Mario Made Me Do It

I recently watched a debate on G4 about whether or not video games promote violence and couldn’t help but get frustrated. First off, Jack Thompson was a dick. It’s fine to be passionate about a topic, but c’mon. I ended up searching Game Daily for the article they published. It’s here, and I found it very interesting. This whole debate just irks me. Why do I think trying to connect violent crime to video games is so ludicrous? Well, me and my friends for a couple of reasons. I’ve played some incredibly violent video games (including the infamous Manhunt and Grand Theft Auto III games . . . in fact, just about every Grand Theft Auto game in existence) and I’ve also never committed a violent crime. As a matter of fact, I’ve been told by several people that I’m one of the least violent people they’ve ever met. Granted, I’m no Gandhi, but you’d think I’d be just a little more aggressive. Same with my friends. We all play the same video games, and I’m proud to say that none of my friends have ever committed a violent crime. You know, as I think back, most of the pricks who were bullies didn’t play as many video games as me and the people I called friends. They were too busy playing football (ya know, the sport that promotes actual violence against other actual people) and, pfft, leaving the house and knocking up cheerleaders to play video games. I think the real problem here is the institution of cheerleading.

Another of the many myths about violence and video games (and one that Mr. Jack “Uber-dick” Johnson likes to exploit) is the notion that you can somehow “train” yourself to fire a gun with deadly accuracy on a video game. Now, to be honest, I’ve never fired a “real” gun (again . . . not a violent person), but I have fired an air rifle and . . . not to kick my own ego in the crotch but good lord I sucked. I fired a depressingly large number of pellets at five different cans lined up maybe . . . fifteen feet away and I didn’t hit one of them. Not one! Sigh . . . now, to put an ice pack on my bruised ego, I’m pretty damn good at those first-person shooters. And give me a rifle with an aiming and trigger device in the shape of a game control, as well as a universe with simplified laws of physics, and I’ll bullseye any turkey you put in front of me.

Mr. Thompson also says he represented the families of victims in Paducah, Kentucky, claiming that games like Doom trained the killer. He doesn’t include the little fact that he lost that case, and failed to prove any link between the motive or execution of the crime to video games.

The plain fact of the matter is, we’re not caught in some epidemic of youth violence. Society is not on the brink of armageddon. Jesus . . . ain’t visitin’ for a while (if at all–hey-o!). I mean, what do you want from me? People go on and on about violent video games and they never mention cartoons, including old cartoons like Bugs Bunny and Tom and Jerry. Have you ever tried to count the number of violent acts represented there? I could cite another essay for you but it’s not gonna change your mind. This is one of those issues where people have an opinion and they find evidence that backs that up. You know what, here, just for kicks I’ll post a link to the article I can only assume is the one Jack Thompson was referring to since he didn’t cite a specific title or author, just threw out a big name like the American Psychological Association (yay, big words!). You’ll notice that for all the facts on how the brain works, Dr. Anderson doesn’t address the fact that violence among youths (as well as among Americans as a whole) is at an all-time low, a fact stated by Duke Ferris, founder of Game Revolution, in the first article I found–Mr. Ferris citing, of course, the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Statistics.

Suck it, Thompson.

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