Wednesday, March 15, 2006

For Every Action an Even Greater Reaction

25 to Life is a game that has sparked a sudden outburst of controversy. Parents concerned that video games will make their kids violent, lawmakers worried about public appearance, etc. Most people are over-reacting. I, for one, am not.

On the one hand, parents and people concerned over violent games encouraging cop-killing still haven't realized that games like this have been around for years. How about the incredibly successful series Grand Theft Auto? It's been so successful, Rockstar Games is on the sixth version! Stores would be crazy not to put it on their shelves.

Grand Theft Auto encourages cop-killing, drug dealing, hooker pimping, and other low-down and degrading behaviour. Kids love it. Why? It lets them do things they can't do in the real world. Take me for instance. I've always wanted to be a spy, someone being hunted down. I'd have to kill people just to survive. Fortunately, I am not able to do this in real life. So I play games. I would have to be insane to think that playing these games had given me new powers, and that now I could do it for real.

Stores like Best Buy have been receiving batch emails in employee inboxes calling for cancelling the sale of 25 to Life on their shelves. I say, phooey! If you don't like these games, don't buy 'em. But leave them up there for us. Best Buy, keep it up! We're rooting for ya!

On the other hand, violence in games needs to stop, or at least slow down and let off the accelerator. The real problem with violence in video games is not that it makes kids violent; it doesn't. We've already proven that in previous articles. The problem is that there is simply too much. It clogs the medium. It forces good, family-values-oriented games off of shelves so stores can cater to a select few gamers. This aren't just bad ideas, they're bad business practices.

Sure, I enjoy a good GTA game now and then. And yes, I really wish I owned Star Wars BattleFronts 2. But I usually devote the majority of my gaming to good healthy clean fun like Paper Mario, Legend of Zelda, and Metroid Prime 2. I enjoy racing games like Mario Kart, Need 4 Speed Underground 2, and London Racer. When games like these are forced off store shelves to make way for the newest Halo copycat, it makes me mad. Gamers who play only violent games are the exception, not the rule. Stores (and designers) need to figure this out.


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