Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Take the Skinheads WiiBowling

Sometimes, whatever part of my brain is responsible for writing has a bad day and my blog ends up suffering for it. I think I got in the way of my own point yesterday, and while I don't want to spend two days in a row saying the same thing, ignorant hysteria over video games is an important issue to me, and something that could very well have a direct effect on my career.

I made my post yesterday largely a messy, unexplained smear about crazy ol' Jack Thompson. Make no mistake, the man is crazy, he deserves to be called out on his fear mongering, and while it's an unfair tactic to simply call opponents and dissenters insane while saying that you shouldn't even have to explain why because the reasoning should be so obvious to any reasonable person, I'm not using this space for formal debate. The man's nuts, duh, let's move on.

Where I went wrong was in in writing specifically in one man's crusade, rather than noting what it means on a larger scale. See, it's one thing for a wacky disbarred lawyer to promote himself and his agenda through occasional TV appearances and publically released e-mail. It's quite another when the president of a powerful nation is saying the same thing.

GamePolitics.com reported today that German president Horst Koehler is contemplating a ban on violent video games and movies, a reaction to a recent school shooting. The article goes on to note that "ban" may have been a mistranslation. In any case, Germany already has very strict rules about what sort of content can appear in fictional media, as I understand it, and if the president is saying something that could be misinterpreted as ban, I think that's worrying.

Attacking games and movies gives people an easy answer, albeit a false one. I posted a video yesterday in which the game Counter-Strike was blamed for the Virginia Tech shooting. What's interesting about that is that the shooter didn't play Counter-Strike. He didn't play many video games at all. Now, the German shooting is being linked to the exact same game.

I don't really like writing about this subject and I don't think I'm necessarily the best person to write about it. To me, there's no question about whether or not video games cause violence. They absolutely do not. I've plated violent games since I was a little kid, but I've never had any urge to kill real people. That's not the way it works, and it bothers me when idiots who've never touched a game say that it is. As an advocate of games as an art form and as entertainment, I feel it's my responsibility to state the obvious in this case: Games do not cause, condone, support, or train violence, and banning a medium out of fear is wrong. It is that simple.


Anonymous said...

About Horst Köhler - he might be called the president, but you can't compare his power/influence on Germany with for example Barack Obama and the States. The real presidential work is done by others and our Bundespräsident is often claimed to be only the handshaker of our nation. He's head of the state but not of the government, comparable to the Queen.

Jake said...

This is why no one should ever take anything written in a blog, particularly news or political rants, too seriously. I have no idea what I'm talking about.