Trump And The Power Of Violent Video Games – It’s High Time We Stopped Blaming Games For Inciting Violence
Update: So as promised in our earlier article, we’ve published the report and conclusion (or the lack of it) below regarding Trump’s meeting about violent video games and their link to creating potential criminals and inspiring violent behavior in people.
The meeting was held at the White House with executives from popular gaming companies like Take-Two Interactive Studios and Bethesda. An interesting clip was put out borrowing portions from some of the ‘violent’ video games and it includes moments from the Call of Duty series and other first-person shooters which you can check out below:
Seriously, that’s the best they could do? I was expecting something out of ‘Hatred’ or something, would’ve made more sense at least. Anyways, no clear-cut conclusion was reached despite some attempts from some anti-video game authors who were desperate to link violent behaviors in teenagers to video games.
The meeting was focused more on information-gathering at this point rather than throwing out actual accusations (thank God) at video games as the White House said: “The President acknowledged some studies have indicated there is a correlation between video game violence and real violence. The conversation centered on whether violent video games, including games that graphically simulate killing, desensitize our community to violence.”
The ESA also had something to say and went: “We welcomed the opportunity today to meet with the President and other elected officials at the White House. We discussed the numerous scientific studies establishing that there is no connection between video games and violence, First Amendment protection of video games, and how our industry’s rating system effectively helps parents make informed entertainment choices. We appreciate the President’s receptive and comprehensive approach to this discussion.”
The results are hardly surprising; we saw this from miles away. Video games do not in any way co-relate to exhibition of violent behavior in adult or teenagers. Good luck holding more meetings, I’d like to see if they can get any concrete stuff out of it.
Original Article: Violence in video games has never been seen for what it really is, not by most people at least. Instead of thinking of it as something which brings more realism, emotion, and art to this medium, all it leads to is controversies and a lot of bans throughout the history of video games. But this hasn’t stopped developers for aiming for more boldness in their work and neither should it.
To make a statement, you don’t shy away if the statement didn’t make an impact in the right way. You come up with a better statement, one which this time will do its job. The job of portraying characters as real as humans in their behaviors and disciplines. The job of painting harsh worlds as terrifying as they need to be.
The job of making video games more of a personal commentary addressing issues which are or could come true. Or just the job of making something feel fun in a weird and usual way. This is the real impact. This is where and how violence works in video games. To only make the medium as powerful and effective as it is capable of, violence in video games is NEEDED not wanted.
A lot of games handle violence really well. They know what they’re doing and they know why it is essential. Games like The Last of Us, the Metal Gear Solid series, popular RPGs like The Witcher series and the Elder Scrolls, have had moments where they could’ve gone wrong but they didn’t. Instead, they handled the subject matter wisely.
Some of these used violence to paint a picture of a dog-eat-dog world, one without hope, without mercy and which cruelly supports only one concept: Survival of the Fittest. Other ones used this to do justice to the ideas of ‘do good, receive good’ and ‘your crimes never go unpunished’.
Some, because of their genre of ‘war’, used brutality to discourage war, its nature and principles, and its effect on the victims who find themselves helpless and caught in such a state. This is common in films, Hollywood recognizes the value of such concepts to be conveyed for everyone and to be timeless pieces of vital advice, almost a guide. But then there are some games, which don’t do violence justice but they don’t really have to.
The Grand Theft Auto series and the Mortal Kombat saga being the prime examples, some games don’t take violence seriously but they don’t have to. GTA never had politics on their mind. Rockstar studios doesn’t care about the real world, its rules and regulations, its way of morality and living. So they created a world free of all of this.
A world where people can be what they want to be without repercussions, one where they can spend some time after all the stress of the real world, one where they could have ‘FUN’. It’s not a tale about how people behave, it’s about how people want to behave when they aren’t behaving by the rules and norms of society. Who would want to do what they do already in their lives?
For some of us, games like GTA, are an escape, just into a world different from ours. Nothing wrong with a little imagination and nothing wrong with implementing that imagination because that is the real definition of ‘art’. Mortal Kombat also goes for a similar approach to violence. Beating the s*#t out of your friends never felt so good!
Defeating someone and performing a brutal fatality is just to tease the opponent, to feel smugly about that victory even more so, taking a piss at your friends basically because that’s what we do, don’t we? How that relates to the politics and society of the real world makes zero sense. That is what we’re coming to, because someone from the USA has a problem with it and they can’t think of a better excuse.
Since we’re all aware of the incident which occurred in Parkland, Florida recently, it need not be discussed any more. We are all completely heartbroken at the tragedy that happened and wish it doesn’t go worse from here on. Of course, the finger gets pointed to the man in the esteemed position first, on the basis of him being responsible for the US citizens and all you know. Of ALL the things he could’ve said, video games was the ONLY thing he mentioned.
According to Trump, violent games are “shaping young people’s thoughts” and that “we have to do something about maybe what they’re seeing and how they’re seeing it.” The theory remains a theory without any scientific evidence, to be honest, without any logical thinking too. But the President is hesitant and ordered a meeting to be held today at the White House.
The meeting is said to be attended by representatives from gaming giants like 2K (the guys responsible for the GTA series), ZeniMax (guys responsible for some of the Fallout series) and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) which established ESRB. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) for those unfamiliar, has everything to do with those ’18’ or ‘M’ tags on the case of your game.
Figuratively speaking, the board goes through every frame of the game and notes down a list of events in the game which relate to one or more of the content as categorized by ESRB: Violence, Sexuality, Language, Substances, and Gambling.
The ESA made a clever remark in response to Trump’s statement and it goes: “Video games are plainly not the issue: entertainment is distributed and consumed globally, but the US has an exponentially higher level of gun violence than any other nation.” Of course, we will update you with the proceedings and the conclusion reached at this pointless meeting.
This isn’t particularly new since Manhunt 2 remained banned in UK and many other countries for a whole lot of years thanks to US Senator Hillary Clinton who blamed the ‘sadistic’ nature of the game for poisoning young minds. Then there are ‘anti-video game activists’ (yup, that term exists) including the likes of Jack Thompson who blamed GTA, Bully, Manhunt, Mortal Kombat, you name it.
All missing the same point: The developers know violence is wrong, they’re fully aware of it, inhumanity is a synonym for violence – it is in-humane for humans to do such a thing, and the developers aren’t encouraging it, some of them are merely abhorring violence while others are using it to make fun of it – not even taking it seriously.
The views presented in the article are author’s own and do not necessarily represent SegmentNext.