The last E3 post is coming; sorry about the delay. I'm deadlocked in one of those situations where work has to come first. Anyway! There are quite a few things going down Grandma would like to address. In no particular order: a columnist at parentstv.org used Grandma to incite ideas that video games are not only inappropriate for children, but also for adults; some folks are using the Gamerscores of a certain all-female clan to discredit them as nothing more than agents of PR; Cory Barlog has a new blog; Seth Green put his foot in his mouth and Grandma was there to taste it; Grandma was featured in Road King Magazine; and she was on German television. Again.
Let's start with Christopher Gildemeister. He wrote a column in the Culture Watch section of parentstv.org in which he quoted me and stated that Grandma and her hobby "[is] a matter of potential concern." Now I know what I'm supposed to do on our silly humor site; I'm supposed to call him a dirty fucker and move on to more important things. BELIEVE me, I'd like to- but what this man is doing is nothing less than the attempted mandating of social behavior for all ages, regardless of maturity and independence. In doing so, he negates the good work that others have done in proposing responsible parenting.
Understand that it is under the facade of "protecting the children" that they attempt to control YOUR behavior and mine. For example: they tell us children should not smoke or drink; that children are not mature enough to understand the risks involved, and they propose a prohibition on the sale of tobacco and alcohol to minors. Very well! Reasonable enough indeed. However, if they propose the prohibition of ALL alcohol and tobacco, they are saying that none of us are mature or intelligent enough to assess the dangers of such use, and they, the wise, will guide us down the proper path of righteousness.
Too extreme an analysis perhaps?
Let's read some of the article:
The National Institute of Media and the Family found that 92 percent of all children ages 2 to 17 play video games, and the average child spends 9 hours each week playing them. The Institute also found that 87 percent of pre-teen and teenage boys play games rated "M" for Mature by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board. M-rated games often contain realistic depictions of human injury and death, mutilation of body parts, rape, sex, profanity and drug, alcohol and tobacco consumption. (US Fed News, July 25, 2005; Advertising Age online, July 28, 2005; Associated Press, July 27, 2005)
First of all, "The National Institute of Media and the Family" is hardly a non-bias organization. Remember that this is the SAME organization that took quite a long time before distancing themselves with Jack Thompson. Until his ridiculous proposal (which Grandma and I answered in kind) last year, Jack and NIMF were like peas and butter. About the only redeeming quality they possess is Jeremy Gieske, who writes fairly honest, parent-friendly video game reviews for their site using the "KidScore" system.
Second: Realistic depictions of human injury and death, mutilation of body parts, rape, sex, profanity, drug, alcohol and tobacco consumption is found in many stories on the required reading lists in high schools all across the country, and for a good reason: LIFE contains such elements. That, however, is getting into a deeper philosophical discussion than is required today.
Anyway, here comes the part where Gildemeister reveals his true nature:
What is perhaps more surprising – and potentially disturbing – is the fact that far more adults, many of them parents, than previously suspected also play such games…and are not immune to the allure of the violence presented within.
See what I mean? It isn't about children or parenting, it offends him that adults, perfectly capable and free to make their own decisions, play these horrible and immoral games on that thar' television screen thingy.
"If you saw her in a grocery store, you would see an old, Midwestern diabetic with thick glasses leaning on a crutch or shopping cart…but get her in front of a game, and she becomes a monster." -- Timothy St. Hilaire, describing his grandmother, 69-year-old Barbara St. Hilaire, who spends about 50 hours a week playing violent videogames and whom Timothy has nicknamed "Old Grandma Hardcore." (BusinessWeek.com, October 19, 2005)
Um.... well, yeah. That's what she does. If he cared to read the blog or perhaps read the whole BusinessWeek article instead of selectively quote passages (like I'm doing now), he would have also read that Grandma oil paints, reads books, shops, pays bills, works for MTV as a host, gardens, and any number of "socially acceptable" things.
This is a matter of potential concern. Too many hours spent playing videogames can foster both social isolation and aggressive behavior, according to studies cited by the National Institute on Media and the Family. [...] Also of concern is the possibility of increased aggression and competitiveness between parents and their children, with such conflict centering around shared videogames.
It is very difficult to read about video games causing "social isolation" when I have personally witnessed Grandma blossom socially in a very global way that would have never happened if NOT for video games!
