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Answering Scot Hacker on Violence in Games

Scot Hacker asks the following question in his blog today:

Quite a bit of interesting discussion tagged onto the end of my Unreal Tournament post. Without trying further to identify ambiguous forces like "the cause of violence in America" (note that I never said "the cause" but only implied that it was undoubtedly a cause), I want to ask an honest question of everyone who thinks it's acceptable for children to play violent video games:

What's worse: Rape or murder?

If you think murder is worse and you let your kids play games that involve pretending to murder humans or humanoids by the hundreds, then surely you would have no objection to a video game where your character ran around raping women or girls, right?

Those of you who have posted here in defense of murder games: I would very much like to hear your defense of rape games, and to learn why you intend to let your children play them.

I respect Scot enough to take his question seriously and answer him here. I'll set aside the fundamental premise that video games are "a cause" of violence in America -- I don't agree with that, but I don't think it's germane to the discussion at hand.

Though both are despicable acts, I think murder is worse than rape.

However, it is important to note that while killing people is sometimes not defined as murder, forcible sex is always considered rape. In other words, while there are circumstances -- war, self-defense, and so on -- in which the killing of others is considered by most people to be acceptable behavior, there is never a circumstance in which forcible sex is anything other than a horrific crime. Therefore, while it is perfectly possible to create games in which killing is a reasonable activity, it would never be possible to do so for rape.

I'll also point out that the game which started this -- Unreal Tournament -- has players instantly jump back into the action after being "killed." Given this, can it really be said to depict murder? If so, it's an extremely unrealistic form of it, bearing little relation to murder in the real world.

Comments

All across the world people are saying that violence in games is what is making this world fall apart, but I think that it is what is holding the world together. Many people say it affects the kid’s sense of reality and blocks the perception of right and wrong. They also say that it is too scary for the children to be watching. The fact that it has blood and gore is not the problem, all it is fake blood, what is the problem with that. There are so many kinds of games out there for us to play but they are being criticized because of the graphic nature of the games. I feel that the games should not be pulled off the market or only sold to adults; the reason is that “it’s just a game it can’t hurt you.”
A game should not be criticized for its content and what it dose, this is something I think should stop. It should be up to the parent(s) to inform them whether or not they can play it or not. If the parent(s) think that the child should not play the game they will not let them get it. “These rules are there to keep the children safe.” Says the counselor for a company that wants to remain nameless. This is something that shows you that even they know that they are doing something stupid to the economy. By hiding their name they are trying to share the blame with the other companies.
The games out there today are there to give the public something to do in their free time so why do they try to keep it from the people. There are many kinds to play like sports, action, strategy, RPG and many more. If there are so many kinds of games for us to buy why don’t we buy them? Well we don’t buy them because that is not what we are looking for and what do we do when we aren’t looking for something? We don’t buy it. So why do they try to keep us from buying something that we want.
Yes some games are very graphic but that is only fake blood and violence it can’t do anything to you. They say that it will destroy your perception of reality and right and wrong. But these are just games and if it takes a person to a kind of a new place that they can just sit and play without worrying about what they are doing today and what they could be doing.
So, in conclusion, it should be up to the parent(s) or guardian of the child if they can or can’t get the game that they ask for. The consumer is the one that should be able to decide if they wont to buy the game or not, not the company. These are the reasons why I feel that the rules should change on buying a game.

What so you think about video game violence?
What do yo think that we can do to stop people from buying the game? And what so you think that parents pay attention to in the game (rating, graphic,etc.).

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