How gamers can put their best foot forward

Yes, we love our violent video games, but the truth is, we’re entitled to them. Most of us gamers are over 18 after all, so we should be considered “mature” enough to handle and at the same time be entertained by all the blood, sex, and gore that we immerse ourselves in while playing our favourite games.

The problem with that, is that’s all that the outside world thinks about us. Outsiders generally view the gaming sub-culture as a collection of violence addicted pre-pubescent-underage or overage-yet-still-stuck-in-the-basement, pimply anti-social avoidant, self indulgent, will never enjoy the company of the opposite sex, individuals. Despite the presence of gamer-culture/geel-culture centric websites and TV channels, a lot of old farts in power still don’t “get it.”

They tend to forget that a lot of gamers now-a-days aren’t only young people who play games, but are people who make art, people who earn billions making games, people who have children of their own, and people who are care.

Think of this post as a collection of recent news stories that show very good examples of how we gamers should represent ourselves to the world.

Giving back to the community…

Child's Play

You’ve got to hand it to those guys from Penny-Arcade, they know how to give back to the community. They really do their best to make claims that say that gamers are know-nots or that gamers are violence addicted yahoos irrelevant. For one thing, officials of the Child’s Play Charity, a gamer-focused toy drive organized by Penny Arcade, has recently announced that more than $495,000 worth of toys, games, and books on the wish lists of more than 35 participating children’s hospitals have been donated as part of the gamer supported charity.

It doesn’t stop there. The annual charity auction dinner of Child’s Play is set to be held next week. All proceeds from the auction will be set to assist hospitals within the charity’s network. This year’s dinner is scheduled to take place on Wednesday December 13 in Bellevue, Washington.

Items up for bid this year include a Wii console autographed by Reggie Fils-Aime, a speaking line in Halo 3, a PS3 console, an appearance in the Penny Arcade comic strip, Penny Arcade artwork, tickets to the Halo 3 launch party, an Xbox 360, ATI Radeon video cards, collectors edition of Guildwars Nightfall, and a whole lot more.

With items like those, people will definitely bid.

Get the rest of the article after the Jump!

Yes, we love our violent video games, but the truth is, we’re entitled to them. Most of us gamers are over 18 after all, so we should be considered “mature” enough to handle and at the same time be entertained by all the blood, sex, and gore that we immerse ourselves in while playing our favourite games.

The problem with that, is that’s all that the outside world thinks about us. Outsiders generally view the gaming sub-culture as a collection of violence addicted pre-pubescent-underage or overage-yet-still-stuck-in-the-basement, pimply anti-social avoidant, self indulgent, will never enjoy the company of the opposite sex, individuals. Despite the presence of gamer-culture/geel-culture centric websites and TV channels, a lot of old farts in power still don’t “get it.”

They tend to forget that a lot of gamers now-a-days aren’t only young people who play games, but are people who make art, people who earn billions making games, people who have children of their own, and people who are care.

Think of this post as a collection of recent news stories that show very good examples of how we gamers should represent ourselves to the world.

Giving back to the community…

Child's Play

You’ve got to hand it to those guys from Penny-Arcade, they know how to give back to the community. They really do their best to make claims that say that gamers are know-nots or that gamers are violence addicted yahoos irrelevant. For one thing, officials of the Child’s Play Charity, a gamer-focused toy drive organized by Penny Arcade, has recently announced that more than $495,000 worth of toys, games, and books on the wish lists of more than 35 participating children’s hospitals have been donated as part of the gamer supported charity.

It doesn’t stop there. The annual charity auction dinner of Child’s Play is set to be held next week. All proceeds from the auction will be set to assist hospitals within the charity’s network. This year’s dinner is scheduled to take place on Wednesday December 13 in Bellevue, Washington.

Items up for bid this year include a Wii console autographed by Reggie Fils-Aime, a speaking line in Halo 3, a PS3 console, an appearance in the Penny Arcade comic strip, Penny Arcade artwork, tickets to the Halo 3 launch party, an Xbox 360, ATI Radeon video cards, collectors edition of Guildwars Nightfall, and a whole lot more.

With items like those, people will definitely bid.

Don’t make an ass of yourself in mainstream cable TV…
Bloggers from Joystiq were recently featured as “gaming veterans” in a CNN news spot about Wii-straps, and what’s nice about this is that they were shown as people who have families and people who can enjoy gaming with their mothers and their little kid cousins.

While this bit of news is more of a testament to the mass appeal of the Wii and its power to include even the “old-farts” in our culture, than the “gaming pedigree” of the Joystiq bloggers. It’s a prime example of how gamers (in this case, the Joystiq bloggers) should act when they get featured on mass TV. Show that you know something about the culture, show that yes as a gamer you do have interests that most people might not understand, but other than that, you’re as normal as anyone else.

The ESA, the PTA, and your parents…
You don’t play videogames because you’re sick and twisted and you enjoy that buzz that you’ll only get when you’re seeing blood and gore and sex on screen, you play videogames because you derive fun from it.

Is it fun to shoot a guy in the head in a game and watch the blood spray everywhere? Yes it is. Are you old and mature enough to understand that activities like that should only stay in the videogame? Well, that’s what the ESRB has been trying to do through game-ratings and through information campaigns with the PTA.

While the effectiveness of the rating system is questioned by gamers and congress alike, most gamers would agree that an enforced ratings system is still better than a state-wide ban. Apparently courts think so too.

For example, Judge George Carem Steeh has recently ruled that the state of Michigan is required to pay-back the money that the game industry spent fighting a game law that was supposedly meant to ban the sale and rental of violent videogames to minors. The legislation was found unconstitutional as it infringed on First Amendment rights.

So if your kid brother wants a copy of GTA we suggest (we say suggest because ultimately it’s your call, you do what you think is right by you) that you inform your mom or dad what your sibling is about to get himself into. Just treat the “videogame violence” thing the way you treat porn. Sure you want to be the “cool older sibling” that slips your kid brother issues of questionable magazines, reasoning that they’re going to experience it eventually anyway, but come on, it is still your parent’s right to know stuff like that (unless your parents suck and deserve no respect).

Anyway, if your parents are open minded about things like that and think that the kid can handle it then good for you, you have a very liberal family. If your parents could care less, or doesn’t even bother to know, then you obviously know that it’s not the games’ fault.

You wouldn’t your younger siblings to turn out like these kids right?

Really, if you get your family into the gaming you’re into, and you get them to understand the content in it, it’ll be easier for you guys. Just take it from this father and son WoW team.

Don’t be afraid to be artsy-fartsy, and excel folks, excel!
We gamers are an inspired lot. If those guys on the video games are art side of the argument win, then all of us gamers are basically literati. We’re connoisseurs of the literature of the next-generation. We immerse ourselves in 9-70 hour games that bombard us with interaction that impress us, music and visuals that entertain us, and storylines that move us.

Check out this dude, and see how he used his gaming inspiration.

And not only are games artsy-fartsy, games also provide competitive avenues for you to excel and earn. Just look at Korea, cyber-athletes earn thousands there and are adored by fans (more importantly fan-girls, cute asian fan-girls).

Games give us great music to enjoy, games give us great stories to inspire us to write, competitive games give us avenues to earn from our fragging skills, don’t let it go to waste. Bottom-line is that if you’re a gamer, please for heaven’s sake represent. Don’t give guys like Jack Thompson more reasons to throw flame in our direction.

Now if only there were less gamers doing stupid things

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