Video Games, Religion and Politicians – Not good bed fellows

 

What  people who don’t play video games say: ‘I don’t know about video games. They sound awful complicated.’

What people who don’t play video games would say if they played them: ‘Da! I shoot u ya BaSTarD! i kill u d00d, u r DOA lama!’

Maybe that is not what people inexperinced with the gaming world would say, but still, gaming has changed an awful lot since its orchestration. But I ain’t here to talk about the history – no, I am here to talk about the possible future. Films today in general are, can we say ‘not very good’? So many are total blow outs at the cinema. Creators and story tellers are running out of original concepts it might seem and are looking towards books for ideas. I mean, how many days was Twilight out before someone said ‘I could make a movie about that!’

When might this unfortunate occurrence hit the world of the video game? Perhaps it has already happened? We might be living in such a world right now. How so? For one, the sequel; almost every single game now-a-days comes with a sequel. And it ain’t like in Hollywood where you watch a film and the entire storyline plays out and then they create a brand new story line for the following title. No – games have sequels because the story gets to a certain point – and then gets chopped – only to be revisited in the following two games. Yes my friends, I am talking about the trilogy! Mass Effect, Gears of War, maybe even Crysis and Rage – all have elements of the sequel. Bearing in mind I am not complaining about the content – they were all equally awesome in their own way – but they were chopped off at points where they leave the gamer crying out ‘Oi! WTF!’, before forcing them to wait a cool 2-3 years for the next installment. I mean, who here has heard the rumor that a possible Doom 4 will come out in December of this year? Id and Bethesda have been awful quiet, but still – that there is the sequel at work. We gamers are but slaves to it, for if we liked the predecessors then of course we are going to buy the sequel – even though by the time the sequel comes out it is twice as expensive as the game that came before it in the series when released a few years before!

Secondly, there is the HD version of games. When people run out of ideas, they plan to remake the old!
Recently the creator of Alone in the Dark specified how he wished to create a HD version of the original concept that was designed back when games were but new and people looked at them with suspicion. Halo HD, Silent Hill HD collection, Serious Sam HD…Duke Nukem, released on XBOX360, PS3 AND PC 2010, but in old graphics format (never released in Oz though). The problem with the HD versions of games, or the re-release of them is…that they never offer anything new or exciting. No new weapons. No new levels. In fact, they often take segments out. Serious Sam had no Split Screen function on XBOX360 and several movie clips were removed from the campaign. Halo HD had no new weapons or abilities and almost all of the original multiplayer maps failed to make a return. However, imagine what Doom or Doom2 would look like in HD! Now, that is one wet dream of mine I would like to see become real…

…then there is the whole concept that video games are the root of all evil; that they cause violence in society and turn children into uneducated delinquents. Of course, the people who always make these comments are those of whom in society would not know a video game from a glass of water. Take Australia for instance. No ‘R 18+’ rating all these years, and on January 1st 2013, they intend to have a ‘test run’ of this rating system. That don’t sound all too ominous to me, but if it means I will temporarily have no restrictions on my games, then I am fine with it for as long as it lasts. For years Australian gamers have been craving such a rating as to be treated like adults rather than little children who desperately need protection. There is such thing as too much protection. Most gamers are between the ages of 18-32. Don’t tell me they require parental protection?! When will these restrictions begin to grow more lenient? Or are they to grow more fierce as the years go by?

The politicians are in constant debate over this notion for an ‘R18+’ rating, yet no politician plays video games, so what is the point of having people with no knowledge on such subject matter making choices that ultimately affect the world of gaming in one entire country? All be it, not a very large one, but a country all the same! According to gaming specialists who accuse games of being violent, ‘Doom’ was basically the beginning of the end for our society, yet none of these speculators have any actual evidence to support their ridiculous claims that gaming causes intense violence amongst its community. Apparently earlier in the year a known gamer defecated in the hall of the hotel they were staying in. Yes, that might not be the smartest thing to do when travelling the world, but still – I have not played a game where shit was used as the primary weapon.

