For this week's Geek in Review, I excerpted a portion of my PAX keynote, where I tried to use the responsibility I'd been given as keynote speaker to address the outrageously incorrect notion that gaming is anti-social, or that gamers are nothing more than a bunch of violent misfits with no social skills:
When my Wii arrived, I named it “Wii-ton” (HA!) and from the moment I plugged it in and started playing Wii Sports with my kids, I felt the magical excitement and pure joy of playing a video game that I haven't felt since my brother and I spent every waking hour playing NES twenty years ago. I knew I’d come across something, uh, Revolution-ary in gaming. When we got Warioware, and had way too much fun making total asses of ourselves jumping around and posing, I understood why: the Wii is about playing games together. The reason I play Wii games more than anything other than Guitar Hero is that it’s a social gaming experience, just like playing Combat or Dodge’Em on Atari, all of those games on NES, or getting friends together for an MKIII or NHL Hockey session on Genesis.
This is the thing that drives me crazy when I hear Jack Thompson, Hillary Clinton, LA City Attorney Rocky Delgadillio, or any other opportunistic, pandering, condescending politician lecture us about the alleged dangers of video games as some sort of anti-social activity. Gaming. Is. A. Social. Activity. Whether we’re playing an analog table top game in someone’s dorm room, a console game in our living rooms, or meeting up in an Online MMORPG with Leeroy Jenkins, we are engaging in an inherently social activity.
The only thing anti-social about gaming are those few people who are so perfectly described by John Gabriel’s Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory, and while they’re annoying, at least they aren’t trying to tell us what we can and can’t play.
I'm not under the delusion that one keynote speech is going to change the world (or my place in it) but the positive reaction to my comments is still rather overwhelming. I'm going to enjoy this while it lasts, though, I think.