Thursday, 13 May 2010

The Glorification of Violence and Fornication

One of the main problems people seem to have with video games is that they “glorify” sex and violence and this makes children grow up corrupted and desensitised and they might stab people. Of course, there have been loads of studies that prove that games make children violent, they are just secret studies that only exist in a realm of reality that only anti-game enthusiasts can see, or at least that’s what I imagine because I sure as hell can’t find any. They just spout random statistics to get ignorant people like putty in their hands so they’ll buy their latest book or whatever they’re selling.

Violence in media has always been around and video games are just the latest punch bag to emerge, 30 years ago, people would be complaining about violence on TV, 80 years ago people would have complained about violence in movies, 10,000 years ago, probably complained about violence in cave paintings. People are always looking for an excuse why someone stabbed someone and instead of blaming the child’s own free will, poor parenting or perhaps the person in question deserved to be stabbed, no its Rockstar’s fault because they “taught” him how to use a knife, I’m not even sure how this works, unless you’re unaware of which end made people bleed.

It’s pretty clear that these so called “experts” haven’t played a game in their life but people believe anything you tell them if you’re over the age of 50 and in a suit and stick some sort of percentage in there. No, you don’t get “points” for killing cops and the aim of the game isn’t to kill prostitutes.

Complaints were actually received about the advert for Heavy Rain glorifying violence, now, anyone with a brainstem can tell this game is in no way glorifying violence, on the contrary. It shows the after effects, the consequences, the problems that come with taking a life. Then, to bring up a point Jo made in a previous article you have adverts for joining the army. They show guns, tanks, airplanes, boats all the machines that where invented to kill a guy quicker than he can kill you, they make it all flashy and give it the “boy with their toys” appeal. This is for an invention, the sole purpose of which is for ending life. Now, which one of these is actually doing the glorifying? Which one is getting the blame for people getting killed?

Then there’s sex, which is equally as hypocritical, all you have to do is turn prime time TV on and see the latest advert for deodorant or make-up and have far more sexual content then you’d see in most video games, and even then, watch anything on Channel 4 post watershed and you’ll see stuff worse than pretty much all video games (well, all of the ones sold outside Japan anyway). Yet Mass Effect got accused of being a “porn simulator” (which when you look at it is a deeply flawed term anyways, how does one simulate porn?) yet it’s actually tastefully done, and shows the feelings and connection between the two characters and the most graphic thing you get is a sideboob. What kind of porn are they actually watching?

Granted this issue does seem to be getting less pressing, Mass Effect 2 didn’t get any stick to my knowledge and that was probably more graphic, and Heavy Rain (yes I know I keep using this game in examples, if it’s bothering you play a drinking game or something) didn’t receive much notoriety and that’s probably more graphic still.

One more point on sex in games, I found this link today: Click. Now, surely he must have known of Rule 34’s existence, by its very nature you can find porn of anything, Sonic, Pokémon, The Land Before Time and pretty much anything that will destroy your childhood in a few simple jpegs. None of these previously had any sexual context but the internet got hold of it and suddenly Simba has a foot long. So, you make a game like Bayonetta which is pretty sexual itself, you’re pretty much doing half the work for them, and then you had the stones to complain when porn of it emerges? If you’re going to make a highly sexual character expect the character to be highly sexualised, it would be like serving someone an extremely salty meal and complaining if they get a drink afterwards.

Video games are no worse than any other form of media, TV, film, music, all influence people to some extent but people are always in control, if someone “copies” a video game it’s not at the fault of the game but at the fault of the person. Some people are naturally violent regardless of what hobbies they do or don’t have (except maybe yoga) and these people should be dealt with accordingly instead of fighting against an industry and ruining it for all the people who have self control and the little voice that tells them what’s real and what isn’t.

The best idea is to educate people more on game ratings, people still think that the age rating is purely based on difficulty and nothing else and then complain when they find out their 8 year old is running over pensioners in a golf cart. I saw a mother and her kid in game a few days ago, the kid wanted Forza Motorsport and the mother said “No, it’s obviously a 12 for a reason” obviously having no idea that a simple flip of the case would tell her exactly why it’s a 12. (which as it turns out is bad language, why you need to effectively cut out a large percentage of your audience by adding a few swears to a racing game of all games is beyond me). PEGI should run a few adverts on TV, tell parents about ratings and leave it all up to them instead of letting the Daily Mail handle it.

In return, for gamers, have a rating on all talk shows when video games are the topic, with little icons that mean “contains people that haven’t the faintest what they are on about” and “contains an audience with a collective amount of less than 5 brain cells” just to give us a heads up on what to expect from the next 20 minutes that way and prepare accordingly, possibly by performing a lobotomy on ourselves beforehand so we’re on the same train of thought as the people on the program.

“Before you go and criticize the younger generation, just remember who raised them.” ~ Unknown

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