Child’s Play and Games in the Media

January 14, 2004

I am sure at one point or another you have heard me talk about Child’s Play, the toy drive that was run by Penny Arcade this past Christmas. If you remember my original post about that toy drive then you will know that it was spurred by an article written by a man named Bill France. Mr. France is a writer for and the article in question went on to describe that video games were a sort of “traning program” for children. This training as you can probably already figure out was training to kill people. I can’t make assumptions on where Mr. France developed this idea or what his justification was for writing a column on the topic, but I can tell you that it stirred up a whirlwind of controversy in gaming communities around the globe. I am sure Mr. France also received a hefty amount of hate mail along with email updating him on the immense success of Child’s Play as it happened.

Looking back I felt somewhat sorry for Mr. France and I have gained a new level of respect for him and I will tell you why. Mr. France has written a follow up article of sorts and it is now online. Instead of the sort of response you would expect from most journalists who had been attacked by a large pack of rabid gamers, Mr. France apologized for making it seem like gamers were bad people. He acknowledged the wonderful things that this particular gaming community had done and how fast they had worked to accomplish such a lofty goal. I encourage you all to read the article and I fully believe that this is one step toward changing the overall stereotype that gamers are killing machines. If we had more journalists who showed their true colors as human beings instead of trying to keep some sort of reputation then it would make this battle a whole lot easier, but we don’t. As I wind this down I just want to applaud Bill France for doing what most journalists and people in the limelight would never do, admit they were wrong. Here is to hoping that we can continue to show that video games are not the evil stepchild of entertainment that the mass media would have you believe, one journailst at a time.