Since the early 16-bit days, gamers have been discussing this issue.
Look at Mortal Kombat. If you didn’t know, the ESRB formed out of Mortal Kombat porting to consoles. Government officials were concerned about the amount of blood sported in the game.
In the end, family company Nintendo decided to release a version without blood. As a child growing up with Mortal Kombat, this was all the rage. “Sega is better! It has blood!” – That was the typical argument made by third and fourth graders (although for the record, the SNES version is better simply based on control scheme.)
Now, we’re in 2013. And violence in video games is a hot button issue in America. It didn’t take the NRA long to spin the story about video games killing people, not guns.
To this date, there is no correlation between violence and video games. That is fact.
When I look at the current state of violence in video games, I think of games like Dark Souls, Call of Duty and Gears of War. But do I think these games are the reasons for the ills on our society – even beyond guns – not for one second.
Sometimes, the answer to the most complicated question takes common sense. In this case, it comes down to parenting. I grew up watching every Sly, Segal and Arnold movie (my uncle owned a video store).
Did this make me violent? Or do the many gamer friends I know, do video games make them violent?
From my personal experience, the answer is no. To phrase it another way: If CoD never existed would the Swiss gunman still gone fourth with his actions? We will never know the answer to those questions, but I’m willing to bet things would have gone down no different then they already did.
And one last point, the video game industry is going through the same hurdles the movie industry did several decades ago: Sexual themes in games, violence, nudity, not enough female gamers, etc.
Yet like movies, I think video games will head in the same direction, and argument we’re having today will most likely be irrelevant in the near future.