Well this puts a smile on my face. After suffering endless crap from the likes of The Times and The Daily Mail in their war on videogames, one UK newspaper has actually made good and stood up for our favorite hobby on the mainstream media stage. Naomi Alderman — a self-professed gamer who grew up with the 80’s classics — applauds the Byron report as “eminently sensible” and points out how the majority of the UK press missed its message in order to promote their own anti-game agenda:
Byron said that we need to move away from talking about computer games “causing harm”; in response, TV and newspapers showed stills from games with titles like Manhunt and God of War. Byron said children need to be “empowered to keep themselves safe”; newspapers said computers and televisions should be kept in communal spaces in the home.
I wish I could just quote this entire article verbatim, as the more I read, the happier it makes me. Naomi points out how being deeply involved in a videogame would have her marked as an “addict,” while being similarly involved with a novel merely makes her “engrossed.” She exposes the hypocrisy over how permissive our society is when it comes to movies, while simultaneously attacking videogames. She even cooks up a sensible argument defending the existence of Grand Theft Auto:
The world of Grand Theft Auto does contain violence and misogyny; but then, so does The Godfather, or Goodfellas. So, for that matter, does The Iliad. GTA3 is set in a tough, dangerous world. Johnson is trying to clean up his neighbourhood. But as a dispossessed, orphaned young black man, he has no option but to re-form his neighbourhood gang to do so. The makers of this game, like the makers of any movie about gangland, can stand squarely behind the art they have created and say: this represents reality. If it offends you, don’t criticise the art, but take action to improve the world around you.
If I have to critique the article, and I do (it’s only fair), Naomi sadly confuses GTA III with GTA: San Andreas. She also brings up the erroneous claim that Dr. Tanya Byron called for “health warnings” in her report, which I find to be a gross misunderstanding. Errors aside, however, I’d say this is a well-thought out and beautifully intelligent article, the likes of which this angry blogger is rarely capable of.
Thank you, Naomi.