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Beating MAVAV at Their Own Game

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MAVAV is an organization of people, supposedly concerned mothers, who provide information to concerned parents on the subject of violent and addictive video games. Their website states “facts” on the subject. What they’re doing is not a public service. They have nothing to back up their facts, and almost everything on their site is either an outright lie or a sweeping generalization.

From their home page, MAVAV begins their ridiculous assault:

And the newest absurdity, underground video game cultures which takes gaming to another level, tainted with online “clans”, singling out of people, hatred, racism, and sexism.

Where do they see this? How are people singled out? Do they even mention what an online clan is? No. They fail to provide any proof with this statement, much like they do on the rest of the their site.

Never have I heard of racism in an online game. Yes, it does exist, but it’s not the epidemic they claim it to be, nor is it even relevant to video games. Racists are racists and they certainly didn’t become them because they play video games.

Moving on to their resources page (which, for the record, provides absolutely no resources), they bring us this fact:

Video games aren’t just for “fun” anymore, the video game industry made a net income of $6.3 billion in 2002, surpassing even the movie industry. Developers profit and continue to take advantage of today’s youth with cute, lovable, addictive, and recognizable franchise characters.

What does Disney do? What are the Incredibles? How about Finding Nemo? Should Mickey Mouse not be paired in the same group as Mario? Aren’t the games they’re attacking with this statement the exact ones they should be promoting, the non-violent kid-friendly kind?

Next on their plate is childhood development:

Fact: Video games have been proven to prevent the development of the proper social skills and interaction needed for a long happy and enjoyable life. Young gamers are prone to being burdened with depression and sadness all throughout their life.

Therefore, children who play video games are completely incapable of leading an enjoyable life. We’re all depressed because we enjoy a specific entertainment medium. Whoever writes paragraphs like this needs to actually perform research or provide some proof. They have no understanding of what video games are, what they do, or why people enjoy them as an alternative to brain-dead television or Hollywood.

Time for another stereotype:

Fact: Health studies have found that even those casual gamers suffer from low self-esteem and self-pride compared to their athletic and more socially accepted peers in their same age group. Young gamers were found to be more likely to become lifetime gaming addicts and becoming social outcasts.

That’s right, if you play Madden 2006, you’re going to become a social outcast according to MAVAV. Apparently, athletic people must not play video games either because that would contradict their inane statement. Are those NFL players who take games on the road outcasts from society?

Of their entire website, the following quote is the most ridiculous, uneducated, and absurd you’ll likely ever read on the Internet:

Fact:… Hardcore gamers never buy computer video games. Instead, downloading illegally copied video games or “warez” is the only method acceptable by the underground. Buying a legit copy is grounds for abandonment by community groups. You may not be buying your child videogames, but they can illegally obtain them off the internet.

That’s right. This $6.9 billion dollar industry got that way because the die-hard gamers never buy video games. EB Games and Gamestop are in business thanks to every hardcore gamer who downloads video games. I dare anyone reading this to register on a video game message board, such as www.digitpress.com/forum, and ask where you can download video games. The response by the gamers will be brutal, harsh, and quick. You’ll be banned within a few hours.

Is piracy a problem? Of course, that’s undeniable. It’s also a major problem for the movie and music industries as well. If anything, the hardcore gamers will be the LAST people to illegally download software. They’re the backbone of this industry, and they’ll support it to the bitter end. I would invite anyone involved with this horribly misleading group to visit my game room, or any others like mine, and point out the pirated software. You will find none, and there never will be.

Now we come to Online gaming:

Symptom: Unusual “Role-Playing
Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG) is a digital escape from the real world for emotionally unhealthy and mentally unstable people. It is a place for computer enthusiasts and social outcasts to gather un-bothered and un-harassed by the realities of real life.

Folks, if you’re playing Everquest, you’re mentally unstable and it’s a fact! America must have millions of psychos running around when they’re away from their computers. Apparently, you’re a social outcast too, even though there have been numerous instances of people meeting through these games, and in some cases, actually being married. Everquest players and Sony themselves set up conventions to meet each other.

And of course they’re an escape from day-to-day problems. It’s no different than people who watch movies or read books to do the same. They’re a fantastic way to unwind.

Onto more ridiculousness:

Never assume drugs or otherwise is the problem for your child’s poor academic performance. Video game addiction is not to be under-estimated. It is a serious epidemic plaguing our children nationwide. We recommend getting professional psychiatric help.

This is flat out comical. Never assume your child has a drug problem. Ignore the joint under his mattress. Take away the video games.

Danger: Do video games make people violent?
Yes. What was once a debatable question, is now fact. New research has concluded that video game violence and behavior related violence are in fact closely related.

Yes MAVAV, you’re completely right. I’m a violent criminal. It’s a fact; at least they believe so. However, what seems to be missing from their site are some very important statistics:

1. Japan is just now creating a rating system for games. They censor very little violence, if any. It wasn’t a concern there to anyone, yet strangely, they have one of the lowest violent crime rates in the world. They do have moments of extreme violence, but with their gun control laws and strict upbringings, the problems are contained.

