Thursday, September 15, 2011

Catholic News Service video games article tells us things we already knew

The Catholic News Agency did a story on video games, which you can read about here.

If it wasn't a Catholic news agency writing the story, I probably wouldn't waste time posting it, as the story could easily be filed under the "Does this article even have a point" category. Most of the info is stuff we already knew, and some of it makes me wince.

C'mon Catholics, we can do MUCH better than this.

The article starts strong, giving me a decent history of gaming. Things I mostly knew, but I'm not going to fault them for setting up the fact that gaming started with Pong and "evolved into a complex creative form whose impact now ranks with that of movies, TV and popular music."

 (FYI, you can tell how much the author of any story DOESN'T play games by how quickly they throw Pong into the equation. Pong was great and all, but if you really wanna show your old-school knowledge, drop a Demon Attack reference on me instead).

 Anyways, the article cites stats, gives way to the widespread penetration of games into homes, then segues into how violent games are. Nintendo's Wii is cited as the most family-friendly option due to the motion-based controller matching up with inoffensive content (the ultra-violent Madworld escapes mention), while mentioning that the X-Box 360 and PS3 are trying to capture the family-friendly market.

Surprisingly, the author never mentions the fact that those systems have their own motion-based controls. The two bright spots in this article is an explanation of Bioshock's exploration of morality and the limits of personal freedom, and a quote from "Grand Theft Childhood" author Cheryl K. Olson, who says, "I remember watching my son play games such as 'Legend of Zelda' when he was a young teen. He had to search, plan, and try different approaches to advance. You don't get those kinds of benefits from watching cartoons or sitcoms on TV."

 That's a solid defense of gaming. Too bad it was buried at the end of the article.

 My point in this post isn't to bash Catholic News Service for trying to do a gaming article. The author, a cathecist, supposedly has written about games for 20 years. The point I'm trying to make in highlighting this article's shortcomings is that when Catholics write about things like video games, it shouldn't be the same rehashed things that mainstream media has done to death.

We should be trying to find our own unique angle to bring to the story. Too often Catholic media tends to be like sheep, just following trends. We need to stand out, become unique, and lead the charge instead of just following old trends.

Hopefully CNS will put together better gaming articles in the future.


Andy Kirchoff said...

The frequent misunderstanding of gaming "culture" by Catholics is one of the reasons I started this blog years ago. Obviously, I echo your sentiments, Dustin. I guess the "glass half-full" part of me wants to commend CNS just for writing an article about this...

dustin (The 16-bit Catholic) said...

Apparently CNS is launching a gaming review service. If the reviews are anything like the USCCB movie reviews, it should be good.

It's easy as ever as a parent to review games for your children though. Just go to Youtube and watch videos of gameplay. Seeing that for yourself ought to be enough to help make an informed decision.

Sepatu Kickers said...

I know that so much. But some info is not like true