Emily Post did not play video games.

The Aberrant Gamer, a column on GameSetWatch, asks, “Are we [gamers] crueler than we were years ago? And have we, as a society, become unhealthy?”

The issues raised in the article touch on the idea that the gaming community is indeed too insular for its own good. Leigh Alexander’s column implies that things such as sexism and homophobia are not only problems in the community, but that because of the largely anonymous and independent nature of gaming, these attacks can become far worse.

The author points to a game designer who suggested that game players learn from what they play, and that some people may not be learning properly, splitting the rewards in games into two categories, ones that are like foods, the other drugs. Too often, the designer says, do games provide drug-like rewards. While Alexander doesn’t take sides in the “games-are-good, games-are-bad issue,” she wonders whether or not gamers should perhaps examine themselves and their actions more often.

It could be possible that groups of gamers have become too accustomed to gameplay, and that when it comes to human interaction, especially in online forums, they lack a certain social grace. Some players become accustomed to killing virtual characters, but when it comes to dealing with actual people, these players look on others as merely avatars.

Remember, games are fun, but real people are not avatars.