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The Social Impact of Gaming

Zonk posted about 9 years ago | from the pong-as-social-commentary dept.

Games 465

"The Bart, The" writes "The Economist weekly is carrying a well considered special report on the current debate regarding morality and gaming." From the article: "Like rock and roll in the 1950s, games have been accepted by the young and largely rejected by the old. Once the young are old, and the old are dead, games will be regarded as just another medium and the debate will have moved on. Critics of gaming do not just have the facts against them; they have history against them, too."

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So does Slashdot have the same issue? (2, Interesting)

xmas2003 (739875) | about 9 years ago | (#13252265)

Carrying the analogy a bit further, my guess is that (currently) the Slashdot crowd tends to be a younger generation and most of the "old-farts" reject it - try to explain it to your parents or grandparents. So in the next few decades, will the younger crowd accept Slashdot ... or will the average age of /. readers just continue to increase?

Disclaimer: I'm an "old-fart" - had my 40th birthday [] two years ago ... ;-)

Re:So does Slashdot have the same issue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13252345)

WRONG. I'm 61, post on /., play games and if the game has a nude or extra gore patch I use it.

Re:So does Slashdot have the same issue? (1)

Elbereth (58257) | about 9 years ago | (#13252530)

WRONG. I'm 61, post on /., play games and if the game has a nude or extra gore patch I use it.

That's just creepy.

Re:So does Slashdot have the same issue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13252574)

In Korea, only old people use nude or extra gore patches and post on slashdot.

Re:So does Slashdot have the same issue? (1)

garcia (6573) | about 9 years ago | (#13252357)

I've been reading since 1997 when I was 18. I'm 26. I would guess it will continue to increase in readership for all ages.

Re:So does Slashdot have the same issue? (1)

guaigean (867316) | about 9 years ago | (#13252384)

I think this is more an issue of awareness and education than age. There are plenty of "old-fart" gamers and techies. The problem is that the average person simply doesn't understand the technology that their children are playing on. Anyone can learn to use a computer (and I mean ANYONE). The problem is, people are too lazy to learn new tricks, and lash out against something they have ABSOLUTELY no idea about (i.e., Hot Coffee and how accessible it is) As users become more educated, this will change, but for the most part people don't care to learn.

Re:So does Slashdot have the same issue? (1)

alvinrod (889928) | about 9 years ago | (#13252392)

I think the younger generation will continue to accept slashdot and that the membership will increase as time continues.

After all, this site is dedicated to technology, science, and legal and political matters relating to them. The younger generations that have grown up more exposed to technology will certainly be more interested in news about it than some of the older generations.

On the flip side, however, young people tend to like to do things differently. They like to do something new that defines them. I wouldn't find it hard to believe that within ten years that generation will have created something similar to slashdot, but more akin to their unique culture.

The only way to know for sure is to wait and find out. I'll probably be here for a long while, if not the rest of my life and I'm fairly new to the slashdot crowd if that's any indication.

Re:So does Slashdot have the same issue? (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 9 years ago | (#13252408)

slashdot-type media will go mainstream, wireless and mobile and be like a giant IRC of group consciousness or a gossipy party line. I'm wondering if the end result will be humanity as a colony organism.

Happens all the time. (1, Interesting)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | about 9 years ago | (#13252420)

Carrying the analogy a bit further, my guess is that (currently) the Slashdot crowd tends to be a younger generation and most of the "old-farts" reject it - try to explain it to your parents or grandparents. So in the next few decades, will the younger crowd accept Slashdot ... or will the average age of /. readers just continue to increase?

As a gross generalization, slashdot has people belonging to two crowds that frequently overlap: 1) technically proficient (relatively), and 2) young, very "liberal", and occasionally anarchist.

I predict that a lot of the slashdot crowd is against things like corporations, money, etc because they're still in college and don't have money or employment. I predict that, like the 60's flower children who turned into the 80's "Me generation," as soon as the money's there, their tune will change. They will become more conservative, it happens with every batch of college kids. Remember, the "old people" we're talking about being conservative used to march in peace rallys, throw rocks at cops, burn bras, etc. Now they fight the first amendment. It's almost ironic if it weren't sad.

As far as technology, some will keep up with the "new thing," some won't.

Regardless, the next gen of young people won't espouse slashdot, because they'll make/find their own thing. I predict that slashdot's membership will grow older, and much of it will move on.

Re:So does Slashdot have the same issue? (1)

gazuga (128955) | about 9 years ago | (#13252429)

I was just considering this the other day with regards to bands. The longer a band has been around, the older the fans are.

Take, for example, the Rolling Stones. Sure there are some young people who are into the Stones, but by and large, their audience is the group of people who were in their teen to young adult years when the Stones first got popular.

Seems to me that this progression is kind of human nature. However, I'm not sure that this tendency would apply to Slashdot. Avid users of technology (the Slashdot crowd) tend to always stay current with the latest tech -- it's not so much a matter of taste as is music.

