Video games: Politicians whipping boy? - Di5a5terp13ce Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Video games: Politicians whipping boy?

 Hello once again GIO! Despite not being able to log in(stupid computer place), I was able to read some news. And I noticed the blog section was kinda slow. So here's my new blog.

 There was this one  article that bothered me. It was an article that says a Russian news station blames Call of Duty for the recent bombing in Moscow.Thats not all. They also say that there is(or has to be) a connection when I don't see any proof. Which is leading me to believe that us gamers have become society's and politicians whipping boy. A patsy to pin the blame on. But it wasn't always this way. Let's go back in time before this all started.

 Back in the day,  Video games and politics were never mentioned in the same sentence. All we had to worry about was keeping ourselves stocked up on potato chips and soda while we took on the next hoard of zombies in Resident evil or pushing our characters to the next level in Final fantasy. The so called "video game violence" debate never existed. We were able to game in peace. Those day's are long gone, my friends.

 As technology advanced, so did the consoles. Games graphics improved. We were beginning to see things that would have been impossible in the 8 bit days. But the games matured with the gamers. Games indeed became violent and bloody. But it's because we got older. People wanted something more mature to play.

 Gamers aren't really "political". Most of us just like playing our favorite games, unlock achievements and trophies, read up on previews, and challenge our friends to death matches. Most of us don't really care about politics. Who does anyway? I bet most of us aren't even interested in politics. So why should I care?

 The reality that there's a lot to care about. We (or most of us ignore the politics of the game world at our own risk. Most of us aren't "politically" aware. But everyone, from politicians to religious fanatics are scrambling to put their stamp on our favorite pass time. Using the video game violence debate as a stepping stone for everything. It goes back to the days of Doom, which drew controversy for its extreme violence and satanic image. But the debate didn't start until the first Mortal Kombat hit arcades.

 The debate continued throughout the years. From the cop killing scenes in 25 to Life to the infamous Hot Coffee mod In GTA San Andreas, it feels like everyone has a bone to pick with video games. No matter the content. And the constant thought that if a guy goes on a killing spree, he is a gamer. As if it was actually the games fault. It's not the games fault that there are so many violent people in the world. And it's rotten luck that he or she decides to play a game before committing such an act. So it doesn't matter if he or she only played a game once or never played at all. It's an easy blame for politicians.

Why conduct an investigation when I can just blame games? That seems to be what most politicians think these days. The same thing happened after the incident at the Virginia Tech. Anti game crusader Jack Thompson came out and said that the perpetrator was "trained"  to kill in the game Counter Strike, when in reality there we no games found in the students room. Another politician looking for another easy blame instead of acknowlodging that the student was mentally ill.

 The recent bombing in Moscow is another example. How quick were they to pin the blame on Call of duty? Trying to link the "No Russian" to the bombing. And considering the fact the mission isn't included in the russian version of the game. But how many movies have taken place in Moscow. DIE HARD people!!!!

 THe same things happened with rock and roll, comic books, and Dungeons and Dragons. Now that video games are the most dominant form of entertainment, it gives politicians something to point at and say "that's the bad guy". But maybe the industry has something to do with it.

 I'm referring to how far the content envelope is being pushed. And it's no doubt that the industry has pushed that envelope to the point of completely ripping it apart. From Splatterhouse to CoD Black ops, the content envelope is being pushed  with a vengeance. But, if you go to far, if you push the content envelope to far, your gonna get their attention.  And it's gonna lead to highly charged political disputes that's not only gonna affect the industry, but us gamers as well. Hot coffee anyone? No thanks.

 But we're not gonna sit around, controllers in hand and let politicians censor our favorite pass time. We have our rights and the game industry will continue to mount First Admendment  challenges to any law that restricts our right to buy these games. And the good part is the industry hasn't lost any of these cases. And with the current Supreme court hearing, I have high hopes that the no loss record will hold.

 But that's not gonna stop politicians from trying to regulate gaming. Now some congressman want's T and M rated games to carry a sticker saying that over exposure is "linked" to aggressive behaviour. As I said before... EVERYONE wants to put their stamp on gaming!

 It feels like the E.S.R.B never existed. I think the E.S.R.B does a great job rating games and content. And it's shameful that politicians won't realize that its bad parenting thats the problem. The E.S.R.B already put's a label on the box. Along with the contents on the back. what more do you want ?!?! A game store these days won't sell M rated games to  child. If a parent says it's okay. That they'll still buy the game even after the warning. I guess its under their own discrection.

The next question is... why only games? Why not movies,music, and books? Are you telling me that its okay for a kid to watch movies like Saw?!?! Movies have been just as violent in the last few years. And thats not what bothers me. What bothers me is that people don't complain when a kid watches a violent movie.

 It's amazing how thick headed politicians are these days. How long is it gonna take for them to realize that it's bad parenting that's the problem? That some parents just don't check what their kids are playing. A law isn't gonna change bad parenting. 

Just like W.O.W players were deemed "no lifers" , Dungeons and dragons players deemed Occultist and Satanist, Gamers are deemed to be a murder waiting to happen. It's ridiculous if you ask me.

So in short, have we become politicians whipping boy? In a way... yes. Politicians are always looking for something new to criticize. Or maybe they want more votes. It would be better if they would just reach out to parents. Telling them to take action and watch over what games their children play. And be more responsible. It's very important that parent's understand that games like GTA, Gears of War, and Call of Duty are not for kids. But nothing is that simple anymore.

 If games were really linked to aggresive behaviour, would the crime rate among youths have dropped as much as it did?Rather the contrary. It would have risen. Kid's would rather play games these days. Besides, would you rather have your chid outside on the street at 3:00 in the morning or in his or her's room playing games? The answer wouldn't be to hard for me. Politicians should worry more about their states debt. Instead of wasting their time trying to put a sticker on a CD case.

 But if one attempt fails, politicians will try something else. One such attempt was the attempt to apply sin taxes to gaming. Since most politicians can't prove that games can be legislated and treated like alcohol or firearms, than maybe they can tax them similarly. But most people are quick to point out that no such thing exist for movies or music. At least the efforts to tax gaming have lessened. But they'll be back. At least i hope not to soon.

Healthcare policy are also important. Since most doctors worry that over-gaming contributes to the obesity epidemic. Alongside video game addiction with M.M.O being the prime example. But the good news is that some doctors also know that games can help most kids tolerate pain and makes adapting to their surroundings that much easier.Especially during long hospital stays.

 So after so much censor attempts, what can a game like myself do? it's easy(believe it or not). Become involved. Let your voice be heard. Stand up for your rights. It's not fair that politicians want to take away our consumer rights. The decision on what games,movies, and music is our decision. Not theirs. I'm sick and tired of these debates.

 But as long as video games are the most dominant form of entertainment, these debates will continue. At least until something new comes along.....

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