As violence increases in America, so has the prevalence of violent video games. When video games first became popular they featured simple, relatable stories such as rescuing your girlfriend from a giant ape or trying to eat ghosts, but modern-day video games put the player in control of morally corrupt characters like professional assassins, habitual drug users, and non-married women. In the video games of the past, players completed objectives and defeated enemies by jumping or running. In the video games of today, players must shoot, stab, punch, steal, and sex their way to victory. Should we be bothered by this trend, and fear the video games of the future? What effect do violent video games have on our children? Have we finally found the perfect scapegoat for shitty parenting?
Many who play video games say there is no evidence to suggest that video games have an effect on their temperament, however some of history’s worst eggs were gamers. Genghis Khan famously loved his Nintendo Game Boy so much that he was buried with it. Lee Harvey Oswald practiced his shooting abilities in “Big Buck Hunter II” before the Kennedy assassination, and there is mounting evidence to suggest that Jack the Ripper had the high score on a local tavern’s arcade version of “Cruis’n Exotica.” Does this mean that all gamers are destined for violence?
“I don’t know if they’re destined for violence, but they’re certainly trained for it,” says former gamer Tyson Rich. Tyson was part of an “esports” team; a group of gamers who compete against other teams for titles, prizes, and the chance to have a girlfriend.
Tyson specialized in a game called “Brothers of Combat IV: Armed Warfare: The Blood Reckoning,” a popular “first-person shooter.” He says his unorthodox training made him into a more violent person.
“Our coach wanted us to be ruthless, to be emotionless gaming machines,” says Tyson. “He had us dress up like our avatars, go out into the wild, and shoot baby animals so that we would learn to never hold back. We had to break bricks with our fingers to learn how to properly use a keyboard or controller. We were forced to drink yellow Powerade because that was one of our sponsors, and yellow’s the worst one. It was torture.”
Clearly video games have a negative effect on competitive players, but how about amateurs? A recent study conducted by the Guild of Outraged Parents found that 97% of young gamers are too antisocial and aren’t going outside often enough.
“When I was my son’s age I spent my afternoons hanging out with the other boys in the neighborhood, playing sports, and actively suppressing my bisexuality,” says area father Dale Brenning. “Now my son spends all day on his computer, chatting with his ‘online friends,’ playing ‘God Knows What,’ which is the name of a video game he plays where you have to find ways to outsmart God. It’s despicable.”
So what’s the solution to the violent video game problem? Who’s to blame when a gamer does something awful? The Guild of Outraged Parents says it’s the fault of the developers.
“I know my child would never hurt another person,” says Margaret Tribene, a member of the GOP. “Whenever my son hits another child or yells at his teacher, video game developers should be punished, not my son. His bad behavior is due to his exposure to video game violence, and his good behavior is due to my parenting.”
The debate over violent video games will likely rage on for generations to come, but most Americans agree that violence in America will not end until the government takes our video games away.
Written by J. S. Wydra: @jswydra
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