Terror-mongering about new technologies is nothing new. When the car was invented, I’m sure people were worried about the thing ripping our faces off. “Humans aren’t meant to operate at that speed!,” and so on. On the other hand, it is inarguable that technology very quickly becomes a part of our lives, of our culture. And there’s no time to do long term testing. Some of us get to be canaries in the mine shaft. And if people start dropping or getting depressed at unprecedented rates, it’ll take decades to come to a conclusion about why this is happening.
Tell me if this narrative about a kid, beleaguered and possibly brain-damaged by dangerous video games, sounds familiar:
He stumbles upstairs with a glazed look in his eyes. “Why did you make me stop playing Xbox with my friends! That’s not fair!” he accuses me. I shake my head feeling guilty that before I knew it, my 6th grader has spent a better chunk of his Saturday, lost in ‘live-land.’ “Besides,” he chimes in, “I was just about to get a homework assignment from Ben.” Wow, good one Harry, told with a poker face and all. Are video games hurting our children? Does it prevent them from accomplishing more than they should be academically and socially and how much is too much? (Article)
Poor droopy-eyed, armless children. They could never keep up with Charlie Sheen. But seriously, what if the “problem” wasn’t gaming, or how long we spend in front of screens – that seems like it is here to stay, at least barring the zombie apocalypse. What if it’s the myths that control the types of games we’re creating? What if we’re not playing too much – we’re not doing it enough? Further, we’re failing to see the role that games and gaming play in our lives, and it is being capitalized on by only certain segments of our culture, certain interests, like the military?
These are some of the things asked in this introductory article “Questions towards a Philosophy of Gaming, Transmedia, and Myth.”