War on an Abstract Noun: How the Debate on Video Game Violence is 'Doing It Wrong'. - ejronin Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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War on an Abstract Noun: How the Debate on Video Game Violence is 'Doing It Wrong'.

{This is simply part of a chapter in the book I'm working on  to pass the time.}

The effects and affects of violence in video games on society and its individual members has been a long drawn out debate. From the days of Wolfenstein 3D onward, parents, psychologists, and politicians continue to claim that children exposed to violent video games are more prone to acting out in violence. Is there any merit to these claims and if so, to what extent?

Is video game violence something to be aware of and alarmed about? Should game developers be more conscientious of the audience and the social trends to help keep consumers safe? On whose shoulders shall this impossible responsibility rest?

These are common questions asked by both sides of the debate surrounding video game violence. Often times they find placement in a chewed up rhetoric full of misleading facts from ‘researchers’ and ‘doctors’ or sensational hyperbole spewed by politicians pandering votes, developers justifying unethical practices and retailers clinging to profit support. Sometimes they become entrenched in mind-numbing idiocy and immediately dumped on floor by a ‘lazy parent’ or the self-titled hardcore gamer unwilling to do anything that might disrupt an entire afternoon of mainstream gaming.

No matter where the questions find themselves, regardless of who asks, and irrespective of presentation, answers given all result in the most alarming aspect of the debate: grammar.

Terms like violent rapidly transform from a simple adjective and become the centerpiece for a war – a war on an abstract noun. The first and usually most important casualty of any war is grammar. Semantics and context, which lead to understanding facts, take a back seat to private agenda and spiral into a culture war.

A sharp contrasting departure from previous culture wars involving a government and society, video game violence envelops a much larger culture war between society and corporations. Modern society has already seen culture wars on issues such as homosexual rights, gun control, abortion, and women in combat, and at times still carries on a fight over them. This culture war is entirely different due to the battlefield being both intangible and virtual. With society and corporations equally championing First Amendments Rights, and corporations claiming personhood, the government has limited reach on intervention leaving the outcome determined by us – society and our mettle to find an honest answer.

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