Wednesday, April 2, 2008

We get it, you still hate video games

The Times, continuing their assault on video games, has invited guest columnist Giles Whittell to post a rant listing his reasons on why he hates video games. This after The Times lied about video games box receiving health warning labels and whose two other hacks have no will to be responsible for their children's actions. His main reason: that video gaming is a waste of time.
I hate video games, on or offline. I hate the way they suck real people into fake worlds and hold on to them for decades at a time. I hate being made to feel hateful for saying so, and I hate being told to immerse myself in them before passing judgment, because it feels like being told to immerse myself in smack and teenage pregnancy before passing judgment on them.
This was written by a book author. What do authors do? Suck real people into fake worlds. I see no difference from people who take comfort in immersing themselves in films, books, music, musicals or indeed video gaming. To single out a medium specifically for his attack says a lot of this hypocritical old man, whose books are no where near as influential as those by authors like J.R.R. Tolkein, Terry Pratchet and J.K. Rowling.
This is not because of anything wrong or bad about video games or heroin or teenage parents. It's not even because of game-induced homicide or web-grooming of little girls by perverts - serious problems, but statistically low-risk. It's because, compared with everything else on offer in a kid's life, video games and heroin and teenage pregnancy are a colossal waste of time.
Silly argument. What do we do in this world that isn't a waste of time? Sudoku? Fishing? Hiking? Reading travel books written by the same hack who posted the above diatribe? All these are equally a waste of time. Writing the article itself for all intent and purpose was ultimately a waste of time, as was writing this reply. I know what isn't a waste of time. Giving birth to a beautiful baby, even if it was the result of teen pregnancy.
Dr Byron says a third of ten-year-olds in England spend more than three hours per school day playing video games. In England, maybe. In my house, only when I'm dead. Meanwhile, I want my kids to overdose on wind, rain, mud, gravy, tents, mountains and overcooked bacon. (Oh, and do their homework.) Why is that suddenly so weird?
I see you also enjoy time wasting. What is the difference of wasting time standing under the rain to wasting time playing video games or reading proper books? Is it because you are a bitter technophobic? Whose inability to connect with young people makes you angry? At the end of the day eating overcooked bacon or playing video games still results in the same thing - wasting time. But at least I had fun playing games. Overcooked bacons are not that great.

You could do worse than wasting your time with video gaming fun. You could be a Times reader.


Adrian said...

I think you make a good point. I'd consider Giles' outdoor activities to be a waste of time because I wouldn't gain any of the things I get from reading a book or playing a video game whilst doing them.

Fortunately the comments on that article seem to be almost universally negative.

Video Gamer Artist said...

What a dolt. He is the very exact obstacle identified by Tanya Byron in her review. Guess being proven wrong by a female didn't make that middle class tosser happy.

Tom said...

This guy really needs to read the book "A theory of fun" by Raph Koster. The book gives a very good insight into why games (and having fun) are important and not just "a waste of time".

Or maybe reading is a waste of time too?