Violence in Video Games


Violence in Video Games
Blame the parents; not the games.

Originally Published on January 18, 2003

I recently received Grand Theft Auto: Vice City as a Christmas gift. I had been drooling over this title for months and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this highly criticized game. As a little setup, my only experience with GTA came years ago when I briefly played the original that a friend had. I didn’t like the game. Not because of any violent content but because it just wasn’t a good game. Now that I have played Vice City I see where the creators were trying to go with that original concept and how they were limited by the available hardware. As a preface, if you are easily offended then stop reading now. I am going to give my opinions of the state of video games and the world and I will be using some mildly offensive language. Now that I have set this up let me get straight to the point.

I played Vice City and I really don’t see what all of the fuss is about. I can understand that the material contained in the game offends some people. My response to this a very ineloquent, “shut the hell up”. I’m sick of people bitching and whining that their kids shouldn’t have to be exposed to this sick shit. Newsflash, Jackass, they don’t. Get off your lazy asses and monitor what the hell your kids are doing. I was raised to know the difference between entertainment and the real world. I have played Vice City and I have yet to go on a murderous killing spree. The, traditional media, and I use that term lightly, and some of our elected officials will have you believe that violence is caused by being subjected to violent images. In a word, this is bullshit.

Censors now protect us from harmful images such as these.
Censors now protect us from harmful images such as these.

Throughout my life I have seen many violent acts in such movies as Scarface, the Godfather series of movies, Arnold and Sly films and even in Wile E. Coyote cartoons (which have since been “edited for our protection”). While watching these images as a younger and more impressionable man were entertaining they did not lead me on a life of endless violence. I have never, or at least at the time I am writing this article, joined the Mafia, sold cocaine or brutally murdered all of those that opposed me or even dropped an anvil on an unsuspecting bird. Why is this? According to experts I should be on death row. I should be labeled a menace to society and locked away because of the images I have seen. I will tell you why. One word, parenting.

My parents instilled values to me that taught me right from wrong. Parents today are damn lazy. Mom and Dad both work and come home tired every day. Kids are left to raise themselves and basically they do a pretty shitty job of it. Why should they do a good job? It’s not their responsibility to raise themselves. Parents are more concerned nowadays with their comfort and getting ahead in life. They do not monitor closely enough what their children are doing or whom they are doing it with. If you say that somehow your child will play Vice City then you need to do some parenting. Find out why the parents of your child’s friends would allow them to have this game and then make arrangement so your child is not exposed to it. It is still your fault if you don’t know what your child is doing.

The best way to keep you child away from these things that will cause him or her to become a serial killer is to monitor and talk with your child. I was allowed to watch violent movies as a kid but I also got a speech explaining that this is not glorifying violence but in fact is teaching you how not to live your life. I was told that the Roadrunner and the Coyote were fictional characters and that in real life you cannot hit people in the head with an anvil and expect them to live. I was not brought up in a very religious house, but I know that killing people is wrong.

Killing 20 innocent people with a chainsaw then attacking the cops might not be such a good idea in real life - YA THINK!
Killing 20 innocent people with a chainsaw then attacking the cops might not be such a good idea in real life – YA THINK!

Video games get a particularly bad rap because of the direct interaction in the violence. Again, if a kid is raised correctly he will know that this is just a game and not something you should do in real life. I really enjoy playing Vice City. Playing that game is a good escape from reality. It is fun to pretend you are a criminal and have the freedom to do things you would never do in real life. I am fully aware that this is a fantasy world created by some game programs and not a self-help guide to living your life. I have some brains in my head. I was taught the difference between real life and fantasy through solid parenting and education. The very people that bitch endlessly about the state of the world should concentrate less on getting their dumb asses on television and spend some more quality time with their children. Why is it that nobody has asked these whining bastards where their children are while they are roaming the country promoting their agenda? They should be at home raising their children instead of continuously pissing me off. Of course they aren’t at home because they feel that their opinions should be forced on everyone and this is more important than raising their own children.

I sincerely hope that some adults will read this and stop blaming everyone but themselves for problems their kids are having. If parents paid attention to the music their kids are listening to, the video games they are playing, the websites they visit, the movies they watch and the people their children are associating with they would be doing a good thing. Somewhere in the last decade or so people found that it is much easier to blame others than to take responsibility for your own shortcomings. If you see a troubled child you should help them and not run to the local television station and blame others for the state they are in. If you want to stop excessive violence you should concentrate your time helping kids that have only one parent or an abusive household. That would be much more effective than getting yourself on television and bitching about it. Actions speak louder than words. This is a powerful statement that somehow is often ignored.

With the help of others we can make this a less violent world. The entertainment industry has not created the world we live in; it only mirrors it. We have created the world we live in with our indifference to the plights of others. I hope that people will see the errors of their ways and make a conscious effort to become better people themselves before they tell others how to live.

Scott Shirhall