Murder. Death. Respawn.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Computer games kill thousands of innocent people each year. The computer gaming industry spends billions of dollars each year in gaming lethality research and last year two thousand people were killed as a direct result of computer game induced violence in the United States alone. Earlier this week in Hong Kong twelve people were killed in single incident involving an XBOX and a baboon.

If it weren’t for computer games the Mongol Invasions would never have occurred. Following is an interview I made earlier this week with Genghis Khan:

JL: So, Mr. Khan… why did you rampage across the Known World with your horde.

GK: The Tartans, they say bad things about my goat. So I kill them. Then the Chinese build wall across my lawn so I kill them too.

JL: Right… so, have you played Riddick?

GK: RIDDICK?!? That my goat’s name! You say bad things about my goat!? I kill you too!

And let’s not forget the Nazi occupations of World War II. Let’s see what old Adolf has to say about that…

JL: Mr. Hitler, is it true that you invaded Austria in direct contravention of the Treaty of Versailles?

AH: Ja, ze Austrian pigs laugh at my paintings so I shoot some of them und drink all zeir beer.

JL: And Mr. Hitler, as an artist how would you comment on the visual styling of GTA: Vice City?

AH: Ja, I belief the styling is reminiscent of sum of my earlier vork from Vienna und…

JL: But surely you can’t possibly be suggesting that Rockstar Games was influenced by your paintings?

AH: Vhat are you, a Bolshevik? I vill kill you and sell all your paintings to ze Sviss!

But seriously.

Computer games do not kill people. We do quite a good job of that by ourselves.

In 2002 48,366 people were killed in transport related accidents in the U.S. ( And then you get the usual disease related (‘Do you want fries with that?’) fatalities and cancer and electric sheep. Not to mention those noble contenders for the Darwin Awards. Throw Georgie Bush in there with his Coalition of the Well-Hung, mix in some Maoist rebels or whoever else is waving a Kalishnikov around this week and you’ve still got a fraction of the total daily bucket-kickers covered.

And how many directly game-related fatalities? Um… three? Maybe six if you stretch things a bit.

Oh my god, it’s an epidemic.

Let’s look at this objectively. The argument against computer games in general and violent computer games in particular is one that has raged for the better part of a century against movies and television. Computer Games are the logical next battleground for the censor. The usual arguments are that games are addictive, they are anti-social, they teach people to kill. Some have nekkid women in them.

Computer games can be addictive. Quite like narcotics and crack cocaine? Maybe, but when was the last time you heard someone mugged a pensioner just so they could get their WoW fix. The addiction is not quite the same as substance abuse. People are addicted to computer games in much the same way they were addicted to collecting stamps or model trains. It’s more of an escape to fantasy than self-destructive indulgence. While it can be unhealthy, it’s not in the same league as a bottle of Vodka for lunch or a bi-hourly LSD trip. So, a guy in Korea plays Everquest for 48 hours straight and keels over from exhaustion. Still going to need a thousand or more of those per day before gaming related deaths can compete with other forms of addiction. One death in thirty