WKU POP 201

Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Violence and Video Games – Oct. 20

Posted by cliffordpaulparsoniiiesq on November 27, 2016

I feel like there’s a meme out there, somewhere, suggesting that “I’m a gamer” is a good way to ruin a first date.

Let’s face it, gamers as a culture might not recover from the Gamergate fiasco, at least not anytime soon. Sure, gamers will always be a community, with their own unique languages and culture. But for outsiders, gaming culture may always have a negative connotation, based on the mainstream light shed on it by Gamergate.

But even with Gamergate aside, video game fans have come under fire for their hobbies for years. Every time a school shooting happens, they talk about how popular shooter-based games are. Critics have always seen such games as normalizing violent behavior by having kids control the on-screen character.

These allegations aren’t baseless. It’s easy to believe that kids might sympathize with the characters in violent games. Even though they’re fictional characters, they offer gamers the ability to control their actions and behavior. In the case of first-person shooter games, the player is seeing things from the character’s point of view, in the most literal sense possible.

When the topic of video games and violence gets raised, there are some arguments that you always hear no matter what. One of them is “Playing Monopoly doesn’t make me an economist, so why would Grand Theft Auto make me a carjacker?” This is one of the more obvious claims to make, but definitely a compelling one that makes you stop and think. However, it’s important to note that morals are not analogous to skills. It takes years of education and study to become a good economist. It’s something people set out to do. Meanwhile, it’s pretty much ingrained in us from birth that killing people is wrong.

Therefore, the point about Monopoly would be a stronger argument if economics was something we inundated our kids with instinctively (Don’t get me wrong – I certainly wouldn’t want my kids to miss out on the unadulterated joy that is Ben Stein’s voice).

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