Wed 18 Apr 2007
Very sad to see the anti-game crusaders chasing down every school massacre with their complete BS. In the face of the horrible, horrible tragedy at Virginia Tech, Jack gets on Fox News before ANYTHING is known about the killer, proclaiming games to be at fault. Sadder still is that Fox keeps turning to such “experts”.
Though, in general, much of the reporting has focused on Cho as a disturbed loner who liked writing and basketball, and from a generally normal family (parents own a dry cleaner, sister graduated from Stanford, etc). Turns out Cho didn’t even own games, or play them in recent history (despite comments that he was a Counter-Strike fan).
In terms of the panic over games, interesting research from the official British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) explores many aspects of games, violence, player attitudes, etc. Of note, they debunk the commonly held belief that the interactive nature of games makes them more dangerous:
“We were particularly interested to see that this research suggests that, far from having a potentially negative impact on the reaction of the player, the very fact that they have to interact with the game seems to keep them more firmly rooted in reality.”
This is linked in with the notion of the “magic circle” of play, whereby those at play knowingly enter the circle and are consciously aware they are playing a game, etc.
The key really is a question of engagement. To what extent does a work of art/entertainment engage the reader/player/watcher/etc? For games, interactivity is one tool used to engage - just like film, for example, has other tools it can use to engage the viewer.
Anyway. Big sigh.