Earlier today, I came across a story that was hard to believe. It can be read in full here, and I suggest you do so before continuing.
So, I read that story, and of course, one fact stood out in my mind. How could a video game, and of all video games GTA, teach a child that a car rolling over leads to danger? I mean, it just seemed so out of this world, so crazy, that I had to share it. So it was shared, and now the video game community is aware of a story that otherwise wouldn’t matter much to you and me, as gamers.
However, what was more confusing, initially, to me, was the response from some of those within our community. Let me post a few comments I read around the GoNintendo community.
“This is just an idiotic story.”
“This blog post gets my vote for most retard reporting ever. Sorry, but this story is just totally absurd.”
“Why is she playing GTA??!?!?”
“Cars don’t blow up, not even when they’re on fire. I know, my family’s old van completely burned up and nothing exploded.
This article is so full of crap.”
Unfortunately, this seems to be the norm for our community, for our industry. The standard seems to be that we complain that no one takes the video game industry seriously, and we have only one group to blame: ourselves.
Let’s look at this from a different angle, for a moment. Pretend you are a non-gamer, no little to nothing about GTA, or gaming in general, you are the “casual” consumer, at best. You read that article, and yeah, it’s crazy that a game taught a girl what the potential dangers of a car rollover could be, but I, looking at it from a non-gamer perspective, would be more relieved that everyone turned out to be okay. I wouldn’t question the family’s sanity, their upbringing, their knowledge on things, none of that matters. Their lives were in danger, and a little girl took action. Regardless of how, she did something amazing, and as morally stable people we should be proud of that.
Now, keeping that mind, let’s bring back your gamer knowledge. What does it tell you about this story? Yes, in GTA, when a car flips over, in the game it does blow up after a period of time. Regardless of whether this is reality or not, this is what is programmed into the game. You should know this, as gamers, that the developer’s assigned it this way. You shouldn’t call into question “well a real car wouldn’t do that”. Yeah, a real gun kills people with one bullet most of the time, there’s no such thing as a health bar and last I checked there are no Halos in the sky and no Mushroom Kingdoms. Yet, I am sure there are times you have done something that started as an idea you got from a video game. I’m not saying you walk around stomping on turtles, but perhaps Mario Bros. taught you good from evil, and that girls are meant to treated with respect. Who knows what you got out of something, but whatever it may be, you wouldn’t appreciate someone looking at something you hold dearly and insulting it, or calling your mental stability into question. I think the comments we made as a gaming community make us look like fools.
If a piece of art inspired someone to believe in God, wouldn’t that be almost the same thing? Sure, God may not exist, but the artist of the work “programmed” the piece to depict God in a certain light that interested the now believer. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, I’m just saying it happened. If music inspires you to be more open minded or express yourself, be it 50 Cent or the Beetles, it just happened that way. If the color red was taught to you by a puppet instead of a coloring book, then, it just happened that way, but now you know that red is red.
What’s the point in all this? Regardless of how that little girl “learned” that a car accident of that nature is dangerous (and say it all you want, I believe a car that’s not in a position that it should be is in danger of something going wrong), I believe that regardless of how she learned this was wrong, or that she needed to do something, be it from McSafe the Safety Dog or CJ from San Andreas, she learned it, she took action, she applied knowledge, therefore in my book she is one smart little girl. I think we, as gamers, as purveyors of our industry and of our medium need to start looking at these things in a more “critical” term, and I don’t mean negative, I don’t mean say things like “what’s a little girl doing playing GTA4” because frankly, if a kid wants to play something, if her family thinks that’s okay, if that’s allowed in their house, you have no right to judge them. Sure, you may believe that in your household it’s not correct or moral, but who are you to judge another person?
And you can argue I am judging you, and that I am being hypocritical. Honestly, perhaps I am being a bit harsh in my criticism, but I am not calling out you as an individual, I am saying as a society of gamers, we shouldn’t be like this, we shouldn’t take things like this in this manner. I am judging people that are representing something I truly believe in, and that’s the video game industry. Do I believe video games are art? Yes, I do. And if we are acting like this, at a time when a video game does good, then we’re never going to be accepted as an art form. This video game inspired the little girl to save her family. Bottom line, to me, that’s proof right there that video game is a work of art, it’s inspiring people. Now, unfortunately, it inspires some bad, but music, drawings, television all do this as well. It’s inspiring people to do something in this world, one way or another.
So why are you making fun of it? Why are you hating on it, calling it dumb? Perhaps, you are the dumb one, for not seeing the true story. Maybe we, as news writers, are the idiots for presenting it in such a silly manner. I kidded myself that I hope this girl doesn’t turn to prostitutes for health, and maybe my own silly comment made you think “oh, this is a stupid story”, but I meant in that in passing, and maybe it’s my fault for assuming you would as well. I thought it was funny the game that she learned it from, but I thought it was interesting that she learned it from a video game. This isn’t a dumb article, not at all. It’s a crazy one, it’s an everyday story about a car crash only made relevant to us because of that tiny fact, but it’s that tiny fact that could mean everything in a debate.
This girl saved her family's lives, what is dumb about that, what is so ridiculous about that, what about that isn't worth sharing, even if you aren't into video games? Why is this a "dumb article"? I don't understand, I think it's something interesting, made more interesting by the fact that she got the idea from a video game. That's not dumb, it's a good example of human behavior, of instinct VS instruction. Something that could be used in a debate. A debate as to why gaming should be taken seriously, because it’s affecting people in both positive and negative ways.
A debate you just lost, because you trivialized the one thing you love: video games.
That's ok for you, I suppose, because you're right, there are more important things to life, in your life, than video games. So why even leave a comment? If it didn't mean something to you, let it go, don't post idiotic, unintelligent garbage like what I commented above. Your opinion on this article means nothing because you don't think gaming is serious, or see it as a "toy" so therefore you couldn't offer something of value because in your mind gaming as little to no value. So don't comment, just move on with your life, as this family has. I made a deal about it because video games are important to me, because they do mean something, because my career is focused on video games. That's why when people come and poop all over my carpet, I tend to get passionate, because that poop stain, those comments, won't go away now. We can push them down, or whatever, but if someone wants to use them, they are gonna find them. And because your life is just so great with video games as a simple pastime and not a way of life, you won't really care to answer to those people. But I will care, I do care to show them that not all of us see games in such a way. No, I tend to believe that gaming makes a difference, therefore, I believe I should defend my opinion in this manner.
Please don't think, gamers, I am attacking your personally, I am attacking the way we see ourselves, in the mirror. This is that indicator. We don't take this seriously, yet are mad that others don't take it seriously. It begins with internal change, will looking at ourselves. We got to believe in this. I mean, I do, and to me, that's enough. If you don't want to believe in it, than don't go around promoting yourself as a gamer. If you don't believe in Obama, don't vote for him just because you're considered a "democrat".
Don't be a hypocrite, you're just making the rest of us look bad.
Rather than end on a sour note, I did love one comment that one of you left:
Why isn’t this making headlines?
“VIDEOGAME SAVES LIVES”
Exactly my point.