“I’m sorry guys, I might not be able to make it for the barbeque.
Mom doesn’t like that I’m spending so much time with gamers.”
– A friend I met online.
It’s not me, It’s you guys.
Almost an entire year ago, I joined a local Minecraft server.
It wasn’t very popular, and it attempted to appeal itself to localized players. Not too many features or plugins, aside from the usual back-end stuff. It didn’t have too many players either. Everyone was friendly and welcoming. You’d go from exchanging pleasantries, to small talks, then to anything under the sun for hours while you plonk down that next block.
It’s not that bad, really. It almost seems too serene, to live an idyllic life in a virtual world? Rightfully surreal.
I mean, we’re all familiar with the cesspool that is the internet. It’s filled with strangers who, behind the veil of anonymity, spares no thought for the other individual.
Offensive, homophobic and racist material is commonplace here. It’s not hard to find generally nasty and inconsiderate behavior over the internet – a single comment page can turn sour very quickly. Unnecessary foul language and trash talk is something you deal with on an episodic basis whenever you get into online-play. There are some nice people around, but as much as I love video gaming culture, some noises are difficult to ignore.
As fate would have it, our worst offenders are also our most vocal communities.
Your local news network, talk show and politicians must have picked on this more than a few times – especially when it election time draws near. It’s the one controversial thing that draws concerned parents, teachers and the other adults together. It’s like a support group; brooding a sense of community for those affected by a common problem. They get together and discuss relevant information, personal experiences and provide sympathy to individuals in the group.
No research, no analysis – no matter, just publish.
Conservative political commentator Glenn Beck speaks out against Ubisoft’s newest IP – Watch Dogs via the independent Libertarian news network The Blaze earlier this week, claiming “the game teaches players how to hack in real life.“
A lot of similar blatant misconceptions gets called out and is scoffed at by the “more civilized” gaming communities. Sometimes it’s even thrown onto the ground and thoroughly humiliated by the more “scholarly” ones. The inverted commas used here are not expressions of irony; I very much respect those who are able to articulate their thoughts and reason to academic standards. It’s only that I realize these phrases are not being used in a commonly accepted sense – an increase in “civil-ness” sounds completely nonsensical and even fairly snobbish.
To kill a Mockingbird
Perhaps, as a parent, you’d realise that this rising epidemic would destroy your family. You picture an anonymous, hooded man peering through the lustrous monitor display, its ethereal body beckoning your son to follow its vulgar path.
Before long you’d be bringing chicken pies to the meet, and exclaiming “My son is staring at the screen again. Th’expectancy and rose of the family, blasted with ecstasy. Oh, woe is me!”. At the congregation, you’d formulate plans and devise strategies to deal with this unearthly threat. You’re at your wits end trying to curb this demonic addiction that has afflicted your son.
But I exaggerate, and chances are your circumstances are less than tragic, at least when compared to Hamlet. Then comes the question – what of your son? He, as you were sharpening your pitchforks with the other villagers, would be found huddled in the warmth of the pulsating lambent alien device. He was able to connect and to identify with other people through his usage of this device. It’s but an enabler, a platform.
Maybe, just maybe – you should have been there.