In Defense of Video Games

So since I started my short series of posts with a defense, I think I’ll close with one.

As I was doing my daily news speed reading, because seriously if I didn’t skim, I’d never make it off the Starbucks stool, I came across some new developments in the Norway massacre trial. Apparently the murdering psychopath, I mean alleged murdering psychopath, has said that he played Modern Warfare 2 as a way to practice his shooting technique. As you can probably imagine, this will most likely open a can of worms where extremists will argue the malicious intent of violent video games, and the gamers will have to get off the couch long enough to roll their eyes at the ridiculousness of this argument. Perhaps gamers might take to the internet as means of a counter-strike, but ultimately they will shortly find it safe enough to return to their game and extend their kill streak.

In short, absent a new rating system for those violent, violent video games, the world will remain unchanged even in the face of this disturbing development. So, let’s go ahead and nip this in the bud. Shall we?

Now, let me be clear: I am not a gamer. In fact, I have the coordination of a bat without sonar capability. That being said, I have had a year of video game glory. It involved Mario-Kart, the Nintendo 64, and a banana peel: I was invincible, perhaps even an assassin. I’ve also had some prideful moments on Golden Eye, and I’m not talking about the one for Super Nintendo. The point is while I’ve had some experience, I’ve had nothing that could compare to the craziness of Grand Theft Auto, Halo, and Modern-Gears of Duty-Portal-Bio-Battlefield of Destruction-Half-Warfare whatever.

With all of this in mind, I might just be a neutral party, and as such I’m going to propose my opinion. It is as follows:

Using Modern Warfare 2 as shooting practice? Really? How does that qualify as shooting practice? You don’t actually get a gun, you get a controller. So, at most, playing a lot of Modern Warfare 2, might make you very good at pushing a button, which could be dangerous. However, let’s give credit where credit’s due. If the definition of a violent video game is the ability for it to be used as a means of shooting practice, well then the most violent video game mankind has ever been exposed to would be Duck Hunt. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, you actually get a gun in Duck Hunt, a brightly colored gun whose only purpose was to bring those damn, cocky ducks down.

Logically speaking, if Duck Hunt is supposed to train you to be a crack-shot with a gun, I’ve put in enough hours to be a sniper. Unfortunately for me, I cannot in good faith add sniper to my list of resume skills. My aim is terrible. I couldn’t hit the broad side of a building if my life depended on it, granted that confession probably means that no one will stand with me in case of zombie apocalypse, but I digress. Duck Hunt has not improved my shot. My gun sensor may have been off, or I may have been that bad, but in either case, the ducks knew to rest easy when I was behind the trigger.

Now, some dissenters may say that Modern Warfare 2 doesn’t need a gun to help people kill people. They might argue that the game improves the reflexes needed to kill mass amounts of people, and that alone is enough to crucify the simulation. However, I would have to respond that any game could improve reflexes, let’s not limit it to just the violent ones. Rock Band improves dexterity and reaction time, maybe not enough to play an actual instrument or anything, but still. How about improving reflexes for the whole body? I’m looking at you Dance, Dance Revolution. Maybe it’s so dangerous that it has the ability to train a young army for a real revolution (not a positive one of course, it is a video game after all).

All of this sounds ridiculous, because it is. Video games don’t make crazies, crazies make crazies. Maybe we are a little desensitized (graphic wars, graphic language, Tosh.O in general), but let me point out that my Texan grandmother can snap a chicken’s neck with a fair amount of brutal efficiency. I’m still not desensitized enough to do that. However, if I keep playing video games, maybe there’s still time for me to get there.



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4 responses to “In Defense of Video Games

  1. Hey, you forgot about Call of Honor: Medal of Duty 4 – The Biohazard Operation… However your main point is spot on. Playing a videogame will NOT in anyway improve your effeciency as a marksman or make you proficient in hand-to-hand. And I speak as someone who has years of knowledge and experience with both videogames and military training. It might interest some people to know that simulations and videogames are tools that are used in our training kit. But the skills you walk away after using them are likely to be reacting correctly to a given scenario or working as a cohesive unit.

    And no one ever improved their shooting skills via Duck Hunt. Most were too busy raging at that [expletive deleted] dog!

  2. Playing hours of Duck Hunt as a small child definitely didn’t contribute to my abilities to shoot a real gun. It took me six months to qualify on the 9mm Beretta when I first joined to Coast Guard. One thing video games did do for me personally is to teach me about saving money to buy things. The only way I was allowed to have a Nintendo (the old timey 1st edition), was to buy it myself using my allowance, so that was my first foray into the world of responsibility.

  3. cameronellis88

    Reading this post was like reading a post in a different language. My mom never let my sister and I have a gameboy as kids, so I just never played video games, EVER! The closest I got to a video game was the Oregon Trail and I always died crossing the river, so I quit. I don’t feel that video games are causing more violence in our world, maybe just more obesity.

  4. Fred, I agree, you can not apply the physics or action in a military shooter to reality. I like Andrea pointing games such as Mario Kart, that is revoved from any sense of realism, it is what a video shoul be, fun.

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