Video Game Violence…What do you think about it?

Ever since video game designers were able to put red pixels on their imaginary characters that had recently deceased, there have been people crusading against their subversive ways. The outrage at video games seems to be cyclic, fading very briefly before exploding into the public eye once more with renewed frenzy. The controversy seems to have sparked up again in recent times, with numerous crimes being blamed on the corruptive influence of video games. There have also been various “controversies” surrounding recent video games and their content in the areas of both violence and sexuality.

The first game to receive widespread criticism and media attention was the martial art fighting game “Mortal Kombat”. This game included large spurts of blood emitted from attacks and also “Fatalities” that could be performed on stunned opponents after their defeat. These Fatalities were gruesome animation sequences showing the victorious player killing their defeated opponent in a vast variety of ways. Gamers revelled in this new experience and the controversy surrounding the violence caused mass hype that informed the less informed gamers that the game was out there. Consequently gamers played the new game just to find out what all the talk was about, thereby greatly increasing revenue.

 

One of the largest sparks of controversy has been the recent “Hot Coffee” modification for “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (GTA:SA)”. This involved unlocking a sexually oriented mini-game that had been removed from the game before release, although evidently not from the source code. The creators of the game, Rockstar Entertainment, obviously realised that this particular part of the game was not appropriate for the video gaming public and removed access to it. An enterprising fan of the game found out and modified the original code to give access to the content once again. Lawsuits were brought against Rockstar for including such content in their game, although the validity of the lawsuit has to be questioned. If the game is simply purchased and played as intended by the developers, this admittedly tasteless and inappropriate mini game would never be encountered. It is not until the user-made modification is downloaded and installed that the player is able to access the content.

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Regardless of who’s to blame, “GTA: SA” was re-rated in America and banned from sale in Australia. Oddly enough the gratuitous and encouraged violence in the game went largely unnoticed in the wake of the “scandalous” sex scenes involving clothed, cartoonesque people. When examined objectively almost all games contain a certain amount of violent content. The kid-friendly bright and colourful “Mario” games by Nintendo feature a character stomping on animated creature’s heads. In fact the majority of games, even children’s games, involve the protagonist crusading against an enemy horde of some sort and generally “disposing” of them in some manner, whether it be striking them with a weapon or body part (feet, hands, possibly a tail depending on the nature of the character). The only real stand out difference is that in a children’s game the ‘bad’ characters will generally bounce backwards in a cute manner and explode with a humorous puff sound (or simply disappear) whereas in a game oriented towards older mature players, the characters are more likely to be (somewhat) realistic, spraying a gusher of red upon their demise.

Whenever some young person somewhere commits a viole

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