You may have heard about this already…some psychologist (Cooper Lawrence, author of The Cult of Perfection) was on Fox News the other day talking about Mass Effect and using it as an example of how games objectify women, and how terrible that particular game is with full frontal nudity and explicit sex (marketed to young boys no doubt). Geoff Keighley was there to present the side of the game industry. You can see a clip of the segment (and the commentary by the “panel” afterwards over on Kotaku.
Ok, this is where things get fun. This woman has never played Mass Effect, she mentions some “research report” (if anyone can find a link to this let me know, I want to read it myself), her facts were all dismally wrong, and she actually called Geoff “darling”. Unbelievable.
So the backlash of this was that gazillions of gamers showed up on amazon and rated her book 1 star out of 5 and lambasted her, insulted her, attacked her, and in some cases got a little personal.
That’s pretty sad guys.
Yes, the woman made a mistake but I think the response was way out of line. There are plenty of anti-game industry people and politicians out there and gamers barely look up from their wii controllers to acknowledge it, much less do anything about it. You should be putting some effort there, not razing this woman for a really bad judgement. What really gets me, is that many of these gamers attacking her (and flaming the hell out of Fox News) did not read her book and don’t watch Fox News. I mean really, many of these posters look like total jerkwads. Is this representative of gamers? It’s bad enough that we still struggle with really bad stereotypes (see #2 dating red flags) but I don’t think the majority of us are so immature and puerile. Most “gamers” I know are smart (if a bit zealous). We would have been better served tearing up her book AFTER reading it, or better yet, defending Mass Effect and the industry in general on our blogs (or polite letters to Fox News asking for a correction or another segment).
And quit drinking the kool-aid about Fox News…I’m getting tired of hearing people scream that Fox News is of the devil and they are ultra conservative or filled with lies. Take a few days to watch Fox News and compare it to other news networks objectively, you might change your mind completely. I’d also suggest that if you are going to flame someone’s book for something they said on TV, do them the courtesy of reading the book first, and then giving it an honest review. Sure, I’d be pretty pissed if some talking head mischaracterized my game or something I wrote/corrected, but I wouldn’t be a hypocrite and turn around and flame something of theirs without knowing what I’m talking about. I’m smarter than that.
Anyway, check out the video clip on kotaku, and then if you feel so impassioned about it, write a nice letter to Fox News. Let them know that she was wrong and the gaming industry deserves better, especially from a large news network. Tell them they need better game industry consultants or researchers too. They generally get things right, but one guy said “world of monstercraft” a couple months ago (I cringe! I cringe!).
Some last notes:
Cooper Lawrence, I am sorry that you are getting flamed like mad from the gamer community…you should have researched what you were talking about before blasting it on national TV. You owe the game industry and the makers of Mass Effect an apology. I suggest writing something on your blog or a press release. I’d be willing to bet that the gamer backlash would stop if you were sincere about it. We aren’t all evil monsters.
To Jen on content dynasty: Grow up and get over yourself. You should be so lucky to date someone that plays world of warcraft or some other MMORPG. They are probably better behaved, smarter, and more intelligent than the usual guys you probably date. Your readers should date some gamers too, or at least get with the times. If you don’t know what a mmorpg is (massively multiplayer gunbusting? wtf?) they are sorely out of touch and live in a little bubble. And seriously, Myspace is so…5 years ago.
And now I expect to be flamed by at least one person. Bring it!
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Rory reported that kotaku has an update to this story and points to a New York Times interview where Ms. Lawrence apologies. Will the gamer community follow suit? I doubt not. Much of the sentiment I’ve seen and heard was “well if she did it to us, we have every right to do it to her”, but I don’t expect that this works both ways. Maybe the industry will surprise me. By the way, two wrongs don’t make a right. Just my two cents.
Her apology (copied from kotaku copied from nytimes)
“…Ms. Lawrence said that since the controversy over her remarks erupted she had watched someone play the game for about two and a half hours. “I recognize that I misspoke,” she said. “I really regret saying that, and now that I’ve seen the game and seen the sex scenes it’s kind of a joke.
“Before the show I had asked somebody about what they had heard, and they had said it’s like pornography,” she added. “But it’s not like pornography. I’ve seen episodes of ‘Lost’ that are more sexually explicit.””
Thank you for apologizing Cooper.