Following a 24-hour period that saw two deadly mass shootings in the US make the news globally (two of five that took place in that time frame), American politicians – forever terrified of upsetting conservatives and one of their biggest funders, the National Rifle Association (NRA) – turned to a dated and discredited excuse: violent video games are responsible for the upsurge in mass shootings. American president Trump stated, “We must stop the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace."
Now I’m not going to argue against the connection as that has been debated, discussed, researched, and discredited since the 1990s. There are far more compelling lines of evidence that are completely ignored by politicians as it doesn’t fit their bullsh*t ideology. Instead, I wanted to tackle something in that statement that is factual – “gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace”.
This is an issue I always find tough to discuss with non-gamers or “casual” gamers (and I’m going to use that word to refer to many people whose gaming experience is limited to mobile titles). Video games as a form of entertainment are not unique in depicting violence - horror and action films did it long before video game visuals could be called realistic - and we now have the HBO-inspired trend to pack every new series to the brim with so much violence and sex, it makes the softcore porn that eTV used to air on Friday nights look PG-13 in comparison.
Unlike other entertainment media however, violence in video games is rarely used as the shocking culmination of events. Instead, it’s often a core feature, designed to be repeated over and over again, sometimes for hundreds of hours; often empowering the player with more elaborate or effective ways to commit violence as part of the progression systems. The outcome of this violence is - a good 95% of the time - the creative and/or gory death of your foe, be them demons from hell or human combatants. I found it easy enough to dismiss concerns if it’s the depiction of violence against non-human enemies in a fantastical or sci-fi setting, but there are dozens of games that involve killing humans, in real-world, near-future, or pseudo-historical settings.
Enjoys games with awesome stories and characters, along with new and interesting hardware. Dislikes day-one patches and driver updates.
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