Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Fed-Up Woman Writes Editorial About Men And Their Video Games

I came across this impassioned post by a blogger named La'Juanda Knight entitled "Men & Their Video Games." The post was written, apparently, in response to the release of Grand Theft Auto IV.

Knight writes,

"What is it about video games that put men in a distracted coma where they become consumed? A prime example of this is the new game, "Grand Theft Auto IV." I know at least five men who rushed out to buy the game as soon as it dropped. Yes, grown ass men."

She goes on to list seven things about men playing video games that really pisses her off. Among them:

Waiting in long lines. Men all over the country waited in long Game Stop lines in order to purchase the game. Some even went as far as arriving at the store before it opened. My only hope is that they arrive to work everyday with the same enthusiasm.


An ex of mine wanted me to watch him play the game. Yes! Watch him play the game. Dear, you are not REALLY playing the game. Do you know that? He wanted me to watch him and cheer him on. I have to remind you men, the video game is not real. You are not really making that basket or touchdown. This is all pretend. Just like the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, Leprechauns etc, etc.

What do you think? Does Ms. Knight have a case?


  1. Anonymous2:59 PM

    She has a point when she says this: They will literally dismiss their families while playing the game. Or, will become upset if you are trying to talk to them while the game is on. I have a friend who isn't allowed to talk to her live-in kid's father while he is playing the game.

    However, she misses on just about everything else and seems to come across as someone whom, because she personally hates video games, thinks that no one should be playing them. I can easily see this article appearing in other formats, with the author wondering why people wait in line for a new movie, or spend money on comics.

  2. Sounds like she has a problem with specific people, and decided to generalize.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go wait in a long line for something she wouldn't approve of.

  3. Val,

    How would you feel if the editorial was about men and their comic books?

    Things like this are ridiculous and short-sighted and, frankly, are incredibly sexist in their own right.

    Video games, like it or not, have come to take on every bit as much artistic endeavor as writing, acting, or cinema -- and just as people -- not men, or women, but people -- can become distracted and engrossed in a good book -- chabon's Kavalier and Klay, or Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, for example -- people can become engrossed in a well crafted video game.

    people routinely and regularly become upset when other people talk during a movie -- why wouldn't someone become upset when they are addressed during the playing of a video game? both are cinematic experiences, both require concentration and an investment in the story and characters. Even if its watching a movie at home, people still become annoyed, despte the fact that its easy to pause and rewind the movie, much as it is easy to pause the video game.

    the video game is a sort of holistic entertainment experience -- ms. knight's article is short sighted, biased and ridiculously under researched at best, and, while, okay, yes, it doesnt ascribe itself as anything more than an editorial, it certainly isnt reflective of a wide display of opinion, nor is it refelctive of a wide display of experience.

    so, no. she doesn't have a point. she's being didactic and polemic for the sake of her article as opposed to open minded about the merits or positives of video games, and of gaming.

    which isnt to say i dont become frustrated with people who devote too much of their time to video games -- i similarly become frsutrated with people who devote too much of their time to anything, period.

    thats the true issue here, and knight misses it by a mile.

  4. The fellas sure do love their vidya-games. And hey, what's with women and all that shoe shopping? Amiright?


    I have given up hope that I will ever stop being subjected to this kind of stereotyping. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go beg my wife and her girlfriends to stop playing Mario Kart for the first time in a week.

  5. also, frankly, let's discuss the fact that any cogent arguement she's made is utterly undone by the frankly atrocious use of grammar and style in her writing.

    let's put aside punctuation entirely, because, frankly, looking even in a cursory manner at the article, several problems jump out right away to me.

    but still. still. god help me, this article is a train wreck of poor style. Not to harp on anything in particular, but the points she attempts to make are clearly targeted towards a specific demographic, and so she chooses to write in colloquial vernacular; instead of sounding "down", she sounds simply ignorant.

    She evidently graduated DePaul with a degree in communications, but, clearly, this degree probably should have included one or two more english composition classes.

    one of the pleasant things that keeps me coming back to OS is the excellent stylistic choices Val makes in her writing. Even if she (you?) makes a point I disagree with, I give her the credence to make the point, because a) she's speaking about a topic she's an expert on, having already spent, and continuing to spend, time in the field as a professional, and b) because she writes in a thoughful, graceful manner.

