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Mainstream Press Still Needs Help With Games

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the what-is-this-warcraft-you-speak-of? dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 57

Just when things seemed to be looking up, we have two prime examples of poor reporting on the gaming hobby. Chris Kohler, via a Game|Life blog post, points out an ABC report entitled Health Alert: Pulling the plug on Videogames. They list the dangers to your health that gaming can cause (excessive blinking, of course) and include a handly list of things to do besides game. Like 'Learn to change the oil or a tire on a car'. Meanwhile, the Jacksonville Daily News reports on those massively multiplayer thingies. From that article: "Anderson is one of an unknown number of individuals who split their time between the reality most inhabit and the virtual realities conjured by Internet role-playing game designers whose dreamscapes have become increasingly engrossing and even addictive."

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They need help because -- (2, Interesting)

guildsolutions (707603) | more than 8 years ago | (#14662735)

They are an older generation who uses computers to word process and spreadsheet, if that. The newer generation of press, and media proffessionals know the lingo, know the basics and know how to report on these. Its not hard, its just similar to your parents, you wouldnt expect them to understand :)

Maybe they need to focus upon MMO addictions inplace of 'learning how to change your oil instead', and trying to say that computer games and MMO's specfically are a bad thing.

$15 a month is a lot cheaper, and a lot more safe than roaming the streets and doing drugs or being an alchy!

Re:They need help because -- (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14662879)

Its not hard, its just similar to your parents, you wouldnt expect them to understand :)

Excuse me? I'll have you know my mother is primarily looking forward to her upcoming retirement because it'll give her more time for games. She started gaming 20 years ago, and only stopped once (for a couple of years after the release of the last Monkey Island, before she discovered the Myst series). I wouldn't expect my parents to understand the appeal of Halo or GTA, but I know damn well they understand the appeal of gaming in general.

Heck, even my grandparents appreciate computerised card games - with computers, they don't have to worry about the difficulty they were having picking up the cards they were inevitably dropping.

Re:They need help because -- (2, Funny)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 8 years ago | (#14662955)

The older generation just needs to be reminded that sitting on the couch drinking beer and watching people play with balls and/or pucks is no different than video games of any type. It's all idle waste and God will surely punish us all to an eternity in hell.

Re:They need help because -- (1)

kleptonin (901871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14664090)

$15 a month is a lot cheaper, and a lot more safe than roaming the streets and doing drugs or being an alchy!
What exactly do you have against alchemy? You're just jealous because I have more gold than you.

Re:They need help because -- (1)

couch_potato (623264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14672622)

Call it phlogiston envy.

Um, Hello? (3, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14662765)

I hate to break it to you, but the mainstream press needs help with everything. As anyone who's ever dealt with them can tell you, they tend to run into a situation with their preconceptions firmly in place. They'll use up hours of your time just to get a badly worded sound-bite rather than any useful information. They'll leave, print your sound-bite, and still be as wrong as they were when you were first trying to explain it to them.

For a perfect example of this, dig up the old "Google has confirmed a web based OpenOffice!" Any idiot who had listened to the broadcast would know that Sun and Google merely annouced a bundling deal. Yet the press was convinced, so they printed it. :-/

Just goes to show.... (5, Funny)

Brian McCoy (942227) | more than 8 years ago | (#14662810)

there are a ton of things your children can be doing instead of playing video games. Fun and exciting things like changing the oil in your car or changing your vehicle's tires. Of course my 9 year old daughter has been struggling with the hydraulic jack, but in the long run it'll be good for her health.

Re:Just goes to show.... (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 8 years ago | (#14663905)

Perhaps she should go play dodge ball instead or go play football in the local park...

hehe and here i thought dodge ball was about the most unhealthy thing ever, wtf is with teaching kids to throw stuff at the slowest weakest etc? Never saw the saving grace then or now ;)

The listen to fav music one was good, perhaps with your ipod earbuds that'll make em go deaf, at least they won't be blinking all the time :O

Do californians really need the gov't to give them ideas for their kids to do besides play games??? Taking 'Nanny State' to a whole new level!

News at 11 (1)

XdevXnull (905214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14662831)

In other news, the Fox network has announced a new reality show. It will feature professional gamer Fatality as he plots to murder people in the highschool gym, with hundreds of spectators in the stands.

