This is a paper that I did for my college English class this semester
Video Games and Violence has been a hot topic lately. Video games have evolved through the years. You can do so much in games than you can do watching a movie. It’s an interactive environment. From Pong, Donkey Kong, Mario Brothers, all the way to Grand Theft Auto and Gears of War. Of course, as games evolve, content in them evolves also. Not every game is a “Donkey Kong” adventure. We now have games like Grand Theft Auto that the players can practically do anything: Rob cars, kill pedestrians, gamble and the works. These types of games are rated M for Mature, which means that 17 and older can buy the game. But, even with a rating system(ESRB), Government still tries to intervene. The Government wants to intervene by banning or putting people in jail for selling mature rated games to minors. Although there has been crimes committed by people that blame it on video games, it has yet to been proven that games are the main culprit of violence.
Through the years, there has been a lot of talk that violence is the main reason that people commit crimes. In the Virginia Tech shooting, one author I read stated that there were a lot of “finger pointing” to violent video games (Ferguson 1). It seems that these people went out the way to blame mature rated video games. The shooter couldn’t just had a bad day, or something was wrong with his family; they automatically blamed the video games as the source of the problem. He also says “The difficulty is that this often leads to a witch hunt or moral panic, wherein explanations rely on weak social science or what is politically expedient” because they made a rash opinion about the games instead of finding other solutions to the problem(Ferguson 1). They needed to find a problem, and the quickest solution they have is video games. They are going as far as making new bill into effect.
Video games and their mature content has been given a lot of flak from parent groups (Or Soccer moms). They have pressured the Government, and in some states they have been succeeding. In Illinois the then Governor, Rod Blagojevich, tried to pass a bill to ban the sale of video games. In one article that I read about him, the bill would “punished retailers with a $5,000 fine and up to a year in jail for selling games containing excessive violent or sexual content to minors” but the judges in that state dismissed it calling it “Unconstitutional” (Video Games 4). Another bill, in the same premise, was being passed in California, but just like the Illinois case, the judges found it unconstitutional. In most cases, passing a bill like that would increase the demand of minors wanting to get their hands on the game.
Most of these Senator’s, have tried to come with a conclusion based on science. None of which have been proven. Playing violent video games does not get someone wild up to go out and start a killing spree. I always believe that the kid is in some mental state of mind, where he wants to act on it, and so happily plays a game like Grand Theft Auto that pushes him/her over the edge. There was a case a couple of years ago where a couple of kids had stolen his mom’s car and had some friends and was driving it around in New Jersey. He then got pulled over by the cops, and presented to tell them that he wanted to mimic a video game called GTA. After that, now the media tries to jump on the bandwagon of games becoming more and more violent that it may influence minors.
The main reason video games are getting talk about is because it’s interactive. When I go to different gaming message boards and different communities, one of the things that are brought up is that movies that are Rated R shows more violence as gaming does. Be it as that may, I can do more things in a video game then I can do in a movie. Gaming is interactive, and movies are not. And relatively, a minor under seventeen are not permitted into the theater unless he is with a person who is 17. While in video game, a parent can buy a mature rated game for their kid. As a parent, it is their responsibility to know what the kid is buying, not the government.
The government is going to the extreme to try to prove their point. They have some group of people to prove their stance in the situation. The author of “Violent Video Games Are Linked to Real World” talked about two people, Anderson and Karen Dill, that conducted an experiment to prove their point (Schaffer 2). In the study, they have one group play with Wolfeinstein 3-D and another group playing Myst. The group that was playing Wolfeinstein, they found that “players were more likely to behave aggressively toward losing opponents” they were more aggressive than the Myst players (Schaffer 2). But, as a quick counterargument to the author’s argument, she stated that games have not been proven to “Cause aggressiveness” expressing a flaw in the study by stating “The first kind of correlational study can never prove that video-game playing causes physical aggression” (Schaffer 2). One article that I was reading claimed that none of this science has been proven. He bluntly stated that “The difficulty is that this often leads to a witch hunt or moral panic, wherein explanations rely on weak social science or what is politically expedient” the relying on “weak social science” is a belief in many(Ferguson 1-2). If you are a grand theft auto fan, then you know about Jack Thompson. He tries his best to get the game banned because of its violence. Like Ferguson stated, there’s nothing to prove that it does.
The major issue is that some activists that are against video games do not understand why some play video games. Some play to get out of the “real world.” It’s a fantasy. It’s something we can’t do in real life. There are some games that give a bad impression, like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty series. Each of these game series depicts violence; but it is an escape from the real world. Kids are influenced by a mixture of things: movies, games, music friends, families, the list goes on. To say that games are violent and need to be banned is unconstitutional. I can give examples in each of those lists in reasoning to kill people. So, my plea to the world is that a kid can pick up violence anywhere. Majority of the time, the kid has a thought of violence. That mature rated game, just gives them an excuse to commit it. But, the rest of us shouldn’t be punishing for what a minority does. It’s not the games that’s hurting people. It’s people that is hurting people.