'Reconciling the Irreconcilable': Criticism and Gaming

Lots of people have taken the criticism bull by the horns the past couple of weeks: with the Resident Evil 5 kerfuffle, the expected lead up to the GTA IV launch, and various other reasonably recent debates all coming together, it's no surprise that a number of talented writers have latched on to the faults of the gaming community (namely, we can dish it out but we can't take it). Mitch Krpata of Insult Swordfighting is the latest, and he takes on some recent community uproars:

Game-industry critics object to any overt or implied elements of sex or racism that crop up in the course of play. Often, the gaming community's knee-jerk defence against these critics is to contend that they don't know what they're talking about. In many cases, this is true. But in their haste to polish their pet medium's reputation, gamers ignore the other side of the coin — namely that, in some instances, the bluenoses have a point.

The truth is that some games are irresponsible in regard to the fantasies they effectively promote. But instead of arguing for the validity of games on their merits, gamers may blindly lash out at their critics. Passionate advocacy means engaging our antagonists, not attacking them. It means not taking the bait. Unfortunately, that's easier said than done.

The unfortunate thing is the response to these types of articles is frequently the knee-jerk reaction Krpata and others are talking about. We'd all do well to keep some of these internal criticisms of the community in mind when the next scandal rolls around ...

Sex, Violence and Video Games [The Phoenix via GameSetWatch]


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