Instead of focusing on a specific game, I followed the format of Galloway’s Gaming. This is what my interpretation of what “chapter 6” would be. As a replacement for writing about one game, I focused on the essence of certain a genre of games.
The United States was established based off of the grounds of violence. The colonists no longer were able to live under Great Britain’s monarchy and wanted to declare their independence from foreign rule. For almost 238 years, Americans have lived with the assumption that because of certain violent acts, we can persevere and defeat of enemies (i.e. World War I, World War II, The Korean War, The Vietnam War, Desert Storm and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. With this mentality, it does not seem surprising that there seems to be so much violence in America today. We are immersed in it and to be honest we are addicted to the violence.
Where It All Started!
Today violence is considered to be the norm. Have you ever been to a hockey game and cried because the players were fighting one another? Have you ever immediately reported a fight that was recorded and posted online because you were just so disgusted about what the human race has become? The general consensus would be no! We laugh and cheer on because the violence adds entertainment into our lives. People complain that there isn’t enough violence. Since the demand is so high, we are given what we have asked for.
In 1976, the game “Death Race” (based off of the cult movie Death Race 2000) made its debut in arcades. “In the chunky, black-and-white pixilated graphics of the time, players ran down “gremlins” in their vehicles. The targets squealed and cried, and were then replaced by tombstones on the screen. It didn’t help when word leaked that the working titled had been “Pedestrian”. It was enough to prompt the National Safety Council to call the game “morbid” and earn it a spot in a “60 Minutes” segment on violence in games” (Gross, CNN).
Death Race triggered outrage not only because it was such a violent game at the time but because it did not follow the culturally accepted narratives of violence, such as military or police violence, or even westerns. Public disapproval of Death Race did not squelch distribution, instead driving sales and vaulting Exidy into the national spotlight. Discourse surrounding Death Race forged a strong tie between video gaming and violence in the public imagination, ensuring the development of similarly violent games.
With all of the controversy that has surrounded this game, there is no doubt that this is where the violence in video games started from. If kids were told by their parents that they are not to play this game or any other games like it, the curiosity that could build up about the game would only make the child want to play even more and this would intentionally make them defy the rules of their parents.
Why is There Even Violence Portrayed in Video Games?
There have been numerous lawsuits brought against the makers of these video games. All of the claims are usually congruent with one another. The bottom line is that the plaintiffs want to have these violent video games removed from the shelves because they feel as if they are deteriorating the youth and they also feel that they are not appropriate for them. Most of these claims have been dismissed because the courts rule in favor for the defendants (the makers of the video games ). The ruling usually states that the video games adhere to the First Amendment which provided us with the freedom of speech. Personally, I have seen a lot of disputes arise about video games rather than any other type of media that produces violence. Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is loosely based off of the real life and crimes of Ed Gein who was a serial killer. Yet this movie is still considered to be a classic film within American film history today. It seems to be very bizarre that films such as Psycho can be glorified but there are many people who rally to ban violent video games such as “Postal 2” (released in 2003) and MadWorld (released in 2009). Don’t get me wrong, some of the violence that is portrayed in these video games can be a little bit excessive. But at the end of the day, the designers of these video games are only supplying what the customers are demanding. Not a lot of people are asking that their video games be filled with cotton candy, rainbows and unicorns. The consumer wants guts and gore and that is what they shall receive. Who are we to tell the makers of these types of video games to stop when Hollywood has been making money off of these types of ideas for decades?
Will It Ever Stop?
Unfortunately there really isn’t a definite answer to this question. The ideal answer would be to say yes. That one day, we would all steer away from the violence that are in these video games and express that we would rather play other games that would arouse the consumer’s curiosity. This cannot seem to happen for multiple reasons. The first would be that VIOLENCE IS FUN! This wouldn’t be politically correct to say this in society, but we all know that this is the truth. If this was not the case, we would have seen a decrease in how many violent video games were purchased decades ago. Violent video games also RELIEVE STRESS. Instead of projecting anger on to someone else, it is much safer to project the anger and the violence that one has against an inanimate object. Within the game, no one will get hurt. Lastly, WE JUST CAN’T GET ENOUGH! There are numerous violent video games that have been created and we can all come to the conclusion that the all have some qualities that are similar to one another. So why do we as consumers continue to be enslaved to the violence? You would have to answer this question for your own peace of mind.