Don’t Hate The Player, Hate The Game.

13 Dec

First off, for full disclosure, I love video games. Violent, non-violent, doesn’t make a difference. So I may be biased here. But seriously, why are people so stupid when it comes to video games? Whenever a kid shoots someone (why does that sound so disturbing?), and it’s found out he plays video games, automatically non-video game playing (it’s always a school marm or someone) adults are blaming the games.

I don’t understand. If I said most kids who shoot someone also take Algebra, or eat Froot Loops, or do a million other things normal kids do, that’s coincidental. But when one kid out of millions who plays violent video games shoots someone, there’s this synaptic response of blaming the game.

There’s this normal, smart woman I know who just said this same stupid thing. A 20-something year old guy in her community shot himself. When the woman told me this, she also made sure to tell me that he played “shooting games”. I asked her if he was depressed. She said yes. But that obviously wasn’t what she thought was an important detail.

You know, maybe there is a correlation between violent games and teen shooting. I don’t know. Even if this were the case, “correlation doesn’t prove causation”. Is it more likely that a 20-something year old man would play video games so often he decides to pop himself off, or is it possible that there’s a separate factor, like depression, that makes him both 1) play a lot of video games, and 2) shoot himself in the head?

But many smart people on the news, and in everyday life, keep making this same jump. Why?


8 Responses to “Don’t Hate The Player, Hate The Game.”

  1. Gutman Braun December 13, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

    There are (of course) many decent answers to this question – here’s one that I think is pretty good:

    • itchemeyer December 13, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

      Thats great.

      • Gutman Braun December 13, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

        Hmmm, for your response here, I gather that you’re either:
        * tired
        * a little stoned
        * spending a significant amount of time listing to NPR
        * trying to be understated in expression…
        OR, you didn’t really think it was that great.

        • itchemeyer December 13, 2011 at 9:01 pm #

          Haha! You caught me man. I was in the middle of something and first saw your comment on my phone. Then, I rushed in a response on the computer. It was really an awesome picture. And that article hit a lot of good points. Sorry.

          • Gutman Braun December 14, 2011 at 11:07 am #

            Ah, I just thought you were getting back at me after that whole “Blues Bros” fiasco

            • itchemeyer December 15, 2011 at 12:18 am #

              Nah. I’m a little wary about 80’s movies though…

  2. Gutman Braun December 13, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

    And here’s an article on the matter that I enjoyed reading a long time ago:

    “We all know someone who’s intelligent, but occasionally defends obviously bad ideas. Why does this happen? How can smart people take up positions that defy any reasonable logic? Having spent many years working with smart people I’ve cataloged many of the ways this happens, and I have advice on what to do about it…”

    • itchemeyer December 13, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

      That’s an awesome essay. thanks!

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