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Stephen Colbert recalls urban planning craze spawned by SimCity

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

On last night's episode of The Colbert Report, host Stephen Colbert presented a succinct analysis of arguments that video games, particularly violent ones, affect the behavior of their players.

Colbert came out in a ghillie suit as if he had been hiding with his guns in a bunker, and showed clips of politicians and pundits citing violent video games as a factor in gun violence. He also ran footage of games such as Half-Life 2, with its crowbar-wielding protagonist, while satirically noting the potential for teens to learn from the games and use objects like crowbars and chainsaws as weapons.

"Of course, video game violence is not a new problem," Colbert pointed out. "Who can forget, in the wake of SimCity, how children everywhere took up urban planning?"

Colbert's Comedy Central colleague, Jon Stewart, took a more serious tack on The Daily Show last week, urging Americans to have a nationwide conversation about guns themselves, as well as the possible effects of media such as movies and games.

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