The Men Who Stare At Scapegoats
I’ve surprised myself that I haven’t posted about my absolute frustration with people blaming games for all the foul things that happen in this day and age and how the politicians and media try to brainwash people regarding games being the cause of all things bad.
So…after years of hating the hatemongers I have a lot of pent up thoughts and rants that I shall begin as coherent as possible.
First, I feel we should start at the ratings which are unmissable on the game covers. Just like VHS had back in the day and as DVD and Blu-Ray still display to this very day, the age ratings are prominently displayed on game covers which is more than enough warning to parents before they buy their brats games that inevitably take the blame for their kids suddenly going postal with a handgun in the canteen at school.
Movies are the most violent type of media we have at our fingertips. With Die Hard 2 having held the throne for the highest body count on film for a number of years and of course shed loads of movies have now surpassed this. I recall the first ever feature length movie I ever watched and it was the original Nightmare on Elm Street. My brother had rented it from the video shop (imaginatively called Hollywood Nights and I can still remember the membership number).
Granted, I am a little bit psycho and random in my musings, but I can confidently say I have killed no real people and have broken no major laws. So, the effects of various forms of media on young minds are not a direct impact as the tabloids, news and uneducated politicians would fail to appreciate.
Game developers get all the flak for kids and people who are a few bullets short of a full clip who end up doing something depicted in a videogame. As videogames are a mere reflection of life as a whole and doing what movies have done for years prior to the capabilities of gaming hardware we marvel at today it’s very easy to find a game that has something featured within it that is identical to a crime just committed. Someone punches someone in the face…”Fight Night Round 4 is to blame!”. Someone jumps off a building to their death…”Mirrors Edge is a dreadful game!”
The fingers should be pointed solely at the parents. It is the parents who fail to acknowledge what they buy their kids. We are, sadly, in an age where most parents tend to see something on a shelf, the kid pines for it, it is purchased and the kid is ultimately quiet leaving the parents in peace to continue ignoring their offspring and doing what they want in complete ignorant bliss. Until said kid shoots their classmates in a bloody massacre before capping themselves in the head leaving chaos in their wake.
And if the parents are doing a good job and are unaware that their child has the game(s), then fingers need to be pointed elsewhere such as the stores or someone who bought it for them. These are vital questions not asked as it is all too easy to blame a medium that has taken years to try and make it into the mainstream culture to gain the respect it deserves as a fully fledged entertainment platform. These setbacks are the only thing stopping gaming from receiving the kudos it deserves.
People who do such acts that draw the focus to games such as GTA etc have had a screw loose for a number of years and something finally snapped causing them to wreak havoc. So what if they have San Andreas in their bedroom collecting dust? Is that more diabolical than having some documentaries on Ted Bundy and countless other serial killers tucked away under their bed?
The key denominator through all of this is the fact people fear what they don’t understand; we always have to rationalise everything and make a reason for something to happen. We are victims of causality. But what most people fail to realise is that we also have the power of imagination and thought. It’s just unfortunate that the people doing all the pointing prefer the easy option and don’t look into the matter as much as they should.
The one good thing about this, however, is that those generations will eventually die off. This leaves the gaming generation and all generations that follow, who all have the acceptance of the medium which will lead to a more gaming tolerant society and less finger pointing.