The topic of video games and violence is a topic that isn’t new, nor is it anything new to scapegoat those who play video games. This OP, by the very nature of the topic, will at times leave the realm of gaming politics and enter into real-world politics. With this in mind, the opinions here are my own and does not reflect that of thegg.net, its writers, or the company as a whole.
A long time ago, in a place called the late 90’s gaming and gamers were blamed for everything wrong with society and it’s ill’s. You see, this point of contention started back after the school shooting at Columbine high school. Without a doubt, there are many of you reading this right now that have only heard about this and others like me that went through the whole ordeal. Without going into detail on what happened (other than it was a school shooting), and who was involved (as I refuse to know or remember any of these people’s names), we were in a real threat of losing every first-person shooter from mass hysteria alone.
I was 17 at this time, and even still no one would listen to me about how stupid this line of reasoning was. I was personally surrounded by people who had no interest in games or gaming in general and just ate up what everyone else had to say. Leading the charge is a name that every gamer today knows and that was Jack Thompson (“CBS 60 Minutes: Can A Video Game Lead To Murder?“) an attorney that had become disbarred, but he wasn’t the only name on this list.
Personally, I did what I could at the time to combat these claims, but to no avail. Nevertheless, for the most part, I never really pushed the issue unlike what I did (and still do to this day) with real-world politics. I didn’t give them the same push because I saw the backlash as what I assume many gamers did at the time. This is just the modern-day scapegoat that will pass just like all of the others before it like it was a rite of passage.
That includes everything from comic books, Rock’n’roll music, swearing-in movies , violence in movies, rap music to heavy metal. This list goes on and can go on for an eternity. The vast majority from this list are no longer seen as anything negative in any way by the masses. This isn’t saying that there are those who are against these mediums, but those that rage against these things are just ignored by most people (as they should be).
When it comes down to it the only industries that have to deal with this for longer than a single generation in this fashion is porn, prostitution, comics, and gaming. What is interesting about this is that porn, comics, and gamers get along and what few prostitutes I’ve run into had no problems at all with these groups at all.
So, what is it then that has made gaming violence and the scapegoat of gamers to come back into the light yet again? There was another school shooting, and if this news has escaped you then I tip my fedora in you’re general direction. For gamers this brought the fight back that raged in the late 90’s, to us this is nothing new, what is new is that gamers are fighting back. This thought actually brings a great deal of joy to me, knowing that gamers as a whole have had enough and are fighting back, it is something that amazes me.
This has also made another chapter happen in the great gun debate happen. I mention this only to show that gaming isn’t the only thing being debated over from this. I am, however, not making any points here in the gun debate, as this is not to correct forum to do so. So as it stands with this opinion piece, I don’t care what your opinion is on this matter.
Now once again, we have senators, legislators, and more are setting their sites on gaming and gamers as a whole. We have people who need to be able to point their crooked finger and say that is the problem over there. If those people didn’t have the hobby that they want then all of these horrible things would never happen. Of course, all the while ignoring everything science as shown, yeah we have been poked, prodded, and had our brains examined in the course of proving that we are not the evil that they are looking for, and yet here we are once again.
It simply doesn’t matter what we go through, or what we can prove. We have had our brains scanned, finding that there is correlation and possibly causation with more grey matter in our brains. It doesn’t matter if we show a logistical study showing that playing games have zero effect on our views of sexism . It doesn’t matter that it is being shown that long-time gamers may be lucid dreamers.
It doesn’t matter that we can show using the FBI that as violent games have become more popular violent crime has dropped significantly (this isn’t, however, to say that gaming isn’t the only thing that may have helped in this. Finally, it doesn’t matter how gaming or more specifically first-person shooters are being used to help those suffering from PTSD. How about showing people what actual scientists with degrees were studying the brain think about what playing games do to you?
Now entering the battle, President Trump shared his thoughts on this matter. Where you personally stand in terms of President Trump once again it doesn’t really matter. On a personal level, I have tried to stay neutral to him, what he says, and what he does. So I am not aboard the Trump train, neither am I screaming we’re all going to die with everything that he does and says. But of course, Trump did have comments that are relevant to this discussion, and that is something that needs to be addressed.
I’m not going to cherry pick what Trump stated, and games were not the only thing that got under fire from his response. Violence in movies received as much if not more criticisms. He is wrong on nearly every count, but then again, this has been a common narrative for several decades now. On the other hand, can we really be surprised that this is his outlook? Just look at the media made, supposedly by gamers for gamers and what they have been saying.