Re:So does Slashdot have the same issue? (1)

fitten (521191) | about 9 years ago | (#13252514)

Another thing that is amusing with respect to bands is that man of the bands that the younger crowd tends to associate these days have members that are actually in the age group that they most rebel against. Many of the teens that talk about so-and-so singing things they can relate to are in their 20s, some in their 30s, and even in a few cases in their 40s. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Many times I see some kids doing/saying something and realize that I did the same thing and then I get so embarassed at how stupid/cocky/wrong I was. Sometimes I laugh but sometimes I try really hard to forget. It's just natural and it has happened the same way for as long as people have been having kids I guess.

Re:So does Slashdot have the same issue? (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 9 years ago | (#13252568)

Slashdot was "latest tech" in the late 90's -- expect the new medium to have something to do with instant newsfeeds and cellphones.

1992 Called (1)

1992 Called (893858) | about 9 years ago | (#13252268)

They said you can keep your shitty neocon 'government'

First fucking dru nken post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13252274)


Not the way to incite debate (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13252277)

"Once the young are old, and the old are dead, games will be regarded as just another medium..."

End of discussion.

Re:Not the way to incite debate (2, Funny)

Rei (128717) | about 9 years ago | (#13252378)

It's not that simple - games really do have a strong effect in on impressionable youth of all ages. Ah, I remember back in my college days, whenever the latest version of Grade Killer (i.e., Nethack) would come out, it would easily affect my life. I'd sign off all my work with '@', and use a pickaxe to create shortcuts between my classrooms. I'd go around campus killing everything in sight (and eating corpses that weren't my species when I couldn't get to the cafeteria). I'd try to borrow books from other students, reminding them that they wouldn't need it again for another 20,000 turns. I spent my evenings quaffing unidentified potions, and called it "research". Ah, good times, good times.

(many thanks to the Internet Oracle [] )

Does this mean civilization will ... (2, Interesting)

Bryansix (761547) | about 9 years ago | (#13252279)

Does this mean civilization will eventually accept all sorts of things it rejected before? I agree that many critics of Gaming do not have the facts on thier side. However the way the argument goes about history and the youth accepting things makes me wonder. Will society inevitably accept things which are not benificial simply because the youth accept it?

Re:Does this mean civilization will ... (2, Insightful)

Taevin (850923) | about 9 years ago | (#13252299)

What society accepts is based on the majority of the population. If the majority of the youth accept something, it stands to reason that society will as well once they grow up and take over the positions of power.

Re:Does this mean civilization will ... (1)

jsldub (133194) | about 9 years ago | (#13252529)

Good point. I would mod you up if I had the points.

Re:Does this mean civilization will ... (1)

plover (150551) | about 9 years ago | (#13252316)

Will society inevitably accept things which are not benificial simply because the youth accept it?

Society has accepted rap "music", so the only possible answer to your question is "yes".

Re:Does this mean civilization will ... (1)

fitten (521191) | about 9 years ago | (#13252544)

You win.

Re:Does this mean civilization will ... (1)

Spez (566714) | about 9 years ago | (#13252325)

In the time of woodstock, when all the youth were smoking marijuana everywhere, they accepted it. Is it more accepted now?

Re:Does this mean civilization will ... (1)

Tran (721196) | about 9 years ago | (#13252362)

throwing in the word "more" changes the arguement a little bit.
Other than that, the answer is yes.

What answer were you looking for? (1)

MacFury (659201) | about 9 years ago | (#13252393)

In the time of woodstock, when all the youth were smoking marijuana everywhere, they accepted it. Is it more accepted now?

Yes. Hell, most of the middle schoolers around here are half way to being potheads. Often, with age, one realizes that it isn't all that great wasting your hard earned money on something that will progressively slow your mind. Still, I know plenty of parents who don't care and even occasionally get high with their kids. Kind of sad, really.

Re:What answer were you looking for? (1)

geoffspear (692508) | about 9 years ago | (#13252444)

The point isn't that today's kids accept it, it's that kids from that era have grown up and haven't gone on to make pot any more accepted by society than it was then. It's still stigmatized by society at large just as it was then.

Re:What answer were you looking for? (1)

Taevin (850923) | about 9 years ago | (#13252487)

What is sad? Let me modify your statement here:
Yes. Hell, most of the middle schoolers around here are half way to being alcoholics. Often, with age, one realizes that it isn't all that great wasting your hard earned money on something that will progressively slow your mind and damage your liver. Still, I know plenty of parents who don't care and even occasionally drink with their kids. Kind of sad, really.
Except of course there have been plenty of studies that moderate use of alcohol is beneficial (less risk of heart disease, social lubricant, etc). If it wasn't so taboo, I'm confident that there would be similar studies for marijuana. Obviously, excessive use of the drug is bad and would be damaging but since when is excessive [anything] good? Hopefully these parents are teaching their children responsible use of the substance and in that case, what is sad?

Re:Does this mean civilization will ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13252479)

... when all the youth were smoking marijuana everywhere ...

Actually the smokers were the minority of the youth at that time. So it isn't more accepted now because it wasn't accepted by the majority of the youth.

