Straight off, I’m not a big gamer. Games fit into the small amounts of time when the kids are at school/asleep, I’m not at work, am not watching tav and have nothing else to do. But I did pick up a copy of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 today, and even managed to play it for around an hour.
I wont say how far I’ve got. I’m told that people dislike spoilers as much as in movies, and also I don’t want to be laughed at for how crap and slow I am.
This game, like others before it has brought up national debates about violence in games, the state of youth today and how we are all morally bankrupt serial killers with no social skills.
I’ve been playing video games since I was a kid, about 8 or so. Admittedly the games were different back then, we had blue hedgehogs and plumbers. But we also had Doom, Wolfenstein and Duke Nukem. Gaming was just as violent, just more pixelated.
Story telling has always been violent, tales of war, murder, revenge have existed for as long as we’ve had stories and story tellers. And our interaction with these stories has always got gradually more immersive and interactive. Stories were told, then acted, put on stage, put on radio, cartoons, films, tav and now video games.
People do ask things like, “how can you play that, it’s so violent, how can it be fun to shoot those people”, and they worry that people who play games are as violent as the game.
Well, the reason I can play a game where the objectives include shooting people, is because it’s so disconnected from reality. No one plays these games and associates it with reality. It’s not a substitute for real violence. It can be intense, it can be immersive, but it’s make believe. This is not my way of shooting a baboon. It’s not even close. No one is learning what it is means kill from playing this.
So that’s why these games can be fun, and that’s why the people who play them aren’t sociopaths. It’s just a game, an experience, a story, a pastime. It’s tactical, and interactive, it takes concentration and thinking, but it’s not real life. Yes, people get involved, get upset, but people get upset about their football team losing. I’m not concerned about negative effects on me, and when my kids are old enough, I wont be concerned about the effects on them either.
Now, the kids are in bed, where’s my sniper rifle, I have people that need to be shot in the face.