Despite video games having been commonplace in society since the early 80s, only now is it really becoming socially acceptable to be a modern gamer. Gaming as an industry has evolved wondrously since then but the media perception is still out-dated. Even the most unbiased sources tend to be ill-informed when it comes to the matters of some popular titles, which leads to a widespread case of misinformation. Then there are other outlets which focus on the negatives of video gaming and promote the anti-gaming message using misinformation and exaggeration.
The inspiration for this article came from an alarming Fox News story broadcast after the release of Bioware's smash hit title Mass Effect, in which the player controls a special operative member through the deep realms of the galaxy on a space epic which will test your wits and will. Mass Effect quickly became critically acclaimed by the vast majority of publication for it's incredibly well written script, innovative story-telling, engaging gameplay, musical assets and flexible plot. However, a blemish on the success of the title was posted by Fox News, in which they claimed that, within the game, the player could engage in fully-interactive sexual encounters with explicit nudity and extreme violence, a slanderous and inaccurate claim.
The debate garnered great attention by the gaming community who responded in a manner of ways, but the general public who just watch the show would not have known about the false accusations and would be left with the message that this game is inappropriate and immature; which is quite the opposite of the truth. Normal modern gaming is regrettably a difficult hobby to ease into without a large investment, and thus there is a reasonable proportion of the population whom have never played. Learning about video game titles, much like films and music, requires first-hand experience, which lack of leads to this calibre of disinformation.
Another example comes, yet again, from Fox News. Grand Theft Auto IV, Rockstar's action adventure sandbox game set in an interpretation of New York, is a title with an 18 age certificate, and for good reason. Glen Beck on his Fox News segment began a rant about the negative effects of video games and the modern pop culture, calling out Grand Theft Auto IV in particular for its apparent ability to teach youngsters how to murder and universally increasing aggression. Again, all of his points are easily countered but the show does not allow an alternative opinion. Gross misrepresentation leads to a public misunderstanding, and the media has the responsibility to uphold the accurate exhibition.