Written by Liam “Loki” Belcher
(This is an editorial piece. The opinions in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of compLexity Gaming or its parent company.)
As the recession hits the world with all the subtlety of a dump truck driving through a nitroglycerin plant, it’s nice to know that I can still escape the reality and hardships of money worries by mowing people down and knowing that in no way will it make me kill a classroom full of people. In recent news, some rather important politicians in Germany have decided that people must have started tribal wars and conducted violent nature from the dawn of time due to these violent video games. Reports as to whether or not Mr. Ugg the caveman did indeed play GTA: Dinosaur Island are sketchy, however a full enquiry is on going.
It seems some of the Ministers in the German government are jumping on that now rather crowded bandwagon of “GTA made them do it” that politicians seems to use as point scorers with the uneducated masses and have decided to try and make it so the German folk can no longer play games “where the main part is to realistically play the killing of people or other cruel or unhuman acts of violence against humans or manlike characters.” This little quote alone made me so happy that I decided I would write an editorial (with a little bit of a dark humoured twist to take off the edge) about the currently serious threat of people being brainwashed worldwide. In Stuttgart, the German ESL Pro Series was cancelled due to “not accepting events like this at the moment” according to Mayor Wolfgang Schuster. It’s a shame that the mass brawls and street fights that gaming is SO well known for will have to take a bow out this time. Oh darn.
What really “grinds my gears” is not that gaming is being blamed for this event but rather they must think that having a gaming event in the same country where a school shooting took place (and on a serious note – my thoughts and prayers do go out to all the families that were affected by the event) is disrespectful to the people involved somehow. That’s almost like not showing movies such as Too Fast Too Furious in movie theatres because there was a fatal car accident in the same town that week. Delving into the moment that people snap is impossible so I will hold my hand up and say “I don’t know what made him snap” but I think it’s fairly safe to assume he was able to operate the weaponary at his command due to being taught about guns whilst hunting with his father from a young age rather than tapping Mouse 1 for a few hours a day.
The German poloticians are saying that the killings are related to the “killer games” that the shooter played. Let’s try a little experiment here – How many of you have played a racing game? Aaaaaand how many of you were pushed into racing as a result? I know, right? Let’s try that with another game – How many of you played the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game as a kid and then how many of you went on to wear shells and take orders from a giant rat? Exactly. You could counter that arguement with “It may not CAUSE their behaviour but it certainly can desensitise them to the violence in life”. If you went on that logic then the BBC, CNN, ABC etc etc should all be banned from television for showing us violence within the news. There’s a watershed for a reason, this much is true but there’s also a rating system for games. That means it is down to parents monitoring the games their children play / the TV they watch or 18 year olds making informed choices with their lives.
Now I’m not saying that video games DON’T give people ideas because they potentially do but there has to be something mentally wrong already for a person to want to go into a school and kill fellow students. A person also has to have that conditioned within them from a very early age, so unless the shooter in the recent events in Germany really just couldn’t stand those freakin’ angry ghosts on Pac-Man I’m pretty sure it wasn’t gaming that whispered “pull that trigger” into his ear.
As usual, gaming takes the rap for something that could probably be put down to about a hundred other things like, oh I don’t know, bad parenting or bullying in school? On a side note – when I go mad and go on a gun toting rampage because they no longer sell meatball subs in Subway, I’ll be sure to delete my copy of CS and/or all violent games on my computer. That’s right, I’ll do my part to make sure they never know it had anything to do with gaming … even though Counter-Strike TOTALLY told me to do it.