The Average Gamer

GamerFitNation Calls for a Ceasefire

Over at GamerFitNation, CEO Antwand Pearman is starting a movement. In response to the recent shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the US, he’s calling for a temporary gaming ceasefire. Pearman asks that people don’t play online shooters for just one day in a gesture of support for the families of the victims.

“It’s not to say videogames are to blame,” he said in a video. “This is moreso to show people that we as gamers give a damn.”

“I’m asking for one day to put your controller down and show some love. We play fake wars while real wars continue. War is a very consistent thing. War is constant and daily. How about peace?”

There are people who disagree with the movement. I discussed it with a few people on Twitter this morning, after checking out the #OSCeasefire hashtag. Some people feel that it’s a waste of time because it won’t prevent another tragedy. Others feel that it’s an admission of guilt or an apology that links video games to real-world violence that will be spun by unscrupulous journalists and used against us.

Still others believe that it distracts from the issues of mental health and gun control. Perhaps it does but your average gamer is powerless to affect either of these in the US right now. This gives people a sense of solidarity and a chance to reflect on the virtual gun violence that, let’s face it, is extremely popular in video games. You could interpret the whole movement as just slacktivism, designed to make people feel better without having to put in any effort. I believe that anything which encourages people to think more about their hobby and the wider world is a good thing.

I see the movement as a more specific form of a two-minute silence. Not playing an online shooter is hardly agreeing that video games cause real-world violence and people who would wilfully misinterpret this will do so regardless of our actions. Hell, within a day we had people showing up on the Mass Effect Facebook page slinging blame without the slightest shred of evidence. Showing that people who enjoy games are capable of empathy can only be a good thing. It baffles me how anyone can be threatened by, or want to silence this.

You can find Pearman’s video here and more info about the ceasefire on the Facebook OSCeasefire event page.

Will you be taking part in #OSCeasefire? Or perhaps you think it’s a terrible idea that will cause more harm than good? Let’s talk in the comments.

Update: GamerFitNation have posted an official statement clarifying their position on videogames and real-world violence on Facebook. Because apparently “It’s not to say videogames are to blame” isn’t clear enough.