Video games are violent, sometimes disgustingly so. This is an undeniable fact. One brief glance at the new releases and you will see games like Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance; a game based around a system allowing you to slice and dice your enemies as if you were playing Gordon Ramsey and upon discovering your wife in bed with a selection of fruit and veg had gone to fetch your favourite knife. This makes it hardly surprising that video games are the first point of call when it comes to locating the blame for catastrophes such as the Columbine school massacre. Is this really fair though? I, like many others, grew up playing video games almost religiously and have not once felt the urge to casually meander into anyone’s house, proceed to smash all of their pots, steal all their jewellery then pop down to the local shop and use it to buy my groceries for the day. Okay maybe I have imagined it, but surely if video games are that corrupting playgrounds would be full of children bringing their pets to school in order to pit them against each other cat vs. guinea pig in a grim battle to the death so they can win a portion of their opponent’s lunch money. Or have I misunderstood the Pokemon series completely?
One of the most frequently coined arguments is that videogames desensitise children from the harsh consequences of violence. Prince Harry was recently condemned for likening the killing of enemy troops in Afghanistan to playing the popular videogame Call of Duty; simply adding credence to the already persuasive argument from David Icke that the royals are really a psychopathic bunch of lizard-people in disguise, biding their time until the opportune moment so they can destroy us all. Perhaps we would feel more comfortable if Prince Harry curled up in the foetal position and wept himself to sleep each night.
That said many games do feel as if they are simply being violent because they can. Maybe they are worried that if they allow 10 seconds to pass without some kind of death resembling an explosion in a Dolmio factory the player will get bored and go do something productive. Video games such as Gears of War, Call of Duty and their critics alike make the mistake in assuming that the public are all a bunch of drooling wet sponges only able to register enjoyment when presented with various depictions of death served up to us in the most violent possible way. What we perhaps need is some kind of system whereby only those old enough to play games of a violent nature are allowed to purchase them. There could be different levels of rating and everything, and who knows; if it works well enough we could extend this measure to films too!
Makes you wonder where all the praise comes from, a voice in his head maybe?