    Ms. Knight's article is, to be kind, the opposite of OS. It's not that I agree or disagree with Ms. Knight's points (although I disagree), it's that I take great affront with bad writing in general.

  6. Agreed, in Toronto I recall seeing footage of women in the lineups as well as men.

  7. "My only hope is that they arrive to work everyday with the same enthusiasm."

    oh please get off your high horse. A lot of people hate their jobs. Some people lead pretty dull lives (I know I do most of the time) so they look for something to get excited about. Why try and take away their fun?

    On the other hand some people need to remember that in the X-box instructions microsoft asks you to take a 10 minute break for every 60 minutes played ; )

  8. Exaggerated rage on the internet? I think I have the vapors!

    This is the same "Oh those boys and their toys" editorial that's been circulating since Reader's Digest was the new hotness.

  9. i personally love grand theft auto IV.

    i dont care how violent and terrible it is, this shit is fun as hell.

  10. Funny enough, I saw the long line at Game Stop for the game. So I just went across the street to Walmart - no line, in and out in 3 minutes. Perhaps she should instead be focusing on why Gamestop's branding was so successful?

  11. She only has a point when it comes to the extreme, and it's not really a point worth making. Saying that it's bad when people call in sick to work to play video games is a bit like saying it's bad when people call in sick to work to do anything recreational - it's a given. As it's given that people shouldn't ignore their friends and family in favor of their hobbies.

    Her basic premise is that she doesn't have any appreciation for that particular hobby. Well, whoop-dee-doo. I don't have any appreciation for tinkering with cars, doing crossword puzzles or watching Oprah and Dr. Phil. Still, if somebody tells me they can't talk to me because they want to watch Oprah, I'm not going to get irritated. I'm going to wait an hour or talk during commercials if I really can't wait. I suspect that she would be more likely to stalk off and then passive-aggressively decline conversation when the aforementioned Oprah watcher is ready to talk.

    Of course, I don't have any evidence for this opinion, but I know how people like her (people who don't appreciate playing video games) think. (<--Hi, sarcasm)

  12. My fiance loves playing video games and wanted to buy GTA 4 more than I did. So I guess I'm set.

    I don't think that video games are the problem. I think that usually the issues is one of priorities.

    That being said, going online and complaining about a problem instead of directly working through the issue with the person is childish and immature.

  13. I call BS on all points. Videogames are like movies to my generation. If someone kept talking to me while I was watching a movie they would be the rude one. People who don't play games or pay them much attention don't realize how some games are really engrossing and have complicated stories. I try not to get bothered when my wife talks to me during an unpausable cut scene in Metal Gear Solid, but she doesn't get mad if my attention is divided.

  14. So not only are videogames clearly beneath "grown ass men", but they don't really count as games, either. I'm sure a person could be more ignorant and dismissive of their chosen subject matter, but I'm having a hard time imagining exactly how.

    Her vitrol appears aimed less at people who enjoy videogames, and more at the games themselves. If she has such a low opinion of the medium, perhaps she would save herself a lot of trouble by only associating with people who don't like them in the first place?

  15. Does she know that if you shoot a basket, you don't...magically defeat the enemy in war? You "won" basketball! $100000000000!!!!

  16. I know a few people (of each sex) who immerse themselves in video games to avoid contact with their respective significant others.

    But I'm sure that can't be the case with this writer.

  17. Video games are rated for content. Saying anything remotely sounding like "videogames are for kids" is the same as "comicbooks are for kids". Both are absurd.

    Regardless, this woman attacks something she doesn't seem to understand nor makes an effort to before going off at the mouth.

    Ms. Knight has no case. At all.

    Is playing cards childish? Is playing chess childish? They're games too. Games I devoted a lot of time to.

    She can say whatever she wants, but I cannot figure out how her ignorance is newsworthy or justified.

  18. The problem I have with this opinion piece is that she says she came up with these observations on her own, as if no one has ever written about video games in this way before. Nothing about what she writes is new, or hasn't been discussed in articles about the behavior of people who play video games.

    As far as taking time off work, or ignoring your family to play, that doesn't mean there's something wrong with video games. It means there's something wrong with the person playing them.

