It's surprising that major news networks are so keen on inviting so-called "experts" onto their shows to discuss the latest video game and lambast it for its graphic displays of violence and sexuality, which will undoubtedly turn the next generation of youngsters into ravenous, bloodthirsty nymphomaniacs.
The latest target? Mass Effect. The venue? Fox News. On a recent Live Desk With Martha McCallum, alleged psychologist and author Cooper Lawrence discusses some interesting "facts" about the popular action/adventure title. She critiques the game's graphic depictions of sexuality (huh?), its objectification of women (wha?) and its over-the-top violence (buh?). That sounds a little off. Since Fox News prides itself on being "fair and balanced" (snicker), game expert Geoff Keighley was also invited to the discussion and he was...barely allowed to speak. And when he was, he was hardly taken seriously. Watch the clip and see for yourself.
Let's get back to Ms. Lawrence's "graphic" sex uproar. As you all know, Mass Effect does have a sex scene as part of the romantic subplot that players can access near the end of the campaign. Keep in mind, it's a PG-13 sex scene. In other words, about 3 seconds of side boob. Hold on, that's not very graphic at all! I guess she fudged that little factoid. She also said that the game objectifies women, which is funny because you can play as either gender, both of which can engage in the romantic subplot. That's not too objectifying at all. Seems equal opportunity to me.
What about the graphic violence? Well, there were a lot of lasers flying about the two times I played through the game, and I do believe I shot plenty of robots and aliens (bad guys, by the way), but they did that in Star Wars, right? Those were family films, unlike the porn saga Star Whores, which I've yet to see. I guess Ms. Lawrence is 0 for 3. It's like she never even played the game? Oh wait, she didn't!
Geoff points this out in the interview. How can someone claim to be an expert on a given subject and then not have the slightest idea of its content? And when Geoff asked her a very honest question, "Cooper, have you ever played Mass Effect?" She smugly replied with a condescending "No!"
So essentially, she's talking in general terms about a type of entertainment she clearly knows nothing about and is not at all interested in. As a journalist and a gamer, this segment was extremely insulting to me and Fox News should be ashamed of itself for not issuing an immediate retraction. Ms. Lawrence should be even more ashamed for not doing the necessary research.
This segment was a disgusting misrepresentation of a fantastic, groundbreaking game that is in no way "Luke Skywalker Meets Debbie Does Dallas" as one panelist describes it.
Thankfully, the gaming community has come out in full force (myself included), spamming Ms. Lawrence's Amazon.com page for her latest book The Cult of Perfection: Making Peace with Your Inner Overachiever. I guess "inner" is the operative word there, since on the outside, she's an ignorant quack.
UPDATE: Amazon.com has removed comment functionality on the Cult of Perfection due to the massive influx of negative reviews. Whether this sent a message or not is yet to be seen.