There are very few things that piss me off more so than the ever-so-widely used "think of the children" argument whenever there is a debate about the possible censorship or banning of video games.
For starters, I don't believe that all games are created with children in mind. I highly doubt that a child would be able to truly comprehend or even be able to enjoy some games. I know I was a fairly impatient child, and at a younger age I'd never have been able to enjoy Dark Souls
; a game I now regard as one of my top 5 favourite video games. Both the difficulty and high amount of patience required in order to achieve anything in the game, as well as the requirement of slightly out of the box thinking in some moments, would have ensured that I'd have never touched the game again after playing for an hour or two.
I also believe that since the average gamer is supposedly in their 30's, companies would very much try attract people of that particular age group. To put it simply, many games are designed for older people because that's what a large portion of the market consists of.
All that being said, there does seem to be a sort of social stigma attached to older gamers, as the media is still widely seen as something that is aimed at children. Because no adult would ever be able to find time to kick back and play a video game to unwind, right?
So of course there will be games made for adults. Some of the content in these games may be unacceptable for children.
Wait, what!? A game made for adults with rating that states it is for adults is unacceptable for children! How absurd!
So why does this argument still have some sort of merit? Because there are groups who are simply opposed to video games and the use of "children" in their arguments help appeal to the general populace as children are seen as vulnerable and impressionable. Children are seen as weak, defenceless and in need of help.
And to some extent, I see where they're coming from. I don't believe that children should be playing some of the games that exist on the market. I know for sure that some children should definitely stay away from online games, if only because it means I don't have to hear abuse from said children to be flung left, right and center.
But it's clearly a matter of top priority to protect these children from such horrendous evils as Mortal Kombat
or Left 4 Dead 2
; two games that were banned and censored, respectively, where I come from. Right? That's why the government absolutely must
step in and protect these poor innocent children!
Of course not! The government shouldn't be allowed to dictate what games an entire country can play because of the cries of religious organisations and parental groups. These people need to take responsibility, themselves.
After all, I don't think it's fair for an entire country to have to make sacrifices and be restricted because of the children of a few people. If I do have to help look after a child, I should at least be paid for helping babysit the damn kid.
In this day and age, it's ridiculously easy to find out whether or not a game is appropriate. It really wouldn't take long for a parent to be able to determine whether or not a game is appropriate for their child. It's actually not that hard. You could Google
a parental guide for the game or watch some footage on YouTube
. This can be done from almost any device in a household. A phone, tablet, computer, even a TV.
Considering how simple it is to find out what kind of content is in a game, I don't think that banning games is even a remotely acceptable way to protect children from violent medias. These parental and religious lobbys need to realise that while they are definitely entitled to their own beliefs, we are also entitled to our ideas, too. We should have the right to be able to play our games, while they have the right to ensure their children don't play said games.
After all, I don't feel it is appropriate to dictate what everyone should and shouldn't play. I don't have the right to do so, just as they shouldn't have the right to do so. These people can do what they want, as long as it doesn't infringe on my ability to play the games I enjoy playing.
To put it very bluntly, I find it very hard to justify any extreme measures being taken in order to supposedly protect children. I just don't think this argument really holds up. The people so heavily opposed to video games really just need to understand that not everyone shares their ideology. They allowed to simply not play video games, they are allowed to restrict their child's access to video games if they so choose (I'm not a fan of it, but again, I don't have any rights to do something about it), just as I am allowed to play the games I enjoy.
Or at least should be allowed to. Australia still has a few banned and censored titles. Even with the R18+ rating now in effect, Australia is still continuing on its campaign to ban and censor various video games for various reasons. Just this week, we've had Saints Row IV
and State of Decay
We have a new rating for games for adults. We have adult gamers. We have games made for adults. Why can't adults play said games? Are games for adults being censored when a perfectly acceptable rating intended for games for adults is in place because of children?
After all, my playing a video game isn't going to cause any harm whatsoever to anyone.