Are Video Games Art?
In "Are Video Games Art?" (June), Nick Gillespie claims that after the shooting at Sandy Hook "there were no serious calls for censorship of video games."
He must not read anything released by the NRA (of which I am a life member). They did their best to make video games a-if not the-scapegoat for the shootings. It's heartening to hear they failed, but I wonder if their failure might be due solely to the mainstream media's disdain for any position taken by a gun rights organization?
Sociology in Fantasia
I was delighted to see some serious discussion of computer gaming culture in your June issue, including Bryan Alexander's review ("Sociology in Fantasia") of Nick Yee's book The Proteus Paradox: How Online Games and Virtual Worlds Change Us-and How They Don't. The material on racism and sexism, however, seemed a bit overdrawn.
Serious e-sportsmen detest gold spammers, botters, power-levelers, and the like (Alexander seems unclear as to the meaning of these terms) not because of who they are, but because of what they do: They appropriate resources, like mining nodes and communication channels, for commercial use that are necessary for the rest of us to play.
Additionally, they distort the player economy and cheapen the accomplishments of those who choose to earn their honors rather than purchase them. Although joining an online role-playing game doesn't confer maturity on teenagers, young adult gamers seem to appreciate any colleagues willing to compete within the rules. Online games help young adults cultivate friends worldwide.
As to sexism, it undoubtedly exists in gaming, as in any sport. Higher-functioning player guilds welcome serious women members and not only support them but give them positions of leadership.
Certainly gamers are libertarian by instinct, as are young persons and techies generally. Gaming is a great way to listen in on them. I hope reason can reach out to gamers.
John M. Rathbun
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"I would agree that video games tend to make you fat and stupid and lazy and prone to lusting for sex and violence-but so does just about everything else that people are inclined to do. Human beings are hard-wired to prefer being fat and stupid and lazy and lusting for sex and violence. The only reason we aren't all fat and stupid and lazy is because being fat and stupid and lazy leaves you vulnerable to being the object of someone else's lust for sex and violence."
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