Firstly, I am at the very beginning of a career in the games industry (at least I hope it's the beginning) but I felt compelled to write about how the public appear to perceive computer games.
I don't know if anyone else has watched the very short and very crude debate about violent games on the Alan Titchmarsh (link) show, a friend told me about it so I decided to give it a watch to see what people's, from a different social circle to myself, perspective on games were. The show was hosted by Alan Titchmarsh, the 3 guests were Tim Ingham (computer & video games.com editor), Julie Peasgood (Actress) and Kelvin MacKenzie (Former Sun Editor).
What genuinely shocked me was the sheer hostility towards games shown by the two other guests.
There didn't even seem to be the slightest bit of flexibility shown by either of the two panellists to appreciate points from the games industry's view, Tim Ingham who was arguing for the games industry was superb but even with his patience, well-researched facts and ability to respond to questions there didn't seem to be much point.
Tim could have been there all day but the 2 guests, the host and indeed, what sounded like the vast majority of the audience wouldn't haven't even recognized the value of his points and it's this close-mindedness that really disappoints me.
The female panellist said 'video games are addictive', that in itself is a debate in its own right and a sweeping statement at best anyway. This was met with applaud from the crowd which had taken no note of the fact that she had no evidence to prove that games are addictive, she went on to say 'they (games) promote hatred, racism and sexism'!
I find it incredible that someone today can still come out with something like that. Tim also responded to a point she made about a link between games and violence then the crowd met his perfectly legitimate response with an indignant mockery.
One part to this made me quite angry, Tim was asked whether he had kids. He replied 'I haven't', the crowd re-ignited their derisive sneering as if because he didn't have children that he doesn't understand what it's like...
Why is it that some parents seem to have a moral highchair when debating a topic with a person without kids. Ironically Tim gave the answer 'I would not let my kids play violent video games', which is more than can be said for the other guests.
Julie Peasgood went onto interrupt Tim in a perfectly good answer he was giving to one of her questions to say 'I'm categorically against violence for entertainment, it is just wrong' which in itself is a perfectly adequate perspective but the crowd cheered as if she has just trumped Tim with an irrefutable fact.
It was a shame to see what could have been a level and fair discussion become a biased and twisted perspective of the games industry.
I don't want to be sitting here at the tender age of 20 posturing on my, very low, games industry experience but it just seems that the games industry is fighting before it even starts; 'games cause people to kill themselves and others', 'people get fat playing games' and so it goes on. If these genuinely are the opinion the older generation (didn't want to use this term but I did) e.g. Parents have of games then fixed shows like this do no help at all to these assumptions.