First off, welcome to all of the people who discovered this little corner of the internet over the weekend. I guess when I was warned that getting Freshly Pressed meant I should get ready for a lot more readers, they weren’t joking. So, for those of you who popped in over the weekend to see what I’ve been doing, and, especially, for those who have decided to stick around, thanks! I hope to not sully my portion of the web, or, at least, if I do, I do it in an entertaining way.
Anyway, moving on to today’s post. I know it’s a topic that’s been hashed out over and over and over again by people ranging from political pundits all the way down to your average five-year-old (which, if online gaming is to be believed, has a much better grasp on sexuality and the different things I can do to myself than I would have expected). Yes, it’s that old chestnut, being dragged out once again. It’s time to talk about video game violence!
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to immediately start railing about how violence in video games is the biggest evil currently plaguing our society. Nor am I going to talk about how people shouldn’t worry about it, because, come on, it’s just pixels and programming, and there’s no way that those things feel pain (TRON would beg to disagree, but that’s besides the point). What I am going to talk about is moderation. No, not the kind you see at convention panels. The kind you’re supposed to apply to consumption of things like gummi worms (you don’t own me, serving size!) and other assorted “bad for you” things.
Thing is, violence is by no means something new in video gaming, but plenty of people have only really been paying attention to it since a little game called Grand Theft Auto popped up on the scene. Sure, that series of games does contain an awful lot of violence, but, really, what else do you expect out of a game world where the protagonist is trying to become the biggest and bestest criminal that he can become (complete with a slaughtering of the language so badly, that “bestest” becomes a word)? I mean, the very name of the game tells you what you’re getting into. It’s not like the game was called Grand Purchase Kitten or anything… I could understand the anger, then. But, let’s be honest, people. I remember Super Mario Brothers as a violent game, too. People rail against the GTA games, because they think it’s more likely that people are going to emulate the actions of the game world, but I have yet to see anyone really try and pull off a unique jump with their car, and I know WAY more people likely to jump on something’s head or toss fireballs than they are to pick up a gun and find a prostitute. But maybe that’s just the people I know.
Look, I don’t think that any type of game should be banned. There are some games that I wonder what on earth the creators were thinking when they crafted them (yes, I’m pretty much looking at you, Japan), but the fact that violent games seems to be something people rail against is crazy. “But we’re trying to protect children from this” someone is surely crying out right now. I get that. I have a kid now, and I’m definitely more vigilant about the media she absorbs than the media I absorb. But that’s the key right there, isn’t it? Be vigilant. Have a vested interest in what your child is interested in. Heck, have an interest in what other people in your household are interested in. That way, whether you’re a parent or just a college student living on their own for the first time, you’ll at least have a warning before you walk into some kind of weird foam experience.
And seriously, again, moderation is key. Both for yourself and for those in your life. As long as there’s some sort of balance being presented, and if you’re willing to keep an open mind and discussion about such topics, it should all work out just fine. Besides, when the same people who freak out over the Grand Theft Auto series are the ones who are helping keep shows like Criminal Minds on the air, that’s just stepping into a steaming pile of hypocrisy.
The problem is, once you’ve stepped into hypocrisy, you really need one of those foam parties to get clean. And my college days are far behind me.