Friday, 6 December 2013

Games are Bad! They make you Mad!

            How many video gamers are there in the world? Hundreds of millions, certainly. Yet despite this video games continue to be used as a scapegoat for those who sell newspapers and those that want to appear in them.
            How often do we still see a headline such as “Killer liked violent video games!!!” Most games can, by some definition or another, be classed as violent. A notable case occurred several years back. Two teenage boys murder a third boy and the press had a frenzy that these boys played a certain video game. Why I remember this is that I recall the young mother of one of the boys being interviewed and saying “they were always playing that game”. I have a copy of the same game and it is very clearly labelled “18” and “Suitable only for persons of 18 years or older”.  Perhaps if the same young mother had actually paid some attention to her child and his interests he might not have grown in to an immoral little dirtbag? I’ve played that game myself and other than some uncharitable thoughts about programmers that don’t include enough save-points it has not inspired me to any violent behaviour.

            Let us put things in perspective with a quick thought experiment. Look at the cases of many of the great mass murderers and serial killers of the past century and what do many of them have in common? Most of them were church-goers or read the bible! Some were even religious leaders and some claim that their actions were inspired or even condoned by the bible. If we follow the logic of the anti-video game lobby we should be banning bibles and closing churches. I am not suggesting that, of course. Christianity may have inspired some terrible acts but it also inspires a lot of good things too. I am illustrating the point that a much better case can be made for banning the bible for inspiring violence than for banning video games.

            Such stupidity and scaremongering is not limited to our age. A recent broadcast of “QI” had an item on how the violence in Grimm Fairy Tales was blamed for Nazism!

            Next time you read a headline blaming a video game, Heavy Metal, the Internet, martial arts, gun ownership or any of the other common scapegoats that get pushed at us just remember the tens or hundreds of millions of other people who did the very same things and manage not to hurt anyone.
            I suggest you then vote with your wallet and leave any publications that indulge in witch-hunts and scaremongering on the newsstand.

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