|Why do they perpetuate innacurate stereotypes?
||[Jun. 21st, 2009|09:13 am]
Came across www.ethangilsdorf.com… today (off of the Boston Gamers mailing list), and became rather annoyed at it. Why does the media continuously perpetuate the perception that gaming, larping, fantasy, etc. is only an escapist pursuit? I suppose they do so because it makes a quick buck by giving the non-gamers a justifiable rationale for not trying to understand the hobby and for thinking those who engage in it are somehow deficient. I know a -lot- of gamers, and very few of them are active in the hobby as a way of escaping from real life. They’re well adjusted, productive members of society, who have the same daily problems as anyone else and deal with them the same way as anyone else. They just happen to enjoy exploring fictional adventures that are impossible to find in the non-fictional world.
I don’t hear the media calling Romance Novels escapist. Videogames have gone mainstream and are not called escapist. Community theater and improv troupes are not called escapist. What gives?
Originally published at lebor.net. You can comment here or there.
Ethan, specifically, seems to have a bone to pick of some sort. He camped with us at Pennsic last year to get more detail, and talking with him, something in his past seemed to haunt him about gaming as kids stuff, as something people ONLY do to avoid reality, that it is fundamentally lower-value or shunnable because of this.
I'm not sure if this is the 100% perception of the media, or whether it's just a few people continuing to harp on it louder and longer than more sensible views.See also.
Hmm, interesting within the context of the language used around his own gaming ("After playing Dungeons & Dragons religiously in the 1970s and 1980s", at the website laurion
linked to). I strongly suspect he's making the mistake of generalizing from personal experience.
EDIT: damn sticky < key!Edited at 2009-06-21 03:58 pm (UTC)
It is a very simplistic view of things that fails to understand what a lot of us are about. And not to poo-poo romance novels, but really good gaming I think can be compared with a somewhat higher caliber of book then those involving various versions of Fabio on the deck of some ship with a swooning woman. Personally, I learn things about myself when I game. I think it makes me a better person, broadens my perspectives on life, and I generally credit it with the reason I'm a left wing liberal.
So, I wouldn't call it escapism, I would call it
character development building character. :)
Ugh. That guy tried to camp with us at Pennsic last year, and we turned him down once we realized what his real deal is. I didn't realize he had managed to work his way into another camp.
Honestly, I'd say Gaming, LARP, and Fantasy get approximately as much good press as videogames...or most other things that aren't spectator sports.
Seriously how often does the press write positively about video games? When was the last time you saw a media reference to video games that was not "do kids spend too much time, etc. etc."
There are two exceptions.
1) Articles in the business world about making money on video games. These seldom focus on the content or content developers. They tend to be very platform focused, with scant reference to content.
2) Articles in the videogame press about videogames. It's a big enough industry to support magazines. RPG has it's own magazine industry and it writes favorably about RPG. LARP doesn't have that except online since Metagame went out of print, because there isn't enough money behind it to drive advertisers. To be fair, if there were LARP glossies, they'd be driven by advertising dollars from chains and latex weapons, and most purists would talk about how horrible they were.
In general the press diabolizes video games, and I've probably read ten articles this year suggesting that they are approximately the cause of the downfall of western civilization.
Roleplay is still on the outskirts. In time, it will become popular and significant enough to be seriously diabolized constantly in the press like videogames, instead of just ridiculed and poked fun at.
But that won't happen until somebody finds a money angle enough to make it worth paying attention to. So far RPG companies tend to barely keep their heads above water, and LARP is a nonstarter in terms of money. To the extent that is likely to change it will probably be the integration of roleplay elements into developing virtual reality technologies, allowing for mass distribution of content.
I dunno, I feel like the real problem here is that the word "escapist" has acquired too much of pejorative implication. What's wrong with a leisure activity that allows one to get away from the day-to-day frustrations and boredoms of reality every now and then? The overwhelming majority of people that engage in one escapist activity or another are not dysfunctional people unable to cope with the real world--they just engage in escapism as a way to unwind every now and then.
There are a fairly tiny minority of people who engage in these sorts of activities, whether its playing video games or playing in RPGs or even gambling, that abuse them to the point of it being unhealthy. The problem is not the activity, whatever it is, the problem is the psyche of the person who is abusing it--they have some sort of psychological problem, generally, that needs addressing.