It’s fair to say that, in recent years, video games have made significant leaps towards mainstream acceptance as both an industry and an art form. Whether it be having their own BAFTA awards ceremony, producing million-selling blockbusters or simply making gaming accessible to people who wouldn’t have touched a controller with a barge pole five years ago, it feels like video games are finally starting to sit comfortably alongside music, film and TV. The days where gaming was seen as being just for kids and/or lonely, shut-in nerds are surely coming to an end…
…but that’s not what the people behind new website GameCrush would have you believe.
Have a read of this article on IGN for more specifics if you so desire, but here’s the idea of GameCrush in a nutshell. Guys (or ‘Players’ as the service oh-so-hilariously names them) can pay to get a few minutes of game time with a girl (or ‘PlayDate’), either playing casual games with video chat on the GameCrush website itself, or via Xbox Live. Any girl who wishes to do so can sign up to be a ‘PlayDate’ for free and get paid to play, apparently.
I’ll give you a moment for the sheer, spirit-crushing stupidity of this idea to settle in.
It’s hard for me to decide who the service demeans more – the girls who are being paid to play or the guys who are paying for them. While it’s depressing to think that the service hopes girls will be willing to sell themselves out for a bit of cash, it’s even more depressing that the service hopes that guys will actually pay for this. Actually, what’s most depressing is that girls already appear to be willing to sign up (the IGN article states there are around 1,200 profiles already) and that there are probably guys who*will* pay for this.
But rather than demean any particular gender, I feel that the service just demeans gamers as a whole. A girl who plays video games should at this point be par for the course, not something to be treated as a novelty. And being a guy who plays video games definitely shouldn’t imply some sort of abject social ineptitude. But here we are, with GameCrush presenting male and female gamers with the kind of “us and them” situation that is simply a load of bullshit. Gamers aren’t some sort of alien breed, but if GameCrush wishes to insult people’s intelligence by treating them as such, so be it. I can only hope the service dies on its arse as gamers do the sensible thing and just go out and talk to some girls face-to-face. I mean, I’m hardly the greatest socialite but seriously, it’s not *that* hard is it?