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I’m starting to think that our glorious hobby has turned into a Care Bear fest. When Grand Theft Auto 4 took heat for its morals, we were jumping all over the networks for their thoughts and lack of journalism. Stories like this pop up all the time, and what do we do? We jump all over the place, defending our different positions on video games. We’re screaming and arguing the whole time of who is right and wrong.
I guess my question would have to be: why do we care so much what other people think of our hobby?
More recently, there’s been a ridiculous cry over the “Your Mom Hates Dead Space 2” campaign ad. The cry has been that this goes a step backwards in proving that gaming isn’t something that’s just violent and immature to the general public. There are gamers claiming that when the next crazed loon that shoots up a place and happens to have played Dead Space 2, the news media will have easy ammunition just by using this ad. There’s even an article about how this same ad is aimed towards children, since obviously only people 17 and under have mothers. Is that really what the ad is saying, or is it more in the lines of “Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?”.
I certainly don’t care or mind what the outside world thinks of my hobby. To me, the more the world looks at it and shakes its head, the more I give my hobby a thumbs up. It’s more punk rock to have a hobby that sickens the outside world, than to just fall in line. I like it that way. But I think part of the problem is that we have way too many people wanting video games to conform to an art form than to just let it be as explosive and pseudo-violent as it wants to be. The more we have people wanting Super Mario Galaxy to be in the ranks of a Picasso, the more reason we have to just tone it all down so the outside world sees its beauty. It’s Care Bear garbage!
We also have people who care because of the effects that feel it might have on the industry as a whole. We fear that outsiders will tell us what games should be like. But Hollywood is often attacked because of its betrayal of horrific violent scenes. The music industry is attacked because of its violent lyrics. Has this stopped films from being released recently? Expendables still was released, and it had gibs all over the place. So before we just assume, let’s look at the realistic picture: gaming will not be effected (in America, sorry to the rest of the world).
In 1994, my dad took me to Best Buy and we picked up a video game that Jack Thompson believes is a reason kids are violent today. We bought Mortal Kombat II on my Super Nintendo, the first day it came out. I grew up in a violent video game world, and the sicker the game was, the bigger the explosions, the more I wanted it. Does anyone remember when Soldier of Fortune I & II came out?
Yeah, I was all over that stuff. Gore in video games is as American as apple pie. I didn’t grow up mental. I’ve never killed an animal. Haven’t been in a fist fight in forever. I avoid confrontations. I actually can’t stand the sight of real life blood (it makes me dizzy). But in a video game, I know it’s fake and often humorously exaggerated, and that’s the way I like it.
But gamers, if you’re really concerned about the content in video games because your friends or family believe it turns people into ruthless killers, just ask them what video games Jack the Ripper played, or which Mortal Kombat Adolf Hitler inspired him. While they still hold that dumb look of confusion on their face, just reply, “Exactly.” and walk away.