Monday, March 18, 2013

Stop it! Stop. It. Stop.

This can't wait anymore. I've been trying to avoid writing this for a long time, having just sort of skirted around it in polite conversation, but now I can't. I just freaking can't and it's because of a tabloid article I found through Buzzfeed.

I'm going to say this and I'm going to say it once; video games do not cause people to become more violent. Gamers are not some horrible, sadistic group of murderers just waiting for their chance to spring into rage-murder action all over the nightly news. We just simply aren't.

This topic has been breached time and time again and I think it was best summed up by Cracked columnist Robert Brockway.

"Americans are, and always have been, an incredibly violent society," Brockway writes. The first school shooting in this country happened before there was a country."

After Sandy Hook, Joe Biden sat down with a council to try and work out gun legislation and the "role guns have in today's society" with a bunch of video game designers. And now, the New York Daily News is on that trolley. This argument was put forward after Columbine and Virginia Tech. Worse is that Anders Breivik said he used Call of Duty 2 and World of Warcraft to help train himself. Luckily, the rest of that article is condemning the use of video games as the reason for mass shooting is unfair and in fact is being called racist. I recommend checking it out.

Here's the inside scoop, people who don't understand video games: we like them because they are fun, not because they are training us to murder people. What they can do is provide an outlet for rage fantasies.

And don't jump all over me for that because we all do it in our heads. Everyone had had that fantasy of pushing the slow-walking person down the stairs or punching the annoying person so hard in the face that their skull explodes or any number of other ridiculously-over-violent-for-the-situation fantasies. And anyone who says they don't have them is a liar. Video games allow some of us to act out those rage-fantasies in the safe confines of non-reality. Many times after a long day have I said to my roommate, "Excuse me, but I have to go shoot some stuff for a while." And proceeded to kill many, many faceless bandits in Borderlands 2 or zombies in Left 4 Dead and after about an hour of that I feel so much better.

In this vein, you can't have it both ways, America. You can't use video games to help train/recruit for the armed forces and then turn around and say that video games are evil and are making people more violent. People said it of violent films and yet look at films today! They aren't making people more violent, we just appreciate the pretty explosions or stylized violence or excess of blood splatter. Do you know why? Because we know these are fantasy and not reality.

You can bet your ass that if we were to see something that violent in reality it would make us sick. It's one thing to fire a fake gun in a game, it's quite another to fire one in real life. It's one thing to beat up on dragons with your fists (thanks, Skyrim, for that opportunity!) but it's quite another to watch someone being actually bullied and beaten. The internet and the gaming world can sometimes be filled with jerks - like any other world such as sports or business or acting - but we're not full-fledged demon spawn.

Video games don't make us violent. Stop making us villains. Learn what correlation and causation is. Just because they played video games doesn't mean that that's why they did the things they did. It only alienates us and makes parents more worried for their "gamer kids". My folks' only worry for me was that I didn't play outside enough - but that's because my skin is so pasty that I burned so easily!

We're not aliens. We're not monsters. We play them in games but then we come back to reality. We will not become killers because we play video games. We are not violent. More often than not we're the kids who are bullied. And don't argue that this causes us to snap and take out our violence on innocents. While that has happened, doesn't make it a characteristic of all gamers.

Don't let one bad apple spoil our very interesting bunch. We have a lot to offer and we are no different from you except that we have a hobby you don't understand.


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