My name is Jaime and I’m a Gamer

My name is Jaime and I’m a gamer.

There has been a lot of talk lately about violence and video games.  I live in CT, and yes, we had a horrible thing happen in our state. While the news was unfolding, and the world was watching, there was a lot of talk about the perpetrator and who he was as a person.  One of the focuses that was put onto it was that he was a gamer also.  He liked to play “violent” video games, though we don’t know which ones.  He played with other people, but we don’t know with whom.  We hear he smashed his hard drive and destroyed his computer so those questions may never be answered.

 My name is Jaime and I’m a gamer.

There was a movement that happened in a CT town to “buy back” violent video games.  They stated this was not in reaction to what happened in our state, but to provide an outlet for people to sell back violent video games who no longer wish to have them in their homes.  We have something like that already.  It’s called Gamestop.  Most gamers are already aware of it.  I would assume parents of gamers are already aware of it as well. 

I don’t believe you when you say it is not in reaction to what happened in our state.  I am saddened by the fact that there are people out there who think that one of the causes that this happened is due to being a gamer.  I am also saddened that I cannot tell you, without a doubt, that gaming had nothing to do with it.  Here is what I can tell you:

My name is Jaime and I’m a gamer.

I started playing video games at an early age.  I can’t remember a video game that didn’t have some sort of violence.  I played Super Mario Bros.  I jumped on things heads, I used the corpses of turtles to obtain many free lives for myself, I swung my Master sword that I obtained out of a graveyard and killed things dead.  I played Tiger Heli and shot from the sky.  I played Operation Wolf and shot from the ground.  I even played a boxer who grew up being the underdog.  Every new game was exciting, a new thing to do and a place to explore.  There was always some type of violence.

My name is Jaime and I am not violent.

I have seen violence in movies and read violence in books.  I have seen it at sporting events.  I have had conversations with people who have even commented on some of the fun of watching hockey are the fights, of watching car races because of the accidents, of feeling the adrenaline when the team rushes the pitcher’s mound.  Let’s be honest.  We as a culture enjoy these things.  I can say I do not like watching fighting, seeing people getting hurt, or enjoy situations where I feel it is violent.  Yet, I grew up gaming.  I still slay dragons with magic, kill zombies and ghouls by any means necessary, and even sometimes in World of Warcraft kill a small, defenseless, forest animal, just because I can.  I can also tell you I would never do any of these things in real life.

My name is Jaime and I’m a gamer.

I have three children.  Two of them are old enough to play video games.  The have also been playing from a young age, just as I did. We now play Dungeons and Dragons together every other week as well as play individual games.  They are not violent.  They are loud, but they are not violent. 

Her name is Lena and she’s a gamer.

She plays a bard in D&D.  She shoots arrows and sings songs.  She likes animals.  She also likes to kill zombies with guns, use magic to strike down foes, and play horror survival games.  She likes music games, and fantasy games.  She likes to role play anywhere she can.  She can’t wait to get old enough to LARP. 

His name is Nick and he’s a gamer.

He plays a rogue with a past.  He uses daggers, arrows, and a rapier to kill things swiftly.  He likes to also play other games that involve fighting, or war scenarios.  He shoots guns, drives tanks.  He is sometimes an assassin, moving quietly through streets, watching his prey.  Outside of games he is gentle. 

My youngest likes to watch video games.  She knows who Commander Shepard is, and that Fem Shep is the best Shep.  She likes to get a notebook and scribble down her character notes for D&D (She is 20.  She likes to adventure.  That’s all we have so far).  She plays Pac-Man and Flower. 

Her name is Julia and she will be a gamer.

I am sure this won’t go far, maybe only a few people will read this, but I wanted to put it out there.  It’s important that we don’t feed into the mob mentality.  Games that are violent are not bad; they don’t make people do bad things.  Sometimes people do bad things for reasons we don’t understand.  We fear this happening, so we put a reason behind it.  There has always been a crusade against things to assign a reason for something bad happening.  Music was a scapegoat for a while.  Ozzy was to blame for suicides, Marilyn Manson for Columbine.  Elvis was to blame for wayward behavior in the kids.  It seems that the baton has been passed now to video games.

I am not going to say that parents don’t know what their children are doing.  I absolutely know what my kids are doing, and I celebrate it.  Here is what they don’t say about gaming:

 

  • It teaches problem solving.  Have you ever tried to get out of a small room surrounded by zombies and still survive?  Oh, and you’re out of ammo.  Good luck! 
  • It teaches story telling.  My children have had to come up with back stories and work with their characters.  It has also taught them how to develop their characters.
  • It teaches that one has consequences for their actions.  Games like Skyrim, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Fallout have this system where people react to you in the game depending on what you do and the choices you make.
  • It’s taught them how to play and work together as a group with others.  Do not underestimate the lesson of working together.

There are many other things that gaming can and has taught, and will continue to teach.  I want to get off my soapbox now that I have said my peace and end with a gentle reminder that we are responsible for our actions.  Let’s stop blaming things and making villains of video games.  Let’s give our children and ourselves credit for having the intelligence to know that video games are not real life. Let’s stop with the mob mentality.  Let’s instead put names instead of stereotypes.

Our names are Jaime, Lena, Nick, and Julie.  We are all gamers.

 
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5 Comments

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5 responses to “My name is Jaime and I’m a Gamer

  1. FFAC

    Gaming is the main reason I’m not a fat ass right now. The fact that they can keep you fit is something that is always overlooked due to the stigma of fat lazy gamers who just sit at home and do nothing except play games all day.

    That said, you have to have the skills at gaming to actually lose weight doing it. Shit like wii fit isn’t going to do anything for anyone.

  2. I think that as long as you are pushing yourself and actively doing it, gaming could absolutely be a tremendous tool for cardio activity. You’re right, not a lot of attention is placed on that aspect.

  3. I am intrigued by this post. Though I do agree with you that labeling someone a “gamer” and then signifying that that is the reasoning behind someone committing violent acts is ignorant.

    Prior to murdering my very good friend two years ago a group of kids watched an episode of cops, got “hyped up” and decided to go out and “jump someone.” Unfortunately, Matt was that someone. The reason that these kids jumped Matt was because of their upbringing, their lifestyle, their mindset. Do I think that Cops got them hyped up enough to trigger that emotional disturbance in their brain to lead to a decision to go out and commit this vile act? Absolutely. However I also believe that due to this missing link, and this learned behavior, these kids would have at some point acted out in another form of violence. Therefore no I do not believe that being labeled a gamer should be negative. Though through experience I can see that these games DO trigger responses in certain people.

    I agree with all of your points, I think those are positives. However I also believe there are serious negatives in certain people. It doesn’t have to do with the gaming but the gamer. If ya know what I mean…

    Side note: You should read House of Leaves when we do…it’s going to be a crazy book!

    • I am so sorry to hear about your friend. What a horrible and senseless act of violence. Whether it be one or twenty seven, my heart always hurts when I hear about these things that happen.

      I can see your point about something in the media (a movie, tv show, book, song, game) triggering something in a brain and making it make really bad (and sometimes absolutely horrible) decisions. That’s why I am sad that I cannot say without a doubt that gaming didn’t have a piece to blame in all of this. I wish I could say it, but I can’t. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said it was a combination of things, and not just one piece, that makes these horrible things happen.

      I will totally read House of Leaves with you all! I think we should maybe run away together to B&N one day and just have some coffee.

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