As Today's Entertainment.

OK, so it's been in the news again. Violence and video games. I know, I shouldn't be surprised by what the typical news outlet thinks is newsworthy these days. With people like Jack Thompson trumpeting the evils of electronic entertainment, expect to see more of this in the future. The problem I have with this fixation on video game violence is the fact that video games are not, nor was it the first, form of violent media available to us. All we have to do is turn on the news itself to see violence and death. I'm not talking about some Hollywood concocted nonsense, I'm talking about murder, violence and war. It is kind of ironic that the outlet that video games are most often decried from is the same outlet that has had embedded reporters with the Army and Marines during the latest conflict in the Middle-East. Turn on the news today to see the latest death scene from a car bombing in Iraq.

Movies today have become more and more violent also. Just look at the releases that happen around the Halloween time frame. You'll see your movies like Saw 12, Touristas 7, and all the others in the "torture porn" genre. The old Friday the Thirteenth and Nightmare on Elm Street movies are tame by comparison. Are video games really more dangerous then these displays of graphic violence? I know people will point to the fact that you actively control a character in games, but really, how do you honestly compare the cartoony, unrealistic violence of a game versus real people on screen committing incredibly realistic acts? Even the worst of Hollywood special effects can make a mutilation scene look like it is really happening.

I posted this topic on a forum recently and got some interesting responses to it. It seems that most people accept the violence displayed on the news as just a sign of the times we live in. It was reasoned that the news airs stuff like this because, of course, it makes money for the station. Viewership drives the price of advertising up, and advertising as we all know, is how we are able to watch all these shows for free. The more sensational the story is, the more viewers it most likely will pull in. A story about a teen killing a small child may not be that interesting, but throw Mortal Kombat into the mix and you have sensationalism at its finest.

On the good side, as games become more and more of a mainstream form of entertainment, we will see less and less attacks on the violence in games. Will there ever be a day that games are as accepted as movies are? I think we are seeing that happen today. With the current generation of consoles, and not to a small part the Wii itself, we are seeing video games being played by a more diverse demographic then ever before in its history. With game developers and console designers getting more creative, we will most definitely see a change in acceptance, and I think, sooner rather then later. Eventually, Jack Thompson will have nothing to complain about. Watch out, professional sports may be next.


2 responses to "Violence"

  1. Hye On January 11, 2008 at 5:39 PM

    You're right. Crime movies and games are very popular nowadays. Kids and youth are very fond of watching and playing them. The result, murder and killings in real life.

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  2. aDub On January 12, 2008 at 10:22 AM

    I agree violence in movies & games are quite popular in our society today, but I don't think this necessarily equates to murders and killings in real life.

    I think it's important for parents to be involved with their children - helping to explain the difference between reality & make believe.

    Follow the ESRB and MPAA ratings - both are great as ways to inform you on what may be appropriate for specific audiences.