Stigma against video games in modern society

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Stigma against video games in modern society

#1  Postby iMMz » Aug 03, 2014 10:04 pm

A potentially infinite amount of hobbies exist in the world; puzzles, crafts, sports, music, etc. are all hobbies that are performed by a huge amount of people.

My question, open to anyone, is why is there a stigma against video games? If you are meeting someone new for the first time or trying to impress someone, society has deemed this is not an activity to be looked highly upon. This is despite the amount of mental exertion, and sometimes critical thinking, required in some games. Not to mention the benefit that video games might provide in other activities in life that require nimble fingers, laparoscopic surgery for example.

Now, I am not saying that those who partake in video games should be held at a higher level of those that do not. I am just curious where the constant negative bias stems from.
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Re: Stigma against video games in modern society

#2  Postby Bribase » Aug 03, 2014 11:32 pm

The age in which narratives in Gaming are as compelling as traditional media (film,TV,literature) is just beginning. It was regarded as a hobby for children because that was what they were in their inception. The age range of people who game is broadening and that is not solely because of the explosion of "Casual" gamers and smartphone users. Games are beginning to be geared for adults and that doesn't strictly mean more tits and gore. There are developers out there who are constructing meaningful experiences that stay with you long after the game has finished, some are constucting narratives that require your immediate experience to tell the story properly, some are exploring classic themes in philosophy, politics and ethics. Then again some developers are making new iterations of modern military shooters to sell as many units and to challenge as few players as possible.

I'm actually surprised how many people in my social group are gamers and are excited to share their experiences with you. The themes and experiences of the better games out there are becoming part of modern culture to the same degree that conventional media is. Things have changed over the years and are set to continue.
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Re: Stigma against video games in modern society

#3  Postby DarthHelmet86 » Aug 04, 2014 2:43 am

Gaming is hardly the only hobby with a bit of a stigma around it. Miniatures tend to still cop a lot of flack as do things like tabletop RPGs. Video games are a new medium, it will take time before it is accepted by the majority of the populace. Still I think at the moment most of the fuss and stigma about gaming is only coming from a certain sets of people. People who like to blame shit on an easy target and people who have ideas about morality and the evils of all things fun.
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Re: Stigma against video games in modern society

#4  Postby Briton » Aug 04, 2014 6:36 am

I used to be quite embarrassed about playing computer games, and being quite long in the tooth, but I've got over that now.
Boys (in particular) never stop playing with toys. Could be train sets, fishing rods, guns, balls, models; whatever.
I don't think adults playing video games is as new a phenomenon as you suggest; the age range of players has been broad for decades now.
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Re: Stigma against video games in modern society

#5  Postby babel » Aug 04, 2014 7:14 am

Bribase wrote:The age in which narratives in Gaming are as compelling as traditional media (film,TV,literature) is just beginning. It was regarded as a hobby for children because that was what they were in their inception. The age range of people who game is broadening and that is not solely because of the explosion of "Casual" gamers and smartphone users. Games are beginning to be geared for adults and that doesn't strictly mean more tits and gore. There are developers out there who are constructing meaningful experiences that stay with you long after the game has finished, some are constucting narratives that require your immediate experience to tell the story properly, some are exploring classic themes in philosophy, politics and ethics. Then again some developers are making new iterations of modern military shooters to sell as many units and to challenge as few players as possible.

I'm actually surprised how many people in my social group are gamers and are excited to share their experiences with you. The themes and experiences of the better games out there are becoming part of modern culture to the same degree that conventional media is. Things have changed over the years and are set to continue.

What's more: though the first games were designed for kids, but those kids are adults by now and look back with enjoyment and want the same enjoyment in their adult life.
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Re: Stigma against video games in modern society

#6  Postby Mazille » Aug 04, 2014 7:36 am

The average gamer is 30 something and almost half of them are women, from what I read. And I'm talking proper gamer, with keyboard or controller in hand. Pretty much everyone and their cat has at least played Angry Birds and some of that other iOS and Android shit. Honestly from where I sit, apart from the occasional witchhunt after a school shooting, most people don't seem to give a shit whether you read, watch movies or play games in your spare time. The various CoDs, GTAs, Skyrim, Portal and others seem to me to be as much of a shared social experience as any summer blockbuster, if not more so.
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Re: Stigma against video games in modern society

#7  Postby Briton » Aug 04, 2014 7:41 am

babel wrote:
What's more: though the first games were designed for kids, but those kids are adults by now and look back with enjoyment and want the same enjoyment in their adult life.


The first mass market game was Pong; don't know if it was designed for kids but I know my old man would have a game with me.
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Re: Stigma against video games in modern society

#8  Postby Meme » Aug 04, 2014 8:03 am

Bribase wrote:The age in which narratives in Gaming are as compelling as traditional media (film,TV,literature) is just beginning.


