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Extremes In Reporting Hides Diversity and Joy of Gaming
This summer, the RCM Writing department started its first Summer Writing program with four college interns from around the US. For August, they were asked to write about whether they feel the media has a more positive or a more negative slant regarding gaming culture. Emily's essay is the third installment in this four-part series.


Video gaming as a platform is no stranger to criticism in mass media. Since the creation of Pong, there's been no shortage of critics complaining that games are too violent, too distracting, too inappropriate for anyone but adults to play. It doesn't help that there's been article after article perpetuating negative stereotypes of those in the gaming community; off of the top of my head, there's the violent teenager who gets his kicks murdering others in Call of Duty, from the middle aged man child playing World of Warcraft in his basement, and, more recently, the app addicted millennial more focused on Candy Crush than where they're walking.

Recent scandals within the gaming community certainly don't help the issue. Take Gamergate, for example. Supposedly meant to be a serious discussion regarding the ethics of journalism and political correctness within the gaming community as a whole, Gamergate devolved into harassment, name calling, and, eventually, even doxxing and death threats. Though outside media saw Gamergate as more of a revelation on the ease of online harassment than as a reflection on those who enjoy video games, it can be embarrassing to admit that a community that has a potential to be so loving turned into an embarrassing public attack.

Fortunately, the media's view on gaming seems to be improving within the recent years. It seems like for every negative article, there's someone else pointing out some of the good that games can do. There are people praising how apps like Pokemon Go or Zombies: Run! are encouraging people of all ages to get active, or how games like Brain Age or Professor Layton are great forms of mental exercise. Even games that don't seem to have any apparent health benefits at all, like Mario Party, are seen as a great way to get the family together. Hopefully, this trend will continue as gaming culture learns from its past mistakes, and grows from them.

Emily Barr (Barrtender) is a member of RCM's Summer Writing program. Any questions, comments, or feedback can be sent to her email at emilybarr77@gmail.com
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