Today in Gaming History: 10/20/2013


October 2003: Video games and violence argument surfaces again
Ten years ago, the families of Aaron Hamel and Kimberly Bede, both shot by teen stepbrothers William and Josh Buckner, filed a $246 million lawsuit against Rockstar Games, Take-Two Interactive Software, Wal-Mart, Sony Computer Entertainment America.  At the heart of the lawsuit was Grand Theft Auto III, which the Buckners claimed inspired their actions. Hamel was killed and Bede was injured as the Buckners randomly shot at tractor-trailers on the highway. The Grand Theft Auto series as seen its share of controversy over the years, and has time and again been linked to a number of violent crimes.  In the case of Buckners, they eventually pleaded guilty.

Do you think our society will ever get past the “video games cause violence” argument, or is it something we are bound to live with? Start the conversation in the comments below.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. C. T. Murphy says:

    I believe we are stuck with it until videogames become old media.

    Most mediums, even ones we hold up (such as novels), seem to go through a similar period of scrutiny as they are integrated into the cultural identity. In time, as more and more generations of serious game enthusiasts get older and as the industry as a whole matures, I think they’ll find the broader acceptance we all are looking for.

    Though, there are still book burners out there. I can’t imagine this problem will ever be completely erased.


    1. cary says:

      Yeah, I kind of see it as an ongoing thing, like the “bad penny” scenario. I like your analogy to that of books. There certainly was a time (okay, so it was a looooong time ago) when things like reading and learning were seen as something unhealthy. Hopefully the growing pains of video games will cease someday too.


  2. It’s a hard question for me to answer. My experience with games, as much as I love them, is that people look down on you as soon as you call yourself a gamer in everyday conversation.

    I usually compare it to cinema since they both suffer the same dilemma of whether or not it’s an art form. Cinema has been judged harshly many times, and still is on occasion, but it’s now accepted as a wide media for entertainment. Why did it happen? I can’t say, and I’m certainly not going to make something up, but my hopes are that gaming can go down the same path.

    But one of the reasons why I think this is going to be difficult is interactivity. Let’s face it, in movies, books and theater plays you’re not the one committing relentless murder. So, It’s going to be a difficult and long ride into acceptance.

    There’s just so many excuses people can use to continue calling games “A bad Influence.”


    1. cary says:

      Yeah, you’re right about that. As developers seek out ways to give us new experiences through games, there will certainly be a few cases that backfire or become scapegoats for society’s problems generally. Progress is both sweet and dangerous, depending on which side of the fence you’re standing.


  3. Hatm0nster says:

    I agree with my fellow commenters. Once it’s old media we’ll see less of it.However, I don’t see it completely going away until we stop blaming media for the things people do. People make their own choices, and should be held responsible to for their own choices and actions.

    I feel this is especially true when it comes to kids playing rated M games. I agree that they shouldn’t be playing them, but at the same time that doesn’t mean that such games shouldn’t exist. It’s up to parents to take responsibility for what they allow their children to partake in. Once you buy your child a violent game, it is no longer the games fault if the child plays it and concludes that violence is okay. The fault is now yours, because in buying the game for them and saying it’s okay for them to play (without talking to them about what’s bad in it or anything), you have just put your stamp of approval on anything they see in that game.

    I’m sorry if I ruffle anyone’s feathers here but that’s how I’ve always seen it when media or something else is blamed for violence and the like. Our actions are our own responsibility and no one else’s.


    1. cary says:

      Great point! I mean, how many of us have witnessed in game stores parents buying M-rated games for their small children? It’s not like these same parents are going to McDonald’s. buying their kids Big Macs, and then blaming McDonald’s because they are overweight…er…maybe that’s not a good example. But there’s a strange disconnect happening in our society right now, one where people want to shove off responsibility in order to blame someone else for their problems. It’s upsetting and annoying to say the very least.


  4. Vitosal says:

    hatmonster said it the best. Couldn’t have put it better. I do think as newer generations of gamers come out gaming will be less scrutinized just like movies, and animated shows,


    1. cary says:

      Very true. Seems to me that video games should have reached that point already, but maybe we’re in the homestretch with this nonsense. I mean, how ridiculous is it that the media continues to bring up video games in association with violent crimes? Pretty darn ridiculous.


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