Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Once More...

So this morning I picked up the paper and saw that Ryan Donovan, the German sailor who murdered Lt. Cmdr. Molyneux on board a nuclear submarine, declared he wanted to do a 'GTA-style massacre'.

Since I started this blog in 2005 I've written more on videogame violence than I care to even think about so I won't repeat myself yet again, except to say this: GTA IV has sold well over 20 million copies. The fact that two or three people have claimed to be influenced by playing it tells me that their murderous impulses have an awful lot to do with their mental state in general... and absolutely nothing to do with their choice in media.

No, what made me write this today was a comment made by a judge who said "GTA is a game where you start a massacre and rack up points for killing'.

Am I wrong in thinking that if you're going to be making an official statement about something from an authoritative position, that you should have some basic idea of what you're talking about?

Saying GTA is a game where you 'start a massacre and get points for killing' is like me describing 'Saving Private Ryan' as 'A movie where five guys murder a ton of people in the German countryside'. From a certain point of view it's somewhat correct, but it hardly tells the whole story.

Now, normally, I'd be getting really worked up over this and talking about how we have the authorities  trying to legislate something they know nothing about in order to pander to an uninformed majority who would rather blame a technological bogey man for their kids problems rather than their own parental shortcomings.

In 2011, I don't have to.

I hate to break this to all the Daily Mail readers out there but, you see...we've already won. As Jack Thompson and Hilary Clinton discovered in the USA, we gamers aren't the socially inept, basement dwelling misfits you thought we were. They tried to make us the bogey men, the source of fear that they would protect everyone from in yet another engineered social panic...and then discovered that we were the majority.

Call of Duty 4 was the biggest entertainment launch in history. No book, no movie, no toy or game had ever been as successful. On launch day, more people picked up a controller than watched Titanic or The Matrix or any other film in history.

Long story short, we're one of the most powerful demographics on the planet. Rather than the nation being up in arms over these 'evil video games', we're shaking our heads and laughing at the dinosaurs.

In other words: Give it a rest, you're embarrassing yourself.