Hating The Player, Hating The Game

I’m very definitely not picking a political side here, but I do want to bring to your attention this: a political advertisement attacking a candidate for playing World of Warcraft. Not for being an addict, not for ignoring her life to play. Just for playing it.

I don’t know where to begin.

I don’t know if this is just another blatant example of hating youth and everything “kids today” do, or if it’s just an example of a lack of understanding of other people’s hobbies.

Surely an ad like this that targeted someone for being in a football league–that violent, dastardly sport in which people slam other people into the ground in real life!–would be rightfully laughed out of the park. Yet somehow playing a video game that includes virtual violence, in which no one is actually hurt, is different, and deserves mockery and scorn. It makes you unfit for public office, you see!

And please, spare me the “But World of Warcraft is a hobby that eats people’s lives and everyone who plays is hopelessly addicted and spends 16 hours a day on it!”

That’s really not true. While some people do become addicted, there are plenty of casual gamers who don’t spend more time on it than most people spend, say, on television. Assuming everyone who plays becomes some sort of dope fiend, but with video games, is pure ignorance.

People who play WoW and games like it do it for many different reasons. Some like to use the game as a socialization vehicle, because it lets you talk and interact with many other people all over the world. Some use the game to create stories through roleplaying, writing elaborate adventuring stories sometimes resembling “Lord of the Rings.” Some use the game to test themselves against other people in direct virtual combat. Others like to test their skills against the game itself in dungeons or even large-scale raids. Everybody’s different.

Never, ever assume people who love the game all like to do the same things. There are people who hate large-scale raids and dungeons. There are people who don’t like player-versus-player combat. There are people who don’t want to write stories. There are even people who mostly play solo.

Games like WoW appeal to many, many different types of gamers. Claiming that someone is unfit for office because they play WoW is a little like claiming someone is unfit for office because they watch hockey games: It’s just silly.

Can we please have some political ads that actually pertain to the issues, and stop attacking people for their hobbies?

2 Responses

    1. I’ve been accused of being of pretty much every political stripe since I started writing and doing moderation, and I’ve been called Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative, far left, far right, communist, socialist, fascist, Nazi, and quite a few other nastier things too.

      People can be very funny about these kinds of things.

      There was even a commenter who was fixated on my age and gender once, which I don’t mind telling you, was a little creepy. We ended up gathering up files for the cops on that one with the real name and address of the commenter, just in case.

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