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Electronic Gaming Violence: Are We Missing Something?

By Tristinian

 

When two supposed fans of the excessively violent "quake" series of games gunned down 18 people in a Colorado high school, were we to believe that the inclusion of these games in their upbringing was a significant contributing factor in their decision to partake in a real-life mass homicide? The issue is indeed an old one concerning violence in video games, but regardless of how often one can beat an issue to death, the death of those 18 individuals shouldn't be forgotten for any reason--and neither should the question of whether younger individuals are being wrongly influenced by these visually violent forms of leisure.

Personally, I have never before considered violence in a simple video game to be hazardous to anyone's upbringing. What possible poison from these games can seep into the minds of children and infect them unless something inherentely lied in an already damaged psyche? And yet the Columbine tragedy resounds through my head every once in a while when the video games/violence incident is raised in conversation. I'm not here to answer any questions on this issue, but what I would like to do is provide varying perspectives and hopefully entice some of our readers to respond.

Many of you may be familiar with the uber-popular publication PC Gamer and a few more might recall an article published in the magazine on the "next game gods". Within the pages of this particular article, American McGee (the creator of the recently released game, Alice) had a few interesting tidbits to share on the video games/violence subject. Having been the creator of Alice (a game that gives us a twisted continuation of the original Alice story by Lewis Carroll) his perspective seems rather key seeing he is a developer near the forefront of game design today.

"as far as accountability, the first time I saw the Columbine news I was coming off a plane and I looked up at the TV monitors and saw the shootings and it was instantly, 'That's Horrible'I spent the next week or so in a funk not wanting to make games anymore" (PC Gamer, Nov. 2000, p. 78)

McGee comes across as being legitimately concerned, but maintains in the same thought, "we're not anymore responsible than someone who creates a film or makes a movie" (PC Gamer, Nov. 2000, p. 78). And one has to understand that McGee is more or less forced to straddle his morals and his career choice, but can he legitimately say that games are no better than movies in regard to the effect they have on children? Let's look at it this way, movies are certainly more realistic than a game will ever be (or so one would assume) and yet, a movie never places a viewer in distinct control of a character that has the primary goal of viciously demolishing all opponents in one's path.