Time to Grow Up?
by Linda Breneman
GAME, the Italian Journal of Game Studies, often has articles in English, and it’s worth a look.
Recently an article in GAME outlined the history of hysteria around videogames, and argued for a more nuanced, complex, and scholarly approach.
In “Apocalypse Postponed, Discourses on video games from noxious objects to redemptive devices,” Marco Carbone and Paolo Ruffino made a convincing case that we should reconsider both the poorly supported arguments that videogames cause violent behavior (advanced often by politicians looking to blame) and the poorly supported arguments that videogames can solve all our problems (advanced constantly by marketers like Jane McGonigal looking to glorify).
There’s a growing awareness, it seems, that videogames are just the latest in a long series of technologies and media that make humans uncomfortable and cause us to go running around in circles, cackling like chickens, doing the chicken dance. Whether it’s about novels in the 1700s, Hollywood movies in the 1920s, horror comics in the 1950s, or television in the 1960s, we seem to have a pattern: first we think the new thing is going to be the end of us, and then we question that nonsense but swing too far the other direction. We start saying the new thing is going to save us from ourselves. But it’s just not that simple. Ever.
It’s possible we’ve given the impression here at the Ludus Project that we’re all for games, but that really isn’t the case. We’re all for research on games, study of games, and careful consideration of the roles this new cultural phenomenon can have in the world. We’re for fewer chicken dances and more thoughtful discourse, like what we find in GAME.