Violence in games – Revisited – Opinion (ARTICLES)

So when you think of gaming experts, who comes straight to mind? Thats right, Alan Titchmarsh. ITV1 have aired the video I have embeded here, and I just had to share it with you!


(Video has now been removed)

Below is an old opinion piece I wrote, but thought it had value here.

With the turn about that has just happened on the Man Hunt 2 front, it got me thinking about the reasons the BBCF banned it in the first place.

“Unrelenting focus on stalking and brutal slaying”

First, it has to be said that Rockstar are great at playing the PR game, hats off to them. Even if there are legal costs involved in all this fighting, how much free publicity have they receive?. I remember the first GTA getting berated for all its violence (how violent can a top down 2D game really be!?). Since then they have gone about causing as much controversy as possible and getting huge sales profits as a result.

Now the reactionists are saying that “Games cause violence”. There are more than likely people getting PhDs out of such studies.

But then they used to say books caused violence and undermined society. Hitler had books burned that were deemed to be anti-establishment.
Music has been blamed for violence, “Slipknot made me kill”. Hell Rap has even been blamed for teenage pregnancy. Then films got blamed, then TV. What next? Am I to be told that In The Night Garden (UK kids TV show) will cause psychotic breaks (mind you it might!!)

Now it is the turn of this decade’s biggest form of entertainment, games. But can a game be blamed for making someone a violent person? Surely we must look at that person. Were they a violent person to start with, did they just get the method for their violence from the game? Would they have been just as bad if they had read American Psycho or watched Hostel? You see from what I can make out, a game gets blamed when the violence emulates something that was in it. The same can be said for films etc. But violent people existed long before these forms of media became available to the masses.

The question society needs to be asking is, did the game make them do it or would they have done it anyway?

It is said that the interactive nature of a game blurs the lines between reality and fantasy to such an extent that some people may no longer be able to make the distinction. But again, is that the fault of the game or a problem with the person. I have played games for the last 25 years and have never once gone on a real life killing spree. I was raised to know what reality and fantasy were.

Games have ratings for a reason, the same as films. My parents monitored what I watched on TV. So parents should be watching what their kids are playing. If it is an 18, don’t let them play it. Now I know it is not that easy, as they can go to a friend’s house and play it, but it would be a start!

People also need to check them selves. If you are playing a game and it makes you feel violent, that is a problem with you, not the game.

Why not spend some time looking into what drives gangs of 12 year olds to carry knives on the streets and deal with them, instead of complaining about the influence computer games had on them. I can tell you now that I doubt games had much to do with it. In fact I doubt they play computer games at all, they are to busy terrorising old ladies and getting drunk on cheap cider. We seem to be prioritising things the wrong way.

The thing is, without people pushing the boundaries of the establishment, life would be very boring, but that’s just my opinion and I am neither a well paid researcher or a government think tank, so what do I know!

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