Recently, a national poll showed 67% of Republicans believe videogames are more violent than guns. Here is my response.
The room smells like sweat, blood, and a little like diarrhea too. Just like every other E3 event I’ve ever attended. Oh well. It’s only a slightly better smell than war. In the trenches you have all those scents combined with the pervading fume of decay. So yeah, this is definitely an improvement.
Shigeru Miyamoto III takes the stage. He speaks Japanese and flails his arms around for a little bit. Some giant pink and blue blobs join him, but nobody really gets it. Nintendo of America President Vernon Price walks onstage and pats Miyamoto on the back. He whispers something in his ear, then the odd critters exit.
Price clasps his hands together and stares at the audience for a full 3 minutes. No one realizes it at first, but he’s having an impromptu staring contest with some guy in the third row. Price blinks first and gets mad. He orders the guards standing by to take the man out back and give him a “consolation prize.”
After this, he begins the presentation. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he begins, “as you all know, today is the 20th anniversary of the Jacques Todson Protocol. To honor this political achievement, we have prepared a small audio-visual presentation for you.” The cuffs secure around our wrists, and the short film begins.
A distorted trumpet fanfare plays, and the Department of Defense logo appears. A man in a monkey suit sits behind a desk. He has a big bushy moustache. “Twenty years ago, the military functioned very differently than it does today. Soldiers used guns and grenades. Countries launched atomic weapons to raze each other to the ground.”
He sets some little green army men figurines on the desk in front of him. The camera zooms in on his hands and he awkwardly plays with the toys, making “Pew-Pew” and “Kaboom” noises with his mouth. The shot lasts too long.
It pans back, and the man starts again. “Then everything changed. Moral guardian and social defender Jacques Todson held a press conference at the United Nations.”
The video cuts to a clip of that conference. Jacques Todson stands in the center of a large circular room. He’s balding and has teeth like a muskrat. “For many years, we have all committed to a huge logical fallacy. Video gamers would have you believe that games don’t kill people, guns do. Well, I have devoted the last twelve years of my life to researching this phenomenon, and I have come up with a startling revelation.”
“Think back on every murder you have ever seen, whether in real life, film, or what have you. Focus on the ones you perceived to have been acted upon with a firearm. What you’ll find is that it was actually a video game that did it.”
My mind turns over and I remember how my father killed my mother. He shot her in the neck—or so it seemed. But upon recalling the events, it actually turned out that he snapped a Gears of War disc in half and thrashed her jugular with it.
“What this means is that guns are actually entirely non-lethal. In fact, with this new information coming to light, it means that guns are useless. Every war in the history of man has been entirely misappropriated. If we really want to fight wars properly, then we need to use proper weapons. Therefore, I call to all nations to dispose of your automatics, your semi-automatics, your submachines, and your pistols. Your gatlings, your bazookas, your carbines, and your rifles.
“Instead, let’s focus on the holistic fact that guns don’t kill people. Games do. Restock your ammunition supplies with Animal Crossing, Custom Robo, Terranigma,
and Voodoo Vince.
This is the future of armed conflict. We will not be able to achieve world peace until we are first able to kill each other the right way.”
The audience cheers and the suit returns. He adjusts his tie and licks his moustache. “After that famous speech the UN passed a resolution called the Jacques Todson Protocol. All guns were dumped into the Pacific Ocean on this very day, and every country rushed to recreate all the major wars of history. Since they weren’t fought properly the first time through, they needed a rematch to determine the real winner.
“Turns out Britain won the American Revolution and the Confederacy won the US Civil War. But France still won the French Revolution!
“As we move forward into this next chapter of world history, remember to be a responsible game owner!” The audience cheers some more. None of them even notice the man in the suit break down and cry just as the video fades out. The arm cuffs release.
Loud feedback blares from the speakers, jarring us all back into our surroundings. Vernon Price’s voice filters through the sound. “Very important chapter in our history. Thank you. Now we can start the actual presentation!”
Naked women march onstage holding cases for upcoming releases. Price gestures up to the jumbo screen and a trailer starts to play for a never-before-seen game.
A man with brown hair, a muscular jawline, and 5 ‘o’ clock shadow jumps across building tops and shoots some terrorists (since guns still exist in game universes). There’s a bit of dialogue; the man says something along the lines of “It’s bomb disarming time,” and then goes off to disarm a bomb by means of an extensive quick time event. The title shows up at the end: Harbinger.
Harbinger of what?
Price invites the development team to join him onstage. They all look the same. Fat, ginger, short, pimply. One of them steps up to the microphone. He snorts his nose and gulps the resulting mucus just loud enough for all of us to hear.
Then he begins, “Harbinger
was developed over the course of three years with a budget of seventy million dollars. None of us have seen our families since we started production, but we’re proud to boast that the game has a twenty-hour campaign, online multiplayer that supports up to fifty players at once, DLC support, and alternate endings that depend on player decisions.”
The room is silent. Someone makes a cricket noise with their mouth.
The developers converse among themselves, then another of the little pudgy men steps up to speak. “The game disc also has razor edges.”
The crowd goes wild. They scream and jump in their seats. The man next to me climbs onto the armrest and beats his hands against his chest.
Price pushes them offstage and shouts, “Now watch this!” He runs around the semi-circle of naked women surrounding him and grabs all their breasts in turn. The crowd is fervid by now. The man next to me is tearing the hair from his chest and swallowing it. Confetti rains from the ceiling.
This is the spectacle part of the program. The big wigs use it to fuel the blood lust of the crowd so they’ll go out to the kiosks and buy the games on display to do a little casual killing if they feel so inclined. It’s also the part of the event where I tend to walk out.
I can’t say I’m better than them. I just don’t feed into murder parties like this. I started playing video games when I was eight years old, long before the Jacques Todson Protocol. Had someone told me at the time that by choosing to play video games I was also choosing to be a cold-blooded killer, I might have thrown my controllers away and chosen to be a productive member of society. But my path in life was set before me and I could not deviate from it.
Sometimes I think back to those times and I’m nostalgic for them. But they were so much more complex. Now that we have all become enlightened, we don’t have to concern ourselves with the psychology of a murderer. We don’t have to worry about the contributing factors to their disturbed mental states. Before, we used to say that those people were desensitized to violence, or that they had long-ignored mental health problems. Those are pansy issues. It’s so much easier now that we can say without a doubt that violence and gaming go hand in hand. No evidence or proof is needed. It’s common knowledge!
Outside the expo, I’m confronted by protesters. They shout at me, “Stricter game control!” They don’t understand. I just use my games for self-defense. Of course, everyone is a perceived threat, so I use them often. But the point still stands.
The original post can be found at my blog here.