What Matters to Me?…Video Game Controversy And Society.
If I asked you to describe a gamer, what would come to mind? I’d imagine the majority of my readers (18-22 average) would have a fairly modern look on a gamer, they’d probably consider it about their own age, but with a majority of males over females, others may see games as a child’s plaything and even to this day many laugh at the notion of a teenager or older getting enjoyment from these ‘toys’ even Nintendo and their for the family ‘Wii’ hasn’t done enough to remove the gamer stigma which suggests that all gamers are 18 year old males that live in their mother’s basement shouting obscenities on Xbox Live.
So why does this matter? well I consider it an important issue because this stereotyping (particularly the latter) could lead to the downfall of the genre as an art form, Videogames are a new narrative format, it’s only been fairly recently that video games have been able to offer more than basic narrative and it’s very rare for a game to do that well, but that doesn’t mean there is not potential for games to really take people to places that other mediums simply can not do, I mean (for those that haven’t played Silent Hill 2) imagine how much better a horror film could be if you are the one in control, rather than watching someone take the role for you, isn’t their potential for something above and beyond traditional film, if one takes control via an interactive medium?
all this brings me to my point. recently the Supreme Court of the U.S agreed to listen to a case proposed by one Governor Schwarzenegger, the proposed law by the state of calafornia is for games unsuitable for minors, not to be sold to them. In theroy that’s fair enough I have nothing against that law….However, the case plans to attack video games by claiming they have no first amendment right, the case plans to prove that video games have no ‘serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value’ . Now if this case passes, this could shoot this medium in the foot before the world will have a chance to truly see what it can become, If this law passes, games would simply become a child’s toy because no pieces of any political, social or artistic depth that could raise even a little bit of a controversy could be defended in America under their first amendment, imagine the consequences for example if Hollywood had a similar restriction put on it.
I know this is an american case and little can be done here, but I want to raise awareness that video games can provide a valued art form, I plan to shoot a piece looking at the 21st century gamer and games, what I plan to shoot in this video is a brief look into the world and show how this medium can bring people together and also how it can get people excited and involved in ways they never thought possible. I will also look at the other side of the fence (Xbox Live, Violence, Sexual themes..etc) and try to other a viewpoint on what’s going wrong and the problems that can be solved. In this piece I wish to show to those that are unaware of this medium beyond what they hear from scaremongering news casting and sheep of the true face of video games in an easy to view short film.