With the case of Brown v. Entertainment Merchant Association all wrapped up with a bow and parents screaming blue bloody murder in the streets, I think it’s time to step back and realise that people who have never ever played video games are debating these issues. Not only that, but they are getting more worked up about it than Hulk Hogan in a cage match against a dude who tells kids not to take their vitamins. Parents always fear what they don’t know, but I know gaming… so for the record parents, here are some games you should be veritably petrified of.
In Pokémon, you play a Pokémon trainer who captures “wild” Pokémon and trains them to be stronger through rigorous exposure to violence than confining them in abhorrent conditions (poke ball) and feeding them very little. This “training” helps to bring out the competitive edge in said Pokémon (read: Bloodlust) so that they are ready to “battle” other Pokémon who have been subjected to the same treatment by their trainers. These fights often happen in pit circles for money. The losing Pokémon is then electrocuted or drowned. You know what else has the exact same specifications as Poke battles?
Really parents, you want to raise your kids to be dogfighters?
Hold your horses there, you wild gaming bronco. I’m not saying Dragon Age II is a bad game, I’m telling you Dragon Age II is a bad game. Any game in which you can effectively mash one button and beat said game is a bad game. Parents should be up in arms about this. The one thing older-types always blither to you in between the reapplication of brylcreem, is how video games rot your brain. First off, I’d like to put my hand up and say this and this but before they go yammering on about the Big Bopper, wireless radio and other crap I don’t care about, I say this. Video games sharpen your mind when they’re done correctly, fact. Dragon Age II highlights a trend in gaming which is becoming disgustingly prevalent. They’re making our games easier and less taxing. Look at L.A. Noire; did you fail that mission three times, big buddy? That’s cool, you can skip it. Here’s a lollipop!
Parents should be worried about this infection far more than violence. Violent video games stimulate and titillate your child’s brain (to no scientifically or sociologically proven ill); it sharpens reflexes and improves hand-eye co-ordination and most importantly, it makes your kid a pretty cool guy. Dragon Age II, however, turns your kid into an over-glorified thumb that you have to feed more often than not, basks in a warm puddle of its own drool. Isn’t that what made you parents scared of video games in the first place? If so, be afraid.
The Black Eyed Peas are making their very own video game and by making, I actually mean Ubisoft will be whipping their programming slave-bots into submission until it is created. (“Yah! Yah! Create you swine, CREATE! Yah!”) Now, if you type Black Eyed Peas and controversy into Google, Google is probably going to sass you with a “did you mean?” and send you on your merry way. No red flags right parents? Dance games are good old fashion family fun, right?
WRONG! DEAD WRONG, PARENTS. You’re a bad parent and should have your children stolen from you.
If you’re not familiar with the Guitar Hero series, I suggest you consider looking for a new apartment as the bus shelter is quite clearly not working out. Guitar Hero smashed the Rhythm game genre into dust and forced little plastic guitars everywhere into early graves. When Guitar Hero 5 hit the shelves, everyone was so thoroughly fed up with the amount of rhythm they were having shoved down their throats, gamers everywhere literally dry retched until the room stank. Activison recorded a preeettty big revenue downturn that year. You know what The Black Eyed Peas Experience reminds me of? A game called E.T. which very nearly wiped video gaming from the earth. People don’t want rhythm games anymore and I think I speak for all of us when I say, that’s enough Fergie. That is enough.
And parents? Is this what you want? No more video games? Forcing you to drive your kids to and from the park? Listening to them babble on and on about stuff you’re too tired to listen to? And what about you, Auntie Mary, what are you going to get Billy for Christmas now? A book? … You read a book.
You know what’s ballin’? Piracy. Piracy and protection racketeering. I also think stealing and blackmail are pretty awesome too, but doing that stuff in real life gets me in trouble. Not in EVE Online it don’t! CCP Games treats it as part of their game, something about it being a part of a realistic virtual economy. Their disclaimer is basically, “WARNING: There is no honour among thieves. That is all”. The most common type of player is the petty thug, teaming up with like-minded cretins who camp at gates and demand tolls, much like the highwaymen of old. Others are more sophisticated, preferring a yearlong infiltration and assassination to strip a corporation (or guild) of $16,500 worth of assets. Real world money assets, that is. There are thousands of stories like this, each more cunning than the last. The game has been described as a “spreadsheet emulator” such is its mimicry of real world business and much like real world businesses; people are out to screw you. Hard.
So, while grumpy old parents worry about a pixellated nipple, a blood pool on a sidewalk or killing an imaginary hooker and then taking your imaginary money back from her imaginary purse, the people on EVE are teaching your kids how to embezzle, defraud, scam, extort and just generally be the most lecherous person possible… IN REAL LIFE!
Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta.
On September 13th, 2005 we, as a people, faced our first true pandemic; World of Warcraft. It was called the Corrupted Blood debuff and much like the Ebola virus, it was once contained in a single, secluded dungeon. But it got out. It got out wicked hard. Pandemonium ensued. Lower-level characters were killed swiftly by the disease, whilst higher level characters were forced to continuously heal themselves to prevent death. It made playing the game pretty lame. Whole servers were infected, death was rampant, the panic was more infectious than the disease and everything was falling apart… All because a small cell of players kept the disease alive to cultivate an aura of fear. Much like a terrorist.
That’s right, World of Warcraft can teach your kid to be a fully fledged terrorist. While Blizzard took the anti-Dustin Hoffman Outbreak approach to the situation (ie. Nuke it all to glass and start over), some players were keeping the disease alive by infecting summonable pets, then when they logged back in, licked their pets on the mouth to get sick and ran to the nearest city to start the horrors all over again. These players even hid in remote regions of the game to elude capture. Classic terrorist behaviour if the media has taught me anything.
Turns out that ESRB T rating for World of Warcraft isn’t for Teen at all, it’s for Terrorist. MmmHmm, now that’s terrible comedy.
So who’s the real enemy here, parents? The pastel of colours that ignites your television screen when you emulate the firing sequence of a make-believe weapon that obliterates a pretend human’s head or is it, in fact, your own misinformed hysteria drummed up by the insecurities you have about being a lousy parent? Think on that a while, cause I’ve got some video games to play.