If you’re a gamer then you’ve no doubt had to face the scrutiny – either directly or by watching it on the news – of those who claim that the medium we have grown up with and still adore to this day is responsible for almost all of societies ills.
Video games have been the scapegoat for violence and unsociable behaviour – both in children and in adults – for as long as I can remember. The moment you hear of a shocking, violent incident occurring in the real world you know it is only a matter of time before a christian/mothers/whatever group or some ‘expert’ in the media mentions that the person response “may have once played Grand Theft Auto.”
From there, you can rest assured that the next 10 minutes will be dedicated to how violent video games are and how they’re equivalent to a Cancer that is eroding our collective minds.
I’m not trying to say that video games and violence don’t have a long, tight-knit relationship. I’m not even trying to say that, when done right – that is, in a mature and artistic manner – violence doesn’t absolutely have a place in video games just the same as it does music, film and literature.
What I am asking, however, is how long will it take before someone – anyone – within the media steps back and realises that for every moronic, sophomoric game that hits the shelf like ‘Naughty Bear‘ there are at least 5 – 10 others that don’t use violence as a virtual crutch to hide their many, many inperfections and flaws.
When will they see that violence and video games don’t actually need each other?
What About the Rest of Us?
For every moron that plays Grand Theft Auto and then thinks it is okay to replicate that behaviour in the real world, there are quite literally millions of us who are far more well adjusted. You can’t expect us to completely abolish an entire entertainment medium because of a few, proverbial ‘bad apples,’ regardless of how rotten they may be!
I can’t imagine that, if a killer cited ‘Oliver Twist’ as his primary inspiration for going on a rampage after growing up in an orphanage, we’d wage a campaign to have that classic book – along with ALL other books for good measure – over-regulated, outlawed or even destroyed entirely.
The (over)reactions of the masses are sometimes more outrageous than the events that inspiried them.
Take the Good with the Bad
To anyone reading this who has preconceived ideas about the video games industry I ask you to just cast your eyes towards one particular video game genre that has been wildly popular for years and – 99% of the time – doesn’t contain one violent image or even a drop of blood: the simulation genre.
The best racing and flight simulators available on the market today both sell like hot cakes and are absolutely adored by millions for the difficult challenges they pose, the real-world vehicles they allow you to pilot and for the unrivalled feeling of escapism that they offer you.
None contain guns, violence or even course language – they’re pure video games and they are still just as popular as they have ever been – independent of all violent elements.
There’s no doubting that there are bad people out there and there’s also no denying that some video games utilise violence to mask the fact that their game play is horrid. That isn’t to say though that the entire industry and its followers are blood-thirsty, psychopaths-in-the-making.
The one thing I consider to be much more dangerous than violence in video games is something that is liberally thrown around by the media and outraged ‘welfare’ groups whenever the discussion arises: baseless, blanket stereotypes.