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Eight Reasons Why Video Games Are Bad Role Models

by Blake Hester on Jun 11, 2016 at 08:00 AM

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If you were to attempt half of the things that commonly occur in video games, at best you would get dirty looks. At worst you would be imprisoned for life or end up dead. From eating food found in the street to disobeying traffic laws, committing mass murders, and lighting yourself on fire, there are a few lessons we shouldn’t take away from video games. 

We collected some of the worst ideas video games have tried to put in our minds as a cautionary tale of what not do from day to day.  

Eating Food Found in the Street or Trash
As a general rule of thumb, any food found on the street, in a trashcan, or in a wasteland should avoid the inside of your mouth. Contrary to what you may have been led to believe from games like Streets of Rage 2, Bioshock, or the Fallout series, street-turkeys, trash-cakes, and irradiated Salisbury Steaks will do little to help your overall health. In fact, eating said items will likely just give you food poisoning, cancer, or worse.

Not to mention the looks you would get. How are you going to impress that certain someone with a dirt sandwich hanging half-way out of your mouth? Come on, think about your image.

You Can Walk Into Someone’s House and Do Whatever The Hell You Want
Sure, you could argue this worked for Michael Moore in his 2002 film Bowling for Columbine, but generally people living outside of Canada are large proponents for the locking of front doors. So going into strangers’ homes and breaking their pots looking for treasures like Link, sleeping in their beds like in the Far Cry series, or stealing anything that isn’t nailed down like you may in Skyrim is a good way to get yourself either assaulted or arrested.

Being a Great Athlete Will Lead to Spontaneous Combustion
Some of life’s greatest questions are: How do I become a more proficient baller? And how do I make my slam-dunks that much sweeter? If video games are to be believed, the answer is fire. In the case of games like NBA Jam or NFL Blitz, the better your physical prowess, the more likely you are to be engulfed in flames. 

Now there’s a couple of things to unpack here. First, fire will do little to help your overall vertical leap. Second, there is no way any reputable sports association (aside from maybe the now-defunct XFL) will allow that kind of behavior. Setting anything on fire halfway through a basketball game would make even Ron Artest look like he’s playing in the Puppy Bowl.  

Never Throwing Anything Away
I still have potions saved in the first Kingdom Hearts from 2002. Not a hi-potion or a mega-potion, just a standard, vanilla potion. Those potions are 14-years-old. They’re high school-age; in two years they’ll be able to drive, and they’ll be able to vote in the 2020 election. Those potions are older than I was when I first played Kingdom Hearts. But I can’t get rid of them. What if I decide to fight Ursula again and I run out of all my better materials? Sure, it’s not likely, but better safe than sorry, right?

Can you imagine if you held onto a bottle of apple juice for 14 years? It would become so spoiled, it would probably create a new element: Grossatanium. We hold onto too much junk in video games; there’s too much clutter in our inventories. This is how you end up on an episode of Hoarders. Free up some space; throw away those receipts in your pockets and stop harboring Starbucks cups in your car. Get your life together, man.  

You Can Blatantly Disregard Traffic Laws
The day I received my driver’s license, I also received a reckless driving charge after not merging around a cop on the shoulder of the freeway. Honest mistake, in my opinion. Last night in Grand Theft Auto V, I intentionally flipped my car into oncoming traffic at roughly 100 mph, taking out several bystanders in the process, and I received no ticket, slap on the wrist, or jail time. That’s just, like, not how laws work, man.

There’s a pretty obvious dissonance between the virtual and actual worlds. Restrict your aggressive, hostile GTA-style driving to consoles or PCs. Most cops will not turn a blind eye to someone entering traffic by launching themselves from a conspicuously placed dumpster-turned-ramp – especially when they have a ticket quota to meet. Not that that’s necessarily a lesson learned by experience.

You Can Commit Mass-Murder With No Repercussions
By the time I saw the credits in Uncharted 3, I had ended the life of over 500 people vicariously through the hands of Nathan Drake. Yet, judging by its recent sequel, Uncharted 4, no legal action has been taken against Drake. In fact, his life seems exponentially better, albeit slightly more slow-paced and domestic. Did no one notice a sizable chunk of the population is now missing? Nothing, really? Not even a flag flown at half-mast for the lives lost?

You can’t commit a one-man genocide and expect no legal ramifications. Even if you did discover El-[goshdarn]-Dorado, you can’t wipe out an entire zip code and expect to walk away scot-free.

You Can Jump on Lava Twice, But the Third Time You’re Dead
Lava can reach temperatures of over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Any temperature over 176 Fahrenheit will burn human flesh in a matter of seconds. Jumping in Earth Soup like you’re a lombax named Ratchet or a hedgehog named Sonic will not end well for you. I feel I have nothing left to say here.

If You Die, You’ll Respawn at a Checkpoint
In real life, death is often a hard concept to cope with. It’s an inevitable end to all we know as real, all we know as fact. In games, though, death is something to laugh at. It’s a quick, temporary break from the task at hand, and slightly annoying at its worst. Fall off a cliff? Take a bullet through the skull? Don’t worry, games have you covered. The last auto-save was only a few minutes ago.  

This, of course, is not how life works. Imagine life as a straight road, but one you can only go forward on. Now say, for example, a mile down the road you decide to jump into a large Prince of Persia-style pit filled with spikes rather than walk around it. I’m not sure why, but you do. You’re not coming back to life at the Chevron a mile and a half back. That’s it, it’s a wrap. No respawns, no second lives, no returning to the nearest bonfire. 

Avoid that pit as long as you can, because if you don’t, it’s game over.