First things first: I am a flaming liberal who believes in a high amount of freedom. So I don’t believe in censorship of any kind. I do understand and support the need for a rating system, both in movies and in games. Nothing pisses me off more than when I go to see Zach and Miri Make A Porn and in the middle of a movie, a couple of 14 year olds stroll in. Hearing 12 years old talk about GTA and Gears of War irritates me as well because those games are for adults.
That being said, no one should ever have their game’s content censored. For any reason. Ever. With the recent hubbub about the song in LittleBigPlanet that offended a Muslim group, this topic has been on the minds of many lately. Regarding that incident: the song in question was written and performed by a devout Muslim, so if its good enough for him…
And for those that wonder why Sony went to such extreme measures to appease this group: one need only look at the riots over a cartoon in a newspaper a few years ago that was seen as an insult to Islam. Most other religions would resort to peaceful methods to resolve something like that, but certain radical elements of the Muslim world have yet to learn. Sadly, that small percentage of the Muslim faith is the one that gets the most media coverage.
Back to games: I saw a study that let kids play violent video games and then observed their behavior. What happened is no surprise: the children were more aggressive, but only because they were pretending! When I was a kid, I watched Star Wars about…every day or so. And I re-enacted the fights all the time and even when playing with my brother, I knew not to really hurt him. How did I know this? Because my mom taught me.
See, it all comes down to parents. I have seen movies with nudity and violence since I was 5 and I have not turned out too depraved. As long as the parents explain to children that games and movies are make-believe, the children will not copy it. There was a story here in Florida where a 12 year old killed his little sister copying WWE wrestling. I copied wrestling all the time, but I never once hurt anyone. If this kid’s parents had told him that wrestling was fake, his sister might still be alive.
And going on to bigger issues like Columbine and other school shootings, the issue remains the same. But let’s take the parents out of it for a minute. Let’s focus on the person. Those two murderers from Columbine played Doom, listened to Marilyn Manson and watched The Matrix. These things were blamed for their actions. But guess what? MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of people have played that game, heard that artist and seen that movie and have never committed a violent act in their lives. The problem is not with the music, movie or game: it is with the person. If someone is inspired to do something unlawful because of a game, that person was already mentally unbalanced to begin with.
So there’s my rant, I shall now descend from my soapbox. That one has been building up for a few years now. What is your guy’s take on this issue? Am I off base or right on target?