What really shits me (pardon the pun) is when groups who have no real say in the world about games decide to put their bib in. Before March, when it was decided an ‘R18+’ rating would be allowed in Australia, the last meeting on the subject occurred in around August of 2011 in Brisbane where the members of parliament involved in the meeting came together for three hours. There are a cool couple million people in Oz who play video games, and the government decides to give away three hours of their precious time for video games? They spend more time giving each other additional surpluses of money on the general public’s dime! After this meeting occurred and it was said that the politicians left without an informed decision – a Melbourne Christian group came out and said this decision was a win for them. Why did they need to comment anyway? Not one of them had ever played a game, yet they were frequently accusing games of spreading the root of sin!

On top of this, it is almost ironic for a Christian group to come out and accuse video games of being the excuse for the world’s problems. Video games it would seem are nothing more than a scapegoat in the eyes of such organisations that wish to change the world to that which they want. Why can’t it be that some people are just naturally arseholes? Why does it have to be that everyone began as ‘good’ people, and then played a video game and then, and only then, did they turn into raving nut cases? It’s rich that Christian groups like the one that saw video games as an antagonistic evil labeled it as such, specifying that they should be banned and restricted. Now, what I am about to say is going to seem quite controversial to some, but couldn’t religion and Christianity be viewed in the exact same light as video games?…

Now, I may be an atheist, I will admit it, but that does not mean that I naturally despise religion. It simply means that I can look at it, discuss it and interpret it without being blinded by personal religious bias. But, I digress.

 …Seriously – if video games are responsible for but even one death, and I ain’t saying that they are – I can assure you, religion is responsible for more deaths in the entire human history than anything else combined. Video games are considered harmful to the people – they promote violence supposedly. Couldn’t religion be articulated in the same light? The Crusades – hundreds upon thousands of people slaughtered by armies of Christian soldiers just because they chose not to believe in Jesus Christ. And what about extremists? Are not their causes religious too? On top of this, Christianity reaffirms the idea that a person can kill and kill again and not feel at all guilty for their crimes – hell, a person could kill a million people, go to Church, ask God for forgiveness, and it shall be granted to them. Then, they will not only feel free of guilt – but will probably go out and kill another million people and feel the same exact lack of guilt immediately afterwards.

Moreover, video games are seen as been dangerous for children. Here’s a question for you – how many times have you heard a report on the news that a child has been grievously injured by a video game? Has been influenced to bring harm to another individual because of a video game? Now, with those answers in mind – how many times in the news have you heard reports that a priest or member of the church has sexually assaulted a young boy?

If you intend to ban video games, or restrict the content within them, then why not ban every single thing that is potentially hazardous to one’s health, regardless if there is verified proof to back up the allegations or not. This not only includes religion, but what about driving one’s car around? Having a shower? Walking down the street? Joining the military? Becoming a law enforcement officer? When will it end? Almost every single thing in the entire world can be seen as a tool for violence if it is interpreted that way. My idea – if we removed every single supposedly violent thing from our society, we would no doubt be relegated back to the Stone Age for anything and everything can be used aggressively if placed into the hands of a violent aggressor. On top of this, I would recommend that one does not quickly judge something before they have all the facts to make a substantial case. Not only is doing this foolish, ignorant and boring because one is simply copying every other group or person like an army of brainless sheep – it is also blatantly rude to prevent people from experiencing their entertainment just because a couple people here and there have a supposed ‘problem’ with the product. If every single thing the church had a problem with was forever banned, there would be nothing but the church left in this world.

Is this the future of gaming – a restricted world where content is blocked and games are banned? Where restrictions reign supreme? I certainly hope not, and if so, it ain’t the kind of world I want to live in!

