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Gamer's Piece: Gaming Wars

By Jason Bogdan
On March 6, 2012

Video games have always been an entertainment medium that, while highly competitive and oftentimes mature, have never been made to cause social angst or put up a mental wall between the "casual" and "hardcore" crowds. But, unfortunately, it happens.

There's the Wild West vibes of online gaming, where people act as crass as they please because of their anonymity. But what about when people are in the same room and their comments are known to be by them instead of some other garbled voice in a headset? It is at that point where the moral justification towards one's etiquette becomes worthy of debate. This pressing matter has been brought to the attention of the gaming industry because of Capcom's recent live streamed gaming tournament. Twitch.tv had been televising the event on a daily basis over the course of several hours for the Internet, where the ten contestants divided in Team Tekken and Team Street Fighter have been going at it. The notion of the event itself is harmless enough, but it was the kinds of banter that went on during that lengthy reality show that caused concern for the viewers.

GiantBomb.com's own Patrick Klepek wrote a great article about the kinds of controversy found in Cross Assault last week, where he found plenty of quotes and video footage that would make most others pause. Included was an embedded YouTube video that chronicled sexual harassment comments made towards Team Tekken member, Miranda "Super_Yan" Pakozdi during the Day 1 footage.

Such conjecture caused Twitch.tv community manager Jared Rea to hold a discussion on Day 5 where he asked the contestants if the sophomoric behavior is just insulting for a company-sponsored event like this. Leader of Team Tekken, Aris Bakhtanians, put his own two cents on the matter, responding to the sexual harassment dispute with comments like, "They're one and the same thing. This is a community that's, you know, 15 or 20 years old, and the sexual harassment is part of a culture, and if you remove that from the fighting game community, it's not the fighting game community."

You can find more of these abhorrent remarks quoted in the Giant Bomb article, but it pretty much goes further down that rabbit hole. Bakhtanians later on sent an e-mail response to Klepek for the article update where he essentially said it was a heat-of-the-moment ordeal and apologizes to those he offended. But even so, the uproar didn't stop since the social behavior caused such offenses like Pakozdi writing soon-deleted Twitter posts about her despair.

The contestants can try to justify their vulgarity as much as they please by saying its how "their fighting game community" usually rolls and how its not intended to come off as hateful But that still won't change the fact that it really hurt a young woman's feelings. And when people aren't having fun because of the social interactions around them, that's when the reality should sink in for all gamers that once the headsets and anonymity are off, it really is time to act like a human being towards one another.

 


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