  19. A lot of good points already made, especially by Danny. I'll just throw in my two cents as a gamer by addressing her concerns as she has:

    1. I never understood this practice for anything. Is it so important to be the FIRST to get something? Remember when the iPhone came out? And those people even KNEW the first gen one would have bugs gallore. So, her point is moot since there are many people who wait on line for many things when they KNOW they can get it ANY TIME in the future.

    2.Life is busy, sometimes you need to MAKE time to have fun. Nothing wrong with scheduling a little game time for yourself. I know I have to, especially...

    3.Most commonly on the weekends. It's the only time I really get time to play anymore, and since I don't have to be anywhere extremely early I stay up and play for as long as I can. Now, if I have plans that's a different story. But, if it's just me all night, game on!

    4.I seem to recall this complaint about guys in regards to sports as well. Hell, my ma has this complaint whenever my pops watches TV. Again, Danny's pretty much hit the nail on the head what with production values on these games getting so good that they're more engrossing than ever. Just like a book, or movie, or TV show...

    5.Nobody likes going to work, and people always find a reason to play hookie now and then. Unless they do it an unhealthy, and career threatening, number of times there's nothing overly wrong with this. At least unless you feel guilty about banging out, in which case aren't you just high in morals? :)

    6.Never got the point of a gaming party unless a 2-player was involved. But, like with work, any excuse to hang out.

    7.Same as #6, although I do agree that if you're gonna have your girl around, at least stock up on multi-player games you both can play. And if she's not a gamer, well then suck it up and do the BF thing. Same goes for gamer girls with non-gamer guys.

    The long and short of it is, this is a gal whose gamer habits of an ex or exes inspired her to have a rant about it with the furor over the new GTA.

    I am a guy. I am a gamer. I want the new GTA because it's off the hook in the graphics department. But, I haven't done any of those things for any game I ever wanted. In fact, I WAIT until they drop to $20 or less before I get them. So, no, Ms. Knight doesn't have a point...only a point that she needs to stop dating guys into video games.

  20. I know I am falling into the trap of stereotyping, but here it goes...

    Quite a few women value relationship as the top trait they desire. Video gaming does very little to improve interpersonal relationships (particularly with them). I know that my girlfriend does not like the fact that I am into video games, internet and watching TV shows (that she's not into). I think it is because she views this as time that we could be "in relationship."

    Many men like to play competitive games where I've heard many women say, "I don't get it." The understanding woman lets the guy be a guy once in awhile and let him hang with the guys. Most guys will come out of the cave and interact with others. We do live in a 500+ channel world where you can immerse yourself in fantasy and disconnectedness if you want.

    I don't think you can pin this on video games. It's only a symptom of a larger problem for those extreme gamers.

  21. Do I think she has a point? Yes and no. For every activity that men obsess over, there's surely an activity that captivates women just as much. For some it's video games, for others it's movies, music, soap operas, D&D, exercise, cars, sports, or whathaveyou. Everybody has a passion, and some are bothered by other people's choice of activities (remember when reading comics was looked down upon?). Doesn't make the obsession right, especially if it's interfering with family, friends and work, but such obsession isn't unique to male video game fans.

    To me, this sounds like it's more about her personal pet peeves vs. being a true indictment of men everywhere, despite how she frames it.

    For what it's worth, though I don't play GTA nor do I wait in line to make video game purchases on the date of their release, my wife LOVES to watch me play video games. She helps me look out for threats, helps me solve puzzles, and generally gets wrapped up in the adventure, much as if she were watching a movie, without herself laying a finger on the game controller. And this was unprovoked. I sat down to play one day and moments later she sat down beside me, cheering me on. Now she eggs me on to play games so she can watch, believe it or not.

    She also loves comics. Yes, I'm a lucky man.


  22. This is why I'm glad most of my g/fs in the past have also enjoyed playing video games WITH me. Instead of being asked to cheer me on, we get to engage in fun trash talk.

    She has a right to complain about being ignored or the guy being overly defensive about not being bothered during video game time. Whether you're watching a movie, playing a game, reading a comic or checking your e-mail, you should be able to remember that this is a thing that can be resumed later as entertainment and meanwhile there is a living, breathing person who can actually do stuff for you rather than provide entertainment and who may need your focus from time to time. But the rest of it just sounds like complaining because she plain doesn't like video games and doesn't get why people like them therefore they are all bad.

