I hate seeing others dismissed. I find I do it more than I like myself. Often it results from a gap in understanding someone from a different generation group, profession or point of view. No matter the root, it is a quick way to disconnect ourselves from others. And just like any offense, it is easier to avoid wrongs than mend them later. I see a lot off dismissing, being in an industry that is just beginning to be recognized as both an art form and valid storytelling format. Video games are still seen by many as a waste of time even as they quickly gain ground over movies as the most popular form of entertainment.
Roger Ebert caught my attention in his review of Conan the Barbarian on Friday. In describing what he saw as the movie’s pointless nature, he quipped:
“The movie is a series of violent conflicts. People who despair of convincing me to play video games tell me, “Maybe if you could just watch someone else playing one!” I feel as if I now have.“
In one sentence he dismisses a majority of his readers as violence thirsty gamers. Out of curiosity I dug into his review of the original Conan staring Schwarzenegger. In that review he treats the “alienated preadolescent” audience targeted by the makers with respect. He notes the care the filmmakers took with Robert E. Howard’s original tale. Compared with the new review it seems to be that of an honest movie reviewer. Today he come across jaded and bitter. I agree with much of his current review but I fear he may lose many by isolating a whole demographic.
As I watched the crowd that same Friday at the OMSI Game On 2.0 video game history exhibit, I noticed that people of all ages were enjoying themselves. Grandparents were fully present with grandkids, forty something moms were happily playing old and new games with their sons and daughters. Several twenty something couples were there on dates.
Often there will be a temptation to dismiss someone I disagree with or don’t understand. Regardless, even if I honestly do fall on the opposite sides of an issue, I need to remember that the person is still worth my time and respect.