The debate around violent video games seems to flare up almost on a yearly basis, with a number of commentators blaming the industry for the current ills of the society and with players and developers alike saying that there’s no connection between virtual violence and real world acts.
Actually, a connection does exist, but it does not work the way critics of video games believe.
I realized this a few days ago, after a particularly long and tiresome day when I accumulated a lot of tension: plans for vacation were thrown into turmoil, one family member was into some financial trouble, I needed to call the plumber and didn’t have time for it.
I really, really wanted to punch someone, in the metaphorical sense, but instead of screaming at my brother or taking all the negativity out on someone else I sat down at my computer and quickly ran through a few matches of Mortal Kombat IV.
Despite the virtual nature of my experience, my brain was able to relieve a lot of tension via this simple video game-based action.
Problems do not magically go away because of video games but they are a very good way of expressing a number of feelings that are unacceptable in polite society.
I am pretty certain that there plenty of people who cannot use video games to release their tension or their anger but they certainly offer this option to many others.
Video games can also clearly affect some members of society in weird ways, even though science says that it’s highly unlikely they can actually lead to violent acts.
But most players use Halo, Call of Duty
, Company of Heroes or Mortal Kombat to let off some steam rather than prepare for violent acts and we need to acknowledge that in order to eliminate the negative comments about our favorite pastime.