All words presented in this blog are purely opinion, not fact - unless specifically stated otherwise in the post.

Thursday 31 January 2013

Computer Games are the Problem?

So, thanks to California Senator Leland Yee, that age old question has come around again; are computer games the reason that people go out and kill each other?

First of all; no, people have been going out and killing each other long before computer games.
Secondly; the questions wrong. Computer games as a whole aren't being considered, the people pointing fingers are pointing at a specific type of game and lumping them all in, however I'm yet to see a mass murder with Tetris-style blocks so I don't think we can blame everything. What the finger pointers mean is 'violent computer games.' The question they mean is 'Do violent computer games create violence?'

However even the answer to that more accurate question is an easy 'No'. I don't go out killing people, I don't think about going out and killing people. I don't harbour secret needs to cause pain (though I guess you couldn't trust my word as it'd be a 'secret' need).

People don't play games to think up new things to do outside. They don't play Mario and decide to be a plumber, they don't play mortal combat and have fights to the death. People play games to avoid the outdoors and to work out frustration. Trust me, if you take away all the shooting games the number of school and office shootings would rise. All those people who get furious all day then go home and work out their pent up frustration on the Computer Generated enemy graphics without causing any real harm to people wouldn't just stop being frustrated and angry.

I will accept that people under eighteen are angrier since they've started playing call of duty and manhunt, but that isn't the fault of the computer game or the developers of the publishers, that's the fault of the parents for buying them a game clearly marked as inappropriate to under 18s, or the retailer for selling them a game for over 18s or in the case of the US, the Supreme court for (as I learned recently and I may have been misinformed) ruling that stores can't be fined for selling under 18 year olds 18 certificate games.
The first two are problems we have in England but the third is not. If a store in England sells an 18 cert game to a minor they can be heavily fined and shut down, which is how it should be. The certificates are there for a reason, of course an under 18 is going to want it, but they shouldn't be given the choice of whether or not to abide by the ruling. They have a biased opinion.

Regardless of all of that the fact remains; computer games, like any form of business driven art is subject to people's demand. If people didn't want hard-core shooters with blood and death and killing then there wouldn't be any.
The fact is that the entertainment industry sees a culture that raises guns up to be praised and to be proud of and they work with that. A lot of the time the people who are complaining about the violent games are the same people propping up the gun culture, causing the violent games to be created.

It is also worth noting that according to Wikipedia, of the top ten bestselling computer game franchises of all time seven are non-violent (including the top five) and of the three violent franchises one is fantasy and non-graphically violent.

It seems to me that if people want violent games to stop then they should stop asking for violent games. If they want gun games to stop they should stop loving guns so much.
If they want someone to blame for shootings then maybe they should look at the killers, their mental disorders and their lack of proper mental care because someone with a mental disorder doesn't need a violent computer game to commit atrocities, they will get the idea from anywhere; music, TV, film, the Bible...

But that's just my opinion.

- James

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