Video Game Violence: Time for Industry Self Evaluation?
February 20, 2013
Columnist Todd Martens avoids violent entertainment unless it comes in the form of a video game. “It’s not because I write about them for a living. It’s because the modern, big-budget game that doesn’t celebrate the art of shooting is as rare these days as an original Intellivision console,” he writes. In other words, if you want to play modern video games, you almost have to play violent ones.
In the wake of the recent Newtown, Connecticut shooting tragedy, Vice President Joe Biden met with representatives of the video game industry to discuss limiting gun violence in video games, and the National Rifle Association pointed the finger at video games, too.
“But like many who love to play video games and write critically about the field, I rolled my eyes when interactive entertainment was once again singled out for inciting real-life violence,” writes Martens for the Los Angeles Times. “But I wasn’t surprised. Video game publishers aren’t much for providing arguments to the contrary.”
And although he doesn’t believe video games carry with them the same emotional connection as movie violence, he still thinks the industry needs to change in some way and expand. “The incredible success of the ‘Call of Duty’-type stuff drives games away from more constructive conflict,” he suggests. “I think that’s one of the sad things and one of the things I don’t like about the game business… Enough with the shooting. Figure out another type of productive conflict — building, creating.”
Of the debate, he writes: “…it would be nice if the video game industry used the current gun debate as an opportunity, a chance to openly discuss whether its use of violence is artistic or gratuitous. It’s the time for self-evaluation and to ask whether the industry’s biggest games — the so-called AAA titles — are pushing the industry forward or simply finding new places and new ways to kill things.”
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