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Blame it on the Video Games...

an opinion by Seamus

Every now and then a game is taken from the shelves in some countries. The reason: The game is too violent... In the last couple of years, violence in computer games has been a big issue in the gaming industry, and with the current incidents in for example America, I fear the issue will only get bigger.

I got addicted to games many years ago, when my dad bought a C64. After that we bought an Amiga (which was the most logical choice at the time), and when the Amiga wasn't the best choice for games anymore (with the coming of the 486) I bought a PC. None of the computers have really been used much for something else than gaming. In all those years I think I've killed millions of creatures.

Three years ago I was considered a computer-nerd, today I'm potential killer of children...

More and more parents think computer games make their kids dangerously violent. They do not want their children to play them. Are they right or are they wrong?

Let's face it, there does seem to be an increase in violence amongst the younger people. But older people have the tendency to blame what they don't know, which is in this case the computergame. Maybe they are right, maybe they are wrong. But what really annoys me are people that say they are right about that WITHOUT giving any real evidence. All they can say is that violence has increased since computer games. True, but it has also increased since more people eat more pizza. The way I see it, no real research has been done with real scientific value. (as far as I know). Maybe they say 80% of all criminals are playing computer games. Everyone says: "It's the computer games!". But what if 85% of all people play computer games? The conclusion could now be that people who play games are less likely to be criminals. But we never hear about the latter percentage (at least I don't).

Of course, by doing the latter conclusion I am making the same mistake as the people I am talking about. It was just an example of how people "think".

I am arrogant enough to believe I've got a pretty good idea of how strange the world is. Living in one of the few truly "free" countries, I look at the coutries around me and see some really weird things, and ask myself these questions.
- why people are allowed to carry weapons (America), surely this WOULD increase crime. When confronting Americans about it, they defend the law and say it's part of their earliest law. I then think to myself: "WHY DIDN'T ANYONE THINK OF CHANGING THAT LAW? IF ONE OF YOUR EARLIER LAWS WOULD ALLOW YOU TO RAPE WOMEN, WOULD YOU ALSO DEFEND IT?"
- why is weed and hash illegal? The effects are roughly the same as drinking beer. Not entirely, you get less agressive... But that's not really a drawback, isn't it?
- why do I see people beat each other up in the Jerry Springer show, while cursing is "beeped" out. Since when is cursing worse than physical violence? Wouldn't it be more logical to filter the violence out?

As you can see, I've got some strong opinions about other countries/people. But I'm NOT gonna actively try to change these rules, unless I know for SURE that I'm right. Since I'm not sure, I won't. More politicians should do that, instead of making a quick decision about things they don't know anything about (in this case computer games).

By the way, I also think the computer industry isn't entirely innocent. It's rather childish to release violent games ON PURPOSE as the issue of computergame violence arose. The industry knew that all games that are forbidden will sell better. This way the angry parents were suddenly right where they first were wrong, AND the games got worse.

As for me, I feel that computer games have greatly enhanced my language skills (try playing Kings Quest 1 or Larry 1 when english is not your native language and you're only eleven years old), made me think more logically and made me the pacifist I'm today (when behind the computer you have less time beating up other kids). This is my experience and no parent in the world can tell me otherwise.

And I must never forget that my parents raised me, and that they too have been an important factor (THE most important factor) in my life. There's not a game in the world that can influence you as your parents can. They should remember that the next time someone is shot by a child who happened to play Quake or something.

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