Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute Cancellation Because... Gamers

January 23, 2013 -

For months, the popular gamers group OKGamers.com had been working with Sapulpa, OK based Central Technology Center to organize and host the fifth annual TechCon this coming Saturday. Hundreds of gamers planned to come out and participate in a variety of gaming tournaments from Soul Caliber to League of Legends. You can imagine the surprise and frustration of those gamers when they saw this abrupt message on the Facebook event page.

TechCon V cancelled for Saturday, January 26 at Central Tech.

Gamers responded to the short message demanding an explanation. What they were given was the promise of a more detailed message to be posted today. This is what they got.

National tragedies in recent months have caused Central Tech to reevaluate curriculum, extra curricular activities and events. Central Tech offers its sincerest apologies for the late notice of cancellation of TechCon V. While Central Tech supports the intent of the event, fostering fellowship and partnering with the community, as an institution it must also uphold social responsibility. Hosting a tournament depicting graphic violent images may detract from Central Tech's mission and be construed as insensitive considering Central Tech is an educational institution - a school.

In response to the magnitude of comments, we again apologize for any disappointment and/or inconvenience the cancellation may have caused. At the same time we ask that you understand the sensitivity of the issue and the position we as an institution must maintain.

Yes, you read that right. Because of recent shootings such as that in Sandy Hook and more recently in New Mexico, Central Tech felt that the risk posed by hundreds of gamers all congregating on a school campus was too great and canceled the event at the last minute. The school made this decision despite the 4 years of incident free gaming events it has had up till now.

Meanwhile, OK Gamers and its partners are busy trying to salvage this event as well as the relationships with local businesses that have been damaged because of this last minute cancellation.

UPDATE: OKGamers has found a replacement venue for this Saturday's event.

- Game Politics Correspondent E. Zachary Knight

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Comments

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute ...

If there was any risk, it would be soem yahoo who isn't even a gamer trying to take the game industry down to save guns.

With all I've seen and heard lately... I dunno.

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute ...

I cant express how much this article disturbs me. For years I never thought there was any real negative stigma about gamers playing videogames other than the geeky loner stereotype. 

If institutions are starting to do this, I'm quite worried about what could become of us. They are labeling us as risks with true ignorance. I can think of a few times in American history where that began and escalated into very ugly moments.  

I don't like being labeled. Not one bit.

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute ...

A lot of people didn't think so, and honestly? I think that's helped get us where we are. The attitude of ignoring people like Jack Thompson so they'll go away has gotten us here.

There's only one way to lose the political game: Be silent. Gays, veterans, pet owners, scientists, doctors, and teachers failed to answer attackers until the attacks became insurmountable political truth. Parents, gun owners, Christians, muslims, atheists and even politicians themselves allowed their own extremists to speak for them until they were all branded with the same stupidity.

That's how you get labeled. That's how you get easily proven lies installed as irreversible political truth. The Columbine shooter were avid gamers, practiced their attack using Doom to model killing innocents and improve their aim, and were peaceful kind souls until they started playing Doom. That entire statement is a lie according to every investigation, even the ones with an axe to grind could find no evidence. Yet it is now politically true, because nobody told Jack Thompson and those like him to shut up when they had the chance.

Same goes for the Virginia Tech, and now the Sandy Hook. Three crimes without significant links to video games that have been at the center of attempts to restrict video games, because silence allowed lies to become political truth. And that truth is very difficult to overcome - a victory in the debates would be in spite of the damage they've done, not because they never did that damage to begin with.

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute ...

The problem is with people like Thompson, we would never have convinced him. He was so convinced that he was absolutely right that he and even those like him took every argument as some sort of personal attack, deat hthread, admission of guilt, or something else that made us look like monsters and made the mlook like moral crusaders.

They turn the lions on us either way.

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute ...

You don't need to convince him to beat him. No failed president in the history of this country has acknowledged that his opponent's victory means that their policies are superior... only that their own policies won't be implemented.

That's how politics works. You don't try to convince Thompson any more than he tried to convince you. He's not the one that needs convincing.

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute ...

That is the stupidest thing I've read in a long while. Anyone who has ever been to a gaming convention can see that gamers are the least likely of any group to be violent. This backlash against gaming is getting way out of hand.

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute ...

".... Central Tech felt that the risk posed by hundreds of gamers all congregating on a school campus was too great and canceled the event ...."

I'm sorry EZK, but where the hell did you get that? The word risk wasn't even in their comments.

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute ...

Wherever there is a collection of people, there is the risk for a mass shooting.  Could happen in a church, a theater, a school, and (gasp) a gaming convention.  Only takes one person to mess up an event.  Using this logic, there should never be any kind of conventions, EVER.  Maybe people should never leave their homes or do anything even remotely close to bringing their existence some meaning.  

This should go without saying, but when I say that, I am doing so with a sense of facetiousness.  There is risk in everything we do.  What the school is actually trying to do is limit liability.  

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute ...

Yes, the word "risk" doesn't rear its head. However, all the dots are present in the statement. They made the connection between the recent shootings, gamers, violent games and the venue being a school. All those factors added up to them cancelling the event. Obviously, there is some risk, whether that risk is an actual shooting or other such violent outbreak, or just some bad press for the school for hosting a gaming event with violent games being featured.

The point is, the cancellation was unwarranted and their reasoning flawed.

I would like to add, that those who had planned on attending this event and those who were helping to put it on all got the exact same impression from the statement as I did. I guess, if I am wrong, at least I am not alone.

