Gamers have long been treated poorly be the media. As far back as 1991 parents have appeared in the news complaining about the new mode of entertainment. As games advanced, becoming more realistic (and more violent) they have often been vilified. Some, such as Jack Thompson have made names for themselves as anti-gaming crusaders, claiming that video games have been responsible for all sorts of atrocities such as the Columbine and Virginia Tech Massacres.
This scapegoating of new forms of entertainment is not a new phenomenon. Jazz music, comic books, and movies have all fallen under scrutiny as causes of disappearing morality of the younger generations. The good news for gamers is that studies have shown that the link between violent games and violent behavior is not certain, and perhaps contextual; test subjects playing a violent game “with a positive goal in mind (for example, protecting a friend in a zombie game), showed reduced levels of aggressive behaviour compared to participants who were asked to simply kill as many zombies as possible.”
Still, many claim that games can cause children to behave violently or damage their brains. Most recently, Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s Morning Joe commented “I honestly don’t know who is more reprehensible: people who would make a game like Call of Duty, sorry, or [former dictator of Panama] Manuel Noriega… You know how damaging [gaming] is to the brain, especially to young people.”
While this appears to be just a normal case of a news show linking video games with violence and poor behavior, the reaction of her co-anchors shows that change may be coming, albeit slowly. Joe Scarborough expresses surprise and confusion at her comment, defends the game, and makes a joke about his own experience playing first person shooters. While it might not be much, the fact that some people on the news are willing to disagree with the notion that games are damaging to kids shows that change is slowly coming,