So in the media, there has once again been discussion about how computer games are evil, after a kid who was addicted to Manhunt killed another kid, with a hammer. See this BBC News article.
So the question of the moment is, did the computer game cause him to kill? Was he in fact a perfectly normal person who was warped and twisted by a computer game? Do violent computer games cause violence? Should violent games be banned?
In fact some people are going further than just saying that the violent games should be banned and seem to have extended this to a belief that all computer games are evil. I decided to think about this and amazingly I have come to the conclusion that perhaps they are right.
Yes, you heard me correctly. Perhaps computer games are the cause of all of our problems. As an example, perhaps I’m overweight and unfit because of the numerous games that I’ve played that encourage me to eat as much as possible as quickly as possible, think about it, these are just a few off the top of my head and I’m sure there are more: Pacman, Chuckie egg, Slippery Slid, Snake on your mobile phone, the Neopets
games of Snowmuncher
and Jelly Blobs of Doom
The latter of which encourages you to grow as big as you can by eating more and more jelly, not exactly a healthy food choice!
And it probably goes further than that, have our road safety skills been jeopardised by Horace Goes Skiing, or my little LCD game of hitchhiker!
What if having played Sim City you begin to think you rule the world or try to run the country?
As for Space Invaders, it will make our first instinct upon meeting alien life forms be to wait while they line up in rows and shoot them with lasers.
The only game that I’m not sure about is Tetris, at work (a library) I often have to pack books into boxes, I have proven to be a natural at managing to fit the maximum number of books in a box by rotating them to fit in the best layout, I attribute this skill to years of playing Tetris.
Of course if we’re banning computer games I do feel that we should also ban music. Well at least rock, pop, rap and probably country. Any music which portrays sex and/or violence in any remotely positive way should be banned. If you’re wondering about country, well, it’s likely to incite violence in some people.
Then there’s films and TV, I mean even PGs could cause huge amounts of danger, in Finding Nemo, Nemo puts himself in mortal danger trying to get the fish out of the tank. If children watch Superman they might try to fly and break their necks, watching Spiderman could convince you that you can swing from building to building.
And of course books, I don’t just mean the ones that have been banned in the past, for being unsuitable, like ones involving sex, incest, violence etc. What about seemingly harmless books like children’s adventure stories, surely as a child when I was reading Enid Blyton or The Hardy Boys, it is very fortunate that I did not become so swept up in them that I too went chasing after criminals with my pet dog, it’s a wonder all children aren’t killed by bank robbers after reading some of those stories. (Of course for a while Enid Blyton books were frowned upon for their political incorrectness, but that is a slightly different matter).
Right, so we’re banning computer games, music, TV and books, I think that should make our world totally safe. I can’t think where people would see bad language or violence if these things weren’t accessible, so surely we would create an amazing Utopia.
Before I depart, I should perhaps make a couple of serious points, I’m not saying that all computer games are good. Yes, there are games that are tasteless, games that are morally ambiguous and that perhaps I wouldn’t play. What I’m saying is give people some credit, can we really not tell the difference between reality and a game? This is the same kind of censorship that has always happened, people want to ban a certain book or film, when they have no evidence of it actually causing harm. Violent games are far less likely to cause violence than exposure to violence in real life. I’m not saying kids should be playing games like Manhunt, but it is after all an 18 certificate, it is an adult game, if an adult chooses to play it that’s their business. Young people shouldn’t be able to get access to this game, they certainly shouldn’t be addicted to it, someone should be stopping them. Perhaps people should be more concerned about ensuring that kids can’t get hold of unsuitable games, than banning them outright. When someone kills someone, with no motive and no sense of remorse it is clear that there is something wrong with that person. It is sad that this was not spotted before, but can you really say that the game caused it? Admittedly the game may have given him an idea of how to do it, but if he wanted to that badly I think he would have done so anyway. Perhaps an obsession with a game of this nature is in itself a sign that there is something deeply wrong with a person. Maybe the games are themselves a symptom of a problem, not the cause of one.
Random observation of the day
Well, today's entry is possibly my most serious blog entry ever. Maybe I should lighten that with a ludicrous observation. I can't really think of one thoug, so instead here are some of my favourite anagrams of the phrase "Random observation":
abandon moot rivers
vain abdomen rotors
aberrant moons void
aboard invent rooms