For the purposes of record keeping, I will be giving both direct links and archive links to the articles that I am about to share. My main reasoning behind this is that while partisan politics is changing these articles may soon just disappear making it look like they never existed, and the gaming media has always just been on the side of gamers (not quite…). This is not only untrue but to the extent of it being dangerously so for the industry that we all love. One that there are many of us has spent well over three decades being a part of.
From Polygon over the past few years have written several articles saying exactly what Trump, and many others are saying right now. Are video games harming our kids? For the most part, the author does try to stay balanced perspective. Giving counter studies to those which has been presented, reading it, you can tell that they are doing everything that they can to leave their bias at the door. Giving some sound advice for parents with their kids when it comes to games, basically be a parent who pays attention to what your kid is doing and limit how much they do it.
This is where things end really because they do swallow the pill that games create sexism. Giving links to sources that do back this thought, this way of thinking. At least in the ways of promoting sexism, when this is also being found to be as true as playing “GTA” and “DOOM” will lead to the next mass shooter.
So with that topic fresh in mind, let’s move on to guns, games and violence shall we?. Going in full-bore, starting off slow giving reasonable assertions that media can create interests in other subjects. This line of reasoning can’t be argued, and media has been used for propaganda or just joking with the subject. One example of this would be when I watched “Breaking Bad” with my wife, and I joked that we should have gone into chemical engineering instead of the subjects we did go into (electrical and programming).
Anyways, the kid in Polygon’s “Guns, games and violence: The real questions you should be asking” article got interested and knowledgeable about guns. The article then goes on describing the kid’s family as being from a line of veterans, and then goes on about their own fears from guns. Even so the author (Brian Crecente) does not go into how they were with their kid’s interest, just that it ended. Their own fears and tribulations take over, where they do go into the realm where taking a headshot in a game for a kill counter has a connection to taking an actual life. This line of thought and reasoning had been discredited a long time ago, several times over.
American Psychological Association affirms the link between violent games and aggression. Here I have to give credit to Polygon, they did a good job with giving counterbalance. I would even go as far as to say that they discredited the report fairly thoroughly at that. However, at the same time, things don’t seem right, especially with the last article that I had talked about.
Tropes Vs. Women challenges the history of gaming’s ‘sinister seductresses’, the study suggests playing as a black character can reinforce racist attitudes. Bias goes out into full force with this one, no one in established games media will go against Anita Sarkeesian. So you will be very hard-pressed to find anything given on the subject of sexism or Anita that goes against the current narrative.
The list here continues to go on for quite a long while, and I could pick any of the large outlets that are guilty of this, and really all of this is just pieces of the puzzle. There once was a time where big names in the gaming industry actually cared about those within the industry. There was a time where Adam Sessler defended gaming, sadly this hasn’t been true for a very long time.
Even so, president Trump isn’t the only person in Washington that has been stating this nonsense lately. Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin on the Leland Conway show stated that “these quote-unquote video games, and they’re forced down our throats under the guise of protected speech”. So I hate to break it to you but the Supreme court ruled in the favor of games being art as so being protected under the First Amendment. Nevertheless, Bevin still continued with his statement with “its garbage, it’s the same as pornography. So they have desensitized the value of human life, the dignity of women, the dignity of human decency”.
Now the jury is still out when it comes to porn, and really it comes down to that like almost everything out there it does have benefits but can become addictive. I’m not going to unpack the whole fight when it comes to porn and the arguments therein at least not in this forum. Even so, I will still state, just because you don’t like something, it doesn’t make that thing inherently bad. However, just because you do like a thing doesn’t make it inherently good.
What does matter, however, is the ability to blame others for things that are bad or wrong in society as a whole. People want and need this silver bullet that can fix every wrong that exists if only this one thing has never come into existence. My question is, how long is this going to really last? I mean really, for how much longer can people keep on being fed these lines? Or, more importantly, how long will we allow it to actually happen? If the outlets that are supposed to be our mouthpieces to the rest of the world actually did their job and not pander to partisan politics we may not be in this mess again.
What is interesting to me, is that it seems that these publications which are going after gaming, will report in the direction to wherever the wind is currently blowing. As I have shown, publications will do a balanced look at aggression and video games, except when it comes to a subject that they don’t like. There is a total inconcinnity when it comes to these subjects from those that should have a strong standpoint.
Going from discrediting a report on aggression and becoming violent from games in one article stating that there is a link to killing virtual people to real people. Talking about how games create sexist and racist attitudes while at the same time the very same author will cite a study that shows gamers who play violent games tend to be more empathetic.