Lasers and GPS, in D&D? (3, Funny)

amrust (686727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14662847)

Why is the guy in TFA, who apparently games as 'Plasma', a fearless vigilante in a cape who fires lasers from his fists, posing next to a Dungeons and Dragons game?

Or did I miss a D&D makeover, somewhere?

/rolls a 6

Har (1)

PoochieReds (4973) | more than 8 years ago | (#14662856)

'Learn to change the oil or a tire on a car'

But what about the negative health effects of getting oil in my eyes, breathing exhaust fumes, or dropping the tire on my foot!?!?!

Re:Har (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 8 years ago | (#14663378)

Buy the +5 Skills amulet at your local garage, and don't leave the car running when you change the oil!

Let them win. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14662901)

Ban violent game sales to minors. This will drive the game industry "underground", where it can churn out much more interesting titles without fear of censors. Small developers and collaborative open-source games will thrive, and maybe we can get some of these kids on board to actually develop what they play. Many of the amazing game mods were created by young people with too much free time on their hands.

Minors will get their hands on these games one way or another.

Re:Let them win. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14663160)

Forget it, all you will see is green or purple blood and humans replaced with robots. That's what we saw in Germany.

Re:Let them win. (1)

maumedia (951250) | more than 8 years ago | (#14663511)

Yes, because Grand Theft Auto will be just as fun with green-blooded robots.

Won't that be lovely.

Re:Let them win. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14663788)

C&C Generals ended up pretty ridiculous (as did C&C 1-3, they even made up stories about dedicated war areas and farmbots to explain the civilians), Turok and Half-Life were pretty laughable as well (take HL1, enable content control and replace all soldiers with robots and scientist death animations with sitting down and shaking their heads). Fallout had only one death animation (drop over dead). Unreal Tounament (and its sequels) had minimal amounts of green blood and absolutely no gibbing. Uprising still had blood if you ran soldiers over (which made a metallic crunch sound and all soldiers were grayscale), I suppose they didn't catch that. Carmaggeddon had zombies (green blood) or robots (oil), depending on which version you got. All blood in Incubation was replaced with flashing lights.

It usually doesn't impact gameplay but it looks so ridiculous there's no way to suspend your disbelief.

Re:Let them win. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14663772)

What stops German players from downloading games from other countries? Wolfenstein: ET would be a great example. Not only is it bloody, you can be a nazi and shoot the allies.

Re:Let them win. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14664038)

Most of that was happening before DSL became available so downloading was pretty much a nonissue. There were bloodpatches and such but that's not an option for console games. Of course we can download now but seriously, some people would prefer to buy games instead of warezing. Sure, now I'll get the standard "Then buy it AND download it!" reply because some people seriously think that waiting days for all those gigabytes to download is convenient. And then there are those who don't even speak english.

Oh and I forgot the most prominent example of a nerfed game: Probotector. A game where you play as a robot in the distant future destroying aliens left and right. The clou? Before it was "localized" the game was known as Contra.

But then how would they sell advertisements? (4, Interesting)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 8 years ago | (#14662904)

While it's clear that many members of the media don't grasp basic computer concepts beyond using Windows/MacOS for web surfing and office applications, this has very little to do with their ignorance of the gaming community and games as an entertainment medium.

This is all about ratings. If they ran a story that took a fair and balanced look at gaming and its pros and cons, nobody would pay attention. Gamers wouldn't pay attention because they understand it, anti-game advocates wouldn't like it because it didn't share their irrational bias, and the average viewer/reader wouldn't care because they wouldn't feel it was relevant or interesting. But if they run a sensational story about how games *might* be dangerous to *some* people who have *other problems* that are aggravated by excessive, obsessive gaming, people pay attention, the get ratings, and advertisers give them more money.

The public are the ones who need help. Help the people, you help the media. This applies to just about everything: Schools? Fix the parents, you fix the education problems. Environmental concerns? Get the people to care, corporations will follow the money and give the people what they want.

Re:But then how would they sell advertisements? (1)

Rimbo (139781) | more than 8 years ago | (#14663679)

I think it's really as simple as that they just don't know anything about games.

Most of the press is over age 30. And for people in the 30-and-up range, video games were a geek hobby -- and geeks don't typically become journalists. It'll be a solid two decades before people who grew up with video gaming as a mainstream form of entertainment will be holding jobs and editor positions in mass media.

