Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Little Violence Never Hurt Anyone... Right?

Oh videogames how I love you so. For this post Brian and I decided to discuss the somewhat taboo subject of videogame violence. This is not a new subject to most; I think we know that as Americans we are somehow prone to videogame violence and that somehow this spell of videogame violence leads us to act out horrible crimes. This is what has been drilled into our heads since videogames have been videogames but is this true? I don’t know if I actually buy into this claim. I know it is what we are meant to believe but I think that there is more to it than just videogames. People use videogames as a scapegoat for what is really causing violence amongst youth. If you’re waiting for an answer to what the cause is for youth violence the answer is there is no one answer. People who commit unspeakable acts of violence have done so because of many reasons not just one. I don’t think there has ever been a case where their was a straight A student who went to church every Sunday and had loving parents wake up one morning and play Grand Theft Auto and suddenly the next day they murder three people. It just doesn’t happen like that.

When Brian and I discussed this he was up in flames over the game America’s Army. This game which is created by the US Army markets the game as “taking you deeper into the ranks, with the most realistic training, and unparalleled missions.” Though I’m sure he goes into more depth in his post, Brian was not too happy with the fact that the Army is targeting a young audience and claiming that this videogame experience is like the real thing. But isn’t it the trend for videogames to become more and more like real life? Aren’t videogames always striving for better graphics in order to become more lifelike? Isn’t the reason that games like The Sims are popular because they resemble real life situations? I think the answer to all these questions is yes and for that reason I can’t be angry at the Army for trying to market a game as a real life experience and simulating real life combat scenarios.

Further along in our conversation Brian brought up the point that the point of America’s Army is a recruitment tool and people might find the lifelike simulation enjoyable and they end up doing joining the Army because they liked the game so much. This is a logical assumption and makes sense but like the reasons for why people commit violence it goes beyond videogames. I don’t think that the same straight A student who goes to church every Sunday with loving parents is also going to join the army next day because he played a game that he really likes and that game happens to be America’s Army. There are more factors in why people behave the way they do; you have to take into account socioeconomics, location, culture, a whole variety of reasons why people behave their own ways. I do however believe that every now and then there are people who are impressionable and do things because they see it in movies or in videogames, These people are a creation of the environment they grew up in and for one reason or another their environment has made these people susceptible to whatever they find appealing. In the case of these people I feel no remorse for them, if one of these types of people play America’s Army and then decide to join the army then I don’t feel bad for them at all, they deserve to be where they are. I don’t go and blame videogames though because if it wasn’t videogames that led them to make a dumb decision then it would have been something else, that something else could have been because they saw it in a movie or because some girl they really like thought it would be cool.

I myself play videogames, listen to hardcore rap, grew up in the South Bronx and I love violent movies. I think I would be the perfect poster child for media gone wrong but I don’t go around killing people or performing some act that I saw in a videogame, why? Because I’m not dumb, I know the difference between what is real and what isn’t. The reason I know what is real and what is not is because I had parents who loved me and paid some attention to me every now and then and when I did do something wrong they would make sure I never do it again.

I think that we should not censor the content that is put out there; we should regulate it and let people know that it’s not content that most people with good morals would like but after that we should leave it up to the people to make their own decisions. If people decide to make bad decisions based on the content that they are viewing then that is the person’s decision and theirs alone.

No comments: