There has been a smattering of articles in recent weeks, both here and on other sites, talking about violence in videogames. The premise of all of these articles is basically this, people are concerned about their children playing these game, researchers say, "don't worry." That may be a gross oversimplification of every article on the subject, but I am not too far off. 

The thing that shocks me most about these articles isn't that people look at violent videogames and worry. My emotional reaction is that there must be some link, how can we be exposed to these violent images and actions and not be effected? What does surprise me is the reaction of gamers to these articles. I am not sure if it is general ignorance on the history of censorship in America, or that they are just egocentric people, who react strongly only when something they love is under attack. Many reaction I have read read something like this; "I play video games and I don't kill people, why don't they look at movies, or violent books, heck, the comics I read are super violent." (not an actual quote)

I am not in the habit of judging other people's opinions but, THIS IS THE WRONG REACTION! Our first reaction when videogames are blamed, attacked or threatened with censorship should not be to attempt to pass the buck to some other media. I say this for two reasons; first it cheapens the argument that media does not incite young people to violence, if videogames are innocent, so too are music, comics, books and movies. The other reason why we shouldn't is because all of those forms have had their day in court, literally.


Above is Dee Snider, John denver and Frank Zappa testifying before congress in opposition to the parental advisory labels on album covers.

And here is William Gaines, founder of Mad Magazine testifying before congress in defense of comic books. 

And now we have the same attacks that have been leveled against them, directed at us. Part of the reason is that videogames close to being the largest of those industries the other reason is because those before us lost. William Gaines stopped making horror comics because of censorships that would be imposed on him, so he started a magazine, Mad Magazine, which would be exempt from the restrictions. The film industry, perhaps assuming that they would be next adopted an across the board rated system, and the parental advisory stickers were placed on all albums whose lyrics were considered "explicit", a term which has been over simplified to the point of bastardization. 

If we want to be looked at as legitimate, and if we really believe that videogames do not ruin children we need to stand and defend the medium. "What about them?" is not a valid defense, and it will only harm the defense of the next target. I will end this rant with a quote from the testimony of William M. Gaines.

"Our American children are for the most part normal children. They are bright children, but those who want to prohibit comic magazines seem to see dirty, sneaky, perverted monsters who use the comics as a blueprint for action...What are we afraid of? Are we afraid of our own children? Do we forget that they are citizens, too, and entitled to select what to read or do? We think our children are so evil, simple minded, that it takes a story of murder to set them to murder, a story of robbery to set them to robbery?"

(Note* This was pretty stream of consciousness so forgive any minor errors)