Nah, its been here for better than 20 years. Its just that its coming back into vogue. Storytelling is an acceptable development area again, and a marketing tool, along with the pretty graphics, sound design and gameplay.

The story driven games of the last couple of years (L.A. Nior, Bioshock, The Last of Us, Portal) are just building on a long running legacy of games that had proper narratives and an actual story to tell.

Look at the RPGs and adventure games of the 1980s and 1990s: Infocom games (A Mind Forever Voyaging, Zork series), Lucas Arts adventures (Day of the Tentacle, The Secret of Monkey Island, Sam & Max, ect, ect), Amnesia, the Elder Scrolls series, the Fallout series, Half Life, Alone in the Dark series, Deus Ex, Planescape. The best elements of these games were the plot lines and they built a storytelling tradition.

My feeling is that videogames arrived as a proper narrative medium with the phrase "It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue."
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Re: Stigma against video games in modern society

#9  Postby Scot Dutchy » Aug 04, 2014 8:19 am

With MMO games you are in contact with people from all over the world and many walks of life. Now that cant be a bad thing.
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Re: Stigma against video games in modern society

#10  Postby Cito di Pense » Aug 04, 2014 9:04 am

No, video gaming doesn't exactly deserve to be stigmatised, but you can develop the same transferable skills from many other activities, and doing the latter, you sometimes gain a little specialised knowledge in which non-gamers might be interested. The hand-eye habits you learn in any particular video game are not much use in, say, football, or driving a race car whose physics is more complicated than what the game developers can handle. Flight simulators and other simulations, however, can teach a person a lot for which the basics are too expensive to learn mishap by mishap. Simulators useful for teaching are too expensive for most gamers to afford. Or consider this: If at first you don't succeed, then maybe skydiving is not for you. Video gaming is adventure for people who may otherwise be risk-averse.

@Scot: I'm already in contact with people all over the world here, and at Coursera or edX, we're all interested in developing transferable skills together. It's kind of trivially obvious that other video gamers are going to have an interest in video games. The psychobabblers will try to tell you that video gaming may also have a tendency to isolate people socially who already have too much specificity in their socialisation, as if that were absolutely a bad thing.

All that said, I love the puzzle games like Myst. I just have so much other shit going on, I haven't time to explore Myst these days.
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Re: Stigma against video games in modern society

#11  Postby Varangian » Aug 04, 2014 10:12 am

DarthHelmet86 wrote:Gaming is hardly the only hobby with a bit of a stigma around it. Miniatures tend to still cop a lot of flack as do things like tabletop RPGs. Video games are a new medium, it will take time before it is accepted by the majority of the populace. Still I think at the moment most of the fuss and stigma about gaming is only coming from a certain sets of people. People who like to blame shit on an easy target and people who have ideas about morality and the evils of all things fun.


TTGs and RPGs had/have more a nerdish stamp than any real stigma. My generation, who grew up with arcade games (in real game arcades!), are parents to gamers now. The stigma re: computer games has been twofold. One is that games are supposed to make kids passive, the other is that they turn kids violent. Now, every new popular medium has been accused of being bad for those using them. 200 years ago, it was romantic novels, then crime stories, movies, comics, RPGs, movies on VCR, and so on. Scare flavour of the decade so to speak. But I think there's a shift. Computer games are the subject of articles in the culture and arts pages, and not in a negative way. Respectable people like Peter Englund, Swedish historian, author and Secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy (you know, the guys who decide the Nobel Prize for literature winners), is a gamer (Civ, Europa Universalis). Last year, I met a man, 69 years old, who played Crysis 3 and Skyrim. A couple of guys in an MMO I've played were of about the same age. Parallel to this, there's the wider acceptance of fantasy and SF through blockbuster movies like LotR, Harry Potter and the Star Wars saga, and series like Game of Thrones. People are starting to accept and enjoy alternate universes, and with that, they'll also appreciate computer games.
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Re: Stigma against video games in modern society

#12  Postby DarthHelmet86 » Aug 04, 2014 1:31 pm

Varangian wrote:
DarthHelmet86 wrote:Gaming is hardly the only hobby with a bit of a stigma around it. Miniatures tend to still cop a lot of flack as do things like tabletop RPGs. Video games are a new medium, it will take time before it is accepted by the majority of the populace. Still I think at the moment most of the fuss and stigma about gaming is only coming from a certain sets of people. People who like to blame shit on an easy target and people who have ideas about morality and the evils of all things fun.