The flip side of this is that the (older) gaming-oriented press is awful for the exact opposite reason; they know plenty about games, and so they review it either from the standpoint of fans (leading to all of the ratings inflation), or they review it from the standpoint of elitists ("this game didn't add anything to what its predecessor did" is an invalid critique for the millions of gamers who never played the predecessor). They're too interested in games.

Non-Gamers (3, Insightful)

Schitzoflink (949390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14662934)

Non-gamers will never understand gamers and will always think that games are a waste of time. I have a friend who has said that she feels like she is wasting time when she plays games and would rather watch tv...because she can get more done......seriously she thinks that...so we'll just have to remember that just as other people think we don't make any sense playing games we'll continue to think they are retarded.

Re:Non-Gamers (0)

bradkittenbrink (608877) | more than 8 years ago | (#14667011)

What's your point, we'll continue to be right and they'll continue to be wrong?

Re:Non-Gamers (1)

demonbug (309515) | more than 8 years ago | (#14681163)

Believe it or not, your friend may have a point. When gaming, you are fully occupied by the game you are playing. On the other hand, watching TV doesn't really occupy your hands, and you don't really need to pay close attention most of the time. My wife, for example, likes to playvideo games but rarely does, because if she watches TV or a video instead (something that for her offers equal entertainment value) she can knit or cook or write letters at the same time. The point being, when you are watching TV, you can get other things done at the same time (assuming you aren't completely enthralled by whatever you are watching). When you are playing a video game, you are completely occupied (I am, anyway).

Doesn't change the fact that I spend a lot more time playing video games than watching TV, but I would probably be a little more productive if I was watching TV instead (although, as a broad generalization, I think women tend to be better able to multitask in this way - I tend to concentrate on whatever I am doing to the exclusion of all else, so it really doesn't make much difference for me).

People Die (3, Insightful)

maumedia (951250) | more than 8 years ago | (#14662937)

Whenever you despair over politics, or the news, or video game legislation, remember this:

People die. Usually as they get older. They are replaced by younger people.

At some point most of the government, the media, the police, etc. will be from your generation. There will probably be a president that has played Super Mario Brothers, or World of Warcraft.

Whatever videogames are "doing to our kids", they have already done to us, and we're not exactly helpless.

If you'd like to worry about something long-term, think about this: the population of China is almost a quarter of the world's population. India and China combined is over a third of the world's population. In the grand scheme of things, our petty concerns over here have almost nothing to do with the state of the world.

Re:People Die (1)

acvh (120205) | more than 8 years ago | (#14663129)

I used to think that a generational change in US politics would be significant. I even voted for Clinton in 1992 for that very reason. I was wrong. Regardless of a person's birthdate, politics overrides ideals, experience and education, and corrupts their very souls.

Don't think that because someone has played videogames, or smoked dope, or written open source code, he/she will bring a new view to politics if elected to office. The system will eat them up, digest them, and turn them into shit, just like every other politician.

Re:People Die (1)

know1 (854868) | more than 8 years ago | (#14666403)

"Whenever you despair over politics, or the news, or video game legislation, remember this: People die. Usually as they get older. They are replaced by younger people."
hrm, i wish it were so. wonder how the folks from the sixties would feel about todays political climate and voting system (or lack thereof). the same corrupt forces run the world just like they always have.
as The Who said "meet the new boss, same as the old boss"
don't get fooled again...

Re:People Die (1)

maumedia (951250) | more than 8 years ago | (#14666537)

You don't think anyone from the 60's would notice the number of women and minorities in the government today as compared to the US government of the 60's

Do you think the standards board of the 50's would have allowed something like "Sex in the City" or "The L Word" to air on television?

As much as everyone has jumped on racial profiling as a hot topic, does it really compare to the McCarthy hearings?

These things aren't news to some of us, because we grew up with them. Kids can read about them in History, but they'll never know what they're like, because they never had to live through them. Their concept of the world starts when they are born, and they move forward from that base.

We tend to breed out bad ideas over time.

Are people still greedy and corrupt? Yes, it turns out we're still human. I hope that's not breaking news to anyone.

Re:People Die (1)

know1 (854868) | more than 8 years ago | (#14667519)

i think the "tending to breed out bad ideas over time thing" only works if they count your vote. as it is, you have a dictatorship. and things are only going to get worse. glad i don't live in the USA...

