It's not just Jon Snow who can't take games seriously

Others in the media and beyond still pigeonhole gaming as a teenage quirk

Related Topics

“These are not for you,” says Charlie Brooker, after 15 exasperating minutes of attempting to show veteran Channel 4 broadcaster Jon Snow the beauty of games - but failing more times than if it was a face-off against a top-level boss in some fiendishly difficult 8-bit game of yesteryear.

Games have moved on. We live in an era where the launch of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are covered in mainstream news. When millions of people are buying them and queuing up at midnight, they could hardly be ignored.

But coverage is often skewed in such a way that it attempts to put a distance between those involved in the industry and those who are discussing it. Some in the media delight in announcing how little they know about gaming. After all, games are for kids right? Although, as Snow also asked in his interview with Brooker,: "What are kids?"

If kids are aged around 30 with a disposable income that enables them to snap up games now rolling into stores at £60 a pop, then they're high-flying youngsters, that’s for sure. This, as it happens, is the profile of the average gamer today which is why discussions about 18-rated games such as Grand Theft Auto V being unsuitable for children are daft. They’re simply not aimed at kids.

Gaming is a pastime that transcends watching television, as it engages the brain in a way that few other forms of entertainment can - combining visuals and sound with the need for physical and mental skills. Today the industry is worth over £1bn to UK GDP.

But nevertheless us gamers are treated, on Channel 4 News, to a broadcaster debating whether children are better off going out and enjoying themselves in other ways, and whether adults should know better than to stay inside playing games. Snow admitted he had never played a game himself, not even Pong, so to expect him to somehow appreciate a pastime that has gripped the globe since the late 1970s and which -  in more recent years - has become the globe's most financially successful entertainment product was folly. They only had 15 minutes.

Furthermore, quite why gaming needs to defend itself is curious. Gaming may be mainstream - the Wii places controllers at the mercy of grandma - but there is still a reluctance to treat them square-on in the way film and music are treated. Snow wouldn't have pulled the film industry apart like he tried to do with gaming last night, nor would he ask what the point of film was. "Why does there have to be a point?" asked Brooker. And he had a point with that one.

The industry itself doesn't always help, sometimes casting itself as the underdog unnecessarily. Brooker, with space to elaborate, might have pointed out that 46 per cent of online gamers are women. Given that 700 million play online that is some figure. Gaming is not quite the macho, male hobby many think it is.

In some quarters, however, an alienating geek culture still pervades. I know people afraid of picking up a controller who love to play on smartphones. They wouldn’t see themselves as gamers, though, and they would also be horrified if someone labelled them so. It’s broadcasts like that on Channel 4 News last night which help form those kinds of opinions. We can only hope they change one day soon.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Nigel Farage has urged supporters to buy Mike Read's Ukip Calypso song and push it up to the No 1 spot  

Mike Read’s Ukip calypso is mesmerisingly atrocious — but it's not racist

Matthew Norman
Shirley Shackleton, wife of late journalist Gregory Shackleton, sits next to the grave of the 'Balibo Five' in Jakarta, in 2010  

Letter from Asia: The battle for the truth behind five journalists’ deaths in Indonesia

Andrew Buncombe
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album