  23. I kind of see Doug's point, about the whole being "in relationship" thing, and how many men seem to have girlfriends or SOs who can't stand that they play games or spend time on the Internet or read comics or do any number of other fun things.

    Here's a thought: Guys, find a woman who likes gaming and who likes the same TV shows and humor that you do. Because if you don't, you'll get stuck with a harping shrew like Ms. Knight who wonders why you never want to spend time with her.

    Oh, and while you're at it, find a girl who's not threatened by Internet porn if you really want to be happy.

    And if your woman doesn't fit this criteria, you need to seriously re-evaluate if being with someone like that is better than being alone.

    Men shouldn't settle -- any more than women should.

  24. 'Video gaming does very little to improve interpersonal relationships (particularly with them).'

    Video games can be socially constructive, but only when treated as a social activity (playing together, cheering each other on, etc.). The social life - female and male - of a Coast Guard Station I was temporarily assigned to centered largely around the video game system upstairs. In the evenings, most everyone not on watch would crowd into the lounge and take turns playing whatever game was in at the time. There's nothing inherently unsocial about video games.

  25. I don't think she has a point, or, if she had it, she got it completely lost in generalizations, dismissions, and the general tone. Particulary with the last one where she says that games 'aren't real'. I know people who don't get sport fans saying that 'their' team won because they weren't playing down on the field, and they sound as ridiculous as her.
    Like many people say, most of her complains are things that people do regarding other stuff that aren't videogames. Waiting on lines? I see that every day, for books, electronic stuff, movies, and banks. And honestly? AT least we've not heard any stories on videogames like the woman who posted a rant on her lj about wanting to 'poke a brat on the eye' with her wand because said (3 year old) brat was the one who got the first Harry Potter 6 book. Scheduling time for a hobby? Everyone does that. Staying up all night for something you enjoy? Same as before. not talking during the game? Well, I've found that it varies. Some people like people talking. And so on and on.
    Somewhat? I would've prefered if she had been going on about the content of said videogames.

  26. Nope, she's talking bollx. She says "I have to remind you men, the video game is not real." when we men know it is not real. Her arguments are without foundation and are not worth countering. b.t.w. this is a comics blog, they are not real either.

  27. Heh, I once asked my wife to watch me "read" a comic too! Ok maybe not...

    I think the writer's concern is more about "balance"...

    Just watch any documentary on people whose life revolves around one thing (ala Star Trek, Movies etc.)

    If video games or any "one thing" is all that "consumes" you, well then - you will eventually "burn out" ...


  28. Replace video games with sports/comic books/whatever and have more or less the same girlfriend/wife complaints about men and their hobbies since the beginning of time. I don't really think it's anything new.

  29. Don't we all have our little obsessions that sometimes take over our lives? I think she's off base.

    How much time do other people spend staring slack-jawed at the TV? Staying up all night gazing at that device? That's no more constructive than playing video games and is a damn sight more passive.

    I mean, there are people who want to tell me all about American Idol and I just don't care. Don't get angry about it, just don't care.

  30. The fact the woman who wrote the article thinks videogames are to be played for less than an hour, once a week- tells me she hasn't played a videogame since Pac-Man.

    I can't even get through the cut scenes in my games in less than an hour.

  31. Me and my girlfriend have a rule: She doesn't say anything about my comics and video games, and I don't say anything about her shoes and jewelry.

    We don't talk much.

  32. there are many valid points to be concerned about with videogames.
    her list contains none of them.
    she apparently doesn't think highly of video games and feels that men shouldn't share there love of it.
    would she be happier if men played videogames like some shamed masturbater?
    going to videogame stores in trench coats and sunglasses, bringing the games home in paper bags, and playing in the dark behind locked doors?
    oy, really she needs to stop blaming the games for the guys that would rather play them than pay attention to her, or really blame herself for dating guys that obviously aren't right for her.

  33. That long lines thing is really bothering me.

    People queue for stuff all the time. Why should it be any different for computer games?

    What does she think of comics? Especially free comics available from midtown comics?

    What about star wars?

    What about black friday sales? People queue for them don't they.