Re:People Die (1)

SCPRedMage (838040) | more than 8 years ago | (#14667572)

Funny, last I saw the USA was a democratic nation. Troll.

Re:People Die (1)

maumedia (951250) | more than 8 years ago | (#14667900)

That's an entirely different problem. North Americans are hypnotized by the media and so over-entertained in general that they couldn't care less about anything that isn't standing in their livingroom to really get behind any cause, even voting. Especially when the actual process of tabulating the votes based on states and seats seems only to remove people from the sense that their vote makes any difference. If you can cut up the numbers in such a way that anyone can win, why bother?

That's a gross generalization, of course. Not everyone stays away from the polls.

Re:People Die (1)

know1 (854868) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668156)

i think you completely missed my point. it's not about enough people turning up to vote now. it may have been the first time bush got elecyed, but he has enough power now to straight out rig it. they even switched to electric voting machines with fucking closed source software on them so they don't even have to be arsed to hide the paper trail.
i can't remember the exact wording, but karl marx said "the people who cast the votes don't have the power, the people who count them do"

Re:People Die (1)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14667095)

There will probably be a president that has played ... World of Warcraft.

Dear God no.

Re:People Die (1)

maumedia (951250) | more than 8 years ago | (#14667952)

As crazy as it seems, World of Warcraft hit 5 million subscribers in December. It seems to appeal to high-school level students all the way up the age ladder.

http://www.blizzard.com/press/051219.shtml [blizzard.com]

Statistically, it's not crazy to think that one of those people might be president one day, just improbable. The population of Los Angeles in 2004 was 3.8 million, and you probably wouldn't think it that unlikely that a future president might be any one of those people.

http://www.demographia.com/db-usmuni2004.htm [demographia.com]

It's CBS not ABC (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14662950)

Not that everyone in TELEVISED news couldn't use a bit of an education when it comes to gaming stories, that article was from a CBS news site, not ABC.

other things to do (5, Funny)

freshman_a (136603) | more than 8 years ago | (#14662965)

...include a handly list of things to do besides game. Like 'Learn to change the oil or a tire on a car'.

See, I tried that. I stood in my driveway for like, geez, 30 minutes yelling "LFG change oil or tire" and the people in my neighborhood just kept shouting "shutup n00b" at me. I eventually gave up and went back to playing video games.

Re:other things to do (3, Funny)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 8 years ago | (#14663017)

Duh, you need to click the meeting stone next to the garage. Mebbe you were too low level for an oil run...

Re:other things to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14663079)

He was using the wrong channel.

pfft. nubs

Re:other things to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14664406)

If he were hardcore he'd solo that shit.

"OMGz LOL! Teh Oil is a 63 Elite!"

Re:other things to do (1)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 8 years ago | (#14664952)

Damn overpowered Hunters just kite the car while changing the oil. Talk about easymode.

In other news... (4, Insightful)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 8 years ago | (#14663007)

While I agree that journalism has it out for video games (and porn, and gambling, and...), those aren't the only things that they have trouble with. In fact, there are a lot of other things that should be understood first in journalism, before understanding video games.

Let's start with little subjects, like Politics, fact-checking, and real news.

Then we'll worry about video games.

Re:In other news... (1)

Mr. Samuel (950418) | more than 8 years ago | (#14663587)

...but where will I get the latest Jen and Vince info if not from our inspiring media?

What universe are these MMORPGS in? (1)

Miraba (846588) | more than 8 years ago | (#14663042)

In MMORPGs, a premium is placed on cooperation between gamers, who often benefit more by collaborating with peers than by competing with them.

No no, that should read "collaborating with peers and then stabbing them in the back."

Another remnant of the paper-and-dice role-playing games that preceded the online incarnations is the free-form nature of the game, which allows players to deviate from plotlines.

Wait, deviation from plotlines? If you can deviate from the "plot" at all, it was fluid and probably not very important to begin with.

And when they do emerge from their self-imposed exile, most speak a language in which English words are interspersed with endless strands of indecipherable online jargon.

Apparently we speak in tongues.

While cloistering oneself up in the computer room for 30 hours a week may seem anti-social

And we're all addicts.

And no matter how long work and home keep him from his computer, Anderson's fellow gamers are always ready to bring him back into the fold for a few hours of orc-stabbin, sith-slayin', crime-stoppin' fun.

