Welcome to my World of Warcraft. My life partner (who shall remain nameless lest he post this blog onto crazy people sites 😉 ) introduced me to the game in 2006. I’ve played since then and collected quite a few characters, stuff, and thoroughly enjoy killing animals, other players, and NPC’s… I even enjoy occasionally laying waste to whole towns of innocent people. Why?! Because it’s a game and it’s fun.
So, let me introduce you to my army — on the Horde side fighting for the Schipperkee Psychos (from left to right, of course) is:
- Hookembevo my level 38 Tauren Hunter. Yes, he’s named after the UT mascot.
- Xmarxthethug my level 60 Orc Death Knight
- Xanderbug my level 67 Tauren Druid. He’s named after one of my dogs.
- Sizzlinhot my level 68 Blood Elf Paladin. C’mon, like the Blood Elves don’t deserve silly names?!
- Zyla my level 85 Blood Elf Warlock. She’s been several races on multiple servers and is all about slaughter.
On the Alliance side fighting for the Ginger Ninjas is:
- Audny my level 85 Draenei Shaman. That’s my first character and will likely change names soon.
- Dizzy Dani my level 83 Night Elf Death Knight. She’s named after another of my dogs.
- KylieJean my level 85 Night Elf Priest. She’s also named after one of my dogs.
- FunkyArtemis my level 62 Draenei Hunter. It seemed appropriate to name a female hunter Artemis.
- XanderZone my level 85 Worgen Hunter — No, not named for the Vin Diesel character’s ‘show’ on XXX — named after the dog again.
I introduce you to my army and would remind you that I not only have friends, a life, a job, and don’t live in my parents’ basement (despite the annoying stereotypes), but I’m also not a gun owner (and really think we need to reconsider our modern interpretation of gun ownership in the US) and generally think that violence is for small minded idiots who are too thick to figure out a better way to resolve conflict (yes, there are always exceptions to the rules).
Yet, I really like playing this game — in fact, I enjoy fantasy violence and if I were running for the State Senate in Maine this year as a Democrat the GOP would have used one of my forms of entertainment as a character attack and listed it as a reason to believe that I live a “bizarre double life” and they would ‘have questions about my maturity and ability to make decisions for my constituents’. Now, before you accuse me of being one of those liberals who sees conspiracies all around me, blah blah blah and yadda yadda yadda (insert whatever daft bs falls out of Sean Hannity’s mouth on a regular basis), this is actually happening to Maine State Senate Candidate Colleen Lachowicz (D) who just happens to have an Orc Rogue and plays World of Warcraft.
I honestly thought that my first post on WOW would come under the header of “Guilty Pleasures”, instead this comes under “Seriously?!” because this may be one of the most pathetic political arguments and is coupled with one of the most annoying protectionist arguments possible. On the political side, this is a genuine indicator of the lack of ideas, lack of advocacy, and unwillingness to try to focus on what people need that I’ve seen from the GOP since Sarah Palin’s “Don’t Retreat, Reload” campaign during the 2010 midterm elections. Seriously, GOP — is your party so devoid of leadership, arguments, and viable positions that you think this is the only way to win an election?
Now, the other annoying issue inherent with critiques of ‘violent games’ and gamers– the arguments about the ‘risks’ of fantasy violence… that somehow we all are going to someday crack and go postal on everyone. I have a friend who did his Master’s thesis in 1997 about this very topic and I know that there have been a couple of hundred studies from several fields on this very topic.
After all of this study, you know what researchers have really found to support the worries that fantasy violence leads us down the slippery slope (yes, a logical fallacy for good reason) to real life violence?
- Fantasy violence may stimulate the parts of our brain that reduce inhibitions, self-control, and arouse our emotions.
- So, among teens who already have problems with controlling inhibitions, etc. this may help them make some bad choices. Yet, there haven’t been any documented cases of playing video games actually leading to violent behavior.
- Now, how about adults? Our moral systems are in place, so there isn’t the same “risks” associated. In fact, while brain scans of young men show increased ‘arousal’ after playing video games, there’s no change in adults’ normative beliefs about violence and aggression.
- While it’s possible that games can arouse our emotions, the research is just too inconclusive and biased to really suggest there’s a credible risk.
- Yet, there is clinical research that found that violent video games may actually provide an eye health benefit to people suffering from particular eye problems.
Here’s the thing — parents have to be responsible for their annoying brats and not only help them develop good decision-making abilities but figure out what’s appropriate and inappropriate for them at different stages of development. There’s lots of research out there to help.
For the rest of us — frankly, if we like slaughtering creatures at 10pm at night because it gives us a release from our day, leave us the hell alone. Most of us live perfectly mature and productive lives outside of our silly obsessions. Oh yeah… and GOP, get a life.