VIDEO GAMES & CULTURE: Sifting through the moral panic for the truth


Last years gun crimes reached a devastating new level, giving a new rise to a single word question: Why?

What caused these horrible acts?

President Barack Obama is asking for a government study to be conducted on the effects of violent media. More specifically, violent video games come to mind.

Hopefully, now we’ll get an answer that will silence parents groups and out-of-tilt news organizations.

But the answer more than likely will not make the critics happy.

Whenever a horrible crime is committed someone, somewhere will get on a soap box and blame some form of pop culture for the event.

Video games are the new kid on the block.

Once cars were considered brothels on wheels. Comic books were censored for years  based on the ‘findings’ in Dr. Fredrick Wertham book ‘Seduction of The Innocent.’

Music was said to shift the masses away from God. Controversy once occurred over the way Elvis Presley shook his hips.

The issue always is that of language.

Whenever a new form of media emerges to be embraced by the youth, members of other generations freak out because they don’t understand it.

People fear what they don’t understand.

Its been said that gaming makes a person antisocial. Or it’s been said that games can make a person violent.

Dr. Henry Jenkins director of comparative studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology has stressed for quite some time that these fears go unfounded.

Of over 300 case studies on media violence and its effects the vast majority have found no causal link between real world violence and video game violence.

In fact, the most common prevailing thought is a possibility of increased aggression after playing a video game, buttrying to link aggressive thoughts with violent

actions holds no sway.

Games are competitive by nature so if you lose or if you’re stuck frustration it is a natural reaction.

That has nothing to do with the actual content of the game.

I’ve seen just as many guys fuming over missing a line in ‘Tetris’ as I have getting upset after losing a round of deathmatch in ‘Halo.’

Gaming nowadays is not the same as it was 35 years ago when the Atari 2600 was all the rage.

Gamers have grown up and as such so have the games. The average gamer now is almost 30 years old, thus the types of games most prevalent today cater to their tastes.

The issue lies with the parents and adults who don’t pay attention, who don’t know what games are despite gaming having the most thorough rating system possible to inform.

Gaming isn’t the problem, neither was Batman, The Beatles or Tarantino.