Violence in video games is one topic that comes up a lot when there’s been a mass shooting or an obscure crime. Video games have always had a lot of controversy surrounding them when it comes to touchy subjects like violence, but is it all so needed? And why is the media so quick to jump and blame video games for peoples actions?
There have been many cases where violent video games have been blamed for a criminal’s actions, but the most prominent example I’ve found is the case of Devin Moore.
Devin Moore was convicted of murder after the 2003 shooting of two police officers and a dispatcher with a .44 caliber pistol before fleeing the police station in a police cruiser. This sparked off controversy around the recently released Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, as there’s a mission in the game that has you doing the exact thing that Devin did. Moore was sentenced to death by lethal injection, and the victim’s families went on to sue Sony, Take Two, Wal-Mart and GameStop. Devin Moore had allegedly played Vice City for days on end prior to his attack, and the media said that he was trained to kill.
Since then, there have been many more shootings and deaths that the media have tried relentlessly to pin on video games, such as many of the school shootings in the United States. We all know that games can be violent, but they don’t train people to kill others. Video game studios don’t put out messages and step-by-step instructions on how to get away with a crime or murder. Games aren’t real life, and that’s the bottom line.
Some of the criminals in these crimes are underage and can’t fully understand the consequences of their actions. This doesn’t excuse their actions, regardless of their age. Some of the people involved in the crimes, such as Devin Moore, are troubled teenagers with a bad background. Devin was abused by his father and used video games as an escape from his troubles, just like a lot of people do. He lost control of his own actions, unfortunately, and it had a tragic outcome.
Another murder that video games were blamed for is the murder of Stefan Pakeerah. His friend, Warren Leblanc, after Warren had become obsessed with “Manhunt”, a game for the Playstation 2 and Xbox. Manhunt is described to be more of a psychological experience instead of a game. Because of the brutality of the murder, the media and police linked Manhunt to the murder of Stefan. Once again, I don’t feel like it was just the game that spurred the murder on.
There are plenty of people in the world who play violent video games such as Manhunt, Battlefield, Call of Duty, and many others. Grand Theft Auto is incredibly popular, too. The truth is, you don’t see every gamer who plays these incredibly popular games going out and performing the murders shown in the games that they play.
A majority of the people who enjoy sitting and playing video games use it as an escape from their real world troubles. They aren’t seen as a murder simulator or anything of that nature, but I can understand why the media is quick to jump and blame the violence on video games.
The violent content in video games get picked out because it’s the most spoken about thing. There are age restrictions for a reason. While working in a retail store through the Christmas parents, I had many parents come in and ask for advice on whether they should purchase the latest Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto game for their 10-14 year old child. My answer was always the same: No, due to the graphic content of this game, I wouldn’t allow a child to play this game. Did they listen? Nope! At the time of the Devin Moore case, he was 16. He was somehow able to get his hands on an M (Ages 17+) game. Parents should share a bit of the blame, as well as the retailer. The majority of the blame, though, should lie on the criminals and their actions, not on the industry as a whole.
In my opinion, violent content in video games isn’t a big deal in any way. It doesn’t train people to kill others, and it’s not a thing to feel threatened by. People can clearly see the line between violence in video games and violence in real life, and they know right from wrong. I see it as a problem the individual committing the crime has, rather than learnt behavior from virtual reality. I’d love to hear from some of you guys and what your opinions are on the matter. Let me know!