kids with an arsenal of weapons under their bed

The Wright Stuff and ‘Brain-dead computer nerds’

Over the last twelve months, there have been several instances of gaming being blamed for much of society’s problems. Instances such as the Alan Titchmarsh show or the Panorama special, Addicted to Games, where shows tried to belittle our hobby, so when The Wright Stuff announced plans to tackle the possibility of violence in video games being directly related for violent behaviour in the nations young, I feared this would be another unbalanced and ignorant attack on gaming.

I personally contacted the production company before it aired to advise that this subject has been covered many times in the mainstream media, but the majority have turned it into a witch hunt rather than taking a balanced look at gaming and the game industry. I thought that it is my duty as a gamer to help wherever I can to give another side of the argument.

For example, the argument that the average age of a gamer in the UK is actually 34-35, and are more likely to be a husband, one of many across the land who wait for the wife and kids to go to bed so they can stop up and play a game with their friends. This is a point that is often missed on such reports, so when they ask the usual multiple-choice questions between ad breaks, it might be enlightening for their viewers to find that the average age of a gamer is actually in that bracket, and that the fastest selling product in entertainment product in history, making $360 million in only 24 hours, was actually a game, not a film like Avatar.

I also urged that it would be quite refreshing and forward thinking for them to feature both sides of the argument, so asked them to read about the viewpoint from the gaming community and to take into account that video games now sell more than CD’s and DVD’s combined and bring a huge amount of money into the country, which is something for the country to be thankful for in the current economic climate.

Despite no reply from the show’s makers, I remained hopeful, until of course, the show was aired. To be fair to Matthew Wright, he began by trying to show both sides of the story but he was quickly shot down in flames by Anne Diamond, who confessed to having already written an article on the subject for the Daily Mail, before saying with alarming conviction:

Look at the crimes that we’re beginning to witness now. The drive-by shootings; common in America, almost and beginning here.”

Matthew Wright asks:

Weren’t they common before games?”

Game expert, and sometimes Daily Mail writer, Anne Diamond.

I’m not sure about that” says Anne, “We seem to be seeing more of it. We’re seeing kids with an arsenal of weapons under their bed, then something snaps and they go into their old school and shoot it up. We do tend to be seeing crimes that are the things that are happening in video games.” (more…)