Being the random thoughts of Greg Tito, age 29.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Demonizing Gaming

I've been reading AMNY on my way to work every morning for a couple of weeks. There is a nice man outside my subway station who always hands it me with a smile. It's a decent read, less dense than the NY Times, more insight than the Post. Occasionally, the Opinion pieces fire me up but this one took the biscuit. Hit a little too close to home. Leonard Pitts Jr. wrote about the videogame "JFK Reloaded" as "Worse than Despicable." Since I can't link to the article (There's a PDF of the newspaper here,,, article on page 8, but it will probably be gone after today) I'll try and summarize it here. He basically touts the banner of moral judgement saying that his thesaurus doesn't have enough adjectives like "reprehensible, abominable, detestable" to describe the game. Pitts goes on to comment how Ted Kennedy would be affected by this representation of his brother's murder and compare his own sister's feelings of having her husband shot and killed and dramatized in the same way. Before I get angry and start spouting off, I'll just post the letter I sent to the editor.

Please put down the thesaurus and learn to research before you blast something. I doubt that Mr. Pitts downloaded or even read a review of the "game."

Why does respect require silence? Mr. Pitts' argument is for putting the nation's head in the proverbial sand. By not looking at evil, by shoving it away, he thinks the world will be a better place. The "game" is an attempt to look closer, to study, much like the recent network TV documentary which used computer animations and rifle tests to determine whether the shooting could actually happen. Pitts also argues that the event happened too recently for such investigation. Perhaps if such a "game" was released another forty years later in 2043, we'll have graduated past Pitts' brand of muckraking. See, I can use a thesaurus too.

The funny thing is, no one would notice this "game" if it weren't for morons like Mr. Pitts. Traffic's "game" is targeted at the audience of Kennedy Assassination enthusiasts and conspiracy theorists. Your average gamer (myself included) would not play or even know about a game like this because of it's niche audience. Unfortunately, (or fortunately for marketing reasons) the game has piqued the media's attention because it puts the player in Oswald's shoes.

This is another attempt to demonize the videogame industry and gamers for being godless heathens. I frantically await the day when the mainstream media and the Christian Right realizes that not every one of over 145 million Americans who play games regularly throw rocks at cars or shoot their schoolmates. Videogames are as much a part of our culture as books, movies or television. It's time for them to be free of the stigma of "The Corruption of Youth" that these other forms of media have.

I think that sums it up. Let me know what you think.

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