Monday, April 21, 2008

These Kids Today.

So it turns out that a popular role-playing game on college campuses is zombies versus humans. It's an elaborate game of tag in which the zombie team tries to tag all the players on the human team. The humans defend themselves from attack with nerf guns. The game field is the campus. (Here.) The game is not without controversy. Complaints focus on the use of toy guns.
"While the opponents acknowledged the game's benefits, they criticized its representation of killing and violence. Jenifer Jennings-Shaud, a member of the graduate education faculty, spoke of arriving on campus one evening and seeing a man with a gun run over the hill. 'I was terrified,' she said. 'Guns scare me. Nerf guns, regular guns. All guns.' Then she began to cry. English professor Jeff Myers raised questions about the ethics of 'playing war' while an actual war is happening in Iraq. Peace studies instructor Fran Donelan theorized about the possible link between fantasy violence and actual violence. 'There have been many studies done about how a society's games reflect the society,' she said. 'Most of the games in this country revolve around hunting people down and killing them.'"
Well, yeah. Humans are a predatory species and play naturally will reflect that evolutionary heritage. What is striking to me is not the so-called violence of the game. It's the fact that the game is played in public spaces among people who don't participate.



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