Video Games: An undeniable Scapegoat?

Video game poster
One of the most notorious games for violence.

Music, television, movies, and video games. All four of them are common now and a good number of people have access to them in the United States. Video games have the most negative coverage from the media out of the four. This is either a good or bad thing. Depending on how you look at it. To me, negative coverage and using video games as a scapegoat is not good. Video games are forms of art.  Are they scapegoats? Of are they art? I am going to give you the facts, and let you decide for yourself.

Video game rating

The mature rating exists for a reason. Listen to it!

Pictured above is the mature rating for video games. The ratings are a guide to parents. The guide shows a parent what kind of content is in a game. It is the parent’s responsibility to decide what is appropriate for their children to view, or in the case of games, what they do. Not all mature games contain everything that is listed in the picture above.

I am not a parent, but I know that I would never let my child play a game like Grand Theft Auto or Doom. It is common sense to me. I was lucky enough to have a parent who cared about my consumer habits as a child. Looking back, I did not appreciate it at the time, but I am thankful for what my parents did regarding games and movies. Do not look at this as a attack upon parents; I am trying to inform everyone who reads this what a game can do.

Video Games can be violent, but not always 

Grand Theft Auto V is a violent game, but what horrifies me when it comes to that game is this. I play something called GTA Online, which is an online multiplayer version of Grand Theft Auto. I hear kids talking on mics. This is an M rated game! The kid that was playing was maybe 10. Why is a child playing this game!? It makes no sense to me at all, but it happens all the time for when I play. There are plenty of non-violent games that come out daily that the child could be playing. 

One of those games being any of the lego games. Popular, well done games such as these exist all around. They use popular franchises as backdrops. I, myself, was playing Lego Marvel Super Heroes this morning. The reason I bring up that point is this. Grand theft Auto is rated M for mature. Lego Marvel Super Heroes is rated E 10+. Which is a rating of everyone ten and above, and I do not understand why the kid playing GTA V is not playing a Lego game. It is simple to tell what kind of game a child should be playing. Yes, there are violent games, not intended for kids. Kids should play kids games.

Video Games affect us

Players get upset when playing games. This is a known fact, but I want to point something out that is alarming to me. A lot of those players are kids that should not be playing that game. I grew up with kids games. 

Back in 2015, Psychology Today published an article about how a game can affect a child. Please read this. The article explains why kids should be regulated concerning games. Also what games do to them. There is another article that goes into detail about how video games can activate the brains pleasure parts. It is a unique situation. If monitored by the parents it stuff like that is less likely to happen. I implore you to do this if you have children. 

I play games. In moderation though, which is the key to being happy with games. If you play for four straight hours, like I have before, you do not feel happy playing the game. It becomes a stressor to you. Playing the game for at most, an hour, is much better for my psyche. I needed to find a happy medium for the amount I play. Using games as a coping skill can be good, but moderation is key. Else you will just have more stress.

An Art?

It is simple, games of all kinds are art. They are a creative collaboration of minds to bring about stimulation. What the stimulation is can be different for various games. I believe in the mantra, “I have lived many lives, playing video games,” This is a true statement because, just like a book or movie, I connect with the characters that I am creating or controlling. Take God of War for example. It is an excessively violent game, but it brings about feelings of joy when the main character Kratos achieves his objective in the game. God of War is no for kids though. Adults only for this one.

Continuing with the God of War example, it is a beautiful game visually and noise wise.

Video game character

Kratos yelling in God of War 4.

There is a lot of effort that go into making games. We should appreciate all that a game development company does to make a game. They have budgets and they have deadlines. They work around the clock sometimes to meet that deadline. I have a lot of respect for those dedicated to entertaining us. Their intention was for their fans to have fun and I would hate to disappoint them. 

My Final Thoughts

After listening to that track, I feel like playing some God of War. A complicated issue that needs looked at closer. Monitor your kids games and have fun with them. Also note how a game affects you, and how you can use that knowledge. Until next time!