(This article was the basis of a talk given by Simon at School. It prompted much discussion...)
Whether or not games encourage and cause violence has been debated for a long time. Many games have been on the brink of being banned but have been let off. Some of these are Doom 3 in which you rip apart aliens in the most lifelike horror game ever. There is also Mortal Kombat which is owner of the title “Bloodiest game ever”. The newest game like this is Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
Video game murders:2>
Many video games have been linked with murders. The most recent one was probably when Stefan Pakeerah was murdered by Warren LeBlanc. He hit him over the head with a claw hammer and then stabbed him repeatedly with a knife. Warren has confessed to being an avid fan of the game “Manhunt”. In Manhunt you get higher points for creating the grizzliest deaths that you can.
Games are rated by the PEGI and ISFE systems. These stand for Pan European Game Information and the Interactive Software Federation of Europe.
These systems are run by NICAM which is the Netherlands Institute for the Classification of Audiovisual Media. These systems are a replacement for the ELSPA guideline system. ELSPA stands for the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association. The BBFC or British Board of Film Classification still stands in place for very gory and/or violent games.
These ratings are law and SHOULD be abided.
Not at fault:
It has not yet been proven that video games are a cause of murderers and I don’t think that it is true. I’m a Playstation 2 freak and I play on it for about 2 to 8 hours a day. I have played over 150 Playstation 2 games and about 30 of these have been called into question of whether they are an influence on murder.
I played Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance for at least a month and I’ve never thought about killing anyone. It IS proven that far less than 1 % of all video gamers have ever even thought about killing anyone. There is no certain proof that Manhunt caused the death of Stefan, but there is proof that violent people are attracted to violent games. Warren was probably a violent person and thought that Manhunt looked really good so he went out and bought it. He then killed Stefan because he was a violent person, not because it looked good in Manhunt. He probably would have killed him anyway.
I think the real people to blame for these murders are the parents who let the teenage killers play games that they’re not old enough for, don’t educate them to know the difference between reality and fantasy and actually let them have access to firearms in the first place. I believe that video games are not the cause for the murders, but just a good thing for the killers to blame it on so that they have a reason.
I conclude that video games shouldn’t blamed for murders and that the parents of the killers who blame their actions on video games should be.
(Well, what do YOU think? Send Simon an e-mail if you have a strong view)