Thank you for reading

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2 comments on “Video Games, Religion and Politicians – Not good bed fellows

  1. (This will be a long comment. I have lots of thoughts on this.) You make a good point about religious people blaming video games for violence. I am a Christian, and we are supposed to believe that all people are sinful (because we certainly are, there are tons of jerks in the world, yes, even before video games were made; I’m sure I can be a huge jerk, too, sometimes). It would actually be against our beliefs to think that people are innocent and good, and we only did wrong because a game made us do it. Um, so no one hurt people before video games? The Romans killed plenty of people before video games came along. And I doubt Hitler played video games. Or did he, and somehow while playing “Mario” one day, he thought he’d kill all Jews? I don’t like when religious groups go overboard about any of these things. Like how they believe “Harry Potter” is evil. I’ve seen actual books on the subject. “Harry Potter” is about good people who just happen to know magic fighting to stop bad people who know magic. What’s wrong with that? I’ve read the books; it’s not an attack on religion, sheesh!

    And like you said, we can’t ban everything potentially hazardous. We should ban bleach and chop sticks (they could really poke someone). It’s like when people want to ban guns. Oh, great, so people could shoot me with a gun and kill me quickly, but, yes, ban guns so that people will instead try to kill me with a knife. That’s a better way to go, to be stabbed to death. Hey, let’s ban knives. Now people will try to beat me to death with a baseball bat. Yay! Ban that, and they’ll eventually just punch me to death. If people want to hurt someone, they’ll do it, whether or not guns or video games or pointy forks exist. And what about violent TV shows? I don’t know about Australia, but horror movies like “Saw” and extremely violent TV shows like “The Sopranos” are very popular where I live. (For people who value peace, they sure are interested in mobsters.) Such things are much more violent than most video games, but because they are popular, and video games are “nerdy” and apparently the hobbies of pimply, delinquent teenagers, it is okay to watch movies filled with gratuitous violence but not okay to shoot invading aliens in “Halo”. If video games cause us to be violent (oh, no, I had Yoshi eat a turtle), then why not violent TV shows?

    Anyway, please don’t think badly of us Christians. The ones who say video games and such are evil are just being silly. I’ve been playing for years, shooting aliens and zombies, and I have no feeling like God is mad at me for it. And no, you absolutely can’t kill people, ask for forgiveness, then kill more people. If someone does that, they are not really sorry, and they are not really forgiven. If a Christian thought that, and I’m sure some do, they are twisting everything that God is. A human wouldn’t forgive someone that kills, apologizes, then kills again, and neither would God. God is not an idiot. God will NOT forgive you if you just give a fake “I’m sorry” and then keep going on to do the same exact thing again. Some people may say you can, but that is, in fact, completely not what Christians believe. I just wanted to get that straight. And saying games make us violent means we are not taking responsibility for our own actions. I only murdered all those people because I was playing “Donkey Kong” yesterday! It’s not my fault! Diddy made me do it!

    • Thanks for the comment! I have to say, if this is your idea of a not very long comment, well, your opinion and mine are quite different! 😀
      It was quite a while ago that I wrote this piece, so I had to go back and re-read it as to fully understand your comments.
      I’m glad I didn’t offend you – well, I hope I didn’t anyway with my ranting (I do that sometimes). Your points on religion and Christian ideology were very welcoming. It was good to read such a positive interpretation to know that the thoughts I conjured within the piece were not stereotypically accurate.
      You also made a lot of good points about violence and the banning of potentially dangerous items, which I found to be quite humorous!
      I would like to note though, that since I wrote this post the Australian government has enacted the R18+ rating in Australia for video games. The only issue was that there were no games available to be labelled with such a rating, and even though they specified they would re-release previously banned titles, they have failed to sanction this as of yet – that’s the government for you. Recently, God of War 3 was classified R in Oz, and there is a Kung-Fu fighting Ninja game coming out later this year which has additionally being provided with such a label.
      I know this isn’t a huge change, but it is a start, and if we have the rating and the government successfully approves it to remain imbedded in our entertainment industry, then I do not imagine myself making so many more rants on this subject matter in the future, for I should hopefully remain content.
      Thank you again for the comment!

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