The gamer, not the game itself, responsible for violence

Noah Cohen ('09)/Eastside Editor-in-Chief

When one enters the virtual world, one can feel an odd sense of freedom and uncertainty.  Video games today have grown to newer heights and the virtual world has become more intense as a result.  Often criticized for their harmful effects on their users, violent and sexual video games have become increasingly popular over the past few years.

According to www.mediafamily.org, “Game environments are often based on plots of violence, aggression and gender bias.”  Many games, such as Grand Theft Auto and Halo, do fall into this category.  Unfortunately, many believe that these types of games translate into real-life problems for younger gamers.  Jack Thompson is known for his strong feelings against video games and their creators.  On the website, www.JackThompson.org, it reads: “…Jack Thompson has sent literally hundreds of letters, dozens of media appearances, and even several law suits, all attempting to restrict harmful video games from reaching the hands of youth.”

Perhaps Thompson is right in that there might have been violent incidents, such as the shooting in Patucah, Kentucky, caused by video games.  Patucah victims sued certain entertainment industries for their part in the tragic event. 

Although issues do exist, video games and their content, controversial or not, will always be around.  And, like any other powerful form of entertainment, video games will receive heavy criticism from all over, but the industry will continue to flourish.

From my experience in the virtual world of Halo, a violent video game, I feel no greater sense of aggression or anger.  I believe that this controversy can be lessened if people become more accountable for their actions.  It is simply inexcusable, in my mind, that any sort of violent act can solely be the effects of a video game.  People need to understand the possible effects of video games and act accordingly.  Jack Thompson and others can continue their fight, but in the end, it’s the gamers who control their own destiny.