Video Game Controversy – Who Is to Blame?

The June 2011 ruling by the Supreme Court struck down a California law which banned the sale of “violent” video games to children. The ruling was based on the decision that the current in place video game rating system was appropriate for parents to make the decision on what content their children are exposed to.

First of all I need to exclude myself from the parent category as I have no children and my cats have yet to master a joystick. I am however a gamer and I while I am exposed to violence in video games, I find myself having real issues with games that present moral controversies. We can fight and win or lose and die and resurrect. We can choose our weapons and armor and chase things down. However at the end of the day, most of us log off and resume our normal lives. I really don’t think about the game after the glowing pixels have been retired for the day. But when we play a game that offers moral choices, it seems to linger in our minds a bit longer than the normal shoot em’ up games.

Fable (Lionhead Studios) offers us choices on whether we want to be righteous or not so nice. We can go down the path of doing good deeds for the townsfolk or we can choose to rob and cheat them. Rewards can be achieved either way. Consequences are faced if you choose to rob someone F95ZONE just like real life. Maybe you get caught and maybe you don’t. Adults can make these choices and have the ability (at least most do I hope!) when they log off, to put this experience in perspective – this was a video game and not a reflection of real life behavior which has come about via our development of concrete thought which is a graduation from the adolescent thought process of our youth.

Bioshock (2k Boston/IrrationalGames) presents us with a choice of killing naughty little girls, Now these are actually monsters who have transformed themselves into naughty girls but they have the visual appearance of your sweet little sister. You have to kill them – yes really. You have to make the choice to kill them or be killed. This game stirs up some emotions in anyone, no matter how old. Killing something cute and innocent whether puppies or kittens or little girls just doesn’t feel good. Better said… it shouldn’t feel good.

There are endless game titles that display graphic violence. These aren’t games I choose to play, but it isn’t my place to judge what an adult chooses to play on his or her clock. But what about parents who play these extreme games and have them in their home? What about parents who restrict these games, only to find that at a friend’s house, these games are being played? I have to wonder If parents really understand that a child really doesn’t have the ability to differentiate the effects these games have on their developing brain?

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