My family is in the process of moving. I say “process” because we live in the new house but not everything has left the old. Unpacking I discovered shirts I had made while a graduate students for my personal crusade. Yes, I had more than one crusade but this shirt really exemplified so much of who I am today.
It was almost a decade ago and I was poor grad student working in retail hell aka Game$top.
The worst part of every shift was when parents came to purchase games for their kids and even after my explicit reasons why they should not they still bought the game. Grand Theft Auto was the biggest seller and I would regularly remind parents that in this game,
“Your child can have sex with a prostitute and then kill them to get some money back.”
Most parents would avoid making eye contact and handed me their credit card with ID.
I built a website, went to some industry events in my inflammatory t-shirt, and made a stink with as many parents as possible.
What is Happening Now
Fast forward to now and one of the most shocking realities for me is that my WAR website still exists.
And in better, more substantial news there are people who are great with new media doing innovative stuff to keep the gaming industry honest.
The problem with parents is still a problem but this industry is getting more accountable, not great but accountable. In a recent post I referred to Anita Sarkeesian from Feminist Frequency who has made tremendous headway in giving an audience to problematic gaming tropes. I forgot to mention James Portnow from ExtraCredits who is also doing some really great critical perspectives on issues in games.
In my current reality I am following conversations about video games on many different fronts with different audiences that should overlap.
- Game publishers/industry
- Textbook publishers
- K-12 Educators
- Cultural critiques/ bloggers (seriously if you have not checked out Anita or James shame on you)
There are very different dialogues happening in different circles. But no matter the conversation many of them in the past, present and future will continue to be about games.