocaust!!! Think I’…ll challenge them to a virtual reality duel….stab….I win!!!” – Genuine quote from this Mr Lawton’s Facebook page about the aftermath of the article. In a word. Tool.

The problem however is that this one example of extreme ignorance and poor taste isn’t the only example. It’s not hard to find a paper citing that “video games turn you into murderers” as a fact, or that “if you play videogames, you’ll become a terrorist.” Or even stories such as this where videogames get the blame for a horrific act of violence. It’s an inanimate object, it just its there, what is onscreen isn’t real, yet seldom do you see film and music get solely poor press compared to videogames. There’s always the “Citizen Cane” on which film and music can fall back on, the mainstream critics offer no such grace for video games, despite games like “Shadow of Colossus” evoking more emotion out of me than anything on the silver screen ever could.

However it’s the recent controversy over Medal of Honour allowing you to play as the Taliban that has gotten me riled to the point where I can’t take it anymore. For years, gamers have played as “Opfor” or something along those lines, character models who have been designed to look like the Taliban, yet just have a different name. Yet when EA decide to go for an honest approach and just call their character models what they are, Taliban, the media is up in arms. The whole game is based upon the war in the middle east, it’d be a disservice to the soldiers to call the enemy anything else, to pretend they were care bears or something of similar ilk when there are soldiers out there fighting the Taliban is plain stupidity. The analogy that we’re killing our own soldiers is redundant as well. It’s a multiplayer game, and it’s not real. It’s not like every time we kill someone on Medal Of Honour we’ll actually be killing an american of British soldier, nor it is supporting terrorism. Last I checked, EA wasn’t an active terrorist cell (although it wouldn’t surprise me if Activision were), the money they made wasn’t being used to fund the war on terror, for either side.

The media’s handling of this has been atrocious, worse than the “Ground Zero Mosque” crap that i’ve been reading about recently as well. Calling the mother of a dead soldier and asking her to come and damn the game is incredibly pointless, Liam Fox calling the game Un-british, when the reality is that EA have worked closely with military officials to create a game that simulates the experiences that some of the soldiers have in Afghanistan, is also wrong.

Yet you know how all this could have been countered? All these times that the Mainstream Tabloids (of which i’m aiming this article at specifically) could have avoided this rubbish ? If they’d shut the fuck up and just played the god damn games before spouting their mouth. It’d be nice if instead of being sensationalist, they portrayed games in an accurate light. Not Murderer makers, or terrorist turners, but a developing form of medium that is becoming more and more accessible to the public, and provides an interactive and immersive experience.
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About Robot Geekone of us since 6:19 PM on 08.29.2010

Once an ordinary human, young Dan O'Connor was exposed to the power of video games in a freak accident where his uncle almost binned a NES and his alter Ego Robot Geek was born! Aiming to provide the latest news, reviews and features, he based himself at:

I'm a wannabe journalist, I like videogames, so at the moment I have my own site with some very talented writers, I hope to contribute to the Destructoid as best as possible but I've also got my own site to worry about! However I will post my latest musings and rants about video games whenever I can.

PSN ID:DanOConnor
Steam ID:danieloconnor


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