You know why the driving/drinking/voting age will never get changed? Well I do. Because once you pass those ages you stop caring. What do I care that 20yr olds can’t drink but they can join the army? I’m not < 21 anymore it doesn't affect ME. Whenever I read an article about somebody new (Jack Thompson) joining in on the fight against violent video games I get mad for about 5 minutes. This time I even wrote down arguments against them. But then I realize that this doesn’t affect me anymore. I can do whatever I want.
The arguments that Jack Thompson makes against violent video games (GTA in particular) are basically this. They “train you for whatever you’re doing in the game”. So in his argument GTA trains a person to steal cars, kill cops, and run with gangs. Does this argument work for other games or just violent ones? Does playing Street Fighter make you better at karate? or give you the ability to throw fireballs? Does playing Pong make you a better tennis player? Does Pac-Man make you hungry for marshmallows and afraid of ghosts?
Do you know what my top two video game anger moments have been? The first was when I was 8 years old and I was playing Super Mario Brothers, I was trying to beat some level and I kept dying in the same place every time. I snapped. I slammed my neon orange Zapper on the ground and broke the barrel off. That’s right, Mario Brothers. A game about Italian stereotypes and dragons. Time to ban it.
There have been others, but the most memorable recent moment was trying to beat the 6 lap endurance races in Need for Speed Underground. After spending 6 minutes racing I would get passed in the last 20 feet and lose. I believe there was a bit of a freak out after that and I was 22 years old.
I have been a gamer as long as I’ve been alive. My sisters had an Odessey2 (with THE VOICE), I’ve had a system from every generation after that. I’ve played the most violent video games for every one of them and I don’t believe it has affected me.
Nintendo really didn’t have a violent option for me. Fighting in Blades of Steel and Basewars was about as hardcore as it got. On the Genesis one of my favorite games was Mortal Kombat 3. I played DOOM for pc. I played the dreaded “Postal”. Then it was on to First Person Shooters (FPS), or as Jack might call them “Murder Simulators”. Goldeneye, Quake, Halo, Halo2. But why are none of these games brought up in video game violence hearings?
I’ll tell you why.
Jack Thompson has based his whole argument about video game violence on the point that GTA depicts real life events (Gangs, Drugs, Carjackings, Cop killings) therefore they affect the player more. He brings up Full Spectrum Warrior because it is developed with cooperation from the US Army. Intended to be the most realistic Modern War FPS out there. But it’s not being sued for inciting killings? Why is that? Because the main difference in other games and GTA is that innocent characters can be harmed for no reason. Before GTA innocent people (scientists, pedestrians) were not allowed by the game developers to be harmed.
I can’t tell you how many games I’ve played that I really wanted to kill some innocent bystander, just to relieve the monotony of the game. But do I really want to run down a group of pedestrians on the side of the road? NO, IT’S JUST A GAME. Killing is not a game, Killing someone on a TV screen is a game. I’ve stopped countless alien invasions, scored championship goals, and won car races. I will never do any of those in real life. Will playing video games make me ready for the coming alien apocalypse? Well I hope so; I’ve been training for it all my life.
Do you know what has affected me far more than violent video games? The nightly news has been showing graphic images and telling about crimes while I ate dinner all my life. It comes on late but there has never seemed to be much censorship. Even if they don’t show images the shear quantity of violent stories on the news has desensitized me to the harshness of the world far more then any video game ever did.
The problem is that I really don’t care right now about whether or not kids can play the games. I can. As long as you don’t take away my ability to shoot a soldier in the head from 200 yards away we’ll be fine.