What is important to remember here is that Gaming is a very new media on the cultural stage. Until this generation, gaming was in many ways a niche hobby, not a widely accepted media. This generation has exploded and gaming is now every bit as popular as TV and film, thanks in no small part to browser based games, mobile gaming, Wii, Zynga games, Angry birds, WoW and Xbox Live. All of them in their own ways have worked towards bringing new people into the gaming experience, and it has worked. When I was in school, playing video games wasn't a major pass time, a lot of people didn't do it, parents didn't understand it, they just saw the occasional news report about Mortal Kombat and balked at the idea. Today, I'd guess that at least 1 in every 3 homes in the UK has a games console.
This past 6 or 7 years, the industry has come an incredibly long way, but it's been fuelled by the younger generations ethusiasm, the placement of gaming 'veterans' in the public domain (this magazine for example) to ask and aswer these tough questions, and most importantly, the ignorance of the parents.
This, I believe, is key. The gaming industry hasn't ever made a true effort to help parents 'wise up' to the realities of gaming, that is why I have worked with parents who, despite seeing the 18 certificate, still bought GTA for their 11 year old kids, dismissing it as 'just a computer game', then becoming shocked and outraged when they find it has some graphic material. The older generation, older parents, they don't truly realise that gaming is a pass time for all ages, not just kids, and there indignation which fuels a lot of these arguments are based on ignorance. The games industry has a duty to educate parents, make them understand that the Xbox they buy their son this year isn't just a kids compute, it's a media hub that caters to all ages. They've tried to some extent. The excessive bitching that went on about that last dashboard update (not this one, the one before) about the placement of the games tab and the priority for media and adverts is evidence of that. MS took the time to use the dashboard to promote the multimedia aspects that are meant to draw in more people from different age groups.
Bottom line is, people are uneducated about games and until they become educated, there will always be a certain level of indignation and disgust any time a developer tries to stretch its creative limits to tackle serious issues.
I'd also say that the gaming media has a measure of blame as well though. Some prominent sites have very poor 'reviewers' on them, who are highly unprofessional in their actions, comments and how they review their games. It's hard to take the industry seriously when some of its journalists are working hard at showing them up. Sometimes though, even good sites get things wrong, and it hurts the credibility of the industry. Now, I'm not talking about Edgate here, which was the stupidest round of complaints I've ever heard of, but on that subject, that industry veteran who made a point of highlighting it was being petty and malicious, and in his doing so made a non issue into something. As it is, that was a little 'something', but if that's the kind of attitude and action this journalistic core for the industry takes, from the outside, we're going to look like petty, bickering children, not an industry to be taken seriously.
What I was actually referring to here was the constant opinion of Bioshock Infinite and of Elizabeth. I've read in a few different places similar sentiments to what I've read here, that she is overly sexualised and a cheap attempt at titillation for the male demographic, but this isn't the case, as I've argued before. Now, this isn't the time to dredge that discussion up again, so I won't, but I will say this, the simple dismissal of the efforts of Irrational to promote femininity and womanhood as 'cheap titillation' is a prime example of why the industry struggles to deal with sensitive issues and graphic content. If the gaming media dismisses them rather than trying to understand why, and arguing this case every time a developer tries something like this, nobody is going to take us seriously.
Along similar lines, if people are going to try and defend what IS blatant cheap titillation and childish behaviour as 'mature', then we have the same problem (not something I read here, but elsewhere). This time I am talking about Witcher 2, a game I rather enjoyed for the most part, but it's use of bad language and graphic sex scenes serve no purpose, add nothing to the experience except to titillate the immature. To everyone else it is course, childish and out of place.
There is a large measure of double standards across the industry, and it's hard to be accepted as a mature media when such is the case.
“It's a movie. If you are going to believe and be affected by an action film, you shouldn't go to see Pocahontas because you are going to think you are a Disney princess” Chloe Grace Moretz, what a legend.