Guest Blogger-Mark Tanner-Game Over? Are toxic video game communities ruining video games image?
Mark Tanner is a senior at the University of Central Missouri, he is graduating this fall with a major in digital media and production with a minor in theatre. He loves mixing audio in both the studio and with live bands. He also has a strong passion for video games, which as of recently, have been through some heavy controversies lately.
We’re not talking about “video games cause violence”, that can be saved for another day. We are talking about how harmful the gaming community can be when interacting with new players and those who are not familiar with how the game works. People who pick up a game of Overwatch or Counter Strike and queue up a game alone and as soon as they pick up the headset they are bombarded with very toxic behavior. This is a problem and video games are not the only place this type of toxic behavior exists, but the thing about video games is that it significantly impacts the credibility video games have when it comes to tackling social justice issues and makes steps forward. In an article by Ray Garcia of The State News, they discuss social issues and representation in video games with an abundance of developers and creators. They speak with two student coordinators, Dan Fandino and Ronny Ford, are Ph.D students studying history and medieval literature. One of them says as follows.
“It can be quite a hot topic, it can be very toxic,” Fandino said. “There’s a lot going on, but at the same time, these games can reach so many different people. I think that’s part of the importance — to be able to look at it both as something speaking to the moment, we’re in, and to the way they think and the possibility to reach so many more people.”. In every competitive game that is really big right now there is a way to communicate with your team, you can also talk to the enemy team. This tool that is being used as a way for people behind a screen to talk trash with zero repercussions is going to need to change. Esports is in its very early stages and we want to see it grow. If we continue to be held back by this toxic gaming community, we will not be taken seriously and will remain insignificant. What alternatives do you think we as a gaming community could look into that can remove such toxic behavior from what we enjoy more than most things in our lives?