I’m a gamer… I’m violent
At least that’s what goes through the mind of the non-gaming majority. Is there really a correlation between video games and violence or is it all just blaming the unknown to find a black sheep?
In the Middle Ages society chased witches because they were to blame for the bad lifestyle and they resisted religion, which was as you know the center of society back then, only to be burned alive and often innocent. In the early 1930s things went downwards in Germany and a certain despot whose name isn’t worth mentioning placed the guilt on an, in his eyes, unknown and weird group. We all know the horror following later on.
Today with mass documentation of violence and deterioration of society through the media like Internet and television we grow aware of how much violence there seems to slumber in the world. But is this a sudden rise or has there always been so much violence? I guess we don’t know for sure as mass media coverage of it wasn’t present before late 1970s when media corporations discovered that when violence between humans occurs it entices others to watch and a certain kind of pleasure seems to run through our veins.
What does this have to do with video games? In recent years we’ve had some young adults turning against society and residing in isolation. They’ve let their voice be heard through the killing of fellow students on colleges etc. Cruelty inspired by the violent scenes depicted in video games so say the police and so-called experts. These events, immediately followed by statements of politicians, made an unreasonable connection between gaming in general and violence in the heads of countless parents, educators, scientists and the general public.
This connection has largely been documented through mass media and inspired a lot of researches with different results and inconsistency of a clear conclusion. Maybe this could explain that there is no connection at all. But this didn’t hold back certain politicians to make up bills to ban violent games. Of course these bills did not pass through lack of clear research and evidently not having a connection between games and violence.
I seem to enjoy my Legend of Zelda with ‘Harry Potter violence’. By that I mean just the right amount of gore to show the seriousness of the action. But I also enjoy my Grand Theft Auto where I blow up a police station and kill some old lady with a stray bullet missing the mobster in front of me by an inch. I mean it’s all in the game’s rating. I think the real problem is that young adolescents are indeed easily absorbing these violent images although the game is M rated. It’s plain absurd that when I join a random server on Battlefield 3 I get to spawn in a squad with 3 screeching 12 year olds. How is it possible that when I get something from my retail store I see an 14 year old kid unboxing his Modern Warfare 3 accompanied by his mother who, wild guess here, doesn’t even know what he’s actually about to play in his bedroom. Shopkeepers have been targeted for a couple of years by now and I think that in some way they contribute to deliver the violence in the soft absorbing brain of these young kids. But I believe that the main responsibility still lies with the parents who should know what there kids are playing.
To finish I would like to point out a trend that seems to be lead by the Call of Duty series. I like to call it Viral Violence. What is the best publicity for your game? It’s bad publicity! In the news they show the extremely violent scenes where you get to kill innocent people in a national airport. This gets people talking about the game and the developers seem to like this new tendency of infamous but free publicity that reaches more people than a dull billboard.
Do games really make us violent? I guess we still don’t have enough facts available and the responsibility lies within yourself as well. It’s not your retail copy of Modern Warfare throwing a brick through a window or smashing and kicking an old man behind a school, it’s you!