Not a Cause

(I apologize for the mixup with the previous post! I'm quite new here, and haven't lurked much. :P)

I'm going on a campaign against ignorance.

I'm going on a campaign against an erroneous belief.

I'm going on a campaign for media.

I'm going on a campaign for video games.

I hope to change things. I hope to change something many believe. I hope to quell a monstrous lie that has been around for far too long.

I'm going to tell you something.

Video Games and other forms of media do not cause violence.

Now, many of you are already getting your pitchforks and painsticks out. Hold your horses. I just want to say a few things.

Firstly, let's start out with me. If you know me at all, you'll know I'm a Pacificist (not to be confused with Pacifism). Unless harm is actively being done to you, you shouldn't attack anything. No "freedom campaigns" to help countries "that share our interests/moral values/whatever grabs the public eye." I think that's immoral.

Now, you wouldn't think that if you only saw my video game library. It's made up of games such as Unreal Tournament 2004/3 (a futuristic gladiator's arena), Metro 2033 (an apocalyptic world primarily based around Russians killing monsters and each other), Dragon Age: Origins (Racism... Racism, everywhere!), or Limbo (AKA The 101 Most Painful and Disgusting Ways to Die!). Knowing only that, you'd think I was a Racist Masochist who wants to kill everything in sight.

However, read this again: "I'm a Pacificist (not to be confused with Pacifism). Unless harm is actively being done to you, you shouldn't attack anything."

That strikes out one thing. I don't want to kill everyone in sight.

What about Racism and Masochism?

For one, I don't like pain. To put it simply: it's painful and I don't like it. A Masochist is one who enjoys his own pain or the pain of others. I can't stand either.

So I'm still racist, right? Wrong. I'm not. I have never had any inclination to have racist thoughts, I don't think people who ARE Racist are at all right in their head.

But I'm still desensitized to those things, right? Because when you see violent stuff, it desensitizes you.

The sight of giblets in UT3 or the freakish levels of blood in Dragon Age: Origins don't effect me, you're right.

Seeing dudebro-cartoony giblets on a little glowing block of pixels isn't as traumatic as seeing (or even hearing about) any kind of death in the worst game I know of: Real Life.

I'm not desensitized. Heck, I can get a paper cut and seeing my blood sets me in a panic.

And if you gave me a gun and told me to kill people, even monstrous, bad people (think Hitler or Kony)... I'd unload the clip and throw the gun on the floor. The act of taking a life-any life-is monstrous and hollow to me, even though I play games simply for the fabled "kill:death ratio" that is so lauded among gamers.

Video games are not a cause of violence.

Mankind is the cause of violence.

Which leads me into my next point. Mankind is dark. Mankind is monstrous and cruel, dark and sinful. It started with a little something many call "The Fall of Man."

Adam and Eve sinned and were banished from paradise. Since then, monstrosities have happened. People killed each other, stole from each other, violated each other... All manners of horrific things.

This is not the fault of anyTHING. This is the fault of someONE. A person sinned, and that sin has not stopped. Nothing can cure this disease from this world. I won't get detailed into theology here, but let's leave it at this: mankind is horrific and won't get better.

Darkness in media is a symptom of the darkness inherit in men. Everything we create, from paintings on a cave wall to the most advanced achievement in technology, is permanently stained with the sin of men.

Even if you're an atheist, you have to admit we live in a dark world. One filled with violence, hate and pain. There's no easy dismissal of the fact that the world is dark, and has been for far longer than we have been able to express that darkness.

Games get blamed for this more than most simply because they're new. People around for the invention of games, who witnessed things like Mortal Kombat and Doom, saw this and created a single story of games in their minds: all games are violent killing simulators.

That's what they believed, and that's what they pass down to their children. What very few people realize is that Video Games aren't by themselves killing simulators. There are a lot of them out there, but it's not a property of Video Games themselves, it's a consequence of darkness in men. Killing simulators are a symptom in all media-Transformers is nothing more than a 2-hour robot duke-out. Many war movies are nothing but Shooting Random Smudges/Nazis: The Movie.

But then, in other media, there's hope. Movies like Hugo. TV Shows like Doctor Who. Both stories are centered purely on good morality. Whose aim is not to provide entertainment for the unbathed masses, but to make you think, to make you feel emotions other than stress and trauma.

In Video Games many see no hope. Call of Duty? Battlefield? Unreal Tournament? Assassin's Creed? Just Cause 2? There are no other games! Games are dedicated to one thing and one thing alone: KILLING THINGS BECAUSE IT'S FUN.

Then they fail to look into Mirror's Edge, where you play as a wanted freedom fighter who doesn't want to kill.

Limbo, where you play as a lost boy looking for his sister.

Dear Esther, what has been described as "living poetry."

Minecraft, a sandbox to play in.

Journey, a figure struggling through adversity to reach a mountaintop.

Shadow of the Colossus, where you play as a boy looking to save the one he loves-at any cost.

Not all media is focused on darkness. Many try to show you the moral light. They explore themes of freedom from tyranny, what it means to sacrifice yourself, what true love is, companionship, the grey line between sacrificing all for another and the expense of others for personal gain. These are all things that video games explore, and perform so well that many are more effective than most books.

However, even the games that are violent fail to do more harm than good. They act as stress relief for many (including me). They can be a bridge for close friendships. Charities have spawned over video games, such as the Humble Indie Bundle (where one can choose to give however much money they want to a charity), or Notch's charity ‘competitions' with the Bronies.

Video Games are also the highest form of art we have today. I will say here, if you want to debate whether or not video games are art, this is not the place to discuss it. Why are video games the highest form of art? They combine nearly every other art form into one. Photography, writing, music, film, design, architecture, painting, and so much more are all involved in making nearly any given video game. Now, we haven't seen a game which takes that to the potential which is there. Even games like Limbo or Dear Esther, while undeniably beautiful expressions of art, don't take full advantage of everything a game COULD offer. That's not a problem with games themselves, that's a problem with those creating the games.

Plus, games are just plain FUN most of the time!

However, I will admit that not many games are GOOD art. Most of them are equivalent to Justin Beiber's music, or Stephanie Meyer's writing. Games like Call of Duty, Battlefield, Team Fortress 2, Unreal Tournament 3 are nothing more than mindless bloodbaths created only to entertain people for a given length of time-similar to how Beiber's music is bad, or Meyer's writing is plebeian entertainment for the twisted teens of today. These games are all brawls with no "artful purpose" in them. Sure, TF2 tells a comedy well. But that comedy isn't used to portray deep themes.

But games CAN be great. Eventually greater than any other form of media around today (in their own right), and if we take concepts such as Journey, Flower, or Ico, and advance them to the level that Charles Dickens did the novel, game designers can be put into halls of fame next to Bach or Shakespeare.

Games are art, and just like any other art form, they can express greatness. However, keep this in mind: games are new. Most games are simply poking around at what's POSSIBLE to do. Books did this in the beginning. Remember Penny Terribles? And how many claimed books would do nothing more than rot your brain? Same thing happened to film. Same thing is HAPPENING to video games.

Don't blame the forest for the tree.

Don't blame games themselves for the bad games.

Refuse to blame an art form for the art it spawns.

Refuse ignorance.

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