A while back a senator said that violence in computer games is completely outrageous and is amazingly influential on our youth. We’ll just randomly choose a name by which to call him and randomly choose a state that he represents. We’ll call him «Joseph Lieberman» of «Connecticut. » Oops, that seems to be his real name and state…… Anyway, Joe believes that violence is simply appalling and that games should not have violence.

Well, here are my reasons why violence is not bad in computer games: people are not persuaded to commit amazingly bloody crimes by them, there are ratings on games, and also, ovies can have all the violence they please and the rating can justify it all. Let us examine these. Many people would say I am wrong about this one. I say violence does not affect people that much when they are playing a game. I hope that our species has evolved enough to tell the difference between a 15″ screen full of pixels and the real world.

I hope they realize that the violence on these screens is quite fake, and that in the real world this violence will not be put up with. What is that I hear? It desensitizes people to violence. Let us take a look at this. You’ve been playing violent computer games since you were five. Violence no longer affects you. Are you going to take a gun to someone’s head just because violence is no big deal to you? You probably will not. I can hear Joe now. Mechwarrior 2 is violent and should not have all this violence.

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Now, if you are familiar with Mechwarrior 2 then you know it is a game that you play as a robot destroying other robots. Little Billy sees this and decides he’ll get dad’s robot out and do some damage. There is a reason for you right there why game violence is not that persuasive. A lot of it is not completely real. Furthermore, violence has been in movies for a lot longer and children have not been too influenced by it. Eighty-seven percent of violent crimes are committed by adults. Do you think all this violence is really getting the kids to become more violent?

Now, people probably are not convinced yet. You are saying little Billy, 5 years old, in this state of complete malleability will play «monkey see monkey do» (I put this in quotation marks because of how demeaning it is calling people monkeys, but I lack a better saying so I used it) and take dad’s shotgun to a buddy and blow him away a la Quake. This is why games have ratings. You know, those little rectangles that say «T» for Teen rating because of violence, gore, vulgarity or what-not?

Yes, contrary to what you might have heard, that is a rating. It means that if parents are responsible they will not let Billy get Quake. If you happen to have games that are not appropriate for your kids you are not out of luck. Daggerfall has parental controls and password protection to keep your kids from seeing the violence. Many companies do this. It’s another way moldable young children are protected from violent games. I have one last point to make. Sen.

Lieberman finishes his press conference that bashes computer game violence. He then takes a walk to the local theater and purchases tickets to take his 10-year-old to see Saving Private Ryan. Do find anything wrong with this picture? He accepts violence in one form but completely denies it in another form. Movies have ratings to protect children from violent content. They can get away with anything and it has not really affected kids in the past. Then a new form of expression, computer games, pops up into the picture.

Now people are aying the violence is overbearing when really they are ignoring the fact that the everyday news has more violence than your average computer game! Take into consideration movies and then the violence in computer games is greatly dwarfed. Well, Joe, did I miss anything? Computer game violence does not seem to affect people; games do have ratings, and there is already so much violence on TV and in society that the violence in computer games is not adding too much to the equation. I think that if you are a kid and a violent game is OK with your parents then play that game.

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