Re:Does this mean civilization will ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13252503)

It is in canada. Just like gay marriage.

Re:Does this mean civilization will ... (1)

Malyven (774978) | about 9 years ago | (#13252334)

This is happening all the time, a prime example is language, some of what was long ago slang for the youth is now common usage and even in dictionaries. The entire human culture is constantly evolving and that our generation accepts videogames and we pass them on to our kids generally implies that once our parents generation is gone video games will not only be accepted they will be taken for granted.

Re:Does this mean civilization will ... (1)

Kojiro Ganryu Sasaki (895364) | about 9 years ago | (#13252414)

This is something that's bothering me to no end: "He should of done..." "She could of..." It looks like it's getting more and more accepted too. Makes me wish i had a licence to kill, and a good gun.

Re:Does this mean civilization will ... (1)

'nother poster (700681) | about 9 years ago | (#13252509)

With CNN and FOX assainating irregular past tense verbs on sight, I want tactical nukes.

Re:Does this mean civilization will ... (1)

Malyven (774978) | about 9 years ago | (#13252572)

This one really scares me, If some major sources of information for many people in North America are unable to use the english language correctly are we doomed to have it evolve into the crazy "Future" languages portrayed in some movies and books.

Re:Does this mean civilization will ... (1)

Neward Rylet (634838) | about 9 years ago | (#13252497)

Will society inevitably accept things which are not benificial simply because the youth accept it?

Yes. Look at what the baby boomers did. That's why we all live in hippy-lead free-love socialist anti-war state, with the a new national anthem written by Crosby, Stills, and Nash.

Games bridge the generation gap (1)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | about 9 years ago | (#13252281)

While people who were never really exposed to video games do tend to reject or fail to understand them, video games have now infiltrated our culture to the point where it spreads (in some form, anyway. Progress WILL change the face of video gaming as time passes) across the following generations. I doubt we will see the death of video games within even the next 200 years. ...assuming we don't let ourselves be pushed around by old and scared individuals like Jack Thompson.

Latest in the series of manufactured menaces (5, Insightful)

Kelson (129150) | about 9 years ago | (#13252283)

"Filthy" novels, pre-code movies, comic books, Rock 'n' Roll, TV, video games... It's just a long line of easy "moral" targets for politicians to act like they're solving something instead of dealing with the actual problems.

And it works, generation after generation.

Re:Latest in the series of manufactured menaces (1)

cjm182 (323809) | about 9 years ago | (#13252388)

*shock* You mean I can't blame all my bad behaviour on Elvis's gyrating hips? But the hips command me!

Best analogy this week: "So if the Toronto airport crash was 'miraculous', then does that mean that God tried to kill those people with a lightning bolt, only to be foiled by the satanic competence of the crew?"

Re:Latest in the series of manufactured menaces (4, Insightful)

Goody (23843) | about 9 years ago | (#13252390)

"Filthy" novels, pre-code movies, comic books, Rock 'n' Roll, TV, video games... It's just a long line of easy "moral" targets for politicians to act like they're solving something instead of dealing with the actual problems.

There are actual problems to deal with (i.e. lousy parents who don't know what their kids are doing), but there's a problem with this new crop of games. When I was a kid, a video game was having a little round guy eat dots and avoid ghosts. Most of the games I see advertised today have a bunch of guys driving around stealing cars and shooting people.

I about flipped out when the neighbor 10 year old wanted my seven year old daughter to come over and play Grand Theft Auto. Yes, it's a parent problem, but the line has to be drawn somewhere. Luckily, my daughter knew that game wasn't appropriate.

Regardless of your age, something is wrong when your primary entertainment becomes a game centered around crime.

Re:Latest in the series of manufactured menaces (1)

jandrese (485) | about 9 years ago | (#13252515)

Try looking at games other than GTA.

One of the big problems is that every time the local news talks about a video game what screenshots do they show? GTA of course. There are tons of games out there that are no more violent than Chess but they get no airtime on the news when some loner goth kid shoots another kid. As a result people get the impression that all video games are violent bloodfests.

There's nothing new here either. The same thing happened with Comic books, Cartoons, Books, TV, D&D, and whatever the trendy scapegoat happens to be at the time.

Re:Latest in the series of manufactured menaces (1)

Soybean47 (885009) | about 9 years ago | (#13252566)

Hehe...when the argument is, "It's just old people that don't like games," and you start your counter-argument with, "When I was a kid..." you've already lost. ;)

Other examples would be "Back in my day" and any reference to the "good old days.";)

Anyway. I disagree with you personally, but I see where you're coming from, and of course you're entitled to your opinion. Are you consistent about it, at least? Are you also troubled by movies like "Gone in 60 Seconds"? (first car stealing movie I could think of)

Re:Latest in the series of manufactured menaces (2, Insightful)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | about 9 years ago | (#13252567)

I think it depends on parenting to a large degree. If parents aren't instlling enough moral fiber in their kids to overcome the influence of video games, then we have a problem...
Although, keep in mind that a lot of things are cyclical. Developed societies tend to swing back in forth, as a whole, between liberalism and conservatism. It is just the way it is... Whether you see the bible as the word of God, or just a historical book with myth and allegory, there was certainly immorality (Jezebel, babylon etc.), and there certainly was violence... We tend to think just in our times, without considering history

It isn't the game's fault (0, Troll)

Trigun (685027) | about 9 years ago | (#13252288)

that killing people is so much fun.

