Believable violence or just a video game

By Shane Evans
November 4, 2004

There has always been a controversy about the influence that video games have on kids in this country. Being that the industry is so big, it reaches millions of adolescent Americans and its impact, positive or negative, has always been disputed.

So when game franchises like Grand Theft Auto come out, the debate becomes that much more heated.

For those of you who don’t know, Grand Theft Auto is one of the most successful and most fought over franchise in video game history. Kids love it, parents hate it.

The premise is basically that you are a guy living in a huge city. You can wonder around wherever you want violently murdering whomever you please, breaking the law in any number of ways, basically you have the freedom to do whatever your little heart desires.

This type of independence in a gamers mind is euphoric because of how much is possible. When someone who isn’t familiar with the concept views it for the first time, the opinions tend to be a bit different.

There have been protests by angry parents to have the games in the series removed from the shelves, but to no avail. The demand for the games has been unbelievable.

Being an avid gamer myself, I don’t understand the argument that many parents are raising. It is called a video game for a reason, because it’s exactly that, a game. It is intended to entertain, not to impact.

Granted the game is intended for people over the age of 17, as it is clearly stated on the cover of the box. So the question isn’t so much about if the game should be taken of the shelves. It is definitely more of the parenting involved.

Because the popularity of the games is extraordinary, kids of all ages are going to want to get a copy. Well since that’s the case, it should be up to the parents whether they are allowed to have it or not. And that definitely doesn’t mean that soccer moms with nothing better to do should be fighting to spoil the fun for everyone.

Just before the previous game in the franchise came out, it was a very close possibility that it wouldn’t be released at all, because of the outcry from worried parents who thought the game was just too violent to be allowed.

The way I see it is, that a game could be the most violent and disgusting creation to ever reach the market but it won’t have any negative affect on a child if he has had a strong upbringing.

Kids who are taught the right from wrong at an early age, will be able to easily distinguish between violence in a video game, and the things that go on in real life.

If anything, the games are so realistic, that they in some ways teach kids a lesson. A lot of the stuff that happens in the game does happen in the inner cities to some extent, and a better understanding of the things that do happen in society today is given.

Furthermore, I don’t believe parents are giving kids enough credit these days. Obviously they are trying to protect their little babies from the harsh realities that are around every corner, but sometimes they are fighting a losing battle.

As a college student, and a friend of a few dozen people who love the games, I have trouble seeing the problem with something like this. The violence and obscenities are a bit extreme, but it can all go back to the fact that it isn’t intended for younger people to begin with. The “mature content” label is right on the front of the box, and if you don’t want your kids to play it, don’t let them buy it.

The entertainment factor of these games has always been something that has drawn me to it. I have never played it and then sat back and wondered what it would be like to kill someone in the middle of a crowded street. My brain just doesn’t work that way. And that is how the vast majority of youths think also. As unfortunate as it is, the only kids who might think like that are the ones who are neglected and feel unloved by the people who are supposed to care the most, their parents.

If a child has been brought up well and understands that decapitating someone with a samurai sword isn’t normal behavior, I’m pretty sure that we will be ok. But whenever something like this is released, there will always be people fighting to spoil the fun for everyone, myself included and that is definitely a bad thing.

Posted to the web by Paul Nasella

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Shane Evans

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