Perhaps *Not* the Root of All Evil?

  By Shamus   Feb 13, 2008   23 comments

As a follow-up to Monday’s story where Call of Duty 4 was blamed for a Marine’s disappearance, we have a nice story with a different point of view:

Video games provide relief, therapy for soldiers in Iraq.

See also: This roundup of Fox News stories related to videogames over at Jay Barnson’s place.

20323 comments. Highly cototient!


  1. Joshua says:

    Not much to comment on here, but this passage from the MSNBC article:

    ” King says that games really helped to build friendships between the guys in the unit. Your buddy might not be able to convince you to forego Snoop-Dogg in favor of Alan Jackson….”

    Boy, these reporters are fresh on top of things that are appealing to today’s youth culture. I’m surprised they actually used the games Madden and Halo 2, and not Pac-Man and Super Mario Bros.

  2. Dreamer says:

    Well, it’s nice to see one article out there not appealing to anti-video game extremists. Not that they’d convert me and make me change my ways if they shoved me full of anti-game propoganda ’til I burst, but it is comforting that someone out there has a small bit of acceptance and understanding for games, even if they are being fairly neutral on it (And kudos to them for that, too).

    I’m just glad both my parents, even though games weren’t around in the prime of their life, accept my hobbies and even participate in them (Though my mum just plays Solitaire and those weird ‘shoot the colored egg’ games). It just shows me that not everyone who didn’t even play Pong as a kid doesn’t have to hate and despise anything new that comes up.

    But that’s just me.

  3. guy says:

    My mom doesn’t play, my dad beat starcraft. expansion included. he hasn’t played many others, though.

  4. Dillon says:

    The FOX news vs. video games actually does sound like something any news station would still be doing, considering that most of the other stories seem to involve various possible health risks, criminals, celebrities breaking up/getting arrested, etc. Video Games being bad seems like the sort of thing that could be fit into that setup well.

  5. Henebry says:

    My students have been doing historical reports on different aspects of life in the 50s, and you’d be interested to hear that one of them commented the other day that “a lot of kids killed themselves or killed someone else after reading comic books.” I smiled as her credulity. Turns out that the media back then made the same claims about the dangers of comic books that they do nowadays about the dangers of video games.

    My reading? Teenagers are wired to do rash/stupid things, and grownups wired to blame it all on some malign feature of current teen culture. It’s interesting to note that, in the fifties, comic books had been around as a pop culture phenomenon for about the same length of time that video games have now been around.

    Thank god the media isn’t still circulating stories of D&D as gateway into demonic cult sacrifice.

  6. Nilus says:

    Not to point out how news sorts might be bias(and all news is bias in one way or another). But it makes sense that MSNBC would have a positive spin on video games. Remember what the MS stands for. I am sure Microsoft doesn’t want to hurt there bottom line by saying a product they produce(ie X-box and PC games) might be bad. Of course they are not so MSNBC is right in this context but my natural paranoid nature questions there reason for running the story.

  7. Corsair says:

    Well, everybody has a bias. It’s just good to know that MSNBC’s bias is in favor of video games. If I hear about another Mass Effect Orgy Simulator, I think I’ll puke.

  8. Joe says:

    What Henebry said is what I’ve heard time and time again. They blamed radio for making teens do such and such, comics here, TV there, little splash of D&D for good measure. Really it comes down to just keeping an eye on your kids, providing alternatives to the current pop culture and working with them through any personal issues they may have.

  9. Nilus says:

    The problem is to many people in this world want someone else to parent their children(and Adults apperently now). Then when the people do something wrong they have someone to blame other then themselves.

  10. Coldstone says:

    Well, of course Fox is going to go after video games. They’d go after anything that would disrupt their mind-control efforts.
    If video games weren’t as prominient, we’d be hearing about the evils of Magic: the Gathering and how the cards could potentially cause susceptable people to throw them at each other as if the cards themselves were spells, resulting in lethal paper cuts.
    Someone (else) must protect our children (from our own neglect)!

  11. Aaron says:

    I’m not sure if it’s been in the news Coldstone, but I know there was a movement by some of my local (at the time) pastors and church leaders to ban or censor Wizards of the Coast because they figured Magic was actually going to lead young people into witchcraft. I may have to see if that made a news story somewhere as it was a fairly large deal in our town.

    To take it a step farther, look at Harry Potter and all the controversy surrounding it. MANY libraries around the country (and most likely the world) tried to censor or ban the series because people were “afraid for their children”. Most of these parents didn’t bother to read the books themselves.

