You Should Read This

Annika Backstrom
in misc, on 4 January 2004. It is tagged and #Games.

There are things people do, good things, but despite the extent, the severity of these things, they go without recognition.

Penny-Arcade and several thousand of their readers did a good thing. How good? A little over \$200,000 good, some in cash but mostly in games and toys, all for the Seattle Children's Hospital. Who are these people, wealthy philanthropists smoking cigars in their Swiss villas? Nah, they're a couple guys that write a comic about gaming, along with the gaming community that reads their comic.

Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins set out to prove a point: gamers aren't a bunch of psychopathic murders, but rather a pretty decent community that happens to like video games. They did their bit -- they put in the hours, they pulled the community together, and they delivered the goods with a smile. But it looks like their message may never get out. During their followup report with the local news channel the station not only misreported the people behind the charity, but underquoted the donated amount by, oh, \$199,000.

Yes, there are less than angelic games. Yes, in the oft-maligned Grand Theft Auto 3 you can have sex with a hooker in the back of your car and then beat her to death with a baseball bat. I don't think I'm qualified to say whether or not that should be in the game. Does anyone actually get abused or killed? No. Does the simulated act enforce some people's view of women as objects? I don't know. Maybe there are people that cannot separate the virtual world from the real world, particularly very young people.

I would put forward that it's not a game meant for children (hence the "Mature" rating), and I maintain that some people will do stupid things no matter what. After all, I don't see any video games about hurtling rocks onto freeways, do you? Remember, "Every tool is a weapon if you hold it right." Violence of people against people is a social issue, and one that existed long before guns and video games. There are billions of people that go all day long without killing or even maiming someone around them. Imagine that.

I'm getting sidetracked, and I haven't said all I wanted to say, but I didn't intend for this post to be about me, or Grand Theft Auto, or violence. Just, there are a lot of gamers, and they're a really together group of people, and I admire and respect them and hope the charity continues so I can be part of it in the future. Here's to that.