Beating MAVAV at their own game

MAVAV is an organization of people, supposedly concerned mothers, who provide information to concerned parents on the subject of violent and addictive video games. Their website states "facts" on the subject. What they're doing is not a public service. They have nothing to back-up their facts, and almost everything on their site is either an outright lie or sweeping generalization.

From the home page, MAVAV begins their ridiculous assault:

"And the newest absurdity, underground video game cultures which takes gaming to another level, tainted with online "clans", singling out of people, hatred, racism, and sexism."

Where do they see this? How are people singled out? Do they even mention what an online clan is? No. They fail to provide any proof with this statement, much like they do on the rest of the their site.

Never have I heard of racism in an online game. Yes, it does exist, but it's not the epidemic they claim it to be, nor is it even relevant to video games. Racists are racists and they certainly didn't become one because they play video games.

Moving on to their resources page (which, for the record, provides absolutely no resources), they bring us this fact:

"Video games aren't just for "fun" anymore, the video game industry made a net income of $6.3 billion in 2002, surpassing even the movie industry. Developers profit and continue to take advantage of today's youth with cute, loveable, addictive, and recognizable franchise characters."

What does Disney do? What are the Incredibles? How about Finding Nemo? Should Mickey Mouse not be paired in the same group as Mario? Are the games they're attacking with this statement the exact ones they should be promoting, the non-violent kid-friendly kind?

Next on their plate is childhood development:

"Fact: Video games have been proven to prevent the development of the proper social skills and interaction needed for a long happy and enjoyable life. Young gamers are prone to being burdened with depression and sadness all throughout their life"

Therefore, children who play video games are completely incapable of leading an enjoyable life. We're all depressed because we enjoy a specific entertainment medium. Whoever writes paragraphs like this needs to actually perform research or provide some proof. They have no understanding of what a video game is, what they do, or why people enjoy them as an alernative to brain-dead television or Hollywood.

Time for another stereotype:

"Fact: Health studies have found that even those casual gamers suffer from low self-esteem and self-pride compared to their athletic and more socially accepted peers in their same age group. Young gamers were found to be more likely to become lifetime gaming addicts and becoming social outcasts."

That's right, if you play Madden 2006, you're going to become a social outcast according to MAVAV. Apparently, athletic people must not play video games either because that would contradict their inane statement. Are those NFL players who take games on the road outcasts from society?

Of their entire website, the following quote is the most ridiculous, uneducated, and absurd you'll likely ever read on the internet:

"Fact:... Hardcore gamers never buy computer video games. Instead, downloading illegally copied video games or "warez" is the only method acceptable by the underground. Buying a legit copy is grounds for abandonment by community groups. You may not be buying your child videogames, but they can illegally obtain them off the internet."

That's right. This $6.9 billion dollar industry got that way because the die-hard gamers never buy video games. EB Games and Gamestop are in business thanks to every hardcore gamer who downloads video games. I dare anyone reading this to register on a video game message board, such as www.digitpress.com/forum, and ask where you can download video games. The response by the gamers will be brutal, harsh, and quick. You'll be banned within a few hours.

Is piracy a problem? Of course, that's undeniable. It's also a major problem for the movie and music industries as well. If anything, the hardcore gamers will be the LAST people to illegally download software. They're the backbone of this industry, and they'll support it to the bitter end. I would invite anyone involved with this horribly misleading group to visit my game room, or any others like mine, and point out the pirated software. You will find none, and there never will be.

Now we come to Online gaming:

"Symptom: Unusual "Role-Playing"
Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG) is a digital escape from the real world for emotionally unhealthy and mentally unstable people. It is a place for computer enthusiasts and social outcasts to gather un-bothered and un-harassed by the realities of real life."

Folks, if you're playing Everquest, you're mentally unstable and it's a fact! America must have millions of psychos running around when they're away from their computers. Apparently, you're a social outcast too, even though there have numerous instances of people meeting through these games, and in some cases, actually being married. Everquest players and Sony themselves set up conventions to meet each other.

And of course they're an escape from day-to-day problems. It's no different then people who watch movies or read books to do the same. They're a fantastic way to unwind.

Onto more ridiculousness:

"Never assume drugs or otherwise is the problem for your child's poor academic performance. Video game addiction is not to be under-estimated. It is a serious epidemic plaguing our children nationwide. We recommend getting professional psychiatric help."

This is flat out comical. Never assume your child has a drug problem. Ignore the joint under his mattress. Take away the video games.

Danger: Do video games make people violent?
Yes. What was once a debatable question, is now fact. New research has concluded that video game violence and behavior related violence are in fact closely related."

