Geek Life: Gaming’s Effect On Society… Is There One?

A huge debate going on now and for a long time in fact is the debate of whether or not video games make people violent or not. Just as a disclaimer I realize this also does apply to all forms of media, but I’d like to refer to just video games for the sake of the article. Its is arguable where this started, but I like to say it started when gamers enjoyed the gore in Mortal Kombat. Parents seeing their kids fight and imitate the stuff they saw in this game made them furious and the government (at least in the U.S) actually took action about a video game and banned the franchise. Of course it came back along with a new idea of rating games based on content and explain what age groups is appropriate to play the game. Still despite this the debate continues due to the fact that kids play more mature games anyway. Some say the exposure to violence and adult themes makes impressionable kids violent and lead them to a road of delinquency, some say that is BS, that is the debate.

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So I’m sure you’re wondering what my side of the debate is? Well I simply don’t take part of this debate I don’t have a side (per say), because I feel any debates like these are silly. I don’t understand why people are fighting about this. The reason I took extra time to explain ratings was because ratings should be a compromise for both sides, and for a while it was. Obviously I am a gamer so I am a little bias towards this debate, if I had to choose a side I would obviously stick with the gamers point of view (and not have games banned), but I wouldn’t completely disregard the other side that says games can make people violent. People vary and have different levels of understanding, especially when regarding to age. The idea that games make people more violent and the idea that the idea is untrue in my eyes are both correct. If there is someone playing a game and their mind cannot handle adult images than yes don’t let them play games. Some people however are more mature in their understanding and can handle adult images, so by all means game on.

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Like I said rating are supposed to act as a compromise to please both sides. The reason people are still complaining is simply because there is no responsibility in play. Ratings helps you be responsible with what games you play. For example if you have anxiety and/or are squeamish and you see a rating that says the game has horrific moments and gore than be responsible and stay away. If a child wants to buy a rated M or even rated T game parents (thats right parents, people who make this a big deal) don’t buy your kids these games if you feel they don’t have the maturity (which they most likely won’t) to play the game. I for example am a 20 year old young man, I feel I have the right to play any game I want at this point. I’m currently playing (barely) Ninja Gaiden III on my WiiU, and there is blood and violence everywhere, but it doesn’t disturb me, or make me sick, or make me violent, but if I were 8 there’s no way I would be allowed to play it. Just be responsible people, I’m not saying games make people violent I can’t prove that, but I can say that its true for some and untrue for others.

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Both sides have extremes that are just people getting mad at each other, these extremes are what make the debate still continue when it just shouldn’t. I mean clearly the people who say games make kids violent are just people (like politicians and parents) who blame games (that parents buy for the kids and making politicians involved when they shouldn’t get involved [cause its the parents job to raise their kids, not the politicians]) to cover up the fact that maybe there are delinquents in the world because they aren’t being responsible and/or making the right choices; so they have to blame pop-culture to cover up their faults/mistakes. At the same time though if you ask a gamer “do games make you violent?” they would angrily reply with a no and rant on forever on how the other side is wrong. Gamers I understand that the other side is trying to punish you just because they want games to be taken away like it can solve problems (which it won’t) that they can solve by taking responsibility, but you can’t deny that the other side does have a couple of points. They are half right by saying games make people violent, they are half right because some people (whether its because of age, culture, or mental state) are impressionable enough to get some violent and bad behavior from more adult games. If someone is known to be paranoid and has no full control of their actions than a gamer can rant all they want, but that will screw up a paranoid person to be exposed to (while interacting with) violence and adult themes.

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Now do I believe that games effect a person’s personality? No not at all. Now before you call me a hypocrite I never said a game can change a persons personality. I’ve been saying this whole time that certain people can possibly pick up violent behavior and get disturbed and possibly act on adult themes. If a person was playing Mario they don’t pick up the personality of an Italian Plumber, if someone was playing Sonic no one’s going to become impatient and arrogant if they have a history of being patient and open minded. Sure kids would get excited and imagine for a while that they are these protagonists, but they cannot be them (especially if they are responsible or somebody is there to take responsibility to make sure they don’t hurt themselves or others), in the end a human being can only be themselves and (responsible) imagination won’t negatively effect anyone.

Now after all this analysis on the argument don’t you think there should be a solution or compromise to this? I have an idea, maybe we can tell people what kind of content is in a game before they buy it. Maybe we can use that information of what the content is in a game to make sure that we (or others we can be responsible for) know whether to avoid the game or not. That way gamers and/or parents can be responsible for what games are appropriate for them or the ones they care about, and they don’t have to get anyone involved to ruin everyone’s fun. At this point you realize I am making a sarcastic joke and you know I am talking about a great compromise that was made years ago for a debate that uselessly still continues. That compromise is called ratings, all people need now that ratings exist is a little responsibility, no one is fully wrong and no one is fully right (which is why the only solution is a good compromise), but everyone needs to stop using this debate as a weapon and let it disappear into history. No one can make people be responsible, but I can tell you that’s all that is needed to avoid all the bickering. Thank you for reading and your support I hope you’ll check out my videos on game analyses and more on my youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/NaismithBilly

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