Games As The Enemy

Gamers give the games industry a bad name!

It's official! Videogames are the work of Beelzebub and will no doubt lead to the hasty demise of Western civilization as we know it. Our beautiful, cosmopolitan cities will be reduced to sprawling slums, housing game-crazed youths intent only on viewing their flickering screens. They will be filled with the promise of power-ups and bonus levels, with no regard for the society around them. Governments must crackdown before it's too late!

Or so the media and powers that be would have us believe. Recently the UK media has been littered with stories of videogames and the threat they pose to the safety of our children. But I think gamers are as much to blame for this mainstream view and it's time you lot faced up to it.

One particular story in the national press has incurred my wrath"grrr! Dr. Gavin Cleary wrote to the British Medical Journal about a 15 year old boy with a two year history of painful hands. Gav is a specialist registrar and he states that the boy would spend up to seven hours a day playing games using his rumble pad.

The boy's hands became white and swollen in the cold and red and swollen when warm. Doc Cleary identified these reactions as symptomatic of an industrial disease known as hand-arm vibration syndrome (they went on a long mental journey for that name). The condition is usually attributed to prolonged use of industrial tools such as pneumatic drills and the like.

Now, the good doctor said the syndrome was a direct result of the boy's penchant for his vibrating joy pad, but he also described the lad's seven hours a day as excessive. Naturally, the national press took a rather simplistic view and the games industry steeled itself against a media frenzy.

Meanwhile, over in Thailand teenagers have been skipping school to play games, so the government in their infinite wisdom, thought a curfew was the answer. Anyone under the age of 20 has been banned from playing computer games after 10pm. This will apparently help create better social order. I'm not sure how creating a generation of bored teenagers with a violent hatred of their government is going to help anyone, but it's something I'm still grappling with. On the other hand, the losers playing truant have only got themselves to blame.

It looks like the UK is just a step to the right away from implementing their own weird curfews, especially with public figures like Prince Charles spouting nonsense like, "children should read more books, instead of wasting their time playing computer games." Okay, Charlie, whatever you say! So, we'll just ignore the fact that the games industry is a huge growth sector and offers employment opportunities to an increasing number of young people.

Quite frankly though, you've got to worry about a kid who indulges in home entertainment to the point of sustaining an industrial injury. What were you doing, you muppet? Pain is there for a reason. When it hurts, stop for God's sake. It's people like old swollen-fingers boy who give us gamers a bad name.

Mr. Government Agent of Concern: "I think we should take that away from you little gamer. You might hurt yourself."

Gamer: "No, it's okay, really Mr. Government Agent of Concern, I can be responsible for my own well being. I already know about fire, it burns right!? Or wait, is that sun? Oh, no I'm confused."

I really don't see how you can miss the health warnings people. We've all bought a new console and had to read through the ‘do not operate with wet hands,' ‘do not sit too close to the screen,' and ‘do not stick tongue in the machine' type warnings. Only then do you get to the crucial ‘starting your machine' bit. Is it a literacy problem, or just rampant stupidity?

Don't you see, by appearing to be a bunch of obsessive freaks, with no regard for self-preservation (let alone anything else), gamers are giving the industry a bad name. You can't blame Sony or Nintendo for the fact that you're a complete idiot who insists on playing until your eyes bleed. Duh! That's not a manufacturing fault, it's just plain STOOPID!

Mr. Government Agent of Concern: "Gamers need to be protected from themselves. They just don't know when to stop. Pain means nothing to them. The only thing we can do is ban gaming altogether."

AAAAAHHHHH!! Don't let this happen, GiN readers.

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