Is there any wonder why politicians and those that hate gaming can keep making the same claims over and over again? All President Trump or GOV. Matt Bevin has to do is go to Polygon, Kotaku, or really any other gaming site, and they can get all of the bad information that they want. All because sites like this keep their positions flip-flopping all over the place.
This is the message that we keep sending to Washington, there has to be an actual stand. Either follow where the science actually leads and stick to it, or just ignore it all together. Stop doing what has been done, citing the science when it fits your narrative and ignoring it when it slaps that narrative in the face.
I am tired of being the scapegoat for everything bad in society. Games lead to violence has been the scapegoat over the past several decades. This line has been repeated time and time again as if it is true as if it is a fact. Here is a fact, this line has never been proven, not a single study that actually uses the scientific method has shown this. Every single real study has shown that there is no causation to real-world violence and violent games if anything it shows that there may be a correlation between the fall of real-world violence and violent video games.
It is time for this line of reasoning to end, far past the time. We as gamers have taken our slings and arrows. We have been bullied, beat and had our books thrown in the trash can and much more. Some of us were able to blend into the cool kid’s clique, but most of us didn’t. Together we build the single largest entertainment industry in history. It is time for gaming to just be accepted as any another entertainment medium, and gamers accepted as hobbyists that have the hobby that they love the most.
So please let this blame game on video games end!
And with that said, what’s your take on this matter? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section down below!
Robin Ek – Editor and co-writer
Best mom Eva
Homer The Punished Misogynist
The Verge (“Video game companies unaware of Trump’s summit on video game violence” – http://archive.is/yk4tK)
Rollingstone (“Kentucky Governor Blames Video Games for Florida School Shooting”)
The Sun (“Florida school shooting should be blamed on video games, not GUNS, says Kentucky Governor” – http://archive.is/ZrDrQ)
The Guardian (“Video games and violence are linked – but not the way Trump thinks” – https://archive.fo/CrVVV)
Forbes (“Trump Blames Violent Video Games For School Shootings — Here’s Why He’s Wrong” – http://archive.is/r38Zu)
Breitbart (“The Latest: Trump to Discuss Guns with Video Game Industry” – https://archive.is/La571)
Polygon (“I can’t believe we’re still blaming video games in 2018” – http://archive.is/9HBgy)
Gamespot (“Trump Says He’s Meeting With “Members Of The Video Game Industry” To Discuss School Safety ” – http://archive.is/6tbF1)
Venturebeat (“The ESA: White House has not invited it or any member company to meet Trump” – http://archive.is/joLnZ)
Paste Magazine (“Trump Blames Shootings on Games to Distract from the Gun Debate” – http://archive.is/38pR4)
Censored Gaming (“Trump Meeting Video Game Industry Members To Discuss Violence”)
One Angry Gamer (“Anita Sarkeesian Criticizes Trump For Anti-Violent Game Rhetoric”)
Tucker Carlson (“America is NOT Australia!!” Tucker DEFENDS 2nd Amendment Rights”)
Jonathan Mcintosh (Mcintosh’s anti-guns and anti-violent video games rant on Twitter)
Anita Sarkeesian (Sarkeesian got caught being a hypocrite yet again on Twitter)
Patrick Klepek (by the looks of it, Klepek is trying to get Robert Trump fired from ZeniMax Media)
Chet Faliszek (Faliszek fails or doesn’t want to see that the MSM gaming media is full of hypocrisy)
Meg Wagner (Wagner’s Tweet about Trump and video game violence – https://archive.is/OndAG)
Chris Ferguson (psychology professor) interview (“Video game violence, addiction and “Gaming disorder””)
Jonathan Blow blames the Orlando mass shooting on violent video games
Germany´s minister of interior blames violent video games for the Munich attack?
Is Ashly Burch a hypocrite? (“Violent video games creates stereotypical men”)
5 Ways Gamers are holding back the games they love (“Cracked Vs Gamers and violent games”)
Academic.oup.com (“Does Media Violence Predict Societal Violence? It Depends on What You Look at and When” – http://archive.is/YVVVr)
Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov (“A longitudinal study of the association between violent video game play and aggression among adolescents” – http://archive.is/ogxgr)
Papers.ssrn.com (“Understanding the Effects of Violent Video Games on Violent Crime” – https://archive.is/uwyjC)
This is a personal opinion of the writer, and it doesn’t necessarily represent the other writers (nor The Gaming Ground´s) opinions.
The Gaming Ground
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