TTGs and RPGs had/have more a nerdish stamp than any real stigma. My generation, who grew up with arcade games (in real game arcades!), are parents to gamers now. The stigma re: computer games has been twofold. One is that games are supposed to make kids passive, the other is that they turn kids violent. Now, every new popular medium has been accused of being bad for those using them. 200 years ago, it was romantic novels, then crime stories, movies, comics, RPGs, movies on VCR, and so on. Scare flavour of the decade so to speak. But I think there's a shift. Computer games are the subject of articles in the culture and arts pages, and not in a negative way. Respectable people like Peter Englund, Swedish historian, author and Secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy (you know, the guys who decide the Nobel Prize for literature winners), is a gamer (Civ, Europa Universalis). Last year, I met a man, 69 years old, who played Crysis 3 and Skyrim. A couple of guys in an MMO I've played were of about the same age. Parallel to this, there's the wider acceptance of fantasy and SF through blockbuster movies like LotR, Harry Potter and the Star Wars saga, and series like Game of Thrones. People are starting to accept and enjoy alternate universes, and with that, they'll also appreciate computer games.


D&D copped the whole "This game is teaching our kids to summon demons" and for many the nerd stamp is a stigma. Being called a nerd is hardly a compliment most of the time and the fact that I played both tabletop RPGs and Warhammer 40K at school got me laughed at by some of the jocks. Now I think gaming cops more than either of them, but I think that is because gaming in general is larger. I do agree things are getting better, though I do think there will always be those people who use other peoples hobbies as a means to insult or degrade them. Arseholes aren't going away they might just start using something else instead.
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Re: Stigma against video games in modern society

#13  Postby mrjonno » Aug 13, 2014 8:50 pm

Playing computer games these days is more mainstream than playing real life sports . Not really convinced there is a stigma any more
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Re: Stigma against video games in modern society

#14  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Aug 13, 2014 9:01 pm

I think one of the faulty preconceptions non-gaming people have of 'gamers' is that they spent the vast majority of their day playing video games.
With the associatated images of fat guys sitting in darkened basements surrounded by energy drinks and pizza boxes.
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Re: Stigma against video games in modern society

#15  Postby tuco » Aug 14, 2014 4:39 am

New, addictive, time consuming, virtual, financially demanding, unproductive, internet related, controversial alleged or real affects, childish, scapegoat for bad parenting .. whether there is stigma or not, its just not common to brag about frags on dates or CV. Sure it can happen, but recognition that video games are art or that video games are sports are emerging trends.

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Re: Stigma against video games in modern society

#16  Postby I'm With Stupid » Aug 14, 2014 12:28 pm

There are a couple of issues. The first is that traditional computer games don't lend themselves to conversation in the same way that TV shows or films (or sports) do. They're expensive, and they take a long time to complete. As a result, people don't tend to play a large number of them, compared to the amount of TV or films they consume, so the chances of a anyone you're talking to having played the same games as you is much smaller. Obviously phone games are changing that a lot, and "have you played Angry Birds?" is far more likely to get a positive response than "have you played Call of Duty?" despite the latter being a hugely popular game. I'd certainly have no hesitation, when chatting someone up (the ultimate measure of social stigma), to talk about computer games, but it would probably be either in the context of Android games or reminiscing about older games that I suspect they'll have played.

The second issue is one of people dedicating a lot of time to a skill. And I think society stigmatises that unless it's a skill that can be used to entertain others (music, painting, sports, etc), or are otherwise useful in some way (languages, etc). Interestingly, in Korea, there are computer game players that are considered celebrities and have adoring female fans, because their skills are televised and people enjoy watching them (I'm not sure how niche it is though). But in most of the world, this isn't the case. People who become incredibly good at computer games are seen to have dedicated massive amounts of time to developing skills that don't matter to society. The only thing I can think of that bucks this trend is chess. But then becoming a great chess player slaps an instant "genius" tag around your neck, so that probably negates any negative associations. Obviously the ultimate measure of a "useful skill" is whether you'd put it under the "hobbies and interests" section of a job application.
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Re: Stigma against video games in modern society

#17  Postby Mazille » Aug 14, 2014 1:04 pm

The esports thing is getting really big everywhere else too, IWS. I'm not sure about adoring female fans, but in the big tournaments those kids can bag prize money that counts in the millions of Dollars or Euros.
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Re: Stigma against video games in modern society

#18  Postby VazScep » Aug 14, 2014 9:31 pm

"Dastardly Achievement: Place a hogtied woman on the train tracks, and witness her death by train."

The woman in question is a carefully modelled female in her underwear propositioning you the whole time for sex.

Almost all modern computer games are fucking retarded. That's why there's a stigma. They need to grow the fuck up, and "gritty violence and tits" isn't a step-up from the adolescence of Duke Nukem (which I fucking loved, btw).
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Re: Stigma against video games in modern society

#19  Postby DarthHelmet86 » Aug 15, 2014 3:46 am

Well I know you never did that in the game it is from. Your facts are about as inaccurate as they can get.
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Re: Stigma against video games in modern society

#20  Postby VazScep » Aug 15, 2014 7:13 am

I've never played the game and never will.
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