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute ...

From my reading, I see the PR version of risk, which to be fair it is hard to say who might get a bug up their butt about a school hosting such an event.

Getting away from games, I am seeing a disturbing trend of cracking down on 'immoral' activities by cutting off their venues or payment processing services.

Still, the fact this gets gamers upset actually says a lot about how good we have it.  I know communities where stuff like this is simply the reality of trying to schedule events, and entire cities have ended up on the 'do not even bother, someone will just pressure the venue to kick us out' list.

So while not a good thing, it speaks to us being in a much safer possition then we often appreciate.

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute ...

Your post brings up a very good point, that censorship is far easier than rational discourse. It's easier to call some advertisers and threaten them with boycots, or call a political official and threaten to not make a donation, than to admit you have a theological problem as opposed to one that can be worked through.

Don't agree with a politicians position? DDOS his site. Don't like the way a company handled your warranty claim? Find the CEO and threaten his wife.

It's happening everywhere, and it's starting to make me sick.

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute ...

Moving away from the more extreme responses, phone calls and letter writing can be disturbingly effective when they mesh with a company's notions of who MIGHT be a risk.

A site I am on with over a million users just had its payment process axed because of a few 'complaints' to the processor and the company felt that the risk of the displeasure of an already quiet group of people was far less then the risk of 'moral protesters' so they played it safe.

If one's interest is tied into an existing moral panic, it does not take much for groups to be convinced to distance themselves.  If nothing else they tend to be aware that if they do not cut off the undesirable, other companies could probably be convinced to cut THEM off.  It is a basic prisoner's dilemma problem... if everyone stood up to the panic we have the best outcome, but if only some stand up then the rewards go to those who do not, and punishment to those who do.

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute ...

The fact that others made the same false accusation you did does not make it correct, or soften your error. They made a statement, and then you claimed otherwise, using the comment "... you read that right ...."

How can we "read it right" when you are claiming they made a statement they did not?

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute ...

So basically that isn't what happened despite everything but your idiot opinion pointing to that being what happened.

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute ...

I'm really not sure which of us you're trying to blast here. I wasn't stating an opinion, and EZK is claiming that he isn't either.....

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute ...

Like I said, they laid out all the dots. They are the ones who used the recent shootings, their status as a school, the fact that gamers were attending and violent games were being played as a reason to cancel. If connecting the dots in such a way that says they canceled for fear of violent gamers is wrong, then they should have been more clear.

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute ...

Looks to me like they're afraid of bad press, not violence.

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute ...

I'm sorry, but I can only read that statement as "We are afraid of negative PR.", nothing more.

----------------------

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong." -H.L.Mencken

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute ...

No you did not "lay out all the dots", you just made the claim "Central Tech felt that the risk posed by hundreds of gamers all congregating on a school campus was too great", which is entirely inaccurate. Why you continue to defend yourself is amazing.

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute ...

Yes I did. In my first response to you, I explained why I chose my original wording. Why you continue to try to call me out is amazing.

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute Cancelation ...

"Hosting a tournament depicting graphic violent images may detract from Central Tech's mission and be construed as insensitive considering Central Tech is an educational institution - a school."

Instead of cancelling the event outright, why not just use different games?

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute Cancelation ...

That would probably have been ideal, but I could see a number of problems with it.

For starters, it sounds like they were the venue rather then the organizer, so they probably did not have the (direct) power to change the games.  Even if they did though that would potentially represent a logistical problem since you not only would have to get new games but probably change a lot of material related to the event.

You would probably also get blowback from the participants since the tournaments they were going to attend would be replaced with things they are not interested in playing... plus the college would still get flamed for being cowards anyway.

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute Cancelation ...

"For months, the popular gamers group OKGamers.com had been working with Sapulpa, OK based Central Technology Center to organize and host the fifth annual TechCon this coming Saturday."

You're probably right about CTC just being the venue but as such, it could have demanded no violent games on the premises rather than cancelling the event.  Would new games have been possible on such short notice?  Maybe, maybe not.  Even if they were, I'm sure there would be a bit of blowback from participants but I'd wager not as large a blowback as they're getting for cancelling the event outright.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute Cancelation ...

Actually, three would have been as much if not more blowback from those attending. The people attending are usually there for one specific game, whether that be Halo, Call of Duty , Soul Caliber or Smash Bros. Changing the games on those gamers is just as bad as cancelling. They are Hard Core Street Fighter players, not hard core Smash Bros. So cancelling Street Fighter means the event was canceled for them.

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute Cancelation ...

Ah, well that's that then.  Although I'd argue your point that there are no hardcore Smash players!

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute Cancelation ...

You would be surprised to see how many Hard Cores Smash Bros players there are. While not as numerous as Street Fighter or Soul Caliber, they are out there and they are rabid.

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute Cancelation ...

thats just BS.

If any of that were a problem than the load of Quake Cons, Everquest cons, WoW cons, Comic Cons, and ungodly amount of tournaments held around the world would've been sites of mass genocide each and every time.

This whole scare is bogus as usual.. How can people even think that a FEW incidents represent the whole? I mean we aren't pulling cars off the road because one model is known to kill more drivers in drunk driving accidents, while letting the booze flow are we?

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute Cancelation ...

E3 too.  Far as I'm aware there's never been so much as a fistfight in its 18 years of shows.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Oklahoma Game Tournament Suffers Last Minute Cancelation ...

Booth Babes have a soothing effect.

 
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