And what about us, the video game media? The NRA posed the idea that we condone and “sell” violence to people. While we certainly do review and enjoy games with violence in them, it’s also known that journalists have written hundreds of articles about the nonsensical violence in games like Grand Theft Auto. In addition, several of gaming’s most violent titles have Wiki pages focused on controversies behind the game’s violence. Are we really selling violence? Is a game really worth anything with violence alone? Absolutely not. Bulletstorm, for example, would have been repetitive and raunchy if there wasn’t a thrilling story or engaging gameplay in place.
Lastly, the tone in which LaPierre spoke it was a scared tone. Not worrisome because of this gut-wrenching attack against defenseless children, but worrisome because their “rights” are being shaped. I say shaped, because the 2nd Amendment isn’t going anywhere, but it’s being transformed to fit the world be live in, and rightly so. In recent days, Obama and congress are calling for a ban against assault rifles (the type of weapon Lanza used in the attack) and large magazines, and are even pushing for stricter tests for gun licensing. This scares the NRA, and so in a desperate attempt, they’re trying to turn everything on gaming and other forms of media. Sorry NRA, America’s top scientists and schools (i.e. Harvard) have proved that there’s no “causal link between media violence and real life violence." This man was, sadly, mentally ill and his family did not adequately deal with this fact in any appropriate manner. This was the problem. The only problem.
To end this strongly worded editorial, our hearts here at GameZone continue to reach out to the friends and family in the Sandy Hook community. We don’t write this to take the spotlight away from the atrocity that happened. It was devastating and I’ll never be able to understand how young children could be innocently slaughtered. My goal is that we focus on the real issue behind the attacker and not factors that aren’t to blame. The National Rifle Association may not be able to open their eyes to this fact, but hopefully you all can. We’d love to hear your opinion on this entire fiasco, though. Let us know your thoughts by commenting below.
You can read more into Tate Steinlage’s every day life of college, Sporting KC, and gaming @SteinlageT.
In case you’ve been living under a rock today, which would likely be a horrible place to hide since, you know, today is the end of the world, the ever-so entertaining National Rifle Association (NRA) released a thorough press release in response to last week’s horrific, chilling elementary school shooting that took place in Connecticut. The organization, which is currently feeling pressure from Congress for gun control, quickly turned its “conversation” into a laughable, irresponsible attack on video games and the very media that covers them.
The press release got the ball rolling quite hilariously when the group stated, "This is the beginning of a serious conversation. We won't be taking any questions,” which, you know, is how conversations work. Chief executive officer for the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, then kicked off the presser expectedly by announcing their grievances for the Sandy Hook families and how tragic this incident was – up until this point the group had my respect. Things began to turn, though, as LaPierre spoke of the “real” problems with school safety and guns in America, which eventually turned into a rant that eventually highlighted the NRA’s believed culprit behind the attack: video games.
Here’s an excerpt from the press release:
And here's another dirty little truth that the media try their best to conceal: There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people.
Through vicious, violent video games with names like Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat and Splatterhouse. And here’s one: it’s called Kindergarten Killers. It’s been online for 10 years. How come my research department could find it and all of yours either couldn’t or didn’t want anyone to know you had found it?
Yes, you heard right; instead of simply calling out video games as factor behind the trigger, the NRA blasted the entire video game, media industry calling it a “corrupting shadow industry,” that’s only goal is to sell violence to people. LaPierre then went on, as you read, to pull out a few names from our industry including Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto, and Mortal Kombat. Interestingly enough, he also spoke on and old school indie game, Kindergarten Killers.
This wasn’t enough for the NRA, however, as the chief executive officer went on to pose a staggering question – one that certainly was spoken out of arrogance – a sentence that can only be quoted from its original context:
Isn't fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?
Ouch. As a gamer, doesn’t that get you fired up, as it did for me? I’d certainly hope so. I quickly turned to Twitter to blast the organization (though they certainly don’t care). Though this isn’t the first time the group has called out video games has “demonizing” to our country, this is the first time we’ve seen the argument taken to an extreme. You see, the NRA wasn’t just calling video games and other media types a factor of this incident. Oh no, these words were of an organization saying that video games were the defining cause behind Adam Lanza’s attack. This made me pose a few questions, questions I think we need to answer to those who believe we’re wasting away our mental capacities with fantasy lands and military shooters.
First off, we know little to nothing behind Adam Lanza’s gaming history. A plumber that worked on the Lanza home reported that Lanza would spend hours playing games like StarCraft II, but what plumber spends hours at a home? And when did StarCraft II become a violent game with real-life weapons? Better yet, it’s been affirmed by the family and Adam Lanza himself (before the atrocity) that his favorite game was none other than, you guessed it, Dance Dance Revolution. Is the NRA really prepared to make the jump and say that DDR is a “violent video game?” It seems so.
And then there’s the NRA’s examples used in the presser. Two of the games, Mortal Kombat and Splatterhouse, don’t even feature guns (at least not prominently in-game). I read a hilarious tweet today that stated, “Mortal Kombat really is the problem. This year alone, 1 out of every 4 Americans was assaulted by a ninja who shoots ice from its hands.” It’s funny to read, but this is exactly how the NRA is picturing what games are doing to our country’s youth and adults. Better yet, the group didn’t even mention military games such as Black Ops II or Medal of Honor: Warfighter that feature real-life weapons that can be obtained in many stores across the country. And what about that Kindergarten Killers game? It’s a 2002 web-based Flash game from indie developer Zsoa. It features a crudely drawn janitor shooting kids who are also armed and firing back at the player. The game, being indie, isn’t owned by any corporation for media “flashiness,” and has certainly not received any sort of media spotlight – until today, ironically.