Long read, but give me 5 minutes. I really want the opinion of my fellow Vgchartz members.
Just finished up a lengthy argument with my mom. She stands by her testament that video games are the main influence behind most of today's violence, including the recent school shootings at Sandy Hook elementary. She backs up that claim by reading to me several "intelligent" newspaper articles on the Columbine shootings. Apparently, a major reason for the tradgedy at Columbine was that the shooters played the video game Doom. My reaction to that statement is as follows.
I asked her if she herself had ever played Doom. Of course not. BUT. It's in the newspaper so it much be legit right? Um, not really. See, back in the 90's, you had a better chance of being influenced by a tv show or movie than a pixated version of Doom. It's really quite sad that people such as my mother (God bless her heart) make these "bold" claims without any first hand knowledge of the game being accused. Another great example of this is the great Fox News vs Mass Effect debate of 2007 seen in the video below. Warning: the ignorance is strong in this one.
It really saddens me that the mainstream media and overprotective parents still see the video game industry as nothing more than a violent and bloody medium of influencing young children. Especially when the movie, television, and music industry are arguably exponentially more violent than video games. For every Grand Theft Auto, I can name five movies or rap albums with the same amount of lanuage, drug use, theft, and cop killing.
It's a shame. If they would get to know our passion for gaming firsthand, they would realize that video games can be a way to convey in-depth stories by use of player choice, as well as acting on par with the best that a movie has to offer. I wish every critic played games such as Mass Effect, Journey, Bioshock, Metal Gear Solid 4, Prince of Persia (2008), Super Mario Galaxy, The Legend of Zelda (any of them), and The Walking Dead to see what our industry has to offer in terms of story and graphical art. (Tried to add a 360 exclusive in there but couldn't think of one, Bioshock and Mass Effect technically count).
Anyway, excuse my ranting. I really hope you guys will read this and give me your input. Honestly, this has got to stop. I think that as technology evolves, so will the video game industry's ability to tell stories and provide experiences that rival novels and films. In the past 10 years, look at the leap from Halo 2 to Halo 4. Think about the next 10 years. Books have had thousands of years; films about a century; video games have less than 40 years of development. Those critics will eat those words and respect our industy eventually.