I finally have an identity! (4, Interesting)

plover (150551) | about 9 years ago | (#13252291)

Heh! The media has finally given me a name: "Digital Native". I kind of like it. Lot better than "Baby Boomer" or "Gen X'er", especially since I was kind of between the two.

Re:I finally have an identity! (1)

garcia (6573) | about 9 years ago | (#13252389)

Digital Native... I wasn't a true "Digital Native" until I got mobile access. Now I "vacation" from my connection when I am out of GPRS range and too far from my computer.

Hell, one of the requirements for my honeymoon was GPRS connectivity. So even on vacation I'm a native!


Uh... (1)

TheOtherAgentM (700696) | about 9 years ago | (#13252294)

I am relatively young, and I don't really play games. I'm in my mid 20's now and I see my younger cousins play games. If kids could go out and have sex, they wouldn't be playing video games that portray sex. If my cousins could go out and just have sex regularly, they wouldn't be stuck indoors playing GTA.

Re:Uh... (4, Funny)

plover (150551) | about 9 years ago | (#13252341)

If my cousins could go out and just have sex regularly

I take it you don't live in Arkansas?

Re:Uh... (1)

zardo (829127) | about 9 years ago | (#13252366)

Heh, is this supposed to be funny? Mod parent as funny?

Who's gonna coach them on having sex, you? You must have forgotten what it's like to be a kid. Let kids be kids.

Re:Uh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13252538)

I have loads of sex all the time, at least three times a week. I'm 25 and I still like to play games with sex in them.

I've been in a shitload of fights, yet I still play fighting games.

Games aren't supplements. They are in addition to the real thing.

Youth violence at an all time low (4, Interesting)

MacFury (659201) | about 9 years ago | (#13252296)

The funny thing is, youth violence is at record lows with violent video game sales at record highs.

The correlation that the "think of the children" groups talk about is just runs the opposite way.

Re:Youth violence at an all time low (1)

Bryansix (761547) | about 9 years ago | (#13252322)

Right, it has more to do with youth being in touch with reality. If they understand that they can kill people in the game but that the same conduct is not allowed outised the game then all is fine. I think most youth Can grasp this simple concept.

Re:Youth violence at an all time low (2, Insightful)

night_flyer (453866) | about 9 years ago | (#13252361)

either that or they just dont go outside anymore...

Absolutely (5, Insightful)

alvinrod (889928) | about 9 years ago | (#13252445)

I honestly believe that video games have had an effect on the violence levels in this country. When a video game console hits a price of around $100 at a game store almost everyone can afford one, even less well to do kids in big cities.

These kids now have an alternate form of entertainment and something to do with their free time other than join a gang or wander the streets causing or looking for trouble.

Another aspect is that some games can serve as a stress release valve for people. If I'm feeling really stressed out to the point that I almost want to choke someone I can pop in my copy of GTA and take it out some virtual people or property. I honestly believe that I've become a less violent person after playing through the GTA games because I had a virtual world where I could release my anger and agression that wouldn't result in any harm to real people.

For every stupid person who comits a crime and blames GTA or some video game, just think of how many crimes that same video game might have prevented.

Re:Youth violence at an all time low (4, Insightful)

plover (150551) | about 9 years ago | (#13252448)

No, that graph in TFA was stacked. Like any statistic, it's being used to support the viewpoint of the author, and is not necessarily an honest representation of what's happening.

On one hand you have violent crime going "down". On the other, you have money going "up". But what does this money represent? Money spent on violent games, or all games? Are violent games going for a higher or lower price relative to other games? Are violent games now 1%, 10%, 50% or 90% of the game market? Or look at the other side: prison sentences for violent crimes were increased in the 90s, so there are fewer repeat offenders on the streets. There are way too many variables to draw any meaning from that statement.

And that's only if you could: this is mere correlation, not causality. This is in no way evidence of video games causing (or not causing) violence. It's just two unrelated charts pasted together invalidly in an attempt to swing the reader's viewpoint to that of the author.

Not Again! (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | about 9 years ago | (#13252298)

Good grief. Please not another flame war about GTA and sex vs violence. Let's talk about how gaming improves motor skills, problem solving, quick thinking and working in teams.

but... (4, Interesting)

TrippTDF (513419) | about 9 years ago | (#13252301) don't have that same rebelious feeling about them that rock music has. You can devote your life to rock and roll and there is a glamour to it. The same cannot be said for video games.

John Carmack will never, ever be regaurded the same way that John Lennon is.

Games, while becoming more acceptable socially, are never going to be regaurded as "cool" like rock.

