Violent Video Games: Is This a Battle We Should Be Fighting?

video-games-make-kids-kill1
Beware!  Extended bouts of Far Cry 2 can cause you to kill everyone you see. Counter Strike can cause premature school shootingPro gaming can lead to untimely death by falling out of a tree.  Sound ridiculous?  Assuming you’re reading this because you are a fan of the hobby, I’m sure it does.  However, what if you’ve never played these games in question?  What if you’ve never even picked up a controller or furiously clicked a mouse?  While I would hope that the majority of people out there would take the necessary steps to educate themselves, or at the very least, keep a sense of skepticism at such absurd sensationalist media, the truth is that too many people believe whatever they see and hear.

What are we to do?  We can try to educate them but that would go over as well as an NRA spokesman trying to teach you the virtues of owning an automatic rifle.   We are biased.  My proposition?  Give them exactly what they want.

 

Jeff, are you crazy?  Maybe, but let’s take a look at what they’re asking for.  Let’s not match their uninformed delusions with our own selfish myopia.  Some people, including those in charge in Australia, call for a ban on violent games altogether.  However, I will quickly dismiss this as a possibility on our shores when A) I doubt the country would ever cause such a catastrophic blow to one of the few remaining money making industries currently thriving, and B) This would be a direct violation of the Bill of Rights.  If pornography wasn’t banned by the Supreme Court, I think video games are safe.

In most cases what they want is to simply limit the availability of mature games to children.  Now the downside of this would be….  well…. you know I don’t really see a downside to that.

Scientific studies have raged since the early days of Doom and Mortal Kombat whether or not violent video games have any effect on the behavior of youth.  Some say yes and some say no, tis the nature of so-called scientific studies.  While we responsible, well-rounded, non-murdering gamers are quick to point out our own upbringing with these violent titles, we must again remember that we are biased and that not all gamers are created equal.  The very term “gamer” itself can no longer be looked at as a stereotypical label meaning “dork basement dweller who can’t get a girlfriend.”  There are simply too many computers, consoles, and handhelds out there making it into the hands of not just the same basement folk but also college campuses, businesses, and even the White House.  We are now a very diverse breed that unfortunately contain a small amount of degenerates, scumbags, uneducated and, most dangerous of all, bad parents.

There is simply no government plan that can ever be implemented to make parents A) carefully research the content of what their children want to play and B) monitor them while playing the controversial content in question.  This is but one reason I feel it is not unreasonable for the government to take the only step in their power to curb the potential destructive effects, real or imagined, that video games might cause.

However, it is entirely unfair to simply lay the blame of every video game inspired incident at the feet of bad parents.  In the case of Brandon Crisp, the gamer who died by falling out of a tree after running away from home, his parents realized that he was potentially developing on obsession and took away his 360.  The plan backfired with tragic results, however, these were parents trying to do the right thing.

Who among us have always listened to their parents?  Who among us never made a bad decision on our own as a child despite knowing that this was an activity that their mom and or dad would disapprove of?  This is another reason why I don’t see a problem with keeping mature content away from those who are not mature.

Ultimately we need to take responsibility to agree with what is right, even if it is being endorsed by people who do not understand us.  Nobody likes to be told what to do by people who are ignorant to who they are and what they love.  But, while ignorance should never be deemed permissible, we should not match that ignorance by stubbornly labeling them wrong at every turn.

As you look into the mirror tonight I hope you see a responsible gaming enthusiast looking back at you.  However, just because you may share an interest with others does not mean that all of your kind contributes to society in the way you do.  Do what is right, even if it is supported by those who are wrong.

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5 responses to “Violent Video Games: Is This a Battle We Should Be Fighting?

  1. It’s rare to hear a genuine view on this debate explained so objectively 😉

    Personally, I think this moral panic over video games is problem now, but will become less of a problem in future generations as more and more gamers become parents and appreciate the proper boundries for their children and move into the right positions of power.

    As I’m from the UK, consider this (from our Guardian newspaper)

    “Resident Evil 5 outsold every item in the UK Singles Chart (Based on physical and digital sales of UK Top 200)

    Resident Evil 5 outsold U2’s chart-topping new album’s total sales since release in one weekend (in the UK)

    Resident Evil 5 grossed more than the top five movies in the UK this weekend – combined (Source: IMDB.com).”

    I don’t see how a medium that is rapidly becoming bigger than movies, music and possibly DVD sales (here in Europe) can continue to be the big bad wolf for much longer.

    • Great to see we’re getting some international support! We appreciate it.

      It is true that video games are still very much in their infancy as an entertainment medium and dare I say art. As people who have grown up with the hobby mature the debate won’t be quite as loud. However, ultra-conservatives who can’t help but demand that everyone see what they see and hear what they hear still thrive and, unfortunately have the loudest voice. I assure you it is only a matter of time before the wonderful media outlets here and perhaps abroad pick up on these tremendous Resident Evil 5 sales and start running stories about how this game will cause your son or daughter to be a racist due to the fact that you are killing dark-skinned Africans.

      Take for instance this country’s largest annually televised event: the Super Bowl. A few years back one of Janet Jackson’s breasts was shown during the show. The FCC, charged with policing public airwaves, was so inundated with complaints by furious members of the far right that to this day nothing with even the slightest hint of racy content, even implied, can make it to air without severe public outcry from concerned parents, psycologists and clergymen. Meanwhile, most of us just don’t care or don’t see what the big deal is. Would any other country on the globe have made this into such a scandal?

      While video games will continue to grow into their own skin, we will always hear the cries of a few drowning out the cheers of the many.

  2. Great article, Jeff.
    I STRONGLY suggest you watch the following clip. It’s short, but I believe it offers solutions to the debate that haven’t been considered yet. Seriously. I mean how else are we going to prepare our children for survival in the “brutal hellscape of a post-apocalyptic future” if not by playing Fallout 3! Please watch…for the children. For if they are not our Future, then surely giant irradiated mutants will be.
    http://www.theonion.com/content/video/are_violent_video_games

    • this video is… incredible…simply incredible

    • While this video is ridiculous to say the least (though hilarious), it does actually unintentionally stumble on a decent point. Video games, not just edutainment games, can be used as a way to educate and prepare. America’s Army has been used by the Army to prepare soldiers for the battlefield. Flight sims have been used by pilots for over a decade. Even Dale Earnhardt Jr. uses EA’s annual NASCAR game to get some practice in.

      I think my favorite example is a story I remember where a young lad or lass, I can’t remember, wanted to play some Call of Duty. The father agreed, provided that the child first read the Geneva Conventions. They would then pause the game every so often and discuss if the soldier’s were adhering to the conventions and, if not, what they could have done differently. Brilliant bit of parenting in relation to a potentially desensitizing experience.

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