Coming off perhaps the longest election of all eternity, one aspect that stands out for me is the relentless demand for voting. Particularly for young people, the act of voting transcended the realm of obligation and became more of a societal requirement. 2004's "Vote or Die" campaign resurrected itself as "Don't Vote": a series of videos where celebrities tell us to be apathetic about voting ... and then hit us with a psych! You just got sarcasm'd! In reality, the "Don't Vote" videos are giving the viewer a wink which nonverbally says "we're messin' around; go vote, you moron!"
Inarguably, such campaigns have been successful. The youth turnout was very large in 2004 and even larger this year. 24 million of them, in fact, aged 18 to 29 showed up, which is an increase of 2.2 million from 2004. While it's great to see participation in our political process, one wonders about the old newspaper to voting question, which goes something like this: "About half the population vote and about half read the newspaper. Let's hope it's the same half." Indeed, I question who is the better person: an uninformed voter, or an informed abstainer. On the other hand, perhaps pressuring us into the voting booth is justified: by voting for or against a candidate, we're investing ourselves in those individuals. Thus, we follow their progress and learn as we go. Whether the ends justify the means is for someone wiser than me to decide.
Which leads me to gaming. Gaming is both entertainment and an art-form. It's evolved from an experiment by college researchers to a hobby for electronic enthusiasts to a distraction for bar patrons to a culture for children before finally reaching its final stage of metamorphosis: a global juggernaut larger than film and music which appeals to an incredibly diverse group of folks. And as it becomes more relevant in our society, those of us who follow it closely should feel a responsibility to stay informed and take action when appropriate and/or necessary. Last week I presented a list of items that divides gamers. Here's the Top 5 issues that should leave you standing shoulder to shoulder with your gaming comrades.