I am currently attending the 16th National Conference for McNair Scholars and Undergraduate Research. It is a 4 day conference held at the University of Maryland, College Park (my current institution). Students from all over the country are here to either present and/or partake in the lectures given at the McNair Conference. So far I have met several students from New York to as far as Wisconsin. These students are friendly, proactive, and brilliant.
As we engaged in conversation about our research interests, I of course stated that I study videogame culture. Eyes widen and heads nodded in appreciation and admiration of my research interest. As I gave adulation to my mentor for helping form my research project, I slightly mentioned videogames and violence. That of course was a spring board into the tiring debate of videogames and violence. So I prepared myself yet again for someone to explain their position. Violent vidoegames do make people aggressive.., an article I read…, well I heard… These are just a few of the remarks I hear from those who want to make an inform opinion, but do not have the background knowledge to do so. Quite the contrary, she boldly stated, “Do you videogames create murders, no. But I do believe there could be a contributing factor to violence.” She followed up with the example of violence in GTA (Grand Theft Auto). After I deferred the conversation away from that she we moved onto to my gender and racial portrayals in videogames. Then, she amazed when she asked me, “Have you ever played Mortal Kombat?” I smiled wholeheartedly saying, “I already have it pre-ordered (referring to MKX).”
It wasn’t so much the statements she gave, but that I was able to talked about vidoegames at a conference. Granted, this conference is not gaming-centric, but still its meaningful. This conference is just getting started, so many more people for me to meet. Hopefully by the end of this conference I will have new contacts, new information, and lasting relationships.