As a video game professional and a gamer I find the term ‘computer games’ unbelievably offensive. This doesn’t mean that I am a console fangirl simply hating on pc games, or that I refuse to develop for anything other than pc. Actually, I am referring to the use of the term by the wider community and its perpetuation of the notion that video games are for children.
My feelings on this matter were in part sparked by the debate for R18+ classification in Australia in recent years. I was following the progress closely for much of last year and was increasingly confused by the constant referral of video games as computer games. In an age where gaming exists on any and every platform one can think of, I am repeatedly puzzled by the use of such a dated term. Games have been beyond the humble home computer for decades so why are they remaining weighed down by such a term? The answer, I find, stems from those who use the term; people who oppose an R18+ classification.
Perhaps this is the primary reason for my feelings on this matter. It seems that every time I see the use of the words they are accompanied by some ridiculous spiel from a family or Christian group about how games are only for children. Or that somehow an R18+ rating system would give children access to sexual, violent or other behaviour that is beyond their maturity. This ideal is dumb, and anyone who plays video games knows this. It shows a great amount of ignorance towards the games and the industry affected by the matter. That said Australia is finally on its way to having an R18+ classification system. While I’ll admit I do scrunch up in distain every time I see ‘computer games’ used in official government documentation, I’m happy that progress is being made. I know we aren’t there yet but with each step we as gamers and game professionals come closer to acceptance by the wider community. You never know maybe the groups and individuals who showed firm opposition will eventually sway to our train of thought. Can you imagine if they even became gamers themselves!
I liken the term ‘computer games’ instead of ‘video games’ to my sister’s feelings toward ‘potter’ instead of ‘ceramicist’; it is laden with just enough ignorance toward my profession, my interests and the gaming industry as a whole that I find it infuriating enough to rant about it in an article. Unfortunately without a rating system that caters to the maturation of gamers and gaming professionals, my view is not likely to change.