Violence in Video Games: An Open Letter to the Concerned Parents from a Gamer
With the wake of yet another school shooting in the United States, the question is asked once again: what role does violent media play in a violent society? And since this is a video game blog, we’ll stick with the violent video game frenzy.
Violent video games have been around since the 1980s. Before people could blame Grand Theft Auto for the violence certain psychotic individuals acted out, games like Death Race and NARC were in the minds of concerned people. Actually, Death Race was so horrid back in the day, the National Safety Council considered the game “sick” and “morbid”. In all of it’s form, this game promoted violence and rage. It allowed you to run over pedestrians in a racing atmosphere for points. Step foot in today’s world, we have games that reward you for “curb stomping” your enemies, chainsaw them into giblet gravy, and flat out torture human beings. A lot of people are concerned with how these rewards are affecting children and if these games are a negative to our society.
In 1993, my dad introduced me to a popular first-person shooter known as DOOM. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. It’s a game usually brought up by the people telling you about how violent video games are. In DOOM, you’re a space marine fighting off demons from Hell in different levels. There’s hardly a story at all. The game puts you right in the violence with a pistol with little explanation to why you’re even killing other than the obvious fact that they’re shooting at you. Throughout the game, you’ll find bigger and stronger weapons and even bigger and stronger demons to kill. There’s a lot of gore and blood. There was a thrill to shoot an explosive barrel near a group of demons and watching them explode into a pool of blood.
I was 9 years old when I first played DOOM. But I was a tad bit younger when I played my first-person shooter. It was called Wolfenstein 3-D. It’s the same concept with a little more story. You control a marine who is trying to escape a Nazi castle that doubled for weird experiments and a prison. The game is a lot less glory, but the violence is still there. Over the years, I’ve played hundreds of video games, a lot of them hyper-violent. Decapitations in video games are nothing to me. Seeing someone smashed into a puddle of bloody mush in nothing. I still find a lot of the gory stuff cool, and the more graphic it becomes, the better it is. I’m not afraid to admit this and I’m certainly not concerned to what people think about it. It’s who I am.
The difference is my parents told me when I played any violent video games that there’s a significant difference between that and real life. I completely understood that and even to this day, I can’t stand to see someone bleed. In a video game, I cherish the moments someone is blown into pieces of bone matter. I haven’t been in a fight in years, since elementary school. I get along with most everyone I meet. I’m not trying to toot my own horn. I’m just saying that we can’t point the blame on violent video games. My 80-year-old grandfather played “Cowboys and Indians” with his friends as a young kid, where your imagination put the violence into play.
Society is looking for something to blame. Quite possibly, violent video games may not be a great idea for children or people with anger issues. With millions upon millions of gamers out there and violent video games being the number one games, the ratio is completely unfair and unrealistic to point and blame video games. It’s also unfair that the only ones getting spot lights are the ones with opinions against violent video games. Why not interview gamers on the subject? But mass murder has been apart of societies for ages. It’s a sad fact. Some people are just evil, and that’s what these people are. We are a culture of “celebritizing” nut jobs through news organizations and casting blame. It’s not gory and ultra-violent video games. It’s not violent music. It’s not violent movies. It’s not even guns. It’s people that snap, and it happens. Be realistic with your criticism. Unless you’ve sat down and talked to someone who is into that style of gaming or haven’t played games like that yourself, you can’t blame one particular item on a wall of issues our world has.
Ask yourself when the last time a warmonger started a war because of video games. That sort of violence is on a much larger scale yet we ignore this fact because it doesn’t fit the subscribed agenda we already have. If you’re a parent out there, just check out what your kids are doing and quit being afraid of “invading” some personal space to find out. If you don’t want your kids playing violent video games, don’t let them. And if you are going to, make sure you spend some time with them. Maybe join them in some deathmatch battles. I loved those times with my dad, and I’m certain your kids will too.