Violence and Misconceptions

Happy New Year.
I was over at Metafilter and they had a post about how Penny Arcade’s Child’s Play didn’t get the media coverage they expected.

As these things somehow usually tend to go, a comment was made that mentioned game titles like, “”Back Alley Rapist” or “Innocent Citizen Pummel-Fest” or “Arson Party 2004” or “Digi-Chicks n’ Tits” ” and then a follow-up post that said, “These games that allow players to beat cops, rape prostitutes, stomp innocent people and anything else of the ilk are absolutely irresposible and disgusting.”

My first response was to post a comment, but since metafilter isn’t letting new people join I couldn’t, so I did the next best thing and wrote about it here.

Arson???? Raping Prostitutes??? Is there ANY game EVER that features actions such as this??? If so, please tell me. Now I don’t want to take this guy to task. He is not alone in holding these ideas about videogames. I have heard the thing about raping more than once. I am assuming that this guy is referring to Grand Theft Auto III. However, if there is any raping in the game, I have yet to find it yet. Again, if there is, let me know.

There is also the big bad guy of beating cops. Yes you can beat cops. But as far as I have played the game, that is not the point. Are there ANY missions in Grand Theft Auto III that directly involve violence against the police? If there is I haven’t gotten to them/it yet.

The thing that frustrates me is that over at metafilter, while people are attempting to correct him, as of yet, no one has pointed out the factual errors in his assertions. Let me be clear, as someone who has been playing videogames since PONG, who subscribes to 3 different videogame magazines, watches G4TV, X-Play on TechTV and who considers myself a videogame expert, To the best of my knowledge, there are NO games that feature arson, or rape. Yes you can have consensual sex with prostitutes in Grand Theft Auto III, yes you can kill anyone, including police and prostitutes even if you have just had sex with them, but those features are NOT the point of the games. In fact I had heard so much about this getting a prostitute and then killing her to get your money back feature, I tried to do it, and I couldn’t figure out how to do it! (Of course there is always the possibility that I am just a little dense)

That these rumors persist points to a serious issue with how many people perceive videogames. Here we have one game, two if yo could Vice City, that involves the ability to kill people including officers and prostitutes and yet we have people decrying ALL videogames. If you are going to be against Grand Theft Auto III, then fine, be against that game, but do not assume that all games are the same, and please, if you are going to say negative things, then at least be factually correct. More important, if you witness someone saying things about videogames that are exaggerations or are simply factually wrong, call them on it. Tell them that they are wrong, ask them for a clarification, ask them to name the games that they are talking about.

Now I am aware that to a certain extent I am preaching to the choir. Most regular readers of this blog (assuming I have regular readers, that is) know this. Regular readers, hypothetical or not, also know that I have a facination with Google, and one of my main goals in posting this is that by mentioning GTA and violence and rape that the mighty Google algorithm will pick up this post and maybe just maybe at least one person who really does think that there are videogames that include rape will see that otherwise.

Finally, it really amazes me that people are so concerned and afraid and reactionary about videogames. In an attempt to see if maybe there really was some sort of rape in GTA that I just hadn’t seen yet.I did a google search for: video game rape prostitute. Go to google and search for those terms. That web sites use those terms to get hits, and that people might use those terms in looking for web sites like that is “10,000 times worse than the worst thing” that happens in ANY videogame.

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