Violence and Video Games: Looking beyond the obvious
I’ll tell you straight off what this post isn’t about: Violent video games making people violent. The topic is a favorite of the media, and academia as well. It’s an interesting topic, but there are deeper concepts to be explored when thinking about the association of violence and video games. Perhaps in the future I’ll do a post focusing on this, but it’s not this post.
Second Amendment and video games
How far does the second amendment go? According to some XBox live users, the right to bear virtual arms (even non-functioning ones), is a right. I’m of the opinion that this isn’t a Second Amendment issue. I completely disagree with Microsoft eliminating the ability to use guns with people’s Avatars, but that is a matter of policy, not a constitutional right. (Taking anything AWAY from a consumer that they had previously is always bad business.)
What about digital representations of war machines? While it may not be a 2nd amendment issue, what rights does a video game company have to copyright digital representations of a physical weapon or vehicle? Does Lamborghini own the rights to a Lamborghini that exists in a racing game? I think this becomes a licensing issue, which is far from the realm of violence.
There’s a key quote in this article:
Textron and Bell say the aircraft, developed and purchased by the Defense Department with taxpayer dollars, are the corporations’ private trademark property.
I think this puts both companies in the wrong. EA is wrong because they want to copyright the creative/intellectual work of others (my opinion), and Textron and Bell are trying to trademark work they did with taxpayers’ money (haven’t they ever heard of pubmed? If taxpayers pay for it, they should be able to benefit from it.).
Video Games as Violent Propaganda
Is the CIA using video games as part of a propaganda campaign to indoctrinate Iranian youth? Iran thinks so.
This is the reverse of the articles I linked at the beginning of this blog. Are video games being used as a deterrent to violence? A way to put fear into the hearts of would be terrorists? It is actually crazy to think about the ramifications of this (if it is true): If playing violent video games makes you violent, and the CIA is using a violent video game to stop terrorism, isn’t that just going to promote more terrorism because of the increased violence? Quite an inflammatory statement, but one that I do not believe will bear fruit in the future
Games and War
This is the core argument that I would really like to focus on. The other two topics are good and interesting, but they are the mental appetizer to this main course.
War and video games is topic that is a difficult one for me; not because of the fact that I have never been involved closely with a war, but precisely because of that. I do not have the experience necessary to truly make an educated opinion. I wish this was talked about more, because it is an important topic.
What does a Vietnam Vet think about generations of people playing a video game about that war? Is it dehumanizing? Are we trivializing the lives lost in the war? Is it a great way to learn the history of the war?
All of these issues go beyond the concept of “violent video games make people more violent” and bring more nuance to the discussion. But, I’ve really only added questions to the discussion.
I wish I had an answer. Do you have one? I would like to hear it.
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