2. Since the debate has arisen about video game violence (starting with Night Trap and Mortal Kombat in 1993), juvenile violent crime rates have decreased significantly. In fact, the arrest rate for violent crime for those under 18 is at its lowest point since 1983. The games have become more brutal, yet kids are committing far fewer violent crimes.

3. For every study that shows a link between violence and video games, another one shows that to be false. In fact, many believe games have far more positive effects than negative.

Danger: Do video games teach people how to kill?
Yes. When video games were linked to the Columbine high school shooters, a frenzy of new research was launched, in which, one team of researchers discovered that first person shooter games do indeed teach gamers with the basic knowledge of how to kill. This research arrived be so conclusive that the U.S. government Army developed a free video game to be used as a virtual boot camp and killing simulator.

I’ve played countless FPS’s in my day, and I have absolutely no idea how to hold a gun properly. I wouldn’t even know how to fire one. That’s something that comes from outside the video game world, right from the home. A basic knowledge of how to kill someone is a wild statement, since pushing a button and pulling a trigger are NOT one in the same. The basic mindset to kill someone is a mental issue, not one requiring video games.

Free speech is free speech, but if you’re launching a campaign to destroy an industry, you need to have facts. What MAVAV claims to be truth is the furthest from it. It’s a smear campaign, that sadly, people actually believe.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.
  • Rice Burner

    Fact: Minnie Mouse is topless.
    Fact: Donald has no pants. Why not go after Disney? Or Lucas? Or the Dali Lama?
    Fact: This report is totally biased and isn’t even backed up by any research what so ever. Go home and do your homework before making absurd allegations and wasting people’s time.

  • Uh, Rice? Unjerk your knee, man!

    Matt’s report about the activities of MAVAV includes both his research (viewing MAVAV’s website pages, his own experiences with video games) and his opinions and reactions to what he learned.

    If you actually READ the piece, you’ll find that Matt disagrees with everything MAVAV says.

  • Andy

    Im curently doing a report on video gaming addcition.Thanks for giving me ideas for my report on how to bash MAVAV. You forgot to mention how they linked Doom to columbine.
    according to them”
    “FACT: Demon spawn from Hell is the equivelent to the students of Columbine high school. And columbine is futuristic Mars where this all takes place. And you play as Marine as you rid the place of these demons. This is deffinetly a motive to shoot up your school”

  • NFX

    How they twist and manipulate…

    I’m sure in heir minds racism in clans is proven due to the fact that clans are often identified by a specific color in online matches (red vs blue).

    I’m surprised they didn’t equate it to promoting terrorism since some games actually let you play in that role (Counterstrike).


  • Terry

    Are Games addictive?….YES
    Is MAVAV overboard?…..YES
    Is Matt in Denial?….Most likely
    Do Games interfere with real life social activities?….Definately.
    Do I regret starting Everquest 5 years ago?….Yes
    Am I an addict?….Without a doubt.
    Both Matt and MAVAV are partially right and wrong.I feel that more research should be conducted.


    Parents should be aware of what their kids are doing.
    If you’re are over 18, then you don’t have to listen to what mothers are saying, you can buy whatever you want.

  • Terry:

    We need more research to know they’re addictive? No. They are. So is TV. If I sit and watch four hours of TV a day, it’s not looked down upon. If I play a video game for four hours, I’m an addict apparently.

    If it’s what I (or you) enjoy and it’s not causing harm to us or anyone, does it really matter? They’re my favorite entertainment medium. I don’t watch much TV. I play games instead. Apparently, according to money-hungry psycologists and groups like this, I’m an addict and I don’t enjoy life. Go figure.

  • adamsappel

    MAVAV is a fake organization on a fake website. It was conceived by David Yoo as a Final Project for an Interactivity & Programming class at the Parsons School of Design.


  • Holy crap. I had no idea. He should probably take that down now then. Some parents WOULD believe it, just as easily as I did.

    Thanks for pointing it out. I take my statments back, though they are still relevant.

  • Doomster228

    But I have heard parents rant on LIKE MAVAV and say the same shit (before the project of his was done). Forgive me, oh world, for getting an equal IQ as my uncle (who was a highschool teacher) HOW DARE I OH WORLD!.

    Parents should pay attention to their kids..then they’ll grow up to be right. Playing a game and watching pixles zip past on a screen isn’t going to hurt you much…Maybe just your eyesight (not anymore thanks to LCD monitors)

  • Bright Guy

    You’re kidding right? Aren’t we over the whole MAVAV thing already? Wasn’t MAVAV a hoax created by a student for his class assignment?

    Can’t believe people here other than adamsappel still fall for the hoax after all these years….

  • billy567

    its a hoax