Anyone who’s ever discussed gaming in open forum will realise that it is a medium that is plagued by prejudice at every turn. Though it becomes a more socially excepted and understood practice with each passing day, there are still those that believe ridiculous urban myths about gaming that are spouted by conservative groups who abhor the practice. No element of gaming is misunderstood quite as much as story-telling, and here are the seven big wives tales that need de-bunking. This list is likely to contain spoilers.
First person games are all about killing
It seems ridiculous how worked up media outlets seem to get over people who commit crimes after playing video games. Granted, crime is a horrible thing, but, considering the millions of people who play games each day and then live lawful lives, why does the whole medium get blamed when one schizophrenic nut job ruins it for the rest of us? The first person shooter is the most commonly cited cause of crime, supposedly offering players a realistic depiction of violence and murder. The idea that first person games can only be about killing though is simply ridiculous. Just consider a game like Portal that, whilst including a gun of a sorts, is more about puzzles and comedy than straight up gore. Likewise, games like Mirror’s Edge and Oblivion, whilst obviously having elements of combat, have a higher focus of story-telling and immersion over portraying violence alone.
RPGs are all about fantasy cliché
The RPG, or role playing game, is often a tricky genre to define. Whilst its core elements often involve statistics, loot and turn-based combat, these elements are often lessened or accentuated depending on the sub-genre of the game you’re playing. What many people see as a bizarre pre-requisite for the genre is the idea of the story including fantasy clichés. Though a lot of RPG titles include swords, magic and elves abound, there are just so many that don’t. Most Bioware titles avoid the usual merry questing, with games like Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect ditching swords and sorcery for a jedi and sci-fi twist respectively. Likewise, the Fallout games and many Final Fantasy titles attempt a steam punk and post-apocalyptic interpretation of the genre’s formula. There are plenty of RPGs that adhere to the genre conventions, but there are just as many that do not.
Games can’t be emotionally affecting
Anyone who has ever played a game will know how false this one is. People say you can cry at sad movies, but not at similar content in a game. What about Aeris’ death in Final Fantasy 7? What about the sacrifice of the Boss at the end of Metal Gear Solid 3? Who didn’t choke up at the “in water” ending of Silent Hill 2? These moments are just as real as any tear jerking moment in a film. You also have a wider emotional palette in a game on account of the tension you can feel when made to engage in a dangerous or difficult task. Few things get you as pumped as when you succeed and triumph over adversity. Whilst films and literature can make you indirectly overcome obstacles, only games make you directly engage with challenge. In this way, they are the medium with the greatest breadth of emotion.