Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Video game sales restrictions

Confession: I bought Saints Row the Third for XBox 360 because the idea that I could play a Grand Theft Auto game while dressed as Ronald McDonald filled my little heart with glee. Turns out the game was glitchy and the story was unimaginative that wasn't even helped by the fact that Burt Reynold's made a guest appearance, but the fact is that I like violent video games. I'm the guy who picks up the Blood and Guts feat in Fallout 3 that makes every kill look like I just put the guy in a blender, but for +10% damage how can you argue? Legislation is once again being looked at to restrict the sales of such video games to minors and, despite my love of gore, I personally agree with every word.
Now let me say that I am not representing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, any political organization, movement, fast food chain, underwear brand or video game distributor, this is just my own little humble opinion, but I do agree with the idea of not allowing Mature or Adult Only video games into the hands of minors. Do I think that these video games should be outright banned, which is usually the next logical step brought up in the argument? No, I do not and here's why:
I consider video games to be an art form, meaning that they're a format for self-expression. Granted, it's hard to find the artistic value in Saints Row the Third, but play a game like Red Dead Redemption, or the Assassin's Creed series, and tell me that they weren't the painstakingly loving children of someone who wanted to create a unique experience. I will never be the one to ban nude or violent images from the world of art, since it is some of these images that have impacted us the most in our history, so I will not say that they should be banned from video games. 
Here's an interesting fact for you: No act of violence has ever been directly traced back to video games. Granted, people have done acts of violence that resembled what is seen in some video games. I'm reminded of a young man a couple years back who smashed a window of a game retailer and stole a bunch of copies of Grand Theft Auto 4, only to be caught while trying to steal a car, but the kid was on drugs or something at the time. I honestly don't think that video games make kids violent, because if that was the case then every child of a less-than-vigilant parent would be running around the streets trying to make the world into a video game, and that's not what we're seeing. What I do believe is that video games desensitize children to the realities of the world, as well as expose them to adult situations and themes that they do not need to be exposed to at such a young age. Let's go back to the Saints Row the Third example. Not even talking about the people shooting people, in one playthrough I saw excessive drug use, prostitution, several sexual acts performed, swearing, human trafficking, theft, destruction of property, arson and racism (And before you ask, no I am not proud that I played this game, but come on I got to dress up as Ronald McDonald...).
What i'm saying is that while violence is being focused on for a lot of these discussions, they'res a lot more to this story than people shooting people in make-believe.
In conclusion, I know a lot of people are already on board with restricting video game sales, my goal here is not only to give argument as to why I think it's a good idea, but to give some more insight into the world of gaming so that you can better make an informed decision for you and your family. 

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