Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Gamer Stereotypes...Yep. Still There.

Do these people exist? Yes. But they make up such
a small fraction of the gamer population - they are not
"the norm."

While researching for today’s blog, the title caught my eye. “Why Video Games Prove Obamacare is a Farce.” Hmm…must be a Republican site. But I’ll bite. Let’s see where the argument goes.

First image is the South Park “Make Love, Not Warcraft” episode of the overweight man who is running around WoW killing all of the characters. “Every legislator who treats gamers as rageaholic psychopaths just waiting to explode has literally no idea what video games are like today.”

So far I’ll agree that yes, a number of politicians today have no clue what video games are really like, let alone have played one to understand.

If anything, games make young men fat and docile, because the vast majority of them now are designed to be virtually endless.“

So, it’s a ‘fit or fat’ debate huh? Games might not make you mentally unstable, but they will make you fat according to Ezra Dulis. Not that there are any facts to back up this claim (oh look, Fox News is an affiliate, so we can already see where this is going.) He goes on to talk about how gamers are back lashing against developers because of prices. In turn developers creating the “grinding system” for repetitive tasks to achieve miniscule rewards. (Problem 1: Mr. Dulis, this isn’t a new phenom. “Grinding” has been around since the days of Dungeons and Dragons, running around, powering up and getting items to boost your stats. We see this in early role playing video games from the 1980’s. Who here didn’t do this with Legend of Zelda or Final Fantasy in the early days?)

Dulis claims that video games are instead turning us into “couch zombies.” Shooting up a school is the least of our concerns when we need to reach level 60 in WoW. Which leads to his connection with Obamacare and the “sin tax.” In the bill, there is a “sin tax” on things such as tanning beds and the like – things linked and proven to cause you harm can be taxed with the funds going to universal healthcare. Dulis believes that video games and soda should apply because while no one died in a tanning bed, people have died from playing video games. Note: A lot of those people are outside of the U.S. and a number of skin cancer cases have been linked to tanning beds. Just because you won’t die in the bed, doesn’t mean you can’t develop skin cancer down the line from it.

The rest of the article delineates on left vs. right, and young people expecting everyone to take care of them and pay for their things while games stay cheap. Big government is coming in to control your life! Rawr!

I’m surprised at how silly the “video games make you fat” argument is still a concern. If we even took a slice of the gaming population, we’d find that a majority of us are pretty normal or fit into the healthy spectrum. Are there overweight people that play video games? Absolutely. Just as they wear shirts, pants, and shoes every day. But not everyone that plays video games is obese, lazy couch potatoes. I can’t even begin to list the number of people that I know who are the pictures of health and are gamers, it would be too vast.

Just as the president has requested a mandate to look into violence and video games, we could do the same thing with health and fitness with games. To simply label them as “fat makers” is unfair. And the Republicans are all about fairness, right? We want to help out the little people while still making the rich people richer. Well anyway, if you’re going to jump on the “I hate universal healthcare” bandwagon, at least put some reasoning behind it. Dulis provides no proof or evidence to back up his claims. They’re stereotypes that have been stuck in our society for the past few decades. “All gamers are male, fat, couch surfing, slobs who live in their parents basement.” Well no. Even the average UK gamer from 2005 shows that quite a variety play games.  Even the ESA shows that 47% of gamers are women, most of them living normal, healthy lives. Fitness and health video games have been a challenge to keep on the store shelves. GameStop has to restock on a bi-weekly basis (based off of recent sales figures). So where are the stats about gamers being fat and lazy Mr. Dulis?

Next time, back up your assumptions with some data. Real data.


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