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The Top Ten Biggest Myths About Gaming
It’s no secret that gaming has blossomed into a massive facet of entertainment, rivaling music and film in size and net worth.
Unfortunately, the term gamer still reflects poorly in the minds of too many, bringing up myriad myths and faulty ideas about who we are and what games are all about. As the industry grows and gaming evolves, it will become more and more widely accepted, but until then, here’s a list of the top ten biggest misconceptions those on the outside (and some on the in) have about gaming.
#10: The title on the box is the name of the main character.
Zelda is not the guy in green with the fancy sword. His name is Link, and Zelda is the princess he serves. Metroid is not the person in the orange suit with an arm cannon. Her name is Samus Aran, and Metroid is the name of the alien life form she relentlessly hunts.
These two aren’t the only victims of name mix-ups, and strangely, even folks within the gaming world are guilty of this confusion. Just make sure you know the whole story before you start name dropping, kids.
#9: Sony and Microsoft make their own games.
While they may have some first party developers working under their wing to make games on their platform, Sony and Microsoft alone do not develop and mass produce the games on their respective consoles. They make the hardware; separate studios make the games.
#8: There is a “best” gaming platform.
Probably the biggest debate amongst fanboys on the internet is which platform is the best. Nothing makes fans hunker down and spew insults about mothers and intelligence while waving a console flag quite like declaring one’s platform superior to all others.
The truth is, beauty is in the eye of the beholder amongst gaming platforms. It’s completely subjective; no mathematical equation exists to tell you that a certain console is the ‘best’ on the market. Sure, one can argue specs and power, but ultimately, the best platform is the one you have fun on. Each one offers something different; PlayStation and Xbox have great exclusives and multiplayer options, PCs can often offer more power and a prettier aesthetic, iPhones provide certain gaming experiences comparable to console gaming on the go, and Nintendo is great for nostalgia and dedicated fans of well-established franchises. Let your heart be your guide.
#7: PC Gaming is dead.
Despite the success of console gaming throughout the US, Europe, and Japan, there are still many regions of the world where consoles are not available for purchase. Due to the lack of console gaming, people have turned to playing PCs, particularly in China and Russia, arguably making PC gaming the most widely used platform worldwide.
#6: All PC gamers consider themselves the “Master Race” of gamers.
PC gamers often get a bad rap for considering themselves the “Master Race” amongst the gaming community, claiming that higher quality games and more power in their platform makes them superior to console gamers. While it may be a small section of PC gamers who fit this description, a majority of PC fans don’t necessarily practice platform bigotry. It’s just their preferred way of playing games.
#5: All girl gamers are gross.
Despite the unusual consensus amongst sexually frustrated online gamers, all girls who play video games are not disfigured, morbidly obese women stroking cats and playing Zelda while pausing to check their profiles on match.com.
In fact, we are our own subgroup of the gaming community, and our diversity is just as widespread as it is amongst the guys. We work, go to school, paint nails, wear makeup, go out with friends, and achieve kill streaks in Call of Duty.
If you don’t believe me, look up the Frag Dolls, Veronica Belmont (formerly of PSN’s Qore), and Naomi Kyle and Jessica Chobot of IGN. All cool girls, all hardcore gamers.
#4: Video Games contribute to our nation’s obesity problem.
No, shoveling in five pounds of gravy fries and 2 liters of Coke while gaming contributes to our nation’s obesity problem. Games are not consumed, and do not have a calorie count.
#3: All gamers are nerds who look and sound like Steve Urkel.
Chances are good you wouldn’t know a gamer if you passed one on the street. We look and sound just as normal as the rest of society. Big-rimmed glasses, suspenders, and high tops now belong in the hands of hipsters.
#2: All hardcore gamers are men in their late 30’s living in Mom’s basement.
As gaming has evolved, it has become more widely appreciated and socially recognized as a legitimate form of entertainment. Because of that, the community of hardcore gamers is a vast and incredibly diverse one. We are businesspeople, teachers, parents, executives, salespeople, and students. We’re men and women. We range from toddlers to proud AARP members. While there may be some of us that fit in the living-in-basements bill, cramming the hardcore gaming community under this universal umbrella could not be any less accurate. We’re a massive population of ordinary people with a shared interest in an interactive hobby, and we love what we do.
#1: Video games make people violent.
Little Timmy likes to play a war game where he takes on the role of a soldier and shoots people for points. So, of course it’s completely reasonable to assume he’ll grow up to be a serial killer, right?
Unfortunately, too many on the outside still agree with this faulty myth. And it never helps when tragic shootings take place and video games become the first scapegoat the media can find to blame for the killer’s motivation.
The reality of it is this; numerous studies have been done, and there is still no solid, indisputable evidence that video games make a person violent. While desensitization may take place to some degree, it simply does not single-handedly rewire a person to make them violent and aggressive.
Violence in people is influenced by so many other more powerful factors, such as mental issues, societal pressure, and predisposition. Those factors need to be looked at more closely as a trigger for violence, not Modern Warfare 3.
And as for the “disgusting practice” of putting violent media into the hands of children, I’d like to fire back and say this; it’s the parent’s job to police what their kids are playing, not the government’s to censor it. If you don’t want your kid watching R-rated content, don’t let them play M-rated games. It’s important to be educated and responsible for what’s going on in your own home.
So no, video games don’t make you violent. Now, I’m going to excuse my pacifist, puppy-loving self to go fire up the 360 and shoot some fools in the face.