For anyone lucky enough not to have stumbled onto Salon.com, it is an online publication that specializes in giving any radicals the opportunity to cry about any issues that no one cares about (regardless of your political stance). Checkout their Facebook page and you’re guaranteed to find articles with smart-ass comments ripping on the subject or the classic response of, “Nobody gives a f***“.
So to no surprise they have published several ill-written articles that have been very critical of the video game industry and culture. However unlike their typical banter; none of the writers could be considered experts because most of them admit to not having actually played or know anything about the video games they are discussing. Worse is that on several occasions they have published articles that reinforce the junk science that video games makes the player violent (a myth disproved by countless scientific studies).
As a devoted gamer I cannot silently sit aside while Salon.com gives a voice to fake gamers who are pretending to have deep insight while slandering our gaming community.
The best example to look at is My Fantasies of Mass Murder by Brian McGuigan, which attempts to reinforce the junk science that video games turns people into violent killers using the author’s life story as an example. The author tells the story of his anti-social youth along with how he tried to escape his problems with video games only to have fantasies of wanting to kill people. While Salon.com had approved any comment that kissed up to the author, its Facebook page was stuffed with users calling the author out on his BS.
Another to look at is Gamers, Stop Supporting Violence! by Rohan Talbot; a diatribe that violent video games makes us accept violence while trying to reinforce the junk science in a subtle but smug manner. The sub-headline gives the illusion that it’s going to be another discussion on how video games are tools used by the right-wing media but instead Talbot makes a poor argument denouncing the violence in video games while admitting to never having played a Call of Duty game (which he describes as being all about killing foreigners) or having an interest in playing Grand Theft Auto V.
Video Games Make us All Losers! became a very popular punching bag among real gamers after Jesper Juul refereed to modern video games as an artistic tragedy because the players dies repeatedly. It was not the critical look that killed his credibility but referring to modern games as, “This casual revolution in video games is forcing us to rethink the role of failure in games: should all games be intense personal struggles that bombard the player with constant failures and frequent setbacks, or can games be more relaxed experiences, like a walk in the park? ” Basically he is saying that games today are too hard and need to be made easy to appease the casual gamer audience (despite the fact that game industry has been dumbing down games just to appeal to casual gamer).
Of course a media outlet like Salon just has to publish a few articles that accuses video games of having right-wing propaganda or promoting racism and sexism with little to no real evidence.
“Grand Theft Auto” Maker: Video Games Hate Liberals by Jon Hochschartner is a half-ass attempt to depict Red Dead Redemption and L.A. Noire of having a right-wing bias using the most flimsy of evidence. According to Hochschartner; the Mexican Revolution part of Red Dead Redemption is depicted of having an anti-government message as it pits a brutal Mexican warlord against rebels lead by an opportunist. Meanwhile; LA Noire has an anti-liberal message because one of the suspects in the “The Gas Man” case is a communist.
Yup; that was Hochschatner’s entire argument boiled down to only two sentences. But to call this diatribe an “argument” would be an insult to the classic art of public discussion and rational reasoning. Unfortunately he tries again with “The Legend of Zelda” Is Classist, Sexist and Racist (yeah you real all that correctly) only to copy & paste someone else theory then reinforcing it with his own opinion by using the most flimsy of evidence.
For most Salon.com contributors to discuss about the cultural and social impacts of video games is the equivalent of some Tea Party congressmen discussing the “economical benefits” of cutting funds for social programs. If Salon.com really wants to discuss the social and cultural aspects of video games then they need to find a writer with a background in sociology and is actually a gamer.
What are your thoughts about Salon.com stance on video games and have you read any of these articles? Share your thoughts in the comment section.