    Personally I think someone needs to get this person a wii. And Mario Kart.

  34. I agree with most of the commenter's here. The author is just pimping out differences between men and women in a really seinfeldesque way. I think that every time a man or a woman reinforce the "differences" between our genders we take a huge step BACK in the whole equality process. I would like to think that we have gotten to a place where people can be individuals and like what they like in their own right.

    yeah, maybe I'm naive, but I am from Sweden, lol!

  35. Anonymous6:35 AM

    Women have shoes, candles, and pillows, we have video games. Leave us alone!

  36. C'mon guys, let's look at this seriously. Video games can be just a hobby like any other, but I think they also present a lot of the dangers of addiction that a lot of other hobbies can't even come close to. I mean, you read three comics in one or two hours tops. You watch a movie for 3 hours or less. Many people can read Harry Potter in two days. You'd have to do any of those 10 times over to even come close to matching a speedy finish to most new RPG or action/adventure games. I've definitely punched 100+ extra hours in games like Disgaea or Kingdom Hearts II (Final Mix + in case you're curious) just to get really insignificant easter eggs. That's like a week in front of a TV mashing monsters, folks. I have at least two friends who almost failed out of college due to video game/MMORPG addictions, and I've heard more than a few people (including myself) have their view of reality temporarily warped by too much exposure to oversimplified video game logic. No, video games aren't as passive as TV, but they also don't offer nearly as much variety in one sitting, so they probably tax your brain less than even TV in many important ways. You have to admit at some point that the time we gamers put into really dumb stuff is significant. The lady has a point, even if she's off base on a lot (a LOT) of the finer details.

  37. I don't think the writer is evil or misguided. She just seems to have a personal ax to grind with video games and the fact that past relationships had issues because of video games doesn't help the situation. Is it silly that people stood in line? Well, I think so but that's only because I'm just not that into most of the things people stand in line for, but I can't throw stones in my glass house because half the things I like are considered silly by modern society.

    In the end I think the writer just doesn't like video games and is going to obsess over them. I don't think this is a men vs. women argument but it will probably be seen as such.

  38. While I agree she's not wrong on a lot of what she said, everything she did say has a very biased opinion to it. Women can easily be just as bad. Everything she said was completely from her own view and personally it sounds to me like she just doesn't like being the center of attention. Of course I'm being biased too, but I love watching people play games as well as play, so I'm basically just going to snicker at her a little more and move on.

  39. She has a point in that I have friends who self identify as Warcraft Widows and have a support group....And she loses a point as I, female, won't admit to how long I've spent playing Katamari Damancy or Animal Crossing.

    (Which reminds me, my town is most likely full of weeds, so I should go play it for an hour or so...)

  40. I just spent the weekend with my roommate from college, whom I hadn't seen in almost a year, playing GTA 4. I don't know where the idea of playing GTA and not interacting socially became related. My friends and I passed the control around and took turns exploring, playing mini-games, and completing missions. The group element of it allowed us to pick apart the game more quickly because each of us had our own perspective on how to play. That said, my girlfriend and I have done quite a bit of bonding over Marvel Ultimate Alliance and the Lego Star Wars series, so there's no way you can tell me that video games don't have a social function. If men playing video games is keeping her from having a relationship, then she needs to bite the bullet and attempt to understand what it is with "Men and their little games." Maybe he just wants to get away from her nagging. She sure sounds like a difficult customer.

  41. I like her implication that she's talking to the entire female population and that none of us would ever like or understand that 'game box thing'. -_-;;

  42. stevapalooza said...
    Women have shoes, candles, and pillows, we have video games. Leave us alone!

    Yes Steve, and they're so fun to play with and all. But after you stomp on the pillow and set it on fire there's not much else to do.

  43. My gd's biggest complaint is that I buy one-player games that she can't join in on.

    The handful of two player games we do have are just an excuse for us to trash talk each other.

    As to Ms. Knight's article, getting mad at men because they like to play video games during certain times is like me getting mad at my gf because she likes to watch America's Next Top Model and Hell's Kitchen at the same time every week.

    The horror.

  44. Anonymous8:12 AM

    I love that Rockstar had to leave Staten Island out of the game because it's "just too boring." Finally someone said it in public!