Lots of science blogs are reporting on this. Like this one here.
Everyone is reporting about this, but I’m going to talk about it anyway, because it’s really more of an I told you so moment for me. Everyone I’ve ever met that plays video games have played some of the most horrific things ever. Me and one of my closest friends, hell, family George, played “Time Killers” down by the beach almost every damn weekend. Do you know what Time Killers is? It’s a 2D fighter from the late 80s/early 90s, where you chop people to bits. I keep using italics, I know. But I really want some of this to stand out! You dismember your foe, and if you can land the one-hit kill, you behead them and move on. Every weekend we played this, hell, for years! Are either of one of us violent? No! He took Tae Kwon Do with his family for years, in a Dojang his family wound up running. He’s not violent. He’s got adorable kids and a lovely wife. Not a violent bone there! Now, that’s not to say I don’t know violent people. I know a bunch of people that loved to fight as younger men! But that was definitely a learned trait from parents/loved ones/necessity of upbringing. Sometimes people just have to fight to survive, you know?
But I know so many people who play video games, thanks to this job, and thanks to being a kid in the 80s and 90s. Do I know people with violent fantasies? Duh. I can’t think of a single person who hasn’t wanted to off an abusive person in their life, or a boss, or a teacher that they felt did them wrong. That’s pretty much human nature. But video games absolutely do not teach people that it’s okay to act on them. There is no link in increased aggression/loss of empathy for people who play violent games. Hell, I love violent games like Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake, stuff like that. Granted, my reason for playing Wolfenstein’s pretty obvious: It’s about killing Nazis! That’s not even a question. But sometimes, I just want some ultraviolence in my diet. It’s not because I was taught it was healthy, good, or moral. But it’s a great way to work stuff out of your system, or at least I think. Maybe it’s because I’m reasonable and rational. Maybe not. They have admitted more study is needed, but I’m not forseeing a huge change. You know where I see violence/lack of empathy? In homes where it is normalized that hurting women/weaker people/animals is not only okay, but encouraged. That’s where I see a decrease in empathy. It comes down to the adults in the child’s life. Don’t try to pawn the guilt off on video games and video game developers. It’s up to you, the fucking parent. Don’t teach your kids that it’s okay to degrade women, people, other religions, the disabled. If you teach it through word or deed, you have nobody to blame but yourself. Don’t blame Mortal Kombat. Boon and Tobias didn’t teach your kids to hit their spouses. You did.
So, on a less down note, what’s your favorite violent game? Drop me a line below!