The media loves to carefully select the most brutal and graphic gameplay to try and prove to those who don’t have any interest in gaming that there is a lurking evil ready to pounce from your television screens into your soul, somehow taking over your will to control sensible thoughts and distort right from wrong. Of course this is extreme exaggeration, the usual scaremongering we hear many times on various subjects not just our gaming pursuits. Just like the word ‘crisis’ that appears out of news readers lips for almost every story, gamers like myself become numb to the effects of the constant assassination attempts on our passion for fun and entertainment.
Eventually you just stop reading the so called parents outrage when their child is playing a game that offends them, yet there are still those that stand in line to buy their cherished youngsters titles that are clearly meant for a much older audience. This is not a post to pass judgement or blame, rather an eye opener to those that condemn our interest on the basis of a few media reports that may have never picked up a controller in their life. I can only hope that a lot of the negativity has calmed down due to the influence the Nintendo Wii has achieved in the casual gaming market, but only time will tell.
There are as many gaming genres as there are movie ones, with a wide span of selections to keep any console or PC enthusiast more than happy. For years simulation has been the pinnacle target for developers and publishers alike, whether it be becoming a football star or playing as part of a band. I have been enjoying the delights of a train simulator recently called RailWorks, which puts you in various scenarios, locations and of course trains. It is a beautiful thing when you are chuffing along and admiring the lush scenery while checking gauges and speed limits and there is no violence in sight.
I have been playing RailWorks for hours on end taking great pleasure from the details of the landscapes to the actual trains themselves. Gaming is not all about running around and shooting people. It is true that it is a popular aspect of our gaming heritage and I am sure it will continue to be for the hardcore gamer, but we never lose vision or perspective of our morals even when some take winning very seriously. We all vent our frustrations and relax in different ways and for us the gamer, picking up a controller and interacting with the polygons that appear on our screens is what does it for us. There may be some virtual deaths involved, but this is mainly due to the fairly recent on-line battles that are truly captivating, without confusing our own ‘real’ reality. Yes there are games out there that are meant to shock, but it is no different to the latest Hollywood flick no matter what certain journalists may try and tell you to the contrary.