All in one game? Sign me up!

Not impressed (1)

ChozSun (49528) | more than 8 years ago | (#14663097)

I play video games and I know how to change the oil and tires on a car.

Next.

Re:Not impressed (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 8 years ago | (#14663252)

Same here. I drive it to the mechanic.

Next.

How come... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14663119)

If "every hour a child spends in front of their console or TV doubles their risk of obesity", how come the stereotypical "gamer" is a skinny teenager instead of a 500lb slug? If you spend (only) an hour a day playing video games, doesn't that logic imply that by the end of the week, they are 128x more likely to be fat?

is there a website (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14663176)

where i can go to complain about this? I dont feel like talking to anyone in person, and I dont know how to drive.

Dungeons & Dragons (1)

poena.dare (306891) | more than 8 years ago | (#14663249)

We went through this before with D&D. Nothing new here, move along...

Local TV News (2, Informative)

The-Bavis (855107) | more than 8 years ago | (#14663267)

The "CBS" article is not surprisingly really from a local news organization under the CBS umbrella. "Reporting" such as this show why there is never any reason to watch the local news outside of sports and maybe the weather if you like to pretend they can make good predictions.

It's all fear-mongering and inane chatter. Instead of mindlessly sitting on the couch watching reports of violence and learning more ways that I will soon die, I will do one of the following activities:

1. Play video games.
2. Go running.
3. Enjoy electronic interactive entertainment.
4. Transport body at a greater rate than typical walking.
5. React to stimuli on a viewing device with hand and digit movements on a mechanism that then controls activity occurring on viewing device.
6. Move body without assistance of vehicle from origin to a mid-point and back to origin in a manner that requires both feet to occasionally leave the ground.
7. ....

Re:Local TV News (1)

nelk (923574) | more than 8 years ago | (#14663442)

7. Change oil and tires on car.

Surely you read the article? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14664137)

It is evident that the article didn't go through any proofreading or editorial process before it was published. Heck, I've seen better proofreading done by Microsoft Word (Hiss!).

It is not suprising that there was no by-line on the article; anyone with any self respect left would fear being found out and laughed at.

It is not a big leap to go from "lack of proofreading" to "lack of any critical examination at all".

It's helped me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14663299)

I change tires and oil all the time in my NASCAR RPG!! :-)

Videogames can be *good* for health! (1)

GlenRaphael (8539) | more than 8 years ago | (#14664319)

Videogames don't have to be sedentary. Dance Dance Revolution [videogameworkout.com] is aerobic exercise in the form of a game. Eyetoy:Kinetic [videogameworkout.com] is a solid fitness training program the bulk of which involves playing videogames. Youself!Fitness [videogameworkout.com] is a "game" that teaches you yoga and exercises every muscle you've got in more ways than you knew were possible.

Videogames also don't have to be socially isolating - regular MMORPG players certainly have more active social interaction than kids who spend all their time reading or watching TV...

O' RLY? (1)

aLEczapKA (452675) | more than 8 years ago | (#14666300)

...and even addictive

O' RLY?

Coincidental Matrix reference... (1)

Homi-Wan (952818) | more than 8 years ago | (#14667858)

Any Matrix nerds get a slight grin when the second article was talking about Mr.Anderson spending his time in a virtual world?

Choice Quotes (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669945)

So what "are" the signs it's time to hit the stop button on your child's video games?
*anti-social behavior *increased aggression *drop in school work or report card grades. *physical problems Excessive blinking Red eyes Sore thumbs or wrists Neck or back pain

Oh, these "are" the signs?


As if that wasn't enough. Every hour a child spends in front of their console or TV doubles their risk of obesity Dr. Fields' recommendation is simple: get out and play.

Every hour doubles it? My risk of obesity must be almost infinity!

Not the worst cases ive seen. (1)

xtieburn (906792) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670817)

I dont see what was bad about the second article.

I mean perhaps im missing something but the majority seems to have a very favorable view of the MMO thing. It briefly talks about some issues with extremists, and thats true, there are wacko's out there who take it too far.

The first article was a little more unbalanced seemed to be all doom and gloom. Its psychological stuff is something that has bounced back and forth and there is currently no indication that games are any worse than TV and such. It seems to claim they are for a fact. Though ultimately its conclusion was that about an hour of gaming a day for children is enough. I dont really see the problem with that either.
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