Apparently videogames are just as bad as porn.

Or at least, that’s what CNN says.

In a recent article written by Psychologists Dr. Philip Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan states,  “guys are wiping out socially with girls and sexually with women,” citing porn and videogames as the major contributing factors to this “phenomenon.” Surprisingly, the article doesn’t equate the content so much as the effects both forms of media (if you can really call porn a medium) have on males — turning us into socially awkward, inept and unsatisfactory members of the human race, in a nut shell.

I’m not going to get too into rebutting every point laid out in the article, because I feel IGN’s Colin Campbell does an excellent job of countering the ridiculous and sensationalist arguments the article puts forth. However as a member of the audience and press of the videogame industry, I feel the need to express my point of view on the matter.

First of all, equating videogames to pornography is really nothing more than a blatant attempt at attacking the medium. I’ve defended videogames and gamers numerous times against their skewed portrayal by the mainstream media, but I certainly would never defend porn. Videogames are by no means pornographic — especially since the gaming industry has its own set of strict ratings policies in place to prevent exactly that type of content from appearing in games. It’s just an outright ignorant statement to make.

Second, I know many female gamers from all walks of life and all levels of interest. My own sister has been an avid gamer for as long as myself and my brother have, going as far back as the Christmas we received our fist game console, the Nintendo 64. Beyond that, many of my female friends — whether they identify as a “gamer” or not — have at some point or another enjoyed to occasional session of Mario Kart, Angry Birds, or Halo. Many are even more hardcore fans of the medium than I am, spending hours a day honing their skills at games like League of Legends, Final Fantasy, Star Craft, or Diablo. Yet in Zimbardo’s arguments I see no mention of how these “porn-like” videogames are destroying their ability to function as healthy, positive women.

Pornstars?

No, what I see is yet another example of a group — be it academia, the mainstream media, etc. — attacking something they don’t understand, and therefore don’t see the use for. And since humans seem to fear that which they do not understand, they try to forcibly remove it. I’ll concede that many gamers, men and women, may spend a bit too much time playing games than in a social setting (despite the fact that gaming often is a major social activity for many people). But as gaming permeates into our society, slowly becoming an ubiquitous part of popular culture, it will find its place just as rock ‘n roll, comic books, and motion pictures did in the past.

I can’t wait for the day when people like my younger sister have replaced the Zimbardos of the world. Maybe then we’ll finally stop worrying about things like entertainment, and start focusing on stuff like — oh I don’t know — cancer, famine, and poverty perhaps?

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