Opinion: Violence in Video Games
Video game violence has been a hot-button issue ever since Pong became less relevant than bloody third-person shooters, with nearly every tragic event overtaken by crusaders trying to find a connection between the two.
Recently, President Trump suggested that the levels of fictional violence in video games and movies are to blame when speaking about the tragic school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., in contrast to guns or extremist groups.
“I’m hearing more and more people say the level of violence in video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts,” Trump said in a school safety meeting.
In 2015, an American Psychological Association task force report did find an apparent link between violent video games and an increase in aggression in players, but a clear insufficient amount of evidence that violent games lead to criminal violence.
Currently, all video games sold both at retailers and online carry a rating. Assigned by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, policy requires at least three trained raters to assess each game. With ratings ranging from ‘E for Everyone’ to the rarely used and extreme ‘AO rating for Adults Only’, commercial games are already judged and evaluated for violence, nudity, and profanity.
But what about every video game? Is every game a non-stop gore fest, turning children into aggression filled pressure cookers?
“Few video games actually explore violence as much as they mechanize and systematize it,” IGN writer Chloi Rad said on the controversy. “There is truth and even beauty in ugliness, horror, and despair and there are countless games that speak to that in deep and surprising ways”
The reality is, if video games did cause people to become violent the real world, the number of children trying to kill animals after Mario Party would skyrocket. If the millions of players of Grand Theft Auto V decided to go out and steal some cars, among other acts of debauchery, we all be dead. In short, we wouldn’t just have school shootings to worry about.
So while we debate again and again violence and video games, people elsewhere in the world play the same games, even the violent ones, and simply do not have the same level of school shootings. It’s almost like there must be some else factoring in. And while we shake our heads at fictional guns, it begs the question as to how long until we look at the real ones.
(Image provided by Metro Last Light and Deep Silver studios)