Video Killed the Radio Star

rc-am rcollins at
Sun Apr 25 07:19:05 PDT 1999

Michael cited:
>> From Need to Know, the sarcastic Brit-nerd newsletter:
>> ...hold on. If it was Doom, how come they could shoot under

is this a heartless comment? i don't think so. why would it be heartless to point out, admittedly in a blithe fashion, that none of the things these guys did they could have learnt from a game that it being blamed for having exerted the significant influence?

i agree wholeheartedly with dennis, and would add that the significant variable in this is not computer games or even bomb-making lessons on the internet, but a really crap society, especially for young people, in which the desire for retribution and revenge has no other outlet than that of arbitrariness and scapegoating - as the guy disenfranchised and dispossessed in The Grapes of Wrath keeps asking, 'who do i kill?'.

moreover, there seems to be no inclination, especially on the left, to consider seriously what kind of justice would not be framed entirely in terms of retribution and the settling of accounts. i can't recall who said it here, but i too am not surprised the school shootings happened, i'm surprised it doesn't happen all the time.

ps. dennis, when do we meet up for a round of quake?

Angela --- rcollins at

>Hold on a second here. I keep hearing videogames being cited over and over
>again as this source of alienation, evil, and violence. But is this true?
>If culture produces killers, why doesn't Japan's incredibly violent mass
>culture produce legions of psychopaths? The EU countries have all the
>videogames we have, so why aren't their kids slaughtering each other like
>ours are? Speaking as a connoisseur of the genre, I have to say that the
>first-person shooter videogames are a powerful anaesthetic: they're a
>symbolic realm where you have to think, act, run around, and explore
>environments. They soak up frustration and aggression, and allow
>info-geeks, jocks, riot grrrls and all manner of mutants an opportunity to
>participate in a new kind of cybercommunity, the kind congregating around
>the Quake servers, where people play each other in these teams. The logic
>of these games is that of sports skills: movement, coordination, rapid
>ducking. It's totally unlike real combat, where to see a target means that
>the target is dead, instantly. Example: there's a variation of Quake where
>you fire rocket launchers at each other. Real RL's move at supersonic
>speeds; in Quake, you can see the thing coming at you like a tennis serve,
>and you have time to duck. Note also that the fundamental narrative trope
>of the first-person shooter is the Vietcong-style insurrection: it's you
>against the minions of an Evil System which ruthlessly colonizes the
>bodies and minds of its victims (in Quake, the Strogg; in HalfLife, the
>minions of the Nihilanth, as well as a paranoid US military). Ho Chi Minh
>was the true author of the first-person 3D shooter.
>This isn't to say that the shooters are beyond criticism. Some of 'em have
>pointless violence, stupid sexism, and the rest. But on the whole, this
>bourgeoning new branch of the info-culture is amazingly progressive,
>multi-cultural, gender-balanced and multinational.
>-- Dennis

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