Maree (ms_maree) wrote in ontd_political,

Gamers scarier than bikers


But why does everyone forget about female gamers!! I don't exist :(


Be afraid, very afraid. The nerds are coming!

I thought I'd read just about every insult or calumny directed at video-gamers. No-Mates Nigel. Neon Nerd. Pixel Poindexter. Pac Man. "Hey, Frogger, catch this giant computer screen aimed at your head ... doink." Then I read the headline "Gamers scarier than bikers, says minister".

South Australia's Attorney-General Michael Atkinson, who opposes lifting the ban for violent and extreme video games, told the ABC: "I feel that my family and I are more at risk from gamers than we are from the outlaw motorcycle gangs who also hate me. The outlaw motorcycle gangs haven't been hanging around my doorstep at 2am, a gamer has." Atkinson claimed he had received a threatening note from a gamer due to his stance on the issue.

Not to dismiss Atkinson's perception of danger, but you can take such headlines with a grain of salt. Will someone now claim florists and ballet dancers are scarier than bikers? That Space Invaders are more dangerous than home invaders? That we need to immediately build some kind of Guantanamo Bay-style facility for gamers, where they are regularly waterboarded until they prefer playing with women than playing on the Wii?

Sure, gamers are a dangerous bunch. I can't count the number of times I've extorted money from a business owner, smashing up his shop and customers to make sure he gets the message. I've run strings of prostitutes, dealt drugs, ordered the assassination of rivals, had shoot-outs with the police, hot-wired cars, beaten people to death in airports, laundered money through legitimate businesses and paid off bent coppers. I've taken part in brutal initiation ceremonies, run cities, become a menace to society. I'm afraid to say, I enjoyed it all. Only when I did it, it was all legal, and the state government wasn't rushing through legislation to ban groups of rough gamers from associating with each other, or pulling us over on the road to search our Priuses for methamphetamine.

But there is something about gamers that seems to threaten non-gamers. Tell someone you're a gamer and you'll hear something like, "Oh, I'd like to play video games ... but I have a LIFE." Or people react as if you've just declared that you lost your genitalia in a horrible boating accident and that you'll never have sex again. "I'm sorry to hear that," they'll say, eyes emoting sympathy and possibly disgust. It's all well and good to say you spent eight hours on the couch getting pissed while watching the State of Origin*, but say you spent the weekend playing Grand Theft Auto and they'll assume you're pissing your life away. You may as well be wearing a shirt that reads "Yes, I am a eunuch, please exclude me from all your social events". Or a hat that reads "Ladies, I am unfit to pass on my genes so please ignore me from now on". Or a codpiece that reads "Game over".

This vague sense of disease appears to be universal among women aged 18 to 50, except that while teenagers will express outright disgust if their male peers are addicted to games ("Euwww! Loser!"), 30-something women will try to understand the "problem" as to why the gamer would rather spend time with games than them (but secretly always be thinking "Euww! Loser!"). Yes, the average age for a videogamer is about 30. Who else can afford to pay $80-$100 for a new game? Who else has that sort of disposable income, coupled with a deep sense of social dislocation and anger at society that can only be relieved by running down a virtual cop in a stolen car or having intergalactic sex with an adrogynous blue-skinned alien with three breasts? Who are you calling a loser now?

I have more than one colleague who has sons seemingly hooked on video games. After I subject them to a small essay about the awesomeness of games today — "we've come so far since the days of Frogger and Galaga; the graphics on the Xbox 360 are awesome" — I advise that the best way to wean them off games is by getting them girlfriends. (Yes, I am guilty of perpetuating the same stereotypes that I mock. I am aware of the crushing irony.)

Yet ... perhaps people are right to fear gamers. Already many armies around the world are investing in robots that will fight via remote control — by gamers, if you will. Predator drones are being remotely piloted over Aghanistan and Pakistan from half a world away in America. One day man will not fight man, but gamer will fight gamer, through the avatars of their military machines, success or death coming down to video game reflexes. Boys barely out of their teens and armed with joysticks will threaten to lay waste to cities.

Then you will learn to fear our awesome power.

*major Australian football match, think superbowl.


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