With so many ways to play video games, is China’s video game ban going to work?
The government seems to think so. The new rule is a preventative measure, ensuring young kids do not become addicted to video games. You know what they say start ’em early.
But the new curfew is only for online gaming networks, not all types of video games. In this case, I think the Chinese government is concerned about games like Fortnite and League of Legends, two games that show the worst of online gaming culture.
The online gaming culture is, for lack of a better term, toxic. Many online gamers become highly engrossed in the game and invest hundreds of dollars in loot boxes. It’s easy to become carried away when you can pay to win.
Online gamers can become rude and irritable if they don’t get their way. I suppose that can be for anyone, but missing a “wombo combo” isn’t worth losing your mind.
It’s still too early to say if the curfew will be effective in preventing video game addiction. I think this starts a conversation about parents roles in their child’s online gaming consumption. Parents and guardians should learn about the effects of online gaming addiction, and not leave them without blame.
I love playing video games, but I’m regularly disappointed in the limited and limiting ways women are represented.
I am the only female in my friend group that plays video games. And, I’m not talking about cute cell phone games like Kim Kardashian: Hollywood or Alpha Bear (although both those games are great in their way). I’m talking about The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt – with their emotionless, monster-slayer Geralt. I’m talking about Persona 5 – with their dark but honest depiction of Japanese society. Both of these games have male protagonists – only male protagonists, only male viewpoints.
If you’ve played games for as long as I have (over 20 years), then you know the male perspective dominates the gaming sphere. It never used to bother me. I played many video games with a male perspective, but this got me thinking. I like games like Devil May Cry, Kingdom Hearts, The Witcher video game series, and Persona video game series because they have better, more exciting storylines. Each video game that I just listed all have male protagonists. There are, of course, many great games with female protagonists, but not all of them are great plot-wise.
Not to say we don’t have interesting female video game characters in general because we do. What we don’t have enough of are strong leading ladies represented in a non-sexist viewpoint.
I always wanted to play a female protagonist sans the suggestive outfit — a cool female main character. With more than 52 per cent of gamers being female, you’d think there would be more interesting female protagonists. Most games in the Final Fantasy franchise have male playable characters except for Final Fantasy X-2 (Yuna) and Final Fantasy XIII (Lighting). Many MMORPGs and fighting games have female characters to choose from their roster. Newer, AAA titles have very detailed character creation such as Guild Wars and World of WarCraft. You can now make a character in your likeness, a character creation so robust you can mimic your lip shape to your eyebrow raise.
So, what’s the fuss, right? Wrong. There is a fuss.
Female’s representation in video games doesn’t always jive with me. Some female characters are too feminine or nice or “easy” – none of these represent me or singular female experience. I wish there was less over-sexualization of women in video games. I wish female characters weren’t known or addressed as “weaker” than their male counterparts. At the very least, publishers shouldn’t deliberately give female characters weaker stats as “part of the storyline”.
For example, in Final Fantasy X, the female characters had the lowest stats out of the other characters. It meant that I couldn’t go into battle without a stronger, albeit male, character.
If video games today are still profitable with a mainly male perspective, then why bother changing the formula, right? At least that’s what I think some game developers are thinking.
I believe video games are stories. As much as they are an entertainment medium, video games are stories first, like novels. We don’t question nor bat an eyelash for male or female protagonists in actual novels, why do we care more for video game characters? When did the rules change?
Because video games are an experience, you pick up the controller to move the character you become the character. But just like a character in a novel, they have their own story to tell. Your job as a gamer is to get the protagonist from level to level, section to section until they meet their untimely end or not. We can personify the main characters all we want, but they’re only a vehicle to tell us, the gamer, a story. World history and other real-life events inspire video games. Unfortunately, sexism is part of our history.
Video games are just another storytelling medium – like movies, novels, and television shows. But sometimes, I wonder, what would the gaming industry look like if there were more stories told in the female perspective.
Why do you play video games? Do you think there should be more female protagonists in video games?
I had no idea what I was doing in university. My undergrad was a long five-year stint. I felt like every university student meme out there, especially when it came to taking the required courses. All first-year students had no choice but to take an academic writing course. It’s a course that teaches university students, well, how to be university students. From MLA, APA to Chicago Style, we learned how to write it all in under four months. I lived and breathed academic writing.
Our semester-end assignment was a combination of everything we learned and how to argue for or against a topic. Our professor gave us free rein to choose any topic we wanted, just as long as we presented an argument. I was an avid gamer, even in 2011, so naturally, I chose something gaming related. The topic I chose was “The Effects of Violent Video Games on Adolescent’s Aggressive Behaviour: A Short Review.” I realized it was a huge undertaking, but I was interested in the subject matter.
What I learned didn’t surprise me.
Through my research on the topic, I learned violent video games can contribute to aggressive behaviour in adolescents – emphasis on can. A child’s temperament, upbringing, socioeconomic status and signs of pre-existing behavioural problems are also important factors that can effect aggressive behaviour. Violent video games alone are not a sole contributor to the makings of an aggressive child.
What about sex?
I’m glad you asked. Females and males react to violent video games differently. Females and males react to violence differently, in general. Males are biologically more aggressive than females and tend to be influenced by games more. Even a child’s age can change the way they react to violent games.
But if this is the case, why are violent video games still considered the problem?
Once again, there are many factors. Video games, I think, are still a very new form of entertainment. How video games affect our everyday actions is still under a large question mark.
Have you ever played a video game and completely forgot about everyone else? Have you ever spoken to an NPC (non-playable character) as if they were in front of you? Yeah, me too. Video games today are so advance and life-like that people can forget the difference between what is real and imagined. If an adult gamer has moments like this, imagine how difficult it would be for a child.
There is no perfect answer to this. The video gaming industry is a business. The industry knows what sells and life-like virtual experiences sell, especially violent video games.
Playing video games, nowadays it is considered cool. Gone are the days when sitting in front of a computer or a TV screen for hours was lame.
Today, we are dealing with a new wave of technologically-savvy young people. We have a bunch of research on how it negatively affects them. Somehow, we have to teach them healthy technological consumption; the earlier we start, the better.
What do you think about the violent video games debate? Should there be more regulation in the types of video games children can play? Should we get rid of video games altogether? Let me know in the comments below.