Reader Geist002 took the time to check out a school play about video game addiction in East Brunswick, New Jersey.

Here's his take on Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom:

Okay, I went and saw this play earlier tonight. My general critique:

For a high-school play, it was fairly well done, all things considering. And note: its a play, not musical. Interesting blend of vector lines created the artistic interpretations of the sets. So, a pleasant artistic approach.

First off, if you go into this assuming video games are the cause of "videogame addiction", that's all you'll see. From what i read into it beforehand, I expected maybe a Fox-News grade sensationalism in it, but I was please to see it was not entirely the case.

The play did concern with gaming addiction and how addiction affects the relationships around us. Yes, some of these kids are a little on the "fringe" of the gaming community, but they are well within reality. I ran a game store for three years and I often saw these kinds of kids all the time. So, it was wasn't too far from the truth.

The play did do it tastefully though, it did not turn video games into the villain. Most of the characters with the gaming addictions came from broken homes, really messed up backgrounds, or were victims of poor parenting. If you approach this play already condemning video games, you just see video games as the villain. If you go at it objectively, you'll see that, for most of the kids, the play is just a meeting of circumstances. A perfect storm, if you will.

It touched on a character's father having an alcohol addiction, and that the father used alcohol as his way to remove himself from his world and responsibilities. Obviously this correlated with his own children's addictions.

It did focus on a violent MMO game that used satellite imaging to set your town as the game's zones. Combined with the reality of slaying zombies and other violent acts, set up in a world that resembled your own neighborhood, brought about a desensitization. Combined with the addiction, the violence, and the reality of the game, the play starts in the real world but ultimately finds the 'realities' of the children blending in with that of the game.

It was an interesting commentary that you can take a lot out of if you're open to the ideas presented. I enjoyed the production. It presented gaming addiction in a reasonable, respectful, fashion that contained a lot of commentary on other topics that revolved around it as well.

The post-show discussion panel was a very interesting concept that I had hoped to stand up and speak to, but sadly the discussions really didn't go where I'd have wanted them to go. The panelists were kind of all over the place with their opinions so it was hard for me to build an argument. And the discussion was only about 15minutes, so it didn't last long enough to get into really good discussions. Disappointing, as I wanted greatly to educate the audience, since the "gamers" in the audience that were responding to the panelists were rather...uhm..simple and were fairly unable to properly articulate their points.

SO! Overall, it was a fairly tasteful show that I will hold respect for. I enjoyed it and took some things out from it. To those who were quick to judge, shame on you. You are no different than the people you hate for "irrationally" condemning video games.

If anyone has any questions regarding the play, I'm all ears.

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