Friday, 28 March 2008

Video games and violence

Final post today I promise, but there's so much.....

A great article by Daniel Finkelstein about the weak proven causal link between video games and violence. Gaming just means a different thing to the yoofs than is supposed by us crusties. But the response that some wit posted is worth re-printing:

"There is clearly a correlation: I spent my youth playing Super Mario Brothers, and I'm now an Italian plumber."

You get a better class of contributor on The Times web-site unlike the self-regarding belligerent liberals you get on the Guardian site....

I have to confess to watching the odd gangster film (just last weekend I watched American Gangster- highly recommended.) It should be seen as the pathetically guilty escapism of the post-modern, post-macho male rather than any predilection towards gratuitous and psychotic violence. Video gaming equally is the refuge of the alienated and repressed adolescent. Oh, and I imagine that they are great fun too.

Should we be worried? I think there is far more to be worried about if the gamer or the DVD viewer can not distinguish between what they are seeing or experiencing and real life. We have real problems if they can't...

Post script: I'm watching The Wire Series IV. Breathtakingly complex, subtle, and provocative (and yes, there is quite a lot of violence....) It briefly dealt with video gaming in episode 3. One of the street kids goes into his room, switches over the Baltimore Mayoral debate (clearly delinquent) and plays Halo 3 instead. Now this kid is doomed to a life of drug-dealing, homicide, incarceration.

Of course, his dad is inside and has got him a job running for a dealer on a corner, his mother is proud of his links with the drugs world, he spends his time with a group of lads who earn their cash by drug dealing, lives in abject urban squalor in West Baltimore, goes to a sink school, in a city run by institutionally corrupt police and a criminal Mayor. My guess is that Halo 3 is not the biggest issue that he's facing.....

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