With Grand Theft Auto 5 being released in just a few weeks, now is the perfect time to revisit the often raised question about the relationship between video games and real-life violence.
Saying that playing violent video games makes somebody violent is like suggesting that watching porn on the internet makes somebody a rapist, or that putting on a grey pant-suit makes you boring.
Regardless, a load of politicians are constantly getting their grey panties in a bunch and shoving it in peoples faces that video games are turning kids into brainwashed killing machines.
These days, video games are no longer the domain of spotty teenagers who use their gaming chair as a virginity harness. The traditional stereotype of the guy sat alone in front of a TV surviving only on pizza and the food scraps he picks out from his bully button are no longer true.
Back when I was at school, talking about video games in public came with the very real threat of getting stuffed, face-first, into a toilet. However, these days playing video games is as mainstream as watching movies and television. According to the Entertainment Software Association, 58% of Americans play video games and the average age of gamers is 30.
I am an adult, with a good, well paying job in the business world. I have never been arrested, I don’t walk around threatening people and I don’t go out to get in fights. I am also the first one to stand up and offer a middle finger salute to anybody trying to ban me, a sensible adult, from playing whatever the hell video games I want to.
Are kids really inspired by video games?
When I was younger, I used to play Mortal Kombat, after playing the game I would often go out into the street and rip people’s heads off their bodies with their spines still attached. Luckily, that was just a stage and I grew out of it.
After playing the kids game Spyro, I would immediately go to dads garage, drank some petrol and blow fire into people faces.
Don’t even get me started on how angry those Angry Birds make me.
Playing a video game and actually doing what you see on the screen in real life are two completely separate things that require a lot more to be wrong with somebody mentally. Aside from that, real life guns are loud and scary as shit, they would freak the crap out of the majority of kids not become the hardware that turns them into cold-blooded killers.
Jack Thompson hates video games
There is one guy pushing the fight against video games and his name is Jack Thompson. He is the showboating, media hungry asshole who appears whenever there is a shooting and immediately puts it back on video games. Just to prove how much of an asshole he really is, he was disbarred in 2008 for 27 violations of professional misconduct. If he was campaigning against religion the same way as he is campaigning against video games, he would have had his testicles blown straight up through his face by a suicide bomber by now.
Mr Asshole Thompson and his supporters, like to refer to video games, in particular ‘first person shooters’ as mass shooting simulators and are of the belief that they are training kids to kill despite the fact that the majority of studies have shown there there is no correlation between violent video games and anti social acts committed by children.
He targets his fear campaigns towards people with nothing better to do, like the stay at home soccer mum who is looking for something to do in her spare time, in between baking cakes and having an affair with the guy next door.
Shootings happened before video games were around
The truth is that massacres and shootings have been happening for as long as mankind has been around. They are the result of some severely messed up people with some severely messed up intentions.
Depression contributes more to massacres that video games ever did. You only need to take a look at the kind of messed up kids who go on shooting sprees and you find that an overwhelming majority of them have serious mental health issues that are there whether they had video games or not. Rather than banning video games, we need to ban shitty, depressing movies like Twilight and moapy teenage dramas.
What about parents and society encouraging violence
Football is a truly violent sport where kids are actually encouraged to hit others and cause them physical pain. Real broken bones, real brain damage and serious injuries happen in football, even death. Im not making that last one up, according to reports, 12 children die each year in the USA playing American Football. Thats all OK though, because aggressive thuggery in the name of getting a ball over a line is supported by parents and schools, they even encourage it by giving out trophies, awards and free education as a reward.
What about the beer-chugging, wife-beating Rednecks who hate everybody who isn’t like them. These people are actually training their kids to use guns from a young age.
Add to those 2 examples, all the kids with a poor upbringing, kids brought up around gang warfare, drugs and domestic violence. There are things we should be far more concerned about than video games such as having a proper social support structure in place for those children most at risk..
The NRA and video games
Finally we get the the NRA. Every time there is a mass shooting, the NRA points its finger at video games as to reason. In return, I point my middle finger back at them and call them fucking morons. I do it quietly though because they have guns.
The whole world has video games. How come the whole world doesn’t have the same ratio of gun deaths per capita as the US? The answer, is the root of the problem, gun control. The NRA spends millions upon millions of dollars a year lobbying for gun ownership because, you know, fake guns are bad but real guns are OK.
Whatever the sadistic intentions of a person, they wouldn’t be able to act on them without easy access to guns. Its better for me to shoot some pixels on a screen than shoot real people out in the street. The fact of the matter is that pixelated guns don’t kill people, real guns kill people, and video games don’t cause violence, people cause violence. Get your shit together America.