Re:but... (1)

Taevin (850923) | about 9 years ago | (#13252374)

Trying to predict the future like this is futile. I bet there were people that said that this 'rock and roll' will never be socially acceptable. And now it's considered cool and glamorous (in your opinion). Why should games be any different? Just look at Japan. It's my understanding that they have a very open view towards gaming. In some cultures, it actually is cool to be a gamer, especially a good one. Why is our culture going to be so immune to accepting this viewpoint?

Re:but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13252391)

Maybe not, but Shigeru Miyamoto is a completely different story. Carmack is a good programmer who makes games to show off his latest engine. Miyamoto is an artist.

Though one can't help but acknowledge John Romero's similarities to Yoko Ono... heh.

Re:but... (1)

rblum (211213) | about 9 years ago | (#13252439)

Dude, who's this Lennon guy you're talking of? I bet Carmack could code circles around him!

Seriously though - the comparison is invalid. Game developers never get in front of the audience, and hence will never be as revered.

Re:but... (1)

Tetsujin28 (156148) | about 9 years ago | (#13252565)

A better comparison would be John Carmack to Walt Disney. Allowing for big cultural differences (such as there being fewer media outlets in Disney's day) I think Carmack hold up well in that comparison.

Re:but... (1)

PriyanPhoenix (900509) | about 9 years ago | (#13252443)

Maybe not, but some of that major feeling may emerge. I sincerely miss Looking Glass and was genuinely disappointed to hear of their demise. No one will ever make a System Shock 3 like they could have, given the chance... Give the industry time and it may well produce some real heroes in the same way the movie industry has.

Re:but... (1)

Retric (704075) | about 9 years ago | (#13252474)

Fame goes to those who dance in the lights not the behind the seines characters. Lara Craft has same type of fame as Lennon, if not the same level, but the Carmack's of the world are going to be more like George Lucas as apposed to say Keanu Reeves.

What!!! Get real!!! (1)

rider_prider (698555) | about 9 years ago | (#13252557)

I think some perspective required. Lennon tryed to improve humanity, he was a poet, singer, philospher. Try comparing Carmack to Ringo if you must have a Beatles reference.

Re:but... (1)

buhatkj (712163) | about 9 years ago | (#13252569)

not to put too fine a point on it, but as long as he keeps putting his name on utter bunk like doom3, you're certainly right.

On the other hand, some entities/games/people in the game industry do approach the celebrity status of rockers. Sid meier, Valve, final fantasy - not too hard to find people who know what they are, or have heard those names. In a way, they have become legendary, just like Lennon.

"Gamer culture" is on the grow, and its not all that unlikely that as an entertainment medium it might one day rival movies or music...

Honestly, as anyone who has played HL2 would tell you, it's DAMN good, and personally, I would call it a work of art....

generations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13252305)

then I have to wonder- are we going to be the same way, or are we going to be a generation that keeps up with technology for the rest of our lives?

Re:generations (1)

Metasquares (555685) | about 9 years ago | (#13252441)

It isn't so much technology as accepting a new culture that we don't understand. Will we end up that way? Probably.

Re:generations (1)

Kelson (129150) | about 9 years ago | (#13252549)

Given that I'm not even 30 and I already hate most of the music that teenagers listen to, I don't hold out much hope for escaping that fate, at least where culture is concerned.

I have higher hopes for keeping up with technology itself, but who knows? I've already missed the boat on things like text messaging. My phone can do it, I just don't use the feature.

But... (3, Interesting)

pickyouupatnine (901260) | about 9 years ago | (#13252306)

You don't have to dislike games in order to be a critic of their impact on society :P. .. Kids to tend to stay in a lot more than they used to, and I blame it on TV and Games ... on visual media that requires their complete attention - unlike music, which you can listen to and do something else at the same time (though some may disagree)... :) And I'm quite sure I'll be shouting at my kids with regards to playing too many computer games or the type of games that they pick to play. I personally blame it on the consumer. No one's forcing people to buy such games. What they do hush hush... well we used to watch porn in middle school - all hush hush so our parents wouldn't find out. All the same with mature rated games.

Evidently (1)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | about 9 years ago | (#13252323)

The answer is to abolish middle school ;)

Re:But... (5, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | about 9 years ago | (#13252436)

> Kids to tend to stay in a lot more than they used to, and I blame it on TV and Games

I'd like to agree with you, but I just can't. When I was 6 and 7 (better than 40 years ago) we'd play outside all day from morning until the street light came on. Our moms never looked for us, or wondered if we were safe, if someone had kidnapped or killed us. Adam (and John) Walsh changed that for everybody. I seriously doubt that you tell your kids to go outside and play until it gets dark.

social bong (1, Funny)

qewl (671495) | about 9 years ago | (#13252307)

I know, like just this last weekend, I was with my friends and was like, "Hey, somebody set us up the bong!"

What a quote! (1)

aicrules (819392) | about 9 years ago | (#13252314)

Once the young are old, and the old are dead

That's awesome...

