Controversy in violent video games
Gaming is not the root of all violence.
The idea that video games cause violence, or that they are responsible for so many of the violent actions that have taken place in the United States recently, is a very black–and–white perspective to have on the subject. Actually, “black–and–white” may be too nice a term to use in this scenario. Ignorant” would be better. “Fucking ridiculous” would probably be the most apt phrase. Yet here we are, once again thick in the debate that video games are the root of all evil.
This isn’t new territory either, people. This is a debate that has gone on for several decades now and is represented on both sides of the political spectrum. Yes, for everyone out there that thinks Trump is the first offender in holding this ridiculous perspective, let me assure you he is not. Going back to Regan and Clinton, we can see that this life long fear–fest has been going on for many, many, many years.
Clinton herself was a rather big advocate for the doing away of violent videogames. During a now infamous press conference where she was trying to push for the Family Entertainment Protection Act, she is quoted in saying; “We need to treat violent video games the way we treat tobacco, alcohol, and pornography.“
Now I don’t know about you, but I think there’s reason that the ERSB ratings on videogames exist in the same way that there’s a legal drinking age. If a game is rated M for mature, then the game is intended for a mature audience. So, if little Timmy or little Susie or whoever the fuck under the age of 17 years manages to get their hands on a violent videogame, then you can chalk it up to oblivious parenting or a lack of any and all supervision. The same way that if a child got their hands on alcohol, you would chalk it up to all the same reasons.
Now, what actually constitutes a violent videogame? Well, going back to the days of Mortal Kombat II on Sega Genesis (which was one of the first major controversies), the idea to add blood to a game was considered “the worst thing created in the world ever” for that week. It sent folks spiraling as they thought an impression would be left on their sweet innocent children. Here’s the thing folks, as much as it sounds like a bad argument, Mortal Kombat’s excessive gore is implemented the same way gore is used in a Tarantino movie. It’s fun.
It may make me sound like a psycho, but ripping the spine out of your buddy’s avatar is fun. It doesn’t turn you into a serial killer, it’s there for entertainment and shock value. Manhunt, a game that vividly shows you how to murder another person, implements its violence the same way a Saw film shows you how to trap people, yet people don’t make arguments against Saw films, do they? They even made games off of the Saw films!
Long story short, the recent uproar in “violent videogames are the worst” culture doesn’t come without its reasons. Many shootings and incidents that have taken place in the past have been linked to people’s obsession with violent videogames. But if that’s the case, it’s not the videogame, it’s the person/their obsession. The person, who more than likely has issues mentally that led them to that obsession, didn’t have a positive outlet in which to deal with problems that plagued them which would lead to violent occurrences.
The examples that I’ve listed above are there to show people that violent videogames are just another in a long line of excuses to take away from the fact that maybe it’s not the game that’s the problem, it’s the observer.