By: Video Game Rack Fighter, Official Bookshelf Battle Blog Video Game Correspondent
Hey 3.5 readers, VGRF here.
Are video games too violent? Are they messing with the brains of our youth and turning them into sick, twisted killing machines?
Here’s the video montage that was shown during a meeting President Trump held about violence in video games, provided by IGN:
So, to return to the question of are these games too violent? The short version is, yes, probably. But a longer answer is more complex.
Generation X, that often forgotten generation that came between 1965 and 1981, grew up on video games, first with the Atari in the 1970s and Nintendo in the 1980s. Games then were relatively cute and comprised of little more than crude pixelized little characters.
It really wasn’t until the 1990s that games starting getting a little too real and a little too graphic. And there’s the rub. The baby boomers never got into adult gaming. They bought video games for their kids but they saw games as kid stuff.
Gen X, on the other hand, carried on their love of games well into adulthood. It isn’t unheard of for adults in their 30s, 40s, even 50s to kick back with a video game.
And thus the problem that arises is that adults will want video games with more sex and violence, and yet, there’s still a large segment of the adult population who don’t play video games and still see them as only kids toys. Thus, if the kid asks for, say, Grand Theft Auto, the adult doesn’t know any better, assuming its a kids toy, and says sure here you go.
At least I assume that happens. Worse, some adults might be negligent. They say the mature rating on the package and say screw it and get it for the kid anyway.
Plus, kids will always find ways to cut the adults out of the picture and get a violent video game from a friend or something.
I love video games, the gorier the better but I admit, even watching some of these above scenes are rough. Frankly, even the worst R rated movies don’t get that detailed with the violence, so perhaps the industry might consider scaling back.
On the other hand, I don’t support government involvement because we do have freedom of speech and these games are a form of speech.
Are they responsible for turning kids into violent little monsters? It’s hard to say. On the one hand, there are more incidents of kids turning to violence these days. On the other hand, if video games really were that powerful, then like, everyone who played one would become whacked in the brain and the world would be filled with millions of violent video game crazed killing monsters.
I just think if we start censoring video games it leads to a slippery slope. Allow the video game industry to crank out what it pleases, but also:
- Most stores require a license to be shown to buy a mature rated game. That should always be followed.
- I don’t know if this exists, but if it doesn’t, here’s an idea. Video game consoles can come with a code parents can put in that can be used to lock out the user from playing a violent video game. Ergo, if little Timmy borrows a naughty game from little Billy at school, boom, blocked.
- Government shouldn’t get involved where societal pressures can work. Decades ago, it was pretty normal to walk into any business, restaurant, house, what have you and just get hit with a waff of smoke. Over the years, smoking got relegated to being considered a terrible habit and if you are a smoker, you’ve got to hide on a corner and smoke in the rain. I’m not saying to ostracize adults who play violent video games, but just make it socially unacceptable for parents to let their gets play violent video games. If you let your kid play violent video games, then you aren’t cool, you’re a jerkface.
Admittedly, there will always be problems. Games from the 1980s involved shooting, but it was like, a little pixelized pellet. Today, games allow the user to peer through a scope, aim at a head and pop it open. The more advanced the graphics get, the more problems, but ultimately, parents have to exercise some caution and if there are things the industry can do to help parents keep their kids from rotting their brains then they should help.
Bottomline. I like violent video games, but I’m an adult. These games are meant for adults, and not kids with mush brains who haven’t figured out right from wrong and fiction from fantasy yet.
EDIT: You know, I watched the above video after I posted this and I thought I liked violent video games but I might take that back. To me, a violent video game is, say, “Grand Theft Auto,” – violent, but almost cartoonish and silly, a parody of our base instincts. When I see games above where you get to pretend to be a serial killer and chase down victims and axe them and put them on hooks I mean, yeah, you might want to ask yourself what’s going on inside you that you feel that kind of simulation is a fun way to spend your free time. The “are games too violent” debate has been around since video games existed, every new generation of adults posing the question and I hate to say it but yeah, maybe there are some games that are crossing lines. Still, I can’t abide by government intervention so it’s up to society to decide.