Since the early 1990’s video games have had a huge surge in the market, and since the evolution of better visuals, sounds, game play and the eventual introduction to Massively Multiplayer Games we have come to realize that the gaming industry is one that shows no sign of slowing down. Video games have been a massive part of my up-bringing- staring from the Atari, moving on to the Nintendo, then Super Nintendo, Playstation and finally finding my heart and home in PC gaming i have grown to love the realm of video gaming. Yet something we tend to hear a lot these days is that video games have a bad influence on our youth, claims that the violent content breeds some violent people has been the cause of much controversy, debate and essentially nanny state laws on the legality of R -rated games as seen in my home country Australia.
The fact of the matter is the general accusation that violent video games causes a violent society is in its own right a hypocritical, outrageous and a speculative stance with very limited evidence. Even if we were to conceal the youths eyes from violent video games the truth is our television screens and internet will still provide them with all the gratuitous sex, violence, bad language, drug use and rebellious behaviour. There have been some groups out there that are so keen on banning video games that they have even made contact to government officials to place bans and laws making it impossible to even find “violent” video games on the market. Yet one must beg the question, if we are going to Ban violent video games because there is a supposed link to violent behaviour, we will have to then fend off all negative influences that may be seen by our children ; including television shows, films, books and internet access.?
There have been a few genuine cases where someone has committed a murder or a crime and directly blamed a video game for it- yet for the most part the video game blaming came from assertions made by family members and friends, not from the killers themselves– and even when the self confessed “gamers” have killed in the name of video games- we must question one thing. Is it possible they are just using the game as an excuse? We have seen such things before and it wouldn’t come to a surprise to me. We are so used to finding excuses for people, that we literally give them the opportunity to present it, and essentially accept it- even if not the truth. Isn’t it the similar case with religion? Many people that commit heinous crimes and murders literally said “God made me do it“- fact? Or a simple tool used to shift the blame away from their selves and onto something else?
A classic example are the Columbine Massacre shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold Who shot dead 12 students and injured 21 others in 1999.
One of the supposed “reasons” to their shooting spree according to “psychiatrists” was their deep immersion and association with the shooter video game Doom. Then they also blamed Music, Goth Culture, Depression, Bullying and many more things. The problem with such ideas is that we are actively LOOKING for excuses as opposed to just accepting the fact that some people- regardless of their influences- intend wholeheartedly to do some evil things and sometimes they have NO reason, or no warranted reason at least. Yet these evil people recognize something; that society will actively look for reasons and excuses FOR them- even if these people were not to confess any rationale behind their attacks, rest assured society will make an excuse for them, which to me is a disturbing truth about the world we live in today.
I grew up in my youth absolutely loving and adoring horror movies– i love gore; splatter fests; blood – you name it. I played violent (and not so violent) video games. I listened to music with bad lyrics. I had friends that were bad influences. I was severely bullied physically and mentally for 7 years of my life. It NEVER crossed my mind to do anything remotely evil like mimicking the movies and games that i enjoyed watching and playing. Some of my all time favourite horror movies were Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm street and the Chainsaw Massacre. I also enjoyed games like Mortal Kombat, Hitman, Max Payne, Grand Theft Auto and Postal 2. Did this have any effect on me? Not at all. It least likely will have that effect on anyone- and rest assured a majority of those that said it did effect them- are lying- because they can and because you will believe it.
Most studies have concluded that video games do not have a negative impact on society. I believe the banning of R rated games is a silly notion by the government and really puts on the Nanny Pants in its ideals, and really wears hypocrisy as spectacles. All of this is simply delusion- they ban R rated games and claim society is better for it- whilst the TV, FILM, Music and Internet industry explodes in abundance with not only the most vile of things- the scariest thing of all is that these resources highlight reality, not a virtual world.
Peace, Salam Alaykum