Video games, Media, and Influence.

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By now I'm sure any of you reading this are aware of the recent, terrible shootings that the media has been covering over the past few weeks/months. At this time I'm sure that most of you are also aware of the many individuals who are pointing their fingers at violent video games and their influence over those that play them. Here's the thing... There are millions and millions of gamers worldwide. If violent video games are half as influential as the media would like us to believe, wouldn't there be many more atrocities being committed?

Now, I may not be as passionate as some about video games, but it is a hobby that I enjoy and get quite excited about from time to time. I have my days of just wanting to relax, I have my days of wanting to be competitive, and then there are days where I feel like turning on my noggin' and playing something thought provoking. I enjoy reading the experiences of other's and how they vary from this to that on what is essentially the same thing. It's fun and interesting as I believe video games should be. I play violent games like Halo and the slightly more gruesome Gears of War and yes, I do have my moments of frustration if something doesn't go in my favor but not once have I ever wanted to inflict physical harm on anyone. I believe the angriest I've ever been has caused me to drop a few choice words under my breath, a deep sigh, and then I was over it. I understand that I'm only one person and not everyone reacts the way I do and some may but many won't.

I don't think the issue is with video games and the content that they hold. Do I believe a twelve year old should be playing Gears of War, Call of Duty, or any other Mature rated game? No. Just like I wouldn't allow a twelve year old to go see an R rated film or read 50 Shades of Grey. This content is mature for a reason and while mental maturity may not come with age, the United States pretty much stamps "18 or older" on most mature things. Does immaturity run rampant in the gaming community? Absolutely, but that's the case in all forms of media. I don't think immaturity is limited to be in any one thing more than another because that falls back on the individual...just like violent tendencies.

I know the media likes to point its fingers at video games but I'd be hard fought to open up a history book and find a place & time in history that wasn't covered in blood. We, as humans, love violence. It shows in our music, sports, books/comics, movies, and other forms of entertainment. Sure, not everything mentioned is or will a blood bath but violence is everywhere.

Glorified shootouts in movies are no different to me than an open arena of bad guys with the exception that one has me holding the controller. It's simple entertainment. If you have issues seeing the difference between an action flick, a violent video game, and picking up and gun in real life to shoot down people...well... you know, there are BIGGER issues at play here. I don't play a Burnout or NFS game and feel the need to cause mayhem on the roads. No, I'm old enough and mature enough to understand that these games are merely fantasy and that in the real world there are consequences for destructive actions. I understand that if I get in a wreck, I'll have to explain what happens beyond saying something like, "Hey there officer. No problem here. I just watched Fast & Furious and played Burnout Paradise for a few hours. We're cool."

Personally, I think the problem is that everyone is looking for someone else to blame. There's no one to claim responsibility for these heinous acts and when asked, "Why?" I think real underlying issues are swept under the rug called "video games". If, let's say, there were only one million gamers worldwide and these acts of violence still occurred. You still have a large community of perfectly fine, stable people who's fun/escape is being targeted because of a few. Instead of trying to blame a mass group, hobby, or whatever we need to be looking at these troubled individuals. You may or may not agree with me, and that's fine but I'm quite interested to see what you guys think about all of this.

Also: I'll do my best to reply to everyone but even if I don't, I'd like you to know that I appreciate you taking the time to read this. Thanks! :)

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