Another Lame Portrayal

19th October 2009

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

After recording the latest episode of Podcast 17 I decide to sit down and watch an episode of House M.D.

It was from the sixth season, number three, called Epic Fail. It starts with a scene very similar to Doom 3 and for a moment I wondered whether I was watching the right show.

My interest was obviously piqued but as usual the way game and gamers are represented on T.V. was woeful. This is another example that demonstrates the way mainstream media clearly has no real idea about gaming.

I’ve written about this before and referenced Stargate Atlantis, but I can’t find my article. Unless something is done the mis-portrayal will probably get worse. As an industry and community we need to set up an organisation that actively promotes gaming within society and also works to ensure that any depictions within the media remain as close to the truth as possible.

Clearly, that’s a pipe dream because everybody has their preconception and truth doesn’t always make for a good TV show. It’s just incredibly frustrating seeing shit like this on such a widely watched show.

Everybody will now think that all game designers can hack Facebook profiles, talk about their “joystick” and that we enjoy playing as monkeys with huge guns.

Here’s an article I found when looking for a screenshot to use: Gamespotting: House.

Off topic slightly, but… On that particular discussion there’s a reply from JRD who says “I’m a gamer”. I think he is wrong. He plays games but is not a gamer. A gamer would care about how gaming is portrayed in the media because it really affects us.

Of course the extreme is where games are blamed for real shootings but we need to take a Zero Tolerance Policy on all aspects of this.



  1. MikeS

    I found that Gamespotting: House article interesting as the comments reveal that, actually, gamers are their own worst enemy when it comes to non-gamers” perceptions– the joystick is dead– no it isn’t, I use them for flight sims– liar, no one who plays fighting games also plays flight sims, and it’s not a joystick any more it’s an analogue stick etc etc. While some of those remarks may have been tongue-in-cheek, they only highlight the obsessive and competitive nature of diehards. And just to clarify, by ‘diehards” I mean diehards in all shapes or forms and not just gamers. I’m sure you’d find similar exchanges on a forum dedicated to car fanatics.

    But yes, it does bug me to see programs like House cut fast and loose with video gaming. If a patient came in with injuries sustained in a crash in his homemade argon-powered 400mph racing car everybody would say wtf? The script writers should get their facts right. The gaming industry, from the publishers and developers down to the players, deserves respect.

  2. To get angry about this pile of rotten stinking fish is to let the inane, infantile idiots win.
    The article and others and TV show themselves to be the dumbed down twits that they are.
    It’s only the dumbed down that take any heed.
    ‘organisation that actively promotes gaming……..” will just give the twits a big fat target to aim at.
    There are loads of magazines that promote gaming for pretty much all tastes and they do a good job (most of them anyway)
    Ignore, let them get on with it. Be happy in the knowledge that you know better.

  3. Hoyy

    One day that will fall and it will entirely collapse, there is no such thing as whats despicted ther, gaming is modern and that show is run by some one with a different imagery of those who like me born playing games such as doom 1 I was 3 years old back then but I started im not too gamer as you said because I dont care with opinions they berely affect me at all but its not supposed to be the way its pictured . it wil change someday however because nothing lasts forever

  4. Manhattan

    The word “gamer” is so lame.

    It used to be a special title for the best players. Now it pretty much means “Someone who plays a video game.” The only people who I see use it are over 50 (ie. “My son is a gamer!”) and must have seen it in a newspaper or something.

    I say we retire it. It’s embarrassing.

    1. I agree with you to a certain extent.The term itself has lost any general cultural validity other than when used in a stereotypical fashion,yet still holds weight more in the sub-culture of “Heavy Time” players (hardcore online multi-player gamers).

  5. Mel

    I can’t help think that this is somewhat of an overreaction, having watch the House MD episode in question I did not give the opening sequence a second thought, it was just a piece of padding that neither spoilt the show or crossed my gaming concept.

    It would have been no different had they attempted to cover a Cricket match or a darts tournament, any period piece American firm or TV show is just full of historical errors.

    As for worrying about the Gaming try the medical facts of the show House is just, entertainment, any Doctor acting like house would have lost his license years ago and to act as though a heart transplant will fix you up! Its fiction just fiction, meant for entertainment not true life, just like gaming.

