Miracle, a journalist talks sense


In Britain we have become accustomed to a popular daily press that is ignorant and misinformed about games. Yet they still feel free to expose their ignorance in regular articles knocking video games. It is annoying and tedious. The Daily Mail is especially vexing with incredibly stupid articles such as this one by Anne Diamond. Janice Turner of the Times thinks that games are “crack cocaine for kids” and won’t let her children play them. Giles Whittell, also of the Times is equally ignorant and also deprives his children of games. And Jenny McCartney had a mindless rant in the Telegraph.

Against this backdrop of gross stupidity it was amazingly refreshing to find an article in a British daily paper that talked sense. The Guardian is not something I read regularly. Incredibly intelligent and well written articles are counterbalanced by an editorial attitude that treats socialist theory, totally discredited by Margaret Thatcher, as if it still has some validity in the modern world. It is the sort of paper that is read by teachers and social workers.

The article is written by Naomi Alderman and is titled “If we deny children access to all computer games, we deprive them of a rich and magical experience” which is an excellent start. But it gets better, she really knows what she is talking about: “As a child in the 1980s I had both a television and a computer in my bedroom. The computer was a ZX Spectrum 48K.” So she writes sensible stuff: “The world of Grand Theft Auto does contain violence and misogyny; but then, so does The Godfather, or Goodfellas. So, for that matter, does The Iliad.” and “ But just as a responsible parent wouldn’t hand their child a copy of American Psycho or sit them down in front of Marathon Man without any further discussion or comment, games can and should be part of the ongoing conversation between parents and children about the world.” and so much more good sense.

She concludes with this eminently sensible and informed paragraph: “Computer games can be works of art and literature – they’re still developing. The stories they can tell, and the experiences they provide, are increasingly sophisticated and glorious. And that, of course, is the point. The world that today’s 10-year-olds grow into will offer so many rich experiences via video games: the real neglect would be to deny our children the opportunity to understand and enjoy them.”

So, when it comes to British popular journalism, this article is a revelation. Please read it. The contrast between this enlightened piece and the bitter ignorance of the Mail, Times and Telegraph is stark. Of course 20 years from now when the dinosaurs of fleet street have died off we won’t have this gaming ignorance problem, but in the meantime it is refreshing that at least one columnist knows what they are talking about. Even if it is in the Guardian. 


  1. Totally agree about The Guardian, Bruce. Mrs. Thatcher was the best prime minister the country’s ever had. In light of recent terrorist attacks in this country (well, Glasgow) we could do with somebody like her back in power, and bring back hanging and national service while we’re on the subject.


  2. Just to go off topic too; I find it interesting you bash the Guardian (all newspapers can be bashed in my opinion, doesn’t stop me reading articles from it), and have the Guardian games blog in your sidebar links too 🙂

    I don’t know of any other newspaper which has it’s own online games section of any prominence, goes to show it’s probably the most likely to have a positive game piece written in it’s paper though.

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