As a writer who has the ear and attention of no-one, and with no authority do I say the following: Video Games Do Not Make Gamers Violent, and anyone who says otherwise is going to get got!
It’s easy for me, I’m a middle-class, reasonably well off white male, aged in his mid 20’s and of Irish-English descent, living in England I have little to no experience of guns. Well, actually I live in quite a rural area and my neighbour once shot at a hot air balloon that was flying over head, but he is kind of mental, and that’s the point, some people are just not right in the head.
Recently, for obvious and tragic reasons, guns have been coming up in the news a lot, even here in England there is debate radio shows and news programs covering the latest events; circle jerking themselves with smug self-satisfaction that we don’t have as much gun crime as America. *fap fap fap* “Silly America, following their silly constitution” *fap fap fap*. It’s OK though Americans because we British are hypocrites of the highest order, sure we don’t have as much gun crime as you, but that’s because our ancestors were pugilists like this guy:
We are more keen on using our fists then a weapon, mainly because I fear most people know there is a somewhat smaller legal issue on the other end. I’ve been in about 5 fights in my life, all in my adulthood, and all because someone just didn’t like the look of me. After a while you kind of get used to taking a kicking, but at no point did I think whilst laying on the pavement getting to third base with a shoe; “Christ, this guy must love Call of Duty”.
And that’s the issue, from our side, the supposed enlightened gamer side, it’s easy to be high and mighty and take a swipe at the NRA for blaming us. But we’re just the flavour of the month, 15 years ago we were blaming Rap, before that it was pills and cocaine, before that weed and before that it was being German. The point is that this will pass, being elitist douches about American gun control isn’t going to do anything, writing your witty little haiku on Twitter isn’t the same as standing in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square, you’re just anonymous speck behind a keyboard.
I haven’t yet given my opinion on the gun crisis in America, mainly because I’m not American and my words have little to no impact, plus I stood on a slug once, so I’m really in no place to talk about violence. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t support the NRA or the hippies, I think most ideas can work as long as you can keep the crazies out of the picture, and that’s the problem, it turns out the NRA are the crazies; I just played the NRA’s iOS game “NRA: Practice Range”, and it’s a game, with guns.
The problem with this rather amazing bit of propaganda from the NRA is the psychology behind it. NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said in December “Guns don’t kill people. Video games, the media and Obama’s budget kill people”. This was Wayne’s response to the horrific Sandy Hook shooting. The organisation three weeks later release a game where you shoot cardboard cut outs of people .
The issue there is that what’s the difference between a virtual cardboard cut out and a virtual space marine. They both take damage from a bullet and they both have the acting ability and character range of, well, a card board cut out. The game itself is a steaming piece of Wayne LaPierre, it’s a tilt to aim and tap to shoot game that does nothing to advance gaming or the world’s opinions on guns. Oddly the game is rated to be suitable for children aged 4 and up, which sends yet another mixed message. Plus it features in app purchases, something which is the iOS equivalent of a drive by.
Games and violence are always going to go hand in hand; games are about escapism and release. Some people find that a nice game of virtual Mah Jong is enough, others enjoy a virtual race and others enjoy virtually shooting limbs off people. There is no right and wrong here, the problem is that when someone does something crazy in real life they are generally crazy, it’s too easy to see connections after the fact but to paint an entire sub-culture of hobbyists with that crazy brush is just unfair and backwards. That same rule could be applied to the NRA.
We need people like Wayne LaPierre to bring gamers together to uniformly scream “SHUT UP YOU CRAZY OLD FOOL” but just remember, when one person is talking and another is screaming it’s easy to get confused as to who the insane one is.