“Virtual-camera-system” for developing video games/ WikiLauren

Robert Morris University in Chicago, which gives out 1400 athletics and activity scholarships a year, will now offer one for performance in the video game “League of Legends”:

“It’s a team sport,” [athletics director Kurt] Melcher said. “There’s strategy involved. You have to know your role in the game. Obviously it’s not cardiovascular in any way, but it’s mental. There are elements that go into it that are just like any other sport.”

Since news of the scholarships broke last week, Melcher said, the school has received hundreds of inquiries from prospective e-athletes. University President Michael Viollt said the video game team could be a way to reach a population underserved by higher education — technologically minded young men who aren’t into team sports, and who need an extra boost to get to college and stay there.

Twenty-seven million people play on any given day, and tournament winners become celebs.

Are these games bad for kids? Well, how do they compare with the superhero action comics people fretted about when I was young, over half a century ago?

Here’s a site that offers sensible pros and cons. The pros are, as might be expected, they teach thinking skills and co-ordination; the cons are the obvious ones: too much violence, social isolation, and time spent away from homework.

The geography of one’s own region may be dull compared to a mythological geography. But it’s more useful over the long term.

My view of the dangers of video games is qualified by the question, what would the kid be doing otherwise? He (it usually is a “he”) would be better off playing ice hockey or basketball. He will learn quick thinking skills and co-ordination just as well or better when he has some skin in the game. But he will also learn sportsmanship and team playing.

He will be fit, not obese. Plus, his “jock” image is less of a social problem when he enters his teens than the “nerd” image of the gamer.

But, please. If a kid is playing video games eight hours a day, chances are his true problem is his real world environment, not the games. Why does he have that much unsupervised time anyway? If we start by working on that problem, chances are, the games will shrink to a smaller, more appropriate slot in his life. And if we don’t solve it, taking his games away won’t help. He might simply hang out at the mall instead, where he can meet with actual dangers, not imaginary ones.

Video game developers are often talented but socially deficient, a cautionary fact in itself. One result is the invasion of video games by political correctness. As Breitbart London explains,

It’s a fact of life that the video games industry is awash with marginalised, troubled people who have found it difficult to manage their lives in mainstream society. It’s particularly the case when you look at independent or “indie” video game developers, a remarkable proportion of whom suffer from depression or anxiety disorders. Many of these people end up as enthusiastic campaigners for one or more causes they feel deserve wider attention.

The journalists who cover games and gamers are subject to similar peculiarities and challenges, which perhaps explains widespread frustration from players that every blog out there seems more concerned with policing misogyny and “transphobia” than reviewing the latest game releases. As a result, gaming sites and their readers have drifted apart in recent years. Journalists have sided with activists to pen soporific op-eds about the need for “equality” in video games, while the people who actually play games just want to know if the latest instalment is good value for money.

Meanwhile, there have been grumbles that journalists are getting too close to their subjects, and that they speak ever more insultingly about their bread and butter customers – that is, their predominantly male readers – the longer they spend in the company of feminist activists and other agitators.

You might think it cruel to delve too deeply into the private lives of damaged people. But when, say, a video game developer and activist with a history of outrageous dishonesty, whose games aren’t up to much but nonetheless always seem to get glowing reviews, gets accused of exchanging sex for positive coverage and other benefits, the public interest is overwhelmingly clear. More.

I try to avoid both bigotry and political correctness. The latter is usually organized lying or suppression of truth—supposedly for a good cause. But a cause that benefits from such tactics obviously isn’t a good one, so the decision is rather easy to make.

Incidentally, political correctness has also hit the superhero action comics:

Once banned from the world of mainstream comic books by the infamous Comics Code Authority, LGBT characters now have a stronger presence in the world of superhero comics than ever before, with gay and lesbian heroes like Batwoman, Northstar and Green Lantern Alan Scott openly declaring who they are — and even getting married. Today, DC Comics told Wired that it will continue to expand the LGBT diversity of its superhero universe by introducing the first openly transgender character in a mainstream superhero comic.

In Batgirl #19, on sale today in both print and digital formats, the character Alysia Yeoh will reveal that she is a transwoman in a conversation with her roommate, Barbara Gordon (aka Batgirl). Taking care to distinguish Yeoh’s sexual orientation from her gender identity, Batgirl writer Gail Simone noted that the character is also bisexual.

I predict it will flop with the kids, who probably don’t care. But it likely also means that many school boards, promoting gay, lesbian, and transgender sensitivity, will suddenly see some value in superhero comics. We may soon find them on the curriculum instead of on the list of things to deplore or ban.

Meanwhile, I suggest a return to real action—athletics—for kids instead. Oh yes, one other good thing about athletics. It rewards actual, visible achievement, not narcissistic posturing.

Denyse O’Leary is a Canadian journalist, author, and blogger.

Denyse O’Leary is an author, journalist, and blogger who has mainly written popular science and social science. Fellow Canadian Marshall McLuhan’s description of electronic media as a global village...