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Mainstream Press Still Needs Help With Games 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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Mainstream Press Still Needs Help With Games

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  • by guildsolutions ( 707603 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @04:19PM (#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!
  • Um, Hello? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) <> on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @04:21PM (#14662765) Homepage Journal
    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. :-/
  • by Brian McCoy ( 942227 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @04:25PM (#14662810) Homepage
    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.
    • 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???
  • 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.
  • by amrust ( 686727 ) <> on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @04:28PM (#14662847) Homepage
    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

  • '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!?!?!
    • by Pope ( 17780 )
      Buy the +5 Skills amulet at your local garage, and don't leave the car running when you change the oil!
  • by PFI_Optix ( 936301 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @04:33PM (#14662904) Journal
    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.
    • 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 kn
  • Non-Gamers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Schitzoflink ( 949390 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @04:35PM (#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 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.
    • What's your point, we'll continue to be right and they'll continue to be wrong?
    • 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
  • People Die (Score:3, Insightful)

    by maumedia ( 951250 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @04:36PM (#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.
    • 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 ever
    • "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...
      • 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
        • 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...
          • 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 generaliz
            • 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"
    • There will probably be a president that has played ... World of Warcraft.

      Dear God no.

      • 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. []

        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. []

  • by freshman_a ( 136603 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @04:38PM (#14662965) Homepage Journal
    ...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.
  • In other news... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RyoShin ( 610051 ) <tukaro AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @04:43PM (#14663007) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • 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

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

  • We went through this before with D&D. Nothing new here, move along...
  • Local TV News (Score:2, Informative)

    by The-Bavis ( 855107 )
    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.
    • 7. Change oil and tires on car.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      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".
  • Videogames don't have to be sedentary. Dance Dance Revolution [] is aerobic exercise in the form of a game. Eyetoy:Kinetic [] is a solid fitness training program the bulk of which involves playing videogames. Youself!Fitness [] 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

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

  • 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
  • All I could think of was "Holy CRAP that's a lotta blinkin'!" [] :)


"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury