Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Video Games Turned Me Into A Raving Psycho
The fact that someone actually took the time to do research and said in perfect honesty that there is no direct causality between video games and turning into a murderous asshat makes me happy to no end.
I'm sorry, but I've been playing video games since I was five (Super Mario World...You never forget your first), and since then I've played just about everything that's worth playing. Thus far, I've only ever had one detention, and that was over being late to class. (Actually, they were called JUGs. Judgment Under God. If you ever wondered where God was during Hurrican Katrina, he was in Montreal bringing the fire and brimstone down on a thirteen year old boy who forgot to do his homework.) I have never gone after someone with a wrench, started a fight, or tried to murder someone. But of course, you never hear about people like me, because we're not newsworthy. If anything, you hear about stupid little shit children who run away from home, kill their parents, or decide to shoot up an entire fucking school over video games. So let's go over some of the major problems with the War On Video Games...
1. There Is No Causality Between Violence and Video Games
That's not to say there isn't a correlational effect. Causality implies that, in this situation, Violent behaviour proceeds and is direct influenced and caused by playing Video Games. To date, there is no scientific evidence to support this, unless you count crazy old wasp-y woman screaming on Fox News as Scientific Evidence. In fact, some studies have shown that the opposite is true and that it helps some kids handle emotions and stress (yes, occasionally I fact check. Why? Because I'm just that cool).
2. Prohibition Of Any Product Creates An Underground Market And Exacerbates Abuse
Which is just a fancy way of saying "It's not a problem until you make it a problem". Do you know what Prohibition and Abstinence-Only Education have in common? Other than tyring to destroy my two favourite things in the entire world? They were both ineffective and ultimately increased the behaviour they were trying to extinguish (Alcohol abuse for the former, and unsafe sex for the latter). Basically, if attitudes towards video games continue to err towards the negative, who's to say that it won't have the same effect?
3. Who Says What Is And Isn't Acceptable?
Creating an ethical guideline is like trying to define pornography: You can't really do it, but you know it when you see it. Unfortunately, this is a subjective matter, and when it comes to the prioritization of these, people tend to (for lack of a better term) completely shit the bed on this one (For a better example of this, feel free to check out This Film Is Not Yet Rated). For example, is sex really objectively worse than violence? I always figured that anybody who actually believed that the ending of life (something punishable by law and which very few of us actually do) is better to witness than the act which can create it (which is legal, common and VERY fun) is completely off their shit. But beyond that, who gives a flying shit? It's not real, get over it.
4. It's A Series of Tubes: The Stupid Old People Paradox
Alright, so let's say your laptop is going all sketchy, and you want to get it fixed. Who do you go to: The computer technician, or your well-meaning but confused grandma who tried to douse your iPod with Holy Water? Assuming you still have to brain cells to rub together, you're going with the former. So why are we letting people who have never played a video game and no nothing about them make major decisions regarding them? If we're going to create a coherent and sensical guidelines, can't we at least create a board that actually knows what the fuck they're talking about?
5. Kids Are Stupid, And If You're Crazy Enough To Shoot Up A School, You Don't Need A Video Game To Tell You So
Once you get down to it, you can impose just about every sanction on Video Games short of shipping them back from whence they came, but people will still be stupid, mean and kill each other. In fact, we already have the ERSB, which, if I may say, does a pretty good job of judging the suitability of most games, but that only does so much.
So basically, the problem with the whole War On Video Games is that it's not dealing with the problem. If anything, it's pacifying us while the real problem grows, and THAT's dangerous.