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In his latest post for Industry Gamers, Hal Halpin, the president of the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA), has called upon the gaming community to stop allowing stereotypes and common perceptions of gamers go unchallenged.

Beginning by mentioning a conversation he had with his son regarding an on-field dispute during a lacrosse match – his son the subject of some abuse from an opponent – Halpin turned his attention to gamers, suggesting that, like in his son’s case, answering back could be a good idea.

“Combating the negative stereotypes the gaming industry and gamers themselves face is becoming a daunting task. We’ve allowed people to equate gaming with everything from laziness to isolationism and antisocial behavior, when so clearly it’s the opposite,” he wrote. “Because we’ve permitted everyone from anti-games advocates (disbarred attorneys included) to the President of the United States of America to perpetuate those fallacies and said and done nothing, we need to take ownership of at least part of that blame; until and unless we speak up and do something about it. It’s time.”

It’s true that us gamers suffer a fair amount of bad press when it comes to issues such as violent games and the effects they have, or the health problems that too much playing can supposedly cause. And these labels, among many others, are all too often taken lying down.

But what can we do?

The industry could benefit from some form of body of representatives that promotes gaming in a more positive light, showing the general public how it can bring communities together and help actually stimulate the mind, rather than numb it.

There needs to be an official stance on such things like gun crime being blamed on an FPS or some kid getting obese due to playing too much, if only to attempt to bring some level of cohesiveness to these sensationalist arguments.

Of course, there are many angles that this debate could go, ie. who is criticising gaming? What is being said? The scale – playground, internet or government? But, what do you think? Do we deserve more respect?

  1. I certainly wouldn’t take negative stereotypes like that lying down.

    Unless of course I was in bed on my laptop, or crashed out on my couch, in which case I’d have little alternative …

    Seriously however, in regards to what level you could expect a debate to run on, it’s really not much good gamers “sticking up for themselves”, because the community at large already acknowledges the truth that we’re no better or worse than TV/radio/web/competitive sports/red meat/whatever. But for all the highly crafted and authorative opinions we can offer, if a media outlet wants to portray the gaming community negatively, it only takes ten minutes to find yourself “proof” that gamers are all a bunch of foul-mouthed, angry 14 year olds on Xbox Live.

  2. We spoke about this a lot on this week’s LimitCast.

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