Everyone knows that video games contain some violence and sexually suggestive content. According to the National Coalition Against Censorship, http://ncac.org/resource/a-timeline-of-video-game-controversies, the first game with violent content to be pulled off the shelves was “Death Race”, released in 1976. Although it was little more than grainy black and white images, with no discernable graphic gore, the creatures that were killed make a little “eek” sound, which alarmed the censors and it was taken off the market.
Today, little has changed when it comes to video game censorship hysteria. Yes, there are better color graphics and extraordinary sound effects included in today’s games, however, it is no worse than what you would view on prime time television in shows like “The Walking Dead”, where brains are routinely splattered and people are shown being eaten alive by decomposing zombies.
One of the most erroneous claims by the pro-censorship lobby is that viewing and playing video games with violent content drives young people to commit violent acts. The 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary not only energized the gun control agenda, but also brought the topic of video game censorship back to the forefront.
Apparently, Adam Lanza, the Connecticut shooter, was described as an “avid gamer”. Although police found after the murder/suicide that his hard drive was destroyed, and that there were no direct links from video game content to the crime, the media harped on the fact that he loved playing video games, in particular Dance Dance Revolution, a game that revolves around physical dancing and music, that has actually helped teens get fit. The content of the games he played did not seem to matter. They cited “gaming” as a precursor to his violent acts. Other mass shootings have been attributed to “game addiction” which stimulated aggression.
A study by Harvard Medical School Center for Mental Health and Media, documented in Grand Theft Childhood, http://www.grandtheftchildhood.com/GTC/Home.html, shows that there the correlation between violent video games and violent crime is a fallacy. So many other factors, like parenting, childhood mental illness, child abuse and other experiences hold more sway concerning what a person will or will not do, given the right circumstances. If there were no violent games, they would find a trigger in something else like comic books or graphic novels.
Before video games, the Beatles’ White Album was blamed for Charles Manson and his family committing brutal murders in 1969. This does not take into account the millions of people who enjoyed the album without thinking that it contained hidden messages about a violent race war directly from the fab four. A twisted mind can take anything from a TV commercial to a song and think it has a satanic or violent message.
Japan has produced the most gory, violent content in video games to date. Conversely, they have a much lower crime rate than the United States. With the number of “avid gamers” among Japan’s population, and the extreme content of some of these games, it would hold true that they would have mass murders and other acts of aggression occurring on a daily basis.
An agenda to censor video games takes the focus off of more important needs of society, like mental health treatment and assistance for families in crisis. As long as society has video games to blame for tragedies beyond comprehension, the underlying sources of these violent acts will not be properly addressed.