Re:What a quote! (1)

burtdub (903121) | about 9 years ago | (#13252464)

So... just how are you suggesting we win this debate? Video games haven't made me that violent.

Hmm? (1)

mattmentecky (799199) | about 9 years ago | (#13252315)

Critics of gaming do not just have the facts against them; they have history against them, too."

I might agree if I knew what history they are talking about.
That the moral corrupting specter of two lines hiting a dot of Pong fame didn't destroy the social fabric of the 70s?

Re:Hmm? (1)

Brandybuck (704397) | about 9 years ago | (#13252504)

Precisely. The "debate" isn't over gaming, as there is no debate over Civilization, SimCity, Solitaire or FreeCell. The "debate" is over sex and violence in video games.

Rock and roll and gaming have little in common (1)

zardo (829127) | about 9 years ago | (#13252331)

These kids that play video games all day might as well be locked up in a dark cellar and have no contact with the outside world. My parents never liked me playing video games and I didn't understand why, I would still go out and play, video games weren't all that great back then (Nintendo 8bit), these days all my little brother ever does is play video games, Halo 2 and all those advanced games can really suck you in to an alternate universe. Now my Mom wants me to get him to do other stuff, I hooked him up with a bunch of D&D geeks, he meets a girl who plays D&D, this weekend I'm helping him replace the alternator on his car. I agree now that video games must be taken in moderation. I have friends, 24 year old friends, who play MMORPG's every day, they want me to play with them. Those MMORPG's are like crack!

Just to clarify... (0, Flamebait)

Asshat Canada (804093) | about 9 years ago | (#13252351)

This is a US-centric morality debate. The rest of the world has more important shit to deal with that doesn't involve crushing the minds of its citizens under the boot of the church-government.

Remind me again why you people have the right to keep and bear arms? It seems it's so you can kill crackheads who walk on your lawn, rather than its intended purpose - to give you something to protect you from an out of control government. Your country deserves what it gets; and what it gets is fat and lazy and well-controlled.
Just like sheep should be.

Active v Passive (4, Insightful)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | about 9 years ago | (#13252375)

One of the differences between gaming and music is that (with the exception of those starting their own bands) music is passive while gaming actually requires your participation. The disadvantage of that is that critics equate playing GTA to doing those things in real life. I'm not entirely convinced that this view is entirely without merit, since I could see how it might numb some barriers against behavior. That being said, such extreme examples, assuming that they do exist, would be few and far between.

The advantage to gaming's participatory nature is that kids and parents can play games together. PLaying games with my stepsons has actually helped to make our bond stronger. It is, after all, something that you can do for either long or short periods of time, is fun, and is shared.

At the end of the day I think that that is gaming's greatest boon.

Re:Active v Passive (1)

leakingmemory (750252) | about 9 years ago | (#13252499)

In my opinion gaming is one of the most inproductive thing that people can do. And I think that the gaming industry is in fact contributing a lot to the decreasing knowledge of computing.

Some people argue that gaming helps young people learn about computers, but I see the opposite. It keeps people busy so that they don't explore the internal workings of their machine.

Why is this a bad thing? Because if they don't understand how a computer work they'll not understand why it should run on open standards. They will as all other gamers do, accept and accept how the gaming and software industry pushes more and more drm and other bad things on them.

I would say, if it was not for games, Linux would have had at least a 10% larger marketshare on desktops, because one of the most widely used excuses for not running Linux is that the win32 games don't work.

something other than rejection (3, Insightful)

inexion (903311) | about 9 years ago | (#13252383)

Im not sure that the older generation rejects gaming.....Its just that they dont feel the need to become involved - and dont want to spend the time and effort learning about such new fangled things, hence a lack of interest - not rejection

The important parts from the article (5, Insightful)

Dark Paladin (116525) | about 9 years ago | (#13252397)

The critics of gaming are typically over 40, those who play under 40.

But as Steven Johnson, a cultural critic, points out in a recent book, "Everything Bad Is Good for You", gaming is now so widespread that if it did make people more violent, it ought to be obvious. Instead, he notes, in America violent crime actually fell sharply in the 1990s, just as the use of video and computer games was taking off (see chart 2). Of course, it's possible that crime would have fallen by even more over the period had America not taken up video games; still, video gaming has clearly not turned America into a more violent place than it was.

It's a problem that I think comes up every 20-40 years: something new that changes society, and those too old to "get it".

10 years ago listening to rap music and heavy metal would get you into jail because you'd go kill people. Crime rates drop.

20 years ago playing Dungeons and Dragons would turn you into a Satan worshipper, you'd kill your parents and commit suicide. Amazingly, 99.9% of all players survived, and those who did kill themselves were in the statistical group who would have anyway.

20 years before, watching Elvis dance would turn you into a sexual deviant. Somehow, those same parents who watched Elvis's hips were able to complain about Britney Spears and her kinderslut outfits.

Reading comic books would turn you into a criminal, since it was the preferred activity of juvenile delinquents. (Or, at least the three that were studied.)

