Video Games and Violence – A Perspective

You turn the news on, because this is what you do.  How else will you know what is going on in this world?  What do you find?  Violence of course!  Amongst all the various news reports of hate, murder, suicide, and rape you notice a specific act of violence.  Some dude did something to some other dude.  But what makes that different than the others?  Because the individual was playing a video game.

This is becoming a more common theme as we progress.  There is no doubt that video games are becoming more realistic.  It is a huge industry now where a ton of money is being made.  A lot of money goes into creating the best sound, the best graphics, and the best gameplay (debatable on all accounts of course).  So naturally the games are going to continue to become more realistic.  Not only that, technology moves very fast.  The hardware to support this realism continues to get better every year.  There is no doubt in time that the games we play are going to look life-like.  Take a look at what recent games look like such as Modern Warfare 2, Heavy Rain, Final Fantasy XIII, and Mass Effect 2.  Now look at games from twelve years ago.  Shocking?  Not really, it’s just a natural progression.

So why am I talking about that?  It’s obvious.  As we progress, more violent acts are blamed on video games.  A big argument is that the games are too realistic.  They brainwash people into thinking it’s real and that they can go and do the same thing in real life.  Okay?  It affects our children.  They see this stuff and it sticks in their mind.  Okay?  It’s different than other media because you actually interact with games.  Okay?  So, you watch the news.  Some person did something and this person was a known video game player.  The audacity!

The fact is, there are millions of people in the world that play video games.  It is an extremely popular thing to do and it’s fun!  That’s right, I used the word Fun.  It is our modern day playground.  What is so wrong about it?  There are thousands of games for every type of individual.  Each game is even rated by the ESRB – The Entertainment Software Rating Board.  They go through the process of identifying the contents of each game and slapping a rating on them.  It isn’t like there is no structure to the system.  Did I mention they were fun?  So, the ESRB checks these games and puts a rating on them before they are shipped out to the public.  The label is clearly visible on the case; EC(Early Childhood), E(Everyone), E10+(Everyone 10 and older), T(Teen), M(Mature), and AO(Adults Only).  With this kind of rating structure in place, who do we put the blame on?  The video game?  While that is the common thought, the real blame is to be pointed at the adults, at least in the case of the kids.

Blame ourselves?  The devil you speak of, sir!

But it’s true.  Face it.  We live in such a fast paced world now that we don’t pay attention to what they are doing a lot of the time.  We’ll set them in front of the TV or the computer and let them do their thing.  Why, because it is convenient of course.  Then we can go about doing whatever the hell it is that we do – say, watch the news?  And then when something horrible happens, “It was the games!  It was the computer!  I don’t know what happened!  Oh woe is me.”  Of course you don’t know what happened because you weren’t paying attention.   This is our culture though.  We live in this world of blaming everything, pointing the finger elsewhere, because it’s never our fault.  Kids these days, huh?  Time to look in the mirror a bit before it shatters.

But what about the older gamers that we relate to violence?

As I said earlier, there are millions of people in this world that play video games.  With that said, there is a whole lot of violence in this world as well.  So, because someone was into playing video games and then created a crime or an act of violence, does this tie it all together?  Really?  Do you also realize that the media’s exposure on this gives these people an excuse?  “I did it because I was playing Halo!”  “Modern Warfare made me shoot that shit up!”  I think because of this media exposure, that games create violence, people use it as an excuse when they do something.  That is another part of our culture that blends with the lack of blame, excuses, and we sure love them.  We make excuses for everything.  “I can’t do this because of –insert excuse-“, “The reason I did it was because –insert excuse-“   Didn’t think of that, did you?

Violence in our world has been around forever.  F-O-R-E-V-E-R.  It is in our nature to do dumb shit and that is something we have to realize.  Throughout all time we have resorted to crimes or violence in some form or another.  Do you think the Romans played video games?  Do you think the Yanks and Confederates were sitting around playing a nice game of Call of Duty or Halo before they decided to fight?  “Why this game makes me angry!  Let’s start a civil war!”  And I really don’t think Hitler sat around playing World of Warcraft before he decided to go on his quest for world domination.  I mean just because I play a game that has animals in it doesn’t give me the urge to go out to rape and slaughter a goat for crying out loud.  If a dog bites someone, maybe it was because the dog was watching some hardcore gaming action?  I don’t think so.

There are real problems in this world.  Here in the U.S, we can’t even get our economy right.  Healthcare is basically a joke right now and so many people are suffering from real problems.  There are drug problems, money problems, housing problems, job problems.  The list goes on and not just for the U.S, but the entire world.  Ever think that for a lot of people video games are just a nice getaway from it all for awhile?  Ever think that maybe there is good in it?  The world is depressed.  People are living on pills just to feel happy.  Did you ever think those are real problems?   Did you ever think that our mental state is getting worse?  Maybe, just maybe, these are some of the real problems.  They say to blame video games – I say they are just looking for excuses.

Seriously, take a look in that mirror before it shatters.

Just my perspective is all.


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