Education

Prof Alleges Video Games Are Toxic Because They Encourage Competition And Meritocracy

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Grace Carr Reporter

Video games are harmful to society because they encourage toxic competition and meritocratic values that will degrade society, a professor alleges in his 2018 book.

In “The Toxic Meritocracy of Video Games,” Seattle University communication professor Christopher A. Paul explains that video games encourage meritocracy, or judgement based on skill and ability. “Games typically valorize skill and technique … allowing certain players a built-in advantage,” Paul wrote.

“From the deep-bred misogyny epitomized by GamerGate to the endemic malice of abusive player communities, gamer culture has had serious real-world repercussions, ranging from death threats to sexist industry practices and racist condemnations,” Paul wrote. Focusing on “contingency, luck, and serendipity” is a better way to foster diversity and create a more accepting culture, he claimed.

Chapters in Paul’s book include “Studying Gaming’s Jerks” and “From World of Warcraft to Kim Kardashian,” among others.

Some mainstream media outlets have asserted that video games cause violent behavior, but a recent study from the University of York concluded there was “no evidence” that video games makes gamers violent. Furthering that point is research from the FBI and Bureau of Justice Statistics, showing violent crimes are on the decline across the country in recent years.

A Washington state woman allegedly stabbed her ex-boyfriend, 29-year-old Alex Lovell, with a samurai sword earlier this month because she thought he was cheating on her. Video games “killed my sex drive,” Lovell told BuzzFeed News.

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