The Way We Are Perceived: Part 3

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To have any hope of analysing the situation in an unbiased fashion, we need to gather a series of opinions from multiple viewpoints. That’s why I’ve spent the last few weeks getting public opinion on the gaming world – of which my findings will be elaborated in future articles. You may have already put in your opinion in the last two articles’ comments, and it’s all of this combined with many more opinions that have helped develop the point of view we need to take. Here’s a few examples of the quotes I’ve gathered just from those around me at university:

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From the view of a current-gen gamer, playing games can be a more advanced substitute to watching a film. Although running off on a tangent, it’s the same argument to the differences between the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) rating the ‘Saw’ series an 18, and restricting the ‘Manhunt’ series. It’s the same as the argument between allowing explicit sex scenes in 18-rated movies, but having a furious dispute when a sex game is found hidden in 18-rated ‘GTA: San Andreas’. If sitting in the dark with others at a cinema not speaking to each other is considered a social event, why can’t sitting together interacting with each other through the medium of video games?

Continuing on this tangent, any live performance shown at a theatre is not rated and/or restricted to certain age groups. This means that in stageplay ‘Equus’, Daniel Radcliffe stands naked next to a woman and horse while performing sexual acts in front of a live audience. In ‘Watchmen’ (2009), Billy Crudup as Dr. Manhatten shows his manhood onscreen only to be immediately restricted to those aged 18 and over by the BBFC. The only video game where total nakedness comes to mind is the ‘Hot Coffee’ incident with San Andreas, and we all know what happened there. This isn’t to talk specifically about sex in media. This rule applies to violence, drugs and ‘bad’ language. To look at the bigger picture would have us assume that those who visit the theatre are perceived as much more emotionally prepared, and less easily influenced than those who watch films. Those who play games would therefore appear the most easily influenced out of all entertainment-seekers.

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Are you a girl? If so, you may have found you have no reflection in the mirror. Don’t panic, you just don’t exist in this perception of gamers. If you’re a guy, then you have poor social skills. You’re shy an insensitive. But you see that? That little mini-introduction was biased. The truth is, there’s some reality in this opinion, so don’t immediately block the negative statements.

Think back eight years ago to that little boy hiding in his room. He’s been playing that game for the last two hours, and as soon as you enter, his stress levels violently increase because you’ve disrupted his suspension of disbelief. Stay in the room for much longer and be prepared to experience the wrath of his emotion. That’s a decrease in social skills. While he might be listening to mature dialogue in the same manner as a book or film, he’s not communicating with real people around him. Anyone who considers themselves a ‘gamer’ must be spending a specific amount of time on their console of choice a day or week that exceeds that of ‘non-gamers’. Those are hours lost from human-human interaction. But surely there’s facebook? twitter on the Xbox? Internet Browser on the PS3? Multiplayer gaming?

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While discussion through online gaming may be a form of social interaction, it’s always going to be through the avatar of a fictional character or representation of yourself. PlayStation Home is a prime example of this, as well as Xbox avatars. You may be communicating through text or voice to your friends, but you’re not associating yourself with use of body language, proper English or when it’s a polite time to move away and do something else. A character doing a jive dance in Home might actually be someone sitting in a darkened room, not moving, typing in TXT SPK & HAZ JST LOL BRB, G2G UZ BOG. TB. I have no keyboard. Where are you from?

To use twitter and facebook, while not (usually) hiding behind a three dimensional avatar, you’re representing yourself and the events that you’ve taken part in (or not) in the way that you want to be seen. You’re still staring at a screen, and not verbally interacting with your three-hundred-plus friends. You may be taking part in a sociable act, but this is essentially the same social activity that gamers go through. The difference between the two are to separate the need for gossip and the need to enjoy an activity with others. If anything, it could be the opposite way round from what we thought.

There’s a lot to cover here, and these are only three of many quotes and opinions that I’m searching through to somehow categorise. In part four, I’m going to be compiling every piece of feedback that I’ve collected and analysing the difference of views, opinions, and how that affects many other aspects of our lives.

Sources: BBC News, Wildaboutmovies, Daily Mail

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