As a kid born in the 80’s I have a fond connection to video games. I spent hours playing games at The Gold Mine, Circus Circus and Skateway.
It was there, on some bland weekend, I stumbled across a game that to me didn’t seem wildly better than anything else I played that day. It was a tiny upright console with a smaller screen than most. It was Violent. It was bloody. It was Mortal Kombat. More than anything I was curious because it was a new fighting game. I had always like Street Fighter but was terrible at. Dropping a few quarters in I though this will be different. I picked the blue ninja. My first fight was against some robo guy.
Less than 3 minutes later it was over. I lost. Moved on. They game did nothing to stick with me. At least until the storm came after. Outrage over blood, fatalities. Violence. How could my generation be entertained by such filth? Why couldn’t my generation be entertained by things my parents grew up with? You know. Like westerns. Those fun family rooms where white guys gunned each down and slaughtered the native people. That was real, family entertainment.
I tried Mortal Kombat a few more times over the years but nothing after 3.
I bring this up because yet again video games are being drawn into a debate they shouldn’t be. Being scapegoated in the wake of another national tragedy. Decades of studies have been done. The facts remain. There is no provable link between video games and real world violence.
As a father I’ve already started debating my sons gaming future. I’m leaning away. Not because of violence, but health and social issues. I want a child that is healthy, wants be outdoors and be with his friends. Will he play games ? They are unavoidable and I’ll want to play with him. It will be monitored and family time, but always a treat not a babysitter.
Please let’s focus on real problems. Not scapegoats.