*update - added cats for reaprar (your welcome)
*update update - removed cats so I can pretend I have journalistic integrity. Will no longer pander to readers with ADD. (sorry reaprar)
This topic is being covered by pretty much everyone and my grandmother (OK my grandmother could really care less about video games but itís an expression). I would like to investigate this problem from a different angle, so I hope that you will hang in there and see where I am going with this. First off I want to conduct a little test. How many people out there have played a violent video game? Raise your hand. No seriously go ahead. Now if youíve ever killed a person before keep your hand up, the rest of you lower your hands. I know that no one can see each other but through my 1337 hacking skills I can see all of you, and what I saw was everyone raising their hands and then everyone lowering them. Except for one of you, you know who you are and the cops are on their way so just sit tight.
I realize that I donít have 1337 or even elite hacking skills and all of you were too cool to raise your hands when I asked but you get my point. I have just proven that violent video games do not cause people to run out and kill other people. Whatís that Mr. Thompson? You donít think that was scientific enough? Well thank you for bringing up another big point in this conversation: correlation does not mean that there is causation. My experiment does not work because it only shows correlation Ė Dtoid readers like violent video games and donít like killing people. These are correlated. Whether or not one causes the other is still unknown. If you read Dtoid are you more likely to play violent video games? Are you less likely to kill a man? I have no f***ing idea. Now the fact that someone played violent video games and then went out and killed people shows correlation. But it does not show causation. Just because one follows the other does not mean that they are cause and effect. That is a fallacy of logic. Click the link.
I will now investigate the idea of why I think no one at Dtoid has killed anyone before (except the person I talked about earlier, just hang in there the police should be by soon). First Iíd like to talk about myself a bit. I go to a Kung Fu class. Iíve been going for about a year now. In this class we sometimes learn to kill people. We will often practice how to kill people. In fact as part of our warm up everyday we practice a kick designed to break someoneís shin. On Fridayís we fight. Everyone gets matched up and we throw each other around and punch and kick each other. During certain holds some of the more advanced people will even make the motion like they couldíve broken your neck just there if they wanted to but they are feeling kind. After this we will often go out for sushi. Iíve even invited my instructor to my wedding. This is a guy who just a couple months ago threw me across a ring and heís coming to my wedding and I couldnít be happier. Now to a person like Jack Thompson this would be confusing. Why would people trained to kill, who beat each other up every Friday be so kind and friendly? Why would they hang out with each other? Why arenít they killing and dismembering people on a weekly, if not daily, basis? The answer is community, and it is exactly the same thing in gaming.
Gaming builds community. We here at Destructoid are a community, just as my Kung Fu class is a community. Just like I rely on my friends at Kung Fu to improve myself physically (and sometimes harness my chi, you know when Iím up for it) I rely on the Dtoid community to share my love of gaming and at times just my love. I love the Dtoid TF2 server. It is the only server I have fun on anymore, and just because Spore was able to beat me down every single time last night (grrr) doesnít mean I want to beat him or anyone else down in real life. In fact if I met him, and he was of legal age, Iíd probably buy him a beer. He challenges me just like we all challenge each other. Almost all of the people who have gone on these killing sprees have been isolated loners. They have trouble in social situations. But being a true gamer is social. Being a true gamer means you need the challenge of competing against a real person, or you need to talk with someone about the games you like or you even just need some personal reviews so you can save yourself some money if the game sucks. If you are part of a community you should be less likely to kill someone because you identify with other people. You are empathetic. This is a causation correlation I am willing to go out on a limb and make.
I will end this post by stealing something I read in a forum. If you give a crazy person a hammer, than there is a chance they are going to go bash someoneís skull in with it. But if you restrict all of the hammers, they are just going to find something else. Like a large stick. Banning violent video games is not going to improve anything; people are just going to find a large stick instead. What you are doing is depriving millions of people of a community, one that they could desperately need. And this is why we all hate Jack Thompson, because he wants to take away our community.