Sam Speaks: The Portrayal of Video Games in mainstream media

Sam Speaks is a bi-weekly opinion/feature column, on almost every topic imaginable. Please note that the opinions expressed in these articles do not reflect those of The ISPP RUSH as a whole, nor those of the school.

Quite recently, I watched Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s Fair Forward, a YouTube video series that discusses how certain video games fail, and what lessons can be learned from their failures. This particular episode isn’t about one specific video game. Instead, it’s about how video games are portrayed.

Before we get to the video, I wanted to talk about how I find that the way that video games are portrayed on TV and movies is, quite frankly, insulting.

There’s a certain expectation when you hear the word ‘gamer’, and most of them are negative. Take a look at this:


And this:


And this:


If you were assaulted by articles like this all the time, then you’d think that the whole world was one day away from being shot up by a bunch of teenagers who spend way too much time playing Call of Duty. 

Video games are constantly boiled down to this misrepresentative, negative image, even when there are so many non-violent games out there. The mainstream media thinks that the only video games in production are about shooting foreigners, when that is so far from the truth.

I’m going to list, off the top of my head, all the video games that don’t involve you shooting, maiming or killing people:

  1. Portal
  2. Splatoon
  3. Tetris
  4. Wiisports
  5. Mario Kart
  6. The Sims

It is infuriating to see video games taken down like this. Most people see video games as a waste of time, as a distraction, as something negative. But they’re force-fed this false image through Fox News, BBC, CNN, all the mainstream media outlets.

Video games can be works of art. Their interactivity can elevate even the most common stories to something much higher. Unlike movies–which are bound by a time limit, actors, sets, etc.–video games can tell stories that simply wouldn’t work in any other medium. Unlike books, you have a real, tangible impact on a story in a video game.

But I think I’d best let the video do the talking.

You can find the link to that specific episode here.

-Samithi Sok

P.S. Want to discuss anything? Have an issue with the points raised? Contact the site at our contact page.  


Nana Recommends: Barakamon

The previous two anime that I have recommended have been a high school romance and drama. Well this anime is different… it is a heartwarming comedy anime.

The story is about a professional Calligrapher, Handa, who won many awards for Calligraphy and was said to be the next Calligraphy master. In one of the exhibition, the curator said his piece was boring to one of the piece he won an award in. This frustrated him and he punched the curator. His father decides to send him off to a tiny island in the Kyushu region. There, Handa tries to find himself through his experience in the island.

When I read the description, I thought this anime is going to be a heartwarming anime but it turns out there is many comedic parts which happened out of nowhere. It is very interesting to see the spontaneous actions the dynamic characters do within each episode.

This anime illustrates the life of the countryside in Japan well. Handa had some difficulty getting used to the countryside from the dialect and the nature compared to the life he had in the city. The way the characters are friendly and visit the neighbors is something similar in the countryside which is illustrated well in the anime.

I first started watching the anime because I heard there was an anime about Calligraphy. This anime also shows unfamiliar art of calligraphy which is interesting if you want to learn more about the Japanese culture.
I would recommend this anime to people who like heartwarming comedies and loves the dynamic characters. I wouldn’t recommend this anime to people who love fast paced, action packed animes or people without a soul. I wish there were more than 12 episodes because this is one of my favorite animes of all time.

-Nana Isoda

Kingdom Rush

kingdom rush

Kingdom Rush is a strategy tower defense game. It has 4 basic towers you can create: they are archer-towers, barracks, ballistas, and mage towers. Each tower has 2 upgrades that you need to get before you can further upgrade it. The third upgrade you get a decision. After you picked one of the two upgrades you can upgrade aspects of the tower you have then. These don’t change the tower but they give it special buffs.

The barracks send out 3 soldiers that you can move. They stop 1 unit each and deal low damage. They can die and they are not strong at all early. They have respawn-times but they are not too long. I tend to fill chokepoints with them. They are great at holding up enemies. Their third upgrade makes them either a tanky paladin with heals and armor. Or they can be barbarians with insane damage that have throwing axes that can hit flying units and gives them range.

The archer- tower has low damage but fast attack speed and far range. Their third upgrade either gives super attack speed and poison arrows or extreme range with high damage but low attack speed. They can score critical hits and fire explosive shots.

The mage tower is used against armored enemies and a few enemies that can’t take physical damage. Their third upgrade either gives them shots that reduce armor but they can also summon stone golems with high health and low damage. Or they can become a super high damage tower with an ability that makes them one-shot.

Lastly, my favorite tower: the ballista. Deals high damage with splash damage. I group them with barracks.

My favorite combo is 2-3 barracks in a choke point surrounded by ballistas. Their third tower either makes them deal tons of damage, highest physical damage in the game in fact, or a lightning tower that can hit flying units. The lightning jumps with high damage. My favorite upgrade. You can increase the amount of enemies hit and can also make the attacks cause a wave of damage to all enemies within its range. There are many missions, difficulties, and challenges. There are many hundred enemies and a few heroes. The steam version is 20$ but you get all the heroes. The mobile version is free but you need to pay for all the heroes except the three you unlock during the campaign.

There are many missions, difficulties, and challenges. There are many hundred enemies and a few heroes. The steam version is 20$ but you get all the heroes. The mobile version is free but you need to pay for all the heroes except the three you unlock during the campaign.

-Isak Nilsen, G10

Monique Recommends: The Raven Boys


The Raven Boys is the first book in Maggie Stiefvater’s young adult fantasy series ‘The Raven Cycle’. It follows the life of Blue Sargent, the daughter of a psychic, who joins her mother, every year, as she did her clairvoyant work. Though this time, as spirits of the soon-to-be-dead walks by, Blue is struck by the spirit of a young boy who directly converses with her

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would

see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said.

“Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

So many things went through my head when I put the pieces together of Blue and Gansey’s bond. Their connection is something truly heartbreaking but from bearing through that knowledge, I appreciated their interaction; the same way I appreciated the genuine interaction between the diverse set of characters. I came to love them as the group of young adults worked their way through the difficult situations they are placed in, despite their different backgrounds.
The characters in the book are so interesting, so unique in their personalities and they each have their own story. Throughout the book, you get to know… to understand the characters more and by the end, you yearn to know more about them. This book isn’t only about the paranormal and romance. It’s about friendship and family.