Game critics : The worst of the worst ?

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Game critics : The worst of the worst ?

Post by ShaneFenton »

Hi fellas !

Sometimes, when I check some outrageously over-the-top anti-game or anti-violence literature, I check the author and I think : man, this guy has just entered my top 5 / top 10 / top 20 absolute worst game critics I've encountered. And after years of translating German articles, I had plenty of occasions to fill my "black list". So I wanted to share it with you, who had to deal with them firsthand : according to you, who are the worst of the worst among German (or German-speaking) video game critics, no matter their job, religion or political party ?

By "the worst", I may mean a lot of things. Who made the most outrageous/scornful/hateful/fake statements about "killerspiele" ? Who made the most extremist/dangerous demands about "killerspielverbot" ? Whose contribution (be it printed or audio-visual) was the most detrimental to the advancement of video games as a medium in Germany ? Who was the most despicable adversary we had ?

Here are the people I think of :

- Rudolf Hänsel
- Werner Hopf
- Rudolf H. Weiß
- Sabine Schiffer
- Manfred Spitzer
- Christian Pfeiffer
- Rainer Fromm
- Gerald Huther
- Michael Wallies
- Uwe Schünemann
- Günther Beckstein
- Helmut Lukesch
- Heribert Rech
- Jörg Schönbohm
- Elke Ostbomk-Fischer
- Maria Mies
- Joachim Herrmann
- Werner Glogauer
- Christoph Hirte
- Roland Näf

It's quite hard to select even 5 of them and label them "worse" than the others, but I have some names I could spare, and others I would put to the top immediately.

So here is my personal "top 5" :

1/ Rudolf Hänsel
Of all the German and German-speaking critics I had the displeasure to encounter, this one reached, in my opinion, the absolute low. He despises video games so much that he cannot find any merit in them, he's ready to believe any conspiracy theory, he edited one of the first specific "anti-killerspiele" books ("Da spiel ich nicht mit !") and wrote another ("Game over"), he hates "killerspiele" so much that he wants to eradicate them, not only from Germany, but also from the entire world. Well, you could say that from a lot of people in the list. Except that I always found "Rudi" Hänsel more over-the-top than the others, more extremist than the others, more persistent too. Plus, his writing style is awful.!msg/d ... 8nx3THY1cJ ... CDHv1_Kzzs

2/ Elke Ostbomk-Fischer
She was one of the GWG psychotherapists who called for a "killerspielverbot" in 2007, claiming these games were "landmines for the soul". She wrote one "Menschenbild und Medienbildung", one of the most influential "anti-killerspiele" articles, but also one of the most dogmatic and manichean ones. And she is the co-author (with her colleague Maria Mies) and co-ordinator of the "Kölner Aufruf gegen Computergewalt", which is to me a declaration of war against video games. ... ildung.pdf ... gewalt.pdf

3/ Günther Beckstein
He coined the term "killerspiele" for the first time. He blamed video games before it was cool, I mean, before the Erfurt Massacre. He also fought and lobbied to ban "killerspiele" production and distribution for everyone, claiming it was "child pornography". He wanted to put the makers of theses games in jail, and possibly players too.

4/ Rainer Fromm
He seems more intelligent, open-minded and game friendly than the others. But he's also the guy who started it all with his "Frontal 21" episodes, especially "Videogemetzel im Kinderzimmer" in 2004 and "Toten am Bildschrim" in 2007, which inspired legions of anti-game activists, researchers and politicians, to take measures against violent games.

5/ Rudolf H Weiß
He was one of the 3 researchers, among Werner Hopf and Günther Huber, who published a longitudinal study claiming that violent video games were the most important predictor for future violent criminality among the youth. He was one of the few game critics who talked back to gamers, but he did it with all the scorn and contempt he could give. He also co-founded the Mediengewalt e.V. association, and right now, he's practically the only one writing for it. I had difficulties choosing between him and Werner Hopf for this 5th place, because Hopf is equally vindictive, scornful and game-hating. But I finally chose Weiß because he was more prolific.

What about you ? What do you think ?
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Re: Game critics : The worst of the worst ?

Post by Pyri »

As an Austrian, I would not forget Reinhard Haller. Yet the worst of the worst and most hateful in my (personal) experience was still Andrea Schurian, an Austrian journalist (ORF, Standard). Michael Felten was also pretty bad: some German celebrities like singer-songwriter Konstantin Wecker could als be put into consideration.
Gamertag: Pyri80 PSN: Pyri Steam: pyri "Der, der aus Verzweiflung hinausrennt, wird nachher noch betitelt: 'den hab'n wir los jetzt'." Thomas Bernhard
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Re: Game critics : The worst of the worst ?

Post by ShaneFenton »

I didn't know them, so I searched the Net for their articles and... um, wow, they're pretty good. I mean, they're pretty bad, actually. I must say Reinhard Haller is quite fascinating because he's one of the last people who openly call for a ban, in 2016. Poor guy learnt nothing.

About Andrea Schurian, I couldn't find anything but only one article. Badly written, scornful, and extremist, but only one. Did you meet her in person, or write her, to have such a bad impression on her ?

PS : I could add Malte Lehming in my black list. This guy was priceless when he lambasted the "killerspiel lobby". And you're right, let's not forget Konstantin Wecker and his pal Christian Berg.
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Re: Game critics : The worst of the worst ?

Post by Rey Alp »

I don't think that you can compare them. For example:

- Christian Pfeiffer wasn't just an scientist, as director of the KFN he managed to be "everywhere" in the media. His press impact was beyond comparison: Talkshows, newspaper etc. He was "the expert". And the KFN created studies for the goverment of interior etc. Statements of Pfeiffer wasn't just dangerous because of their content but because of his credibility. After all he had a simple view on video games: He didn't accepted video games at all: He mentioned that there is no scientific evidence that video games are useful. He admitted that there is one for table top games - but video games are total different ... And I have to admit, that many of this statements are both: true but worthless. For example his phrase: "Excessive use of tv makes fat, stupid, and sad.". Sure it does: Otherwise it wouldn't be excessive - the definition of excessive is that you push sth too hard so that there sth harmful sets in. Than there is the notable fact that he had been bashed in the past because of his ignorance of the influence of media on juvenile crime. But that changend. At last: He didn't said that video game make you violent. He said that they produce uneducated workless loosers who became violent because they dont have a chance of success in their life.

- Others like Maria Mies just started the "Call of Cologne". I didn't noticed her in the press but there is also a huge impact I guess: I believe that the "Call of Cologne" reached many left wing persons, who are working in social jobs and artists the paper had been signed by Persons like Gudrun Pausewang and Konstantin Wecker. I fear that the knowledge of many persons who are working with criminal persons had been influenced by this.

- Sth. similar to Manfred Spitzer who is a professor. The girlfriend of a friend of mine studied psychology and books of Spitzer were part of it.

Outstanding insults by game-opponents which I didn't enjoyed where:

- The statement by Joachim Herrmann who denied gamers the right to feel insulted by comparison of "killerspiele" with drugs and child pornography.

- The phrase of bishop Gebhard Fürst: "Violence in media is like poison poured in their souls" - Just because of the word choice.

Actual I think that it doesn't matter what certain persons are saying: The point is what the press chose to publish - the journalists produce the so-called dispute over violent video games not the scientists.

Regarding this the most inhuman act was the choice of Frank Schirrmacher to "start" the "Killerspieldebatte". Because the perpetrator of Erfurt might played "Counter-Strike" (which wasn't the case) the wrote that there is a link strong enough to enforce a debate about violent video games although they are not causel in a conventional manner. He also mentioned that gamers will be outlawed when they will not join the debate.
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