20 years before, and listening to rock and roll in general would cause kids to become pregnant just by being in the room, boys would go on rape sprees, and society would enter total decay.

20 years before that, and Glenn Miller was dangerous.

Keep going back, and every era will have something new that the older generation didn't get. The question with gaming is:

Will it follow the model of comic books, where a heavy handed fist comes down to regulate it into "kid safe"-ness, until decades later where it starts to spring again (mainly thanks to an underground movement and the explosion of interest in manga and anime)? Or will it follow rock and roll, and already be so entrenched that the Jack Thompsons and Hilary Clintons and Leibermans of the world will rage, and ten years later people will wonder what the big deal about was?

My bet is on the latter - but only if people take the time to educate each other on it. I've sat down with people who came to my office to ask me about the whole Grand Theft Auto games (they know I used to run a web site, now turned into a wiki [] ), and I've explained the rating system, the arguments, what "Hot Coffee" is all about. And 99% of the time, they go "Oh, ok, that makes sense." The 1% of the time they're just looking to steal some of my Triscuits.

Write to your congressman. We should, in the same fashion as those who set up a web site to protest the broadcast flag, set up a similiar Political Action Committee who's whole goal is to educate politicians on the issue and send them notices when they go for "hearings" and "new laws".

If we don't, then I can see an age where the gaming industry is regulated like the comic book industry was. And that would be a huge blow to what could be a fascinating new artistic medium.

Of course, this is just my opinion - I could be wrong.

Mod this up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13252552)

Extremly insightful.

Lessons (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13252405)

Lessons I've learned from gaming:

1) Never let your foot off the gas pedal when driving.
2) If going to war, make sure you get to handle the RPGs... that will definitely kill the enemy. What a heck, if you get blown up yourself, you can always respawn.
3) Don't trust a noob behind you when you run out of a room... you never know what he/she will do to you.
4) Cheating in games, and cheating on your wife is the same thing.
5) Always use up your money when you're in the armory... same thing with real life... you might lose it on other stuff.

And for my maners... them I picked up from Leisure Suit Larry.

Facts against what now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13252407)

The debate is still not finished concerning moving picture media in general. In fact, in art collages, and psychology classes everywhere, there is a very intense debate concerning the effects of motion pictures (including interactive ones) on the brain.

The debate the article decribes is one of popular culture, not science. Kinda like the debate concerning 'ladies' smoking cigarettes in the 19th century... we all know how that went.

... not much said, really ... (1)

ninjagin (631183) | about 9 years ago | (#13252415)

Well, I'm generally a fan of The Economist.

However, this article did not say much, and maybe that was the point. It pretty much amounted to "Games are neither good nor bad." Not so thought-provoking, really.

What the article may achieve, partly by being so unopinionated, is a moderation of the hype we get from Hilary (I think she's making shameless use the Tipper playbook here, btw) and other "experts" about games and the way they affect players. Given that the typical reader of The Economist is not a gamer, the message fits the intended audience.

Still, I thought that there was far less content about MMORPGs than there should have been. The economic and social implications of these titles are complex enough to merit further study/examination. It's to the point in most "mainstream" rags that the entire genre gets expressed by the example of "The Sims". Maybe they're saving that for a later article.

Yup, totally unfulfilling. Mildly informative to a non-gamer, but pretty milquetoast on the whole.

Assumption is false (1)

objekt (232270) | about 9 years ago | (#13252422)

The young became old and gave us Parental Advisory stickers to put on certain music packaging. Of course the sticker is worn like a badge of honor, but that's beside the point.

Re:Assumption is false (1)

Kelson (129150) | about 9 years ago | (#13252500)

Ah, but *their* music is now acceptable! You don't see parental advisory stickers on the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

No doubt in 30 years GTA and the like will be thought of as quaint, and the teenagers will be playing something that scares the crap out of today's gamers.

Re:Assumption is false (1)

TheAxeMaster (762000) | about 9 years ago | (#13252558)

And, ironically, parents seem to ignore the stickers and buy their kids these games/let their kids play these games anyway. And somehow its the game companies' fault.....come on people, why don't you try being parents huh? You know, actually RAISE your kids, instead of sitting them in front of the TV and doing your own thing, then getting pissed because you don't like what's on TV, where YOU PUT THEM!
According to the article, 62% of gamers are over 18. That's a decent majority, and you can't tell the game companies to stop making games for these people, that's against the constitution. All you can really do is .... umm ... actually GET INVOLVED in your kids' lives and know what they are doing.

Violence... (-1, Troll)

Spy der Mann (805235) | about 9 years ago | (#13252427)

How about watching "Bowling for Columbine" and think about it for a little while?

Re:Violence... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13252478)

How about you watch bowling for columbine, and think about it for a while without taking as gospel the crap the Moore likes to feed the people who watch his films.

