By Tom Z
11:17 AM EST, December 19, 2012
I’m not going to get into the Newtown shooting, since it’s still a very touchy subject, and speaking with elegance or tact has never been my forte. However I’d like to address the new accusation that video games like Call of Duty and Modern Warfare are contributing to our society’s violence. Here’s one example from Buzzfeed (which it should be noted is much more even-keeled than some of the arguments on other sites):
It's not crazy to feel uneasy that young men's most influential entertainment products, the cultural touchstones they do and will reminisce about in adulthood, are built around the premise of empathizing with a man with a gun in his hand, who kills not in the crudely symmetrical and grim manner of war but gleefully commits mass slaughter. These games become more like action movies with each passing technological generation, approaching photorealism and pulling players into actual, active theaters of war. These are first-person games with first-person narratives, differentiated from films only by a lack of distinction between viewer and protagonist.
We’ve been using these same tired excuses for 15 years now. (See Eminem’s 2000 hit “The Way I Am” for further reference.) I don’t know what caused this tragedy, but blaming video games is complete BS. I used to play Mortal Kombat 18 hours a day growing up, and I’ve never ripped out someone’s spine in real life. I loved Oregon Trail, and I’m yet to have one person in my family die from dysentery. And true, while on the road I often shoot turtle shells at other drivers, but I was doing that WAY before Mario Kart.
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