You’re an illegal immigrant from an East European country who’s recently set foot in America. You’re poor and you definitely don’t have the money to buy a car. You see a shiny sports car on the road. You want it. You need it.
You slowly make your way to the car and with a press of a button yank its driver outside. He resists. You punch his lights out leaving him on the road, battered and bruised. You’re about to sit in your car but something doesn’t feel right. Oh that’s right. He’s crawling away from you. It looks like he’s calling for help. You hate leaving unfinished business. You proceed to kick him a few times till he’s motionless and bloody in the middle of the road. You then make your way to your newly acquired sports car.
You’re cruising down the road at breakneck speed. You see pedestrians crossing but you just don’t care. Your phone rings. You get distracted for a minute. BAM! You hear a crunching thump. You look up and see a pedestrian flying through the air, his blood splattered all over your hood. You carry on like nothing’s happened. You don’t like the music. You change the radio station.
For many of you this is your typical day in Liberty City or any other free roaming game. For your mother this could be horrific. In a way I don’t blame her because today’s media has desensitized us all to violence. Movies, TV shows and more importantly video games have continued to pummel us with over the top violence to the point that we not only enjoy it but crave it. I mean how many of you would have enjoyed God of War III if not for the all the gratuitous head ripping, eye gouging etc.
While I, like any other testosterone fueled male enjoy violence in my games, I know where to draw the line in real life. No matter how much I loathe the traffic in the city I know I can’t afford to run people over just because they’re in my way. I know in the real life there are consequences. There’s no get out of jail free card over here.
Video games may have desensitized us to violence but it won’t make you the next Ted Bundy. Just because a murderer happened to own a copy of GTA IV doesn’t mean that Rockstar’s game threw him over the edge. Chances are his parents messed him up or he was traumatized by some childhood event. Why make video games the scapegoat over here? Don’t blame a game any more than you would blame a movie or the internet.
Society today is really quick to judge video games considering it’s an interactive medium and all but they need to understand that the problem is not with games but with humanity as a whole. Our species is capable of some pretty depraved stuff so no need to pass the buck onto games this quickly. If anything video games act as a cathartic release to all the stress you carry around in real life. Pissed off with your boss? Blow some heads off in slow motion with your shotgun. Traffic getting you down? Unleash your road rage with a game of Burnout.
I also understand that video games do have material that may be disturbing for kids. I’m sure watching a character run around with his organs falling out may give kids nightmares but it’s up to parents to make sure their kids don’t get their hands on that kind of stuff. More importantly retailers should start some sort of age verification process over here by not selling violent games to minors. And yes I know all sorts of sick sh*t is available off the internet today but once again that’s where parents come in. You have to make sure you keep an eye out on your little ones. Read up a bit on the game they want for their birthday. If not please don’t blame Kratos if your kid becomes the next Manson (and I’m not talking about the singer here).