Clinical psychologist Erik Fisher, author of the books The Art of Managing Conflict and The Art of Positive Parenting, warns parents against becoming obsessive over videogames, and becoming too competitive when playing against their children. "You don't want to be practicing all night just so that you can beat them," Fisher says. (Sacramento Bee, January 7, 2006)
"I really got into it when Nintendo came out with Super Mario. I remember playing with my son all night long, competing against each other." – “Old Grandma Hardcore” Barbara St. Hiliare (BusinessWeek.com, October 19, 2005)
I want you to read Fisher's quote, then Grandma's quote, and see if something just doesn't jive. He took Grandma's quote as meaning that she would stay up all night only to beat my uncle; a fierce competition raging into the wee hours of morning. She played because she was having fun! She loved to spend time with Ralph and she loved playing the games.
You see Fisher's name up there without a contesting viewpoint.
NOW you see why I am writing a book about Grandma and mature gaming.
I could go into this more, but the article was written at the end of March and we missed it somehow; I suppose the influx of hate-mail didn't spike enough for me to become suspicious. Do us a favor, though. Write to the folks over at parentstv.org and let them know your opinion. These people will only change when concise argument and convincing anecdotal evidence overwhelms them.
Next up, someone over at one of our favorite sites, digg.com, submitted an "observation" (if you will) that because the PMS Clan members featured in an article (TriXie was the one interviewing them, by the way) did not have very high Gamerscores on their "My XBox" homepages, they must be frauds, thus they must be PR agents of Microsoft, etc., etc.,...
Besides the obvious arguments that not everyone owns an XBox 360, GamerScore points are only available through 360 games, and that gamerscore doesn't mean shit, Grandma and I got to meet a couple of them at E3 (which you'll read about in the next post, I promise) and they are ACTUALLY kick-ass gamers. It really pissed us off to see our friends, particularly TriXie, called liars. Our readers know us, we're honest to a fault; so trust us when we tell you: this is a non-story that means exactly fuck-all.
Alright, here's a juicy piece of something that might mean nothing: Over at Kotaku they featured an actually very funny clip from Seth Green's show "Robot Chicken" in which they parodied Final Fantasy VII. Everyone in the technorati world began praising Seth as a gamer who really "is just like us!" Remember that first time Grandma went to New York and met Seth Green just before he went on TRL? Well, he said something then that I didn't think much of at the time, but... well here:
[MTV] - "Seth this is Old Grandma Hardcore"
[Seth Green] - "Ah, what uh... what are you doing here at MTV?"
[Grandma] - "I review video games."
[Seth Green] - "Well, then you and I would have nothing to talk about."
Oooooo... BURN! I'll print the rest of the conversation one day so we can all look back at this and laugh, but.. did he say what I think he said? Now, I don't believe for a second that he's not a gamer. If he isn't, he just has really good writers at the show who don't get enough credit. If he IS, though, then maybe; just MAYBE Seth Green was an asshole to my Grandma. Let THAT shit sink in for a minute. Let's see YOU watch your seven disc Family Guy boxed set the same way after he blows off YOUR Grandma!
Our fears have been quelled; Sony did not lock Cory Barlog in a windowless dark room somewhere while he finishes up God of War 2, for behold! The man has a new blog. He finally made the move to Blogspot after modBlog depressed him too damn much. Don't expect it to be updated too often, he really is a busy guy. Nevertheless, go bug the shit out of him.
He has a great opportunity to reveal the frustrating world of game directing to the rest of us vultures.
For all you truckers out there, you'll be excited to know Grandma is in the May/June issue of Road King Magazine. It's a small little blurb about the expanding demographics of games, but it's still pretty fucking cool. Truckers are good people. We like truck drivers. Shit, from those I've met, it seems perfectly appropriate for Grandma to be in this magazine; if for no other reason than they speak the same language as Grandma. Most of us recognize the CB radio as the first iteration of XBox Live!
Try avoiding a speed trap without one. It's just not the same, man.
Grandma was featured on the German television show Taff again, this time in a piece discussing female gaming and of all things, the upcoming game Desperate Housewives. I can pretty much guarantee this will be a game that Grandma not only won't play, she'll probably verbally assault and physically damage the display case for it at GameStop. Maybe she'll even spit on it. In other words: DeadRising/Gears of War = yes; Desperate Housewives = fuck no. Anyway, we always welcome our friends in Germany, so let us know what you're playing!