If you ask someone if something can or can’t be considered ‘mainstream’, the usual response involves numbers. User numbers, audience numbers, profits. Stuff like that.
The thing is that the idea that large audiences = mainstream is essentially fallacious. You tend to get much larger audiences for mainstream things, but not always. Something that is mainstream can have very small numbers indeed. Then we say it has ‘niche appeal’. Quite a lot of things we think of as mainstream fall into that category.
It’s extremely rare that any two people possess the same basic beliefs and priorities. It might be so rare, that it doesn’t actually happen at all. We’re all at least partially aware that if you dig deep enough, any superficial resemblance in the beliefs and priorities of any two people is fundamentally erased.
That doesn’t stop us giving each-other crap because someone fails to precisely conform with our views. I’ll be talking some more about that, but right now, I’m going to talk about Jack Thompson.
Destructoid makes a few observations on the death-toll of video-games (murders, suicides and so forth) [thanks for the link, Tigro].
I’m going to add a couple extra data points here.
Immersion occupies an interesting and multifaceted place in our societies and cultures. It is a quality of focus and attention. It’s what your boss wishes you had more of when it comes to your tasks and meetings. It’s what your teachers wish you had more of when it comes to lessons and homework. It’s what your spouse wishes you had more of when it comes to the dishes, cooking and the laundry. It’s what your kids wish you had more of when they’re telling you about their day.
And when we wind up immersed in anything else – particularly if it is something personally enjoyable or fulfilling – it is considered deeply suspect and somehow wrong.
When there’s something I really enjoy, be it a book or a movie or a game — things I particularly liked — and I hear that there’s going to be a sequel, my immediate reaction is largely one of disappointment.
Sure, I’m intrigued, but suspicious … and with good reason. Nowhere does the immediate bitter taste of disappointment come so strongly than with games.
Given that the number of gamers worldwide who have played or presently play violent video games is roughly estimated to be somewhere around 250 million, and the number of shootings, school shootings and violent crimes associated with violent video games is (roughly) 10-20 per year….
Would that not suggest that there is some alternative explanation for these outbursts of violence than the video games?
In fact, there’s a far stronger correlation between violent crimes and eating carrots, or riding bicycles than there is for video games.
Besides, didn’t we used to blame these shootings on television? When did we stop blaming TV for violent crimes?