In recent months I have been living in Australia and for the most part I truly enjoyed it. Australian’s are a wonderful mixture of Anglo culture, more genuinely friendly than the British but not brash or arrogant like some USA counterparts. All these comments however are huge generalisations and each country has its flaws.
Australia is a wonderful country but while I was there I distinctly began to notice something that took me by surprise: Gaming is still utterly looked down upon.
Now, it’s not exactly gaming Bohemia in the UK or the USA, with the public generally only hearing about them in impressively negative terms (*cough* Manhunt 2 *cough*). This is even worse in Australia as there is still very much the “male virgin loser” label attached to the whole nature of gaming. I’m sure you’re sat there thinking “So? That’s the same everywhere else” at this comment but please read this article on a popular news website in Australia in order to understand what I mean. (Click for full image)
Now, no matter which way you look at it, this is a needlessly cruel and abusive message about a whole group of people who the writer appears to know shockingly little about. In one hand she admits how little she has to do with the gaming community and with the other she paints them all with the same, judgmental brush. The idea that someone can rant and mock in this way makes me deeply unhappy. The sheer incredulity of suggesting that a lawyer who likes to chalk up a few hours a week to gaming must be poor at his job makes me want to spit. It wasn’t so long ago that people would have made the same comment if the person just happened to be gay. We are not allowed to draw “unflattering” images of black people, women, homosexuals or any other racial minority yet Caroline Overington has appointed herself judge jury and executioner of gamers everywhere.
It makes me wonder what she’d make of me, a 22-year-old (slender) young woman who abhors violence and yet will giggle like a child at God of War. A girl who has never had a problem getting a boyfriend and carries a fair amount of self-confidence in her pockets. Where am I in this picture of yours Ms Overington? It has long since been shown that girls are in the gaming world just as much as young men but are merely quieter about it. Did you miss than memo, Ms Overington? Perhaps you want to have a look at the related articles on your own page when you’re making these assessments, Ms Overington?
Now, I want to mock this woman and believe me, I could for a fair while but she’s just an extreme. British journalists would (hopefully) look at her mass of generalisations and accusations and roll their eyes. Yet if you tone her down, Ms Overington is merely being more open about her judgments. This stereotype that she describes still exists in the wider world. A British writer talking about games is only slightly more likely to mention gamers and geeks in a way that I feel I could be included in and I’m hungry for more progress. Until the media losing their impressive sense of superiority to gaming we are doomed to have a prominent “us and them” mentality. On one side are sensible people who don’t need pretend versions and perspectives of reality (aside from films and books, thank you very much) and on the other people who live for escapism, children and losers.
We’re not losers, we’re just a bit ahead of you in this new method of storytelling. Sorry.