For quite some time now the mainstream media has been going along with people like Jack Thompson in blaming video games for all that is wrong with the world. Well, today I was pleasantly surprised to see that times have changed - at least here in Vancouver B.C. As I was flipping through the pages of The Province, I happened to notice the word "video games." It was an opinion piece by Lydia Lovric, entitled "If you're going to play video games be ready to take the consequences."

Alright, I'll be honest. When I saw that I expected the worst. However, the article was exactly the opposite of what I thought it would be. It wasn't a woman telling us that Grand Theft Auto was evil, it was a woman telling us that she too had been addicted to gaming and that the games are not causing people to screw up in life.

Lovric talks of how she started out with small-time games like Pac Man and Frogger and slowly evolved to playing Super Mario Bros. on her Nintendo. As she grew, RPGs began to take hold of her. Then her husband introduced her to Age of Empires II and Lovric was hooked.

"I played for hours at a time, despite finger cramps, backaches and bleary eyes. [...] But I would never blame the game-makers for creating such a wonderfully addictive game. That would just be... stupid. It's all too easy to point the finger. No one wants to accept personal responsibility any more. So we have lawsuits against the makers of Grand Theft Auto because we're a sue-happy society. A teenager steals a car, shoots police and somehow a game is to blame?"

You know what, she's right. If you're addicted to games, that's not the developer's fault. You have a problem. If you go out and kill a person after playing Manhunt, it's not the developer's fault. You have a problem. If you go out and think you're a counter-terrorist who knows how to work a gun because you played Counter-Strike, it's not the developer's fault. You have a problem. If you think that "1337" and "noob" are real words you can use in an English class... I think you see where I'm going with this.

Lovric also talks of the 13-year old Chinese boy who committed suicide after playing World of Warcraft for 36 hours straight. Why'd he jump to his death? He thought he could join the heroes in the game by doing so. His parents are now suing the company who distributes the game in China.

"Now I'm sorry that the boy is dead, but I fail to see how the distributor is to blame. Millions of people around the world play video and computer games; most realize that the "heroes" in these games are purely fictitious. Perhaps it helps the parents to try to assign blame to make sense of this tragedy. Or perhaps they're hoping a large financial settlement will ease their pain. I don't know. But if I was them, I'd be wondering how my son could play any game for 36 hours straight without me knowing or intervening."

Again, I agree. Parenting seems to be at the root of all "game-related" problems. What kind of parent allows their child to play Grand Theft Auto at the age of 10? An ignorant one. What type of parent allows their child to play 36 hours without rest? An oblivious one. If parents are not raising their children with care, or even raising them at all, there will be consequences. Look at just about any person involved in "game-related" incidents. They share one thing in common. A rocky upbringing. Sure they all played games, but guess what? It looks like they all read a book as well. As Lovric says, "If I put on a few extra pounds because I can't say no to Krispy Kremes, is it the doughnut-maker's fault? If I choose to drink and drive, can I blame the bartender?"

Lovric concludes that games are fun, but should be played in moderation - as should everything.

"As for my computer game addiction, after getting hooked on Call of Duty, I realized that I was wasting far too much time on gaming. Everything in moderation. Games can be fun, but my life was not enriched in any meaningful way. Now that I have a baby, the only games I have time for are peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake. And that's fine by me."

Link: pspupdates

I thought that this article was one of the best I've ever read...