April 1st, 2008
Up for something totally degrading? I thought not but you’ll wanna watch this anyways.
Below is video from the Tyra Banks show (you know Tyra Banks, that popular super model? Yeah I’d never heard of this show before either), the segment is as she puts it about “decoding your man”. The subject matter is a man “obsessed” with video games, fortunately our video game heroine Morgan Webb was there to save the day. Watch what I am talking about and read below for my analysis:
If you couldn’t tell by the tone of my language in the introduction I was not impressed by this video. This is a typical situation that perfectly highlights the perception problems that our industry continually faces among such audiences. Over the past few articles I have been edging towards this topic so I want to do a little analysis of the situation and break down what the underlying problem is.
The first thing you should be aware of is the use of the word “obsessed”. Obsessed has a negative connotation and much like the word ‘addiction’ is commonly used by the media to typecast us gamers.
The real problem though is the lack of understanding by the female companion (isn’t it always a lack of understanding?). She does not know why her husband plays so much video games, it is incomprehensible to her hence she is on the show to find the answers to this. She announces her lack of understanding with “and I just don’t understand it”.
As you’ve seen, even though the segment is about solving the problems that women have (“decoding your man”, ie. How to understand why your man behaves as he does) the show instead concentrates around the man’s supposive problems (his obsession to video games) and throughout the video the language and choice of questions all fall back onto the him as the problem source. This itself contradicts the point of the segment but nevermind.
When Tyra asks the wife “how often does he play these games?” she answers inspecifically, stressing the length of play time instead of just answering the question. The unspecific nature of this answer doesn’t paint a realistic picture, so she manages to avoid substantiating her claim that he is obsessed and doublely she showcases a possible uncertainty of just how long. I also like how Tyra refers to games as “these games”.
She then rants on about how the relationship has panned out, still not addressing the real problem at hand. Her rant just like a lot of what she says reconfirms her misunderstanding. Interestingly she never mentions anything about laying games with him at all. We later discover that he enjoys playing sports games so theres plenty of opportunity to lay together. By this stage she seems quite frustrated.
The typecasting continues with Tyra asking “Why so much? How old are you?” and then “23, not 13”. She then asks pessimistically “Why do you do that?”. The ‘that’ in this question is again language being used to typecast video game as the foreign medium, the unknown.
The guy here as an excellent opportunity with this question to prove his case. Unfortunately he gives in, admitting that there is a problem. This is an issue that has previously been discussed on several blogs and publications. Gamers far too often fail to truly stand up for their medium, we just take all of this nonsense; game classifications, violence in video games, negative typecasting. What he says is an example of this, especially this line “its definitely gotten better”. He just shot himself in the foot, right there.
Surprisingly Tara knows what a Colecovision and Atari are, how strange.
Despite these comments he eventually finds his feet and begins to share how he talks to his boss about games, proving that playing games are indeed normal, even if you are 23 years old. Do you think that Tyra is just going to sit by accept that playing video games is normal? No, she says in response: “Gosh, so if your boss is saying it, its very validating like ‘this is okay, my boss does this’” in a sarcastic way. This, right here is the worst offense in the video and a brilliant example of the lack of acceptance of the medium with such people. Its not just what she says though, firstly she interrupts him, shoots him down and then cuts to Morgan Webb disallowing him to prove his case entirely. Making this spectacle even more one sided. What she is trying to express here is that there is no valid reason to play video games and just because your boss does doesn’t allow you to either.
From here Morgan Webb spouts out a bunch of irrelevant garbage by the request of Tyra. Remember though this is all meant to fix the problem as to why this lady doesn’t understand her man, why she doesn’t understand why he loves playing video games. Morgan presents the idea that he plays games to escape reality and that he fits into one of several classes. This isn’t fixing the problem though. Speaking specifically about how game genres doesn’t explain why the guy plays video games. He doesn’t want to be a sports star, he just likes sports and enjoys playing sports games. I prefer 3rd person action adventure titles that doesn’t mean that I want to be the character in the game nor does it mean that I am trying to escape reality. Morgan fails to lay down the law and just state that people play video games for entertainment reasons (because that is what the medium is intended to do, why i this so hard to understand?) and that the wife needs to accept that he enjoys doing this and it is part of what makes him himself. She should be helping the wife to understand and not trying to change the man to please the wife because that will simply lead to disaster!
I am going to skip over most of what she says as it is embarrassingly irrelevant and just focus on how Morgan and Tyra then patronize this guy about playing sports games. Firstly has anyone here ever actually heard of what she is babbling on about, a “goal digger”? Morgan continues, trying to convince this guy that what he is doing in the game is not in real life and that he needs to wake up to this. Once again, how is this relevant to anything? I’m pretty sure that he can tell the difference.
All of this is wrapped up with some more patronizing and then a conclusion-less ending. Just look at the insecurity on the guy’s face at the end, you can tell that he has been totally misunderstood here.
What gets me about this nonsense is Morgan Webb. We already know that Tyra Bank is a complete bimbo, hell she couldn’t even hold the microphone upright. Morgan Webb on the other hand is meant to be some sort of video game heroine. I am not a fan of her myself but for a long time I’ve been under the impression that she is a semi-respectable video game and tech presenter. I guess I can throw those ideas out of the window eh? This is what happens when two bad models get together and discuss video games.