Gamed: Games and war, which one is bad again?

gamed make pixels not war cod

This week, yet another study was released which concluded that there was no correlation between violent video games and violence in children. Unfortunately, many of the politicians that have been quick to lay the blame of all violence at the feet of video games may have missed that report, as they are busy preparing to send the country into another war. 

If you have children, play games, or have a pulse, you have probably heard that there is a bit of disagreement surrounding the effects of violent video games on children and teenagers. One side thinks the issue is complex and worthy of more study. There is no conclusive proof that violent games have any effect whatsoever on the psyche of impressionable youths, and there is actually a fair amount of research that claims there are benefits to playing violent games, from stress relief to neurological effects like improved hand-eye coordination, and better multitasking skills. The other side is full of assholes.

Bad.
Bad.

Yes, that is simplistic and unfair, but for every person with good intentions there is a hypocrite with a soapbox ready to score cheap points with opinion masquerading as fact, just without any evidence. Sometimes this is because they really believe it regardless of proof. Sometimes they just see an easy target. If it’s just a talking head on TV raging against gaming, so be it. Many of the more outspoken pundits have daily shows, sometimes two if you  include their often lengthy radio programs. They are still pricks and deserve a case of hemorrhoids so severe that Lucifer would offer them a rubber doughnut when they get to Hell, but their need to fill content is understandable, and you can always turn them off. Politicians, on the other hand, are a different story.

As a kid back in 1990, I have a clear recollection of the first time I saw CNN’s Gulf War (the prequel) coverage. I was waiting for my Mom at a restaurant that had a TV tuned to CNN. I gave my Reebok pumps a few extra squeezes for stability, adjusted my hypercolor t-shirt, and turned off my Walkman as I walked over to watch. The footage was from the nosecone of an incoming missile. It was grainy footage to begin with, plus this was in the days of SD TV when everybody was attractive at 480, but the image of a missile hitting a truck was unmistakable. It was war, live and on basic cable.

Good.
Good.

Three years later Doom was released. The pixilated demon slayer was national news, and politicians were quick to attack it for sensationalizing violence. A few years later when Columbine went from the name of a school to an event, I always found it odd that people had a problem with video games like Doom, which was repeatedly blamed for the tragedy, and yet the glamorization and airing of war was considered a public service. And let’s be clear – the CNN coverage of the Gulf War did not show the harsh and terrible realities of war. The network wasn’t putting up images of dead children or decapitated corpses. It was showing missiles hitting targets, and Baghdad at night as AA guns fired. It was like watching really mean fireworks.

And so here we are again. Another reason, another country, and possibly another war. And an unpopular one at that. The only other country to support an attack on Syria is France. France. If that isn’t a bad omen, I don’t know what is. The situation in Syria is horrific. It’s a stain on the civilized world, but it’s not like we could just fire off a missile and call it a day. Launching laser guided democracy from a destroyer wouldn’t do it, it would lead to soldiers on the ground and another war.

In April of this year, Senator Dian Feinstein claimed video games were a “simulator to practice killing on.” She is now demanding an attack on Syria. Following the Columbine massacre, Senator John McCain sent a letter to President Clinton that placed some of the blame on Doom. He too wants to jump into another war. They are not alone, not even close. The rhetoric against video games was especially pungent following the Sandy Hook tragedy, leading President Obama to request the CDC outline a course of study. Several politicians were quick to condemn violence and blame video games. Today some of those same politicians are encouraging sending soldiers, many of whom are still kids themselves, into into real life life violent situations, even as the majority of the world argues against it. Because apparently that is much better for us than playing Call of Duty.   

Hot Coffee and News

Iran bans women

LEague of LEgendsOk, so Iran didn’t actually ban women, just the digital, artistically styled versions of them. According to the League of Legends forum, an Iranian eSports tournament has banned the use of all female characters from League of Legends because they were deemed too revealing. Putting aside for a moment the general wtf sentiment, this radically alters the balance of the game. It’s akin to playing tennis without a raquet. The event’s organizers are looking for solutions with Iranian officials, who will surely be open and welcoming to new ideas…

Uwe Boll wants your money

UWe bollAt this point in my career, I really should have a macro key programmed to paste the phrase: “Video games have not been well treated when it comes to film adaptations.” I may replace the word “film” with “movie” just to keep it spicy,  but the point remains. Even the most successful video game-based films are at best mediocre, while comic book fans quietly look on and point derisively. There is hope though – Ubisoft’s Motion Picture division alone has a lot of promise in its upcoming slate of movies – but then you have Uwe Boll, the one person who has done more harm to video game adaptations than anyone alive. After offering truly awful adaptations of games like Far Cry, Alone in the Dark, and BloodRayne, Boll  is now asking for money via Kickstarter to make Postal 2, a sequel to his own Magnus Crapus Postal, and another adaptation of the violent, and kind of stupid game series Postal. Don’t let this happen, world. I’m not even going to link the Kickstarter page. DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN.

What did you do to Nintendo, Australia?

Zelda cat mem3Nintendo recently took the bold move of dropping the price of the Wii U, meaning you can now not buy Nintendo’s new console for $50 less. The price cut goes into effect on September 20 in most places, except in Australia, who get nothing because suck it, Australia, that’s why. The fancy Wind Waker HD bundle is also skipping the home of Fosters and inappropriate jokes about sheep. No reason was given, but a price cut may still happen at some point.  

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