    The lack of knowledge by both the media and the parents who oppose these games/books/ideas is truly astounding.

  12. Nilus says:

    D&D and RPGs in general are censored more then you would think. Back when I was in highschool(92-96) our school games club was not allowed to play D&D. We were allowed to play any other RPG but absolutely not D&D by order of the school board. It never made sense that we could play Rifts, Vampire, and any number of other violent games but could not touch D&D with a ten foot pole because some bad press it got more then years ago(at that time).

    I thought with Magic and Pokemon and Yugi Oh being so popular, that things might be better for kids now a days. But my buddy, who is a highschool history teacher, was told flat out by the school administration that he could not help start a games club because of there Satanic influences.

    More ignorant people censoring things they don’t understand rather then taking a few minutes to learn what its really about.

  13. Chris Arndt says:

    I actually side with the ignorant people to some extent.

    It’s a fairly harmless(usually, but not always) to ban a play activity that you don’t understand… and it takes less time to just ban it than to explore it, if you are that strapped for time.

    Otherwise it’s laziness. I don’t care for that.

  14. ArchU says:

    #5, Henebry, I think you nailed it well. I’d like to elaborate on this one thing: “Thank god the media isn’t still circulating stories of D&D as gateway into demonic cult sacrifice.

    Hahah, my clever obfuscation strategy worked! >=]

  15. Coldstone says:

    Aaron, gotta agree. When the Harry Potter books came out and my kids started expressing an interest, I went out and read them myself to see if I would let them read them.

    To be fair, I don’t let my kids play unlimited video games, although that’s mostly because they’d be playing on my machines, and daddy doesn’t like to share his toys. It is a great incentive to get chores done in a timely manner, though, but even then the M-rated chunk of my library is off limits

  16. ngthagg says:

    I think it’s pretty clear that the title of this article should be “Men who play violent video games highly likely to engage in violence!”

    We need to keep things in perspective.

  17. MSchmahl says:

    Wait a second. Video games are *teen culture* now? Those of us in our late twenties and early thirties want our culture back!

    Just another case of “Youth culture killed my dog.”

  18. Phil Fraering says:

    When I saw the post title I thought they’d found the missing guy or something. Any news on that front yet?

  19. krellen says:

    I wish the media would learn that video games are not, in fact, “for kids”. The average video gamer is in his 30s, as I recall.

    The same is true for comic books. It might even be true for cartoons.

  20. Davesnot says:

    Chris said..

    I actually side with the ignorant people to some extent.

    It’s a fairly harmless(usually, but not always) to ban a play activity that you don’t understand… and it takes less time to just ban it than to explore it, if you are that strapped for time.

    …OMG

    I don’t understand Soccer.. let’s ban it… Football… rugby?? ban it.. (actually.. I do understand those.. perhaps we should look further).. Canadian Football.. hmm ban it.. International Rules Basketball.. ban it.. Curling.. ban it.. just a silly play activity.

    Bridge?? ban it.. Star Wars Monopoly.. ban it.. Chineese Checkers.. ban it.. Rolemaster.. ban it.. D&D 4th edition.. ban it before it even come out!.. we’re strapped for time… always.. what the heck.. it’s harmless..

    Why stop there.. I don’t have time to understand a lot of literature.. let’s ban that too.. Left Hand of Darkness.. ban it.. Stranger in a Strange land.. ban it..

    Uh.. yeah.. it’d be easier to ban voting.. what a hassle.. and having to research things.. (though your name links to a disturbing political opinion.. disturbing from it’s .. well.. it mirrors the censor-first attitude)..

    I don’t understand certain political perspectives.. let’s ban ‘em.. I don’t want to understand.. let’s just ban ‘em..

    Why not??

    I always find it funny when Americans start wanting to ban things… just shows how sad the education of our own history is.. .. aww.. what am I thinking?… let’s just ban history too.. I’m strapped for time.

  21. Sarah says:

    Perhaps instead of “men who play videogames are likely to participate in violence,”

    “Men who participate in violence are more likely to react badly to video games.”

    As for Fox’ recent shpeil of stupidity, I think I can handle it so long as the legislation doesn’t get prohibitive. Stupid as it is, it’s just another scapegoat-parenting madel that just happened to hit /my/ hobby this time, rather than motorcycling, rap music, or one of many others in the long list of targets.

    Dang, good health care, better environment, common sense…moving to Canada is looking better every day!

  22. Chris Arndt says:

    Dave, I haven’t had recess in about fifteen years.

    I’ve seen fools ban games of tag.

    I don’t agree. I just see it from their side.

    I’m sympathetic, is all.

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