The Electronics Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles is the Mecca for gaming. The trade show kicked off this afternoon with a press conference about the upcoming games and programs from publisher Electronic Arts. This is the one time every year where traditional mainstream media outlets are paying attention to what is happening in the world of video games. However, most of those outlets are focused on the tragedy that happened the night before.
Omar Mateen, 29, shot and killed 50 people last night at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, injuring at least 53 more. Police were originally alerted by Mateen himself who called 911 before his shooting spree pledging his allegiance to the terrorist organization ISIS. Orlando police shot and killed Mateen. The Orlando nightclub shooting is the largest mass shooting in the history of the United States.
Shooting at Pulse Nightclub on S Orange. Multiple injuries. Stay away from area. pic.twitter.com/5Di2mc6XUY
— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) June 12, 2016
I woke up to the news this morning, devastated and confused how something like this could happen again. On Friday evening, Christina Grimmie was also killed during her concert in Florida. These are heavy times for mainland USA’s largest peninsula.
This is heartbreaking and eternally more important than a handful of new video game trailers. Yet games media, understandably, hasn’t done a whole lot to even acknowledge that this tragedy even happened. I’m uncomfortable with this.
I understand that the show must go on; this is a very big week for the video game industry and there’s not a lot that would feasibly disrupt the hundreds of hours and millions of dollars poured into this weeklong event. I too am very excited for all the gaming announcements that will be revealed in the next four days and am doing all I can to provide the best E3 coverage possible with my team.
However, if we want larger society to take the gaming community seriously, we cannot fall silent when tragedies like this occur, resting on the defense that issues like these are not ours to engage with. As gamers we often feel like the “outside world” puts us in a box, but how often do we shut ourselves out from what’s going on outside of our own industry?
When life shattering events occur, it is common for notable celebrities in the film and music industry to come forward and weigh in on the situation whether it is to offer support or express a controversial viewpoint. Where are our gaming influencers? They’re definitely out there. Anthony Carboni spent the morning encouraging people in Florida to donate blood to victims of the shooting. He may be less involved in the video game world these days but he’s still a respected figure in gaming circles.
Once again, if you live in Central FL, give blood today if you can. I know the lines are long, but it's so valuable: https://t.co/FVmHLfWp81
— Anthony Carboni (@acarboni) June 12, 2016
We use video games as a form of escapism. They allow us to get away from the world and disconnect from our worries for a little bit. Still there are times when it is important to face the realities of the world around us if not only for a moment. So please if you’re enjoying E3, whether at the convention or from the comfort of your own home, take a second to acknowledge that 50 people were murdered last night while they were participating in their own form of escapism. Realize that hundreds of you are going to be attending E3 after parties in hotels and nightclubs around Los Angeles this week and celebrating amongst your own peers just like the in the Orlando nightclub shooting were. Take a second to acknowledge that it could’ve been you and that it shouldn’t take a tragedy happening directly to our community to give a damn.