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Defence of the Gamers
Posted on Friday, August 8 2008 @ 12:26:26 Eastern



"ITZ A LOAD OF ****!"

Following the August 4 murder of a cab driver in Thailand in which the assailant claimed he was trying to recreate a scene from Grand Theft Auto IV, Thai authorities first "urged" retailers to pull the game off their shelves before taking the entirely unsurprising step of banning it outright. "The police are empowered to immediately arrest shopkeepers if they find any GTA games on sale," said police spokesman Ruangsak Jaritake. "GTA is banned mainly because of its obscene content - under the criminal law article 287 that prohibits reproduction, distribution or possession of such material." He added that retailers could face three years in prison and fines up to $180 if caught selling the games, while online sellers face stiffer penalties, including five years in the slammer and $3000 in fines.

Reporting on this sort of stuff seems to directly offend 90% of the so-called 'sane' gamer community, sparking everything from overly defensive comments to willy-nilly attempts at sarcasm to portray 'what the FOX everyman is thinking'; most of these are actually found within the first few pages of a relevant thread.

What's the problem these gamers have, then? People blaming a videogame for everything? You have to remember that, Hell, some people will be influenced by any media outlet, and reacting so defensively makes you all as bad as Jack Thompson, just on the other end of the spectrum. I think Jack and other personalities are very much misunderstood by rabid gamers en masse, who think that everything that comes out of the mouths of these infamous public figures is bullshit. Well, obviously its not; people are either being directly inspired by playing violent videogames or using playing them as an excuse for their actions. Hell, personally I think its a bit of both. Some individuals simply don't understand the lines between reality and fantasy. Joking about people being able to escape from the cops as long as they drive outside a certain radius on their radar may be all well and good, but there will be some idiots who actually do think that about real life if they play the game long enough.

Personalities like Jack understand that. Unfortunately, they also believe that the lines between reality and the game will blur and collapse for everyone who plays the game. As we all know, that isn't true. Still, you have to admit that some people will fall into such an obscure state of mind that they really will believe they can get away with playing Packie on one too many cars around their little American suburb..

Still, by refusing to admit that videogames just may inspire some sort of violence, even if its in a tiny percentage of the playerbase, makes you as ignorant as the people you're all-so-opposed to who think it'll happen to everyone. If anything, you're all being worse by over-reacting; Jack and his peers in the media are targeting those who distribute and produce this content, not those who actually play it. Sure, he's wildly on the inaccurate side by calling Grand Theft Auto a 'murder simulator' or 'training for anarchists', but I'd certainly say he wasn't that far off the mark if he used those phrases to describe Manhunt, which was such a piss-poor game it purely depended on one gameplay style alone: Reckless homicide - as Jack describes.

'There's worse things on TV' is a bit of a lousy excuse from the community, too (even though in some cases you can joke about it - such as learning how to make Molotov cocktails by watching Miami Vice. Personally, I learned how to murder people and cover it up from Dexter. Oh, and how to rob a train from Firefly). TV is, as the whole 'games are better than TV' crowd* keep wailing on about, different from videogames. Notably (as a lot of you fail to realise) you play videogames, and watch TV (unless we're on about Grand Theft Auto IV... where you can... watch TV). Usually, this helps us get more immersed in the story, keeping us playing for longer and generally making us have more fun. Remember that in videogames you control your character's actions, however. Its a lot more... powerful to kick the **** out of someone randomly on the street in a videogame than to watch it being done in a film or on TV. Often, TV stories are written in such a way that the characters participating in violence are doing it out of desperation or need to advance the story. On games, I can usually shove my fist in the face of anyone, for no real reason. This choice, for many, makes games far more immoral.

Right, I've gone of the subject.

The point is, many gamers outright refuse to accept that, somewhere in the world, someone could be negatively affected by playing a game and be led to do something drastic due to that outcome. Kinda like how Jack will never admit that games can lead to something good being created, see? You're just two sides on a war that will only be fought in courtrooms. Acting so irrationally and immature as completely dismissing any claims that videogames could, finally, be beginning to impact society in a more negative than positive way is not going to get us anywhere.

Especially if all you do is moan about it on some Internet forum; I don't blame the courts for taking degree-owning journalists and experts more seriously than a load of unqualified randomers who sit on their arse all day, playing videogames and fapping.

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