    1. MikeS

      I’m with you up to a point, Mel, it is entertainment after all. But it’s a fact that a lot of viewers” knowledge is based on TV programmes. At the risk of sounding a pedant, I think programme makers — when they are referencing something ‘real” — owe it to the viewer to do their research and make sure they’re being reasonably accurate and consistent.

    2. I know what you mean Mel. It can seem that way, but I just feel we should make a stand before it’s too late.

  6. demoneyeoffire

    well, I don’t like their stereotyping, but from a differen’t perspective I found the show enjoyable, it’s like hearing jokes about white people, they are insulting, but funny… usally.

    1. AI

      Hmmmm, I don’t find myself (sometimes) very insulting or funny!! Maybe I missed something??? But I don’t find your comment very appropreate!! Race comments are not what this site is about, so let’s try to keep things on an even keel!!

      1. demoneyeoffire

        even if it’s your own race, and the jokes are really funny…

  7. Berrie

    A little overreacted if you ask me. There are few TV-shows which show anything correctly.

    If we should be upset about the portrayal of games and gamers, shouldn’t doctors be up in arms about the way House practices medicine. And shouldn’t astronauts and astrophysicists be up in arms about Stargate, Star Trek. (PS. Check out Virtuality for a reasonably good depiction of space travel)

  8. Ankh

    wait, are you saying most gamers wouldn’t like playing as monkeys with huge guns?

    ’cause I’m thinking that’d be frigging hillarious

    1. You know, I was waiting for somebody mention that, because as I was typing it I thought the same.

  9. Grey Acumen

    I’m just glad they stopped having people diving over their couches while they play.

    In all seriousness though, why are you looking at House to portray anything besides a cliche? It’s not a gaming TV series, it’s a medical drama. The only thing they need to depict accurately is medical stuff, and they don’t really even need to do that, they’re just likely to get bitched at if they don’t, because that’s 50-90% of why people watch the series. Watching House for realistic depictions of gamers is like watching Obama for a realistic depiction of democracy (rimshot)

    Even besides that, the fact remains that, for all your insistence that gamers aren’t like that, there are gamers WHO ACT EXACTLY LIKE THE CLICHE. You think cliches just come out of nowhere? So not every gamer is represented by this one TV series depicted “gamer” BIG DEAL. That would be true no matter what person they used, so why blame them for picking a character who is interesting/comical? They should instead spend thousands of dollars for extra people to represent the full spectrum of gamers? Hell, that wouldn’t be accurate either, as specific types of gamers tend to hang out with gamers of a similar variety.

    Fact of the matter is that gaming is a hobby, and not even one that has terribly many specifically practical applications in the real world. Unless you actually make a living (it pays for or provides basic necessities by itself) off of gaming in some form or another, then taking it seriously to the point that you give a crap about stereotypes surrounding it is ridiculous.

  10. Kyouryuu

    I don’t know if there’s a catchy neologism for this, but this is an example of questioning a rather mundane detail in a preposterous concept. Why do the Ninja Turtles live in a sewer? Why do people still live in Gotham City even though the police are inept and supervillains siege it every week? Why do redshirts keep volunteering for Starfleet scouting missions?

    House is a preposterous concept. He’s a doctor who doesn’t play by the rules, executing radical treatments to save patients – but only after making a dozen misdiagnoses along the way. Every other episode he deliberately kills a patient with some treatment only to bring them back to life with some miracle cure.

    So questioning the portrayal of a video game within the show is pretty low on the list. There are far worse portrayals of gamers. A number of Law & Orders and CSIs explored the Second Life phenomenon. South Park did whole episodes about World of Warcraft and Guitar Hero. Even on the daily news, gamers are sometimes referred to in a negative light, yes.

    But it doesn’t really matter. Most young people today are gamers and as they grow up, the geek-in-his-parents-basement stereotype will eventually fade away. Many would argue it already has. Gaming has become a social phenomenon. Whether it’s a kid with his Pokemon or a grandparent with Wii Sports, it’s no longer isolated to a particular group.

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