Once the young are old... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13252450)

A lot of hippies grew up to become a bunch of scared, reactionary parents who want to state to absolve them from responsibility. Are for the drug war, and lie to their kids about all the sex they had and dope they smoked. Bush and Clinton did the toot and smoked the dope and had the sex and they are more than willing to ruin the young generation with crap laws. Many liberals grew up to become republicans, fewer grew up to become libertarians. I hope you are right and times will change, but I have every reason to remain a cynic.

It's a mindset, not an age (3, Insightful)

garylian (870843) | about 9 years ago | (#13252457)

Age is just a number. Heck, I'm 38, almost 39, and I still am an MMO junkie. If it's a PC RPG, I've probably played it, and most of the FPS, as well.

I know a few folks in their 60's that play MMOs.

My father is over 75. He helped design the original hardware and software for the AWACS aircraft. He played a major role in the setting up and turning on of the first dedicated network on the Eastern side of the US. He's seriously old-school computers, the kind of guy that had a subscription to IEEE and actually read the damned thing.

Now, he plays computer games. Not the first person shooters, or other games that take more reflex speed than he can muster up, but the simplier games, like cards, Myst, and the like.

And, since he hasn't had to really do jack didly squat in the last 6 years, technically, he now calls me and asks his only kid without a college degree, what the best firewall is, etc.

He's comfortable with computers, so computer games don't intimidate him.

Now if I could just teach my mother that not everything her retirement buddies think is a funny joke needs to be forwarded on to me...

time out (4, Insightful)

0xABADC0DA (867955) | about 9 years ago | (#13252461)

Games waste time. Games are fun.

When you get to the point in your life where your time is more valuable than the entertainment/social value you get from the game, you stop playing. That's why young people play games and old people do not: the older you get the less time you have to waste.

Social impact, no...Health impact, yes (1)

Ruger (237212) | about 9 years ago | (#13252465)

I'm certain games have contributed to my degrading eyesight, weight gain, back problems, strained my bladder (at times) and reduced my sperm count...possibly an intentional design feature of the games.

G4TV profitibility? (2, Funny)

The Lynxpro (657990) | about 9 years ago | (#13252477)

So, does this mean that for G4TV to finally become profitable, it'll take the death of the entire baby boomer generation? Great, that's obviously an easier challenge for them to face than the death of all the viewers who demand style and substance from their television programming! Quick, buy some Comcast shares because the money will be rolling in within the next 10-20 years... :)

In Soviet Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13252517)

>>games have been accepted by the young and largely rejected by the old.
games accept the young and reject the old.

I agree with this... (4, Insightful)

aftk2 (556992) | about 9 years ago | (#13252521)

However, a number of the same folks who listened to the Beatles in the '60s railed against Marilyn Manson in the '90s. Games as a medium may be more accepted in the future, but, if history is any indication, scapegoating will never die.

Social Evolution (2, Interesting)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | about 9 years ago | (#13252526)

Isn't this like how our generation was labelled X, yet we got some leftover values of the more conservative (not in a political sense) previous generation by reflection, parenting, education and what a certain society considers acceptable. (peer influence; you always adjust to your environment or get in an isolated position. Not all are as determined to remain the isolated position or just don't realize they're flocking as it's a normal process)

Yet, limits are constantly pushed. Remember the 'Rock and Roll' in the 50s,'60s,... It has affected how our society looks, as that yought has grown to be now the 'controlers of this society' (being parents, politicians, artists, idols, lawyers, directors, writers, as anyone else who is part of a society)

It seems that each generations' concept of which is considered normal, acceptable its limits are being pushed and people get numbed down for what previously was.

Now I do wonder wherever this is a good thing, as I see the kids these day walking around and idealizing the whole ghetto culture, reflecting of f the media which tries to profit and does so with drawing people to them with "shock value" and probes how far it can go. (turns out.. each time you can go a bit further once people are used to it)

Yet, each generations' conceptions of what is acceptable will be challenged when they grow older and look behind who's going to follow them up.

Some perspective (5, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 9 years ago | (#13252559)

I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on the frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words. When I was a boy, we were taught to be discrete and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise and impatient of restraint. --- Hesiod, Eighth Century B.C.

The world is passing through troublous times. The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress. Peter the Hermit, A.D. 1274

The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers. -- Socrates

Some things never change...

yet another lame analogy attempt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13252564)

sorry, i'm afraid that repeatedly using the coveted force-choke/push combo, to throw other players into bottomless pits in jedi knight2, is slightly different than going to see an elvis concert.

most video games now-a-days are akin to going to see a GWAR concert (which is worth doing btw). if GWAR had been around and doing shows in the 50's, they would have ended up in jail without a doubt.

Grr. (1)

kaoshin (110328) | about 9 years ago | (#13252571)

There are three types of people in this world. Intelligent people, morons, and people too stupid to even be called morons! Hillary says stuff like this makes being a parent harder? How about, if there is a game called "Grand Theft Auto", that has been widely publicized for literally forever (since the very first versions of it) to contain very obscene stuff, and you are a religious PMRC holy roller, don't buy it for your little delinquent coke snorting brats. Get of the crack, start parenting full time, and stop crying for the community to make up for your poor parenting.
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