I have never been into video games and don’t see myself getting into them in the future. The only video game console I had as a child was a Nintendo Wii and pretty much the only game I played was the Hannah Montana dance game. However, it was a commonplace thing through my primary school years to hang out with your friends in someone’s basement and for everyone to play MarioKart.
Personally, I think it is hard to put every video game out there under an umbrella and say how video games have affected our society. I do think that games such as Grand Theft Auto are extremely harmful to society. In Grand Theft Auto, committing acts of violence is really the name of the game. They make glamorize violence and that has a real effect on people. Even if people are not committing crimes because of it, the way people view the world becomes distorted. Violence and crime are normalized to players. The way women are portrayed in GTA are as prostitutes who can give the player more ‘Life’ points and be killed if the player wants to get their money back. Impressionable young boys learn social cues through games like these which is very scary.
I understand that there is a disconnect between legislators and the video game industry in that legislators base their censorship legislation on protecting the children. Law-makers view the video game industry as targeting their products to children, when, in fact, that is not the case. I think that if legislators listened to the video game industry and its consumers, they could write useful laws that might make it through Congress.
However, I do believe that violent video games are very harmful to our society. While it is cliche to say that we are becoming desensitized to violence through video games, I believe it to be true. Censorship is a tricky issue, but I think video games are the foremost type of entertainment that promotes violence. In a video game, you are not a passive audience member that just sees a story take place. Video game players are making the plays themselves. When those kinds of decisions are mindless violence and abuse of women, how can one not be affected?