Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gamers Too Defensive Of Games

This is a really brief post came up a few moments ago.  I'm reading a post on Kotaku and every once in a blue moon, they post something actually interesting.  An adult (with a child) who was affected by the Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Sandy Hook shootings has given up on violent video games, saying they affect him too personally.  Which is totally understandable and I agree with the premise of the editorial more than I don't (so Mario is too violent...ok that's strange).  I haven't lost any family or friends to gun violence so it's not as personal to me but I still don't like the premise of innocent people getting shot by criminals and psychopaths.

But as usual, looking at the comments, gamers go into butt-hurt mode.  This ALWAYS happens whenever some critiques the general premise of video games for any reason (from Jack Thompson's "lets ban games" to some smart kid's "games are a waste of time, go read a book")--the most common being "they're too violent."  The guy never blamed violent games for anything but the imagery of people being shot is too much. "Obviously you are being too affected by an image on the screen and can't discern between video games and real life," they say, among other demeaning things.

This leads me to my point.  Aren't video games considered art?  I mean that's another thing gamers are adamant about--that games are some creative art form (that's passed around for sixty bucks and used to yell at other people online then disposed of...brilliant) and anyone who says otherwise is "ignorant" and just "doesn't get it."  I think games are art...sort of anyway.  Art in the most plain term is basically "creative expression of human beings" from things like Crayola drawings to how we rearrange our furniture around the house.  So in theory, games can be considered art in the way they are visually represented, their gameplay, etc.

Therefore, if one of the main purposes of art is to elicit certain types of emotion and games are art, isn't it natural that we'd be affected by games in some way?  Like if I see overly violent games and I don't like it, isn't that understandable?  Hey, there are paintings (and music...and movies) with violent/macabre themes and even if they're not real, we still get moody over them.  So if someone sees a video game with people getting shot, then isn't it natural for some people to have negative emotions?  Even if, once again, the people are merely 1's and 0's and not real?

The amount of violence that one person can take is relative anyway.  Like there's a spectrum to violence.  TimeSplitters (the first two anyway) is a good example of a goofy FPS that portrays violence in a way that most everyone can digest.  Then there's Call of Duty and Perfect Dark which are "okay" in terms of violence that I still have no problems playing.  Then there's stuff like Manhunt, Gears of War (people getting sawed in half), and MW2's No Russian level that are beyond my taste.  This isn't just based on amount of gore--slaying monsters in God of War is probably more acceptable than killing human beings (possibly innocents) in a less gory manner (we relate more with humans' emotion of course...why some of the best stories told through various mediums involve human beings).  Doesn't mean I wish those games were never made (or that they're bad...I know Gears is a good game) or that I disrepect people that play them (I have many friends who play M-rated games) but personally, I'd just stay away from those if I could.  To say that it's ridiculous to be hurt by video games means that anything from video games is acceptable and that's just crap.  There's only so much violence people can take from games.

Meh, that's my opinion anyway.  To reiterate, violent video games don't make people do violent things (hell, E-rated games like Madden or Mario Party can rile up just as much violence).  I could post this on Kotaku (if I felt like dealing with hundreds of rebuttals for no reason) but A. I can't post on that site for some reason and B. there's no use dealing with those guys anyway.  I'm done here.

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