Monday, March 9, 2009

Some Thoughts About Blame - Bernard Ambersino

The following post was written by a classmate of mine and I found it worthy of publishing:

As the video game industry grows, as with any other entertainment industry, it garners the unwanted attention of disgruntled parents and those looking to blame anything for society’s ills. The video game industry certainly is not the first to deal with such accusations, as this trend can be seen clearly in the past few years even just within the music industry. First heavy metal was to blame for increases in violence, and then there was that Eminem and his rap music. It seems it is the gaming industry’s turn to take the blame now, as games are often said to make children more violent and to lead to obesity.

Over the years there have been countless attacks on the values of games, often led by recently disbarred attorney Jack Thompson. Cases have been made that Mature rated games like Grand Theft Auto and Mortal Kombat have taught children violence and changed their temperament. Earlier in the year an ad was run in the UK depicting a child slumped on a couch playing a video game with a tagline that states “Risk an early death, just do nothing” (, which insinuates that playing video games leads to premature death. The same organization links game playing to obesity in other ads broadcasted on television. It would seem that without video games, the world would be the paragon of health, and as calm as Gandhi.

Clearly society’s problems would remain if video games suddenly disappeared, as they have existed since before games were commonplace. While the general public is quick to jump on the next big thing to turn into a scapegoat, it would behoove them to take responsibility for the issues themselves. If Mature rated games are getting through to kids, then perhaps the parents should be questioned as to why they would buy these games for their children and allow them to be played. The fast food industry and general attitude of the average person must not be the sole reasons for the obesity rate but maybe, just maybe, they have more to do with it than video games. I live in everlasting hope that at one point society will stop blaming whatever seems to be convenient and decide to start tackling these issues and take responsibility for them. Unfortunately, this seems like a distant dream.