Yes MAVAV, you're completely right. I'm a violent criminal. It's a fact; at least they believe so. However, what seems to be missing from their site are some very important statistics:

1. Japan is just now creating a rating system for games. They censor very little violence, if any. It wasn't a concern there to anyone, yet strangely, they have one of the lowest violent crime rates in the world. They do have moments of extreme violence, but with their gun control laws and strict upbringings, the problems are contained.

2. Since the debate has arisen about video game violence (starting with Night Trap and Mortal Kombat in 1993), juvenile violent crime rates have decreased significantly. In fact, the arrest rate for violent crime for those under 18 is at its lowest point since 1983. The games have become more brutal, yet kids are committing far fewer violent crimes.

3. For every study that shows a link between violence and video games, another one shows that to be false. In fact, many believe games have far more positive effects than negative.

"Danger: Do video games teach people how to kill?
Yes. When video games were linked to the Columbine high school shooters, a frenzy of new research was launched, in which, one team of researchers discovered that first person shooter games do indeed teach gamers with the basic knowledge of how to kill. This research arrived be so conclusive that the U.S. government Army developed a free video game to be used as a virtual boot camp and killing simulator."

I've played countless FPS's in my day, and I have absolutely no idea how to hold a gun properly. I wouldn't even know how to fire one. That's something that comes from outside the video game world, right from the home. A basic knowledge of how to kill someone is a wild statement, since pushing a button and pulling a trigger are NOT one in the same. The basic mindset to kill someone is a mental issue, not one requiring video games.

Free speech is free speech, but if you're launching a campaign to destroy an industry, you need to have facts. What they claim to be truth is the furthest from it. It's a smear campaign, that sadly, people actually believe.

Comments (10)

Wow, this is exactly what I was looking for! I'm finishing up an article for my final term project at school on how videogames aren't as bad as people are making them out to be, and this is the best piece of writing I have found to back up my story!

Would it be alright if I used some quotes from this article in my project? I will give you full credit for them, and include your site in my bibliography.

Nice site you got here, too :D I've always been a Windows user, but I'll have a chance to do some video editing on a Mac this summer :)

Go ahead. Use what you need.

Thanks for the words!

dave:

i can't believe how ignorant you are, MAVAV is a hoax and everyone knows that. It was started by this guy for his school project. Really this is getting old, why are you still even talking about an old hoax? http://a.parsons.edu/~dyoo/2002-3/interactivity/mavav/

It's not ignorance when a major gaming site (Gamespot) makes mention of it. That's how I found it a while back. Obviously, I'm not the only one. If it's a hoax (and it is), he should take the damn thing down. Idiot people will believe it.

As it is, this will stay up. Some people, sadly, do think like this, and it's a counter argument.

Drake Hallen:

MAVAV is an actual parent watchdog group, the hoax site was built to mock it. I've done a report on videogame violence as well and what MAVAV says is absolute baloney. If what they said we're true the whole country would be under martial law.

And e-mail 2 for the night:

I must say that your article on MAVAV is possibly one of the best I’ve seen. I was laughing through the entire story and it made so much sense. Parents are so eager to use TV as a baby-sitter but get pissed off when they see something they don’t like. You rarely see anyone accused of killing someone over a video game and when it does happens it’s a big story, it’s over-used and people still linger on it after everything is said and done. Using the fact you played FPS and don’t know how to hold a gun is a great way to demonstrate that just because you know that R1 + O shoots doesn’t mean you can kill something in real life like you said in fact killing things in virtual reality may make you less irritable and certainly someone who isn’t agitated is not likely to kill someone.

Overall your article was informing and very humorous I’d like to thank you for making my day, especially the part about “Never assume drugs are the problem”
-Chris

Ber:

I can't believe you guys didn't know this site is fake. It's nearly 3 years old. A google search for 'mavav' shows the report on the fake site experiment as result #3 (http://a.parsons.edu/~dyoo/2002-3/interactivity/mavav/). And you haven't even taken down or amended your report in the several months since you've been informed in comments that its fake.

Yes, we know it's fake, and it obviously stated in the comments section. That's plenty to go on. We have our reasons for keeping it right where it is.

James:

I'm doing a school project on this stuff, i didnt know anything about it so i went against it now i see MAVAV is fake and shouldve takin ur side, i myself am a WOW kid.

James:

ya you guys might wanna check out http://www.theparentreport.com/resources/ages/preteen/kids_culture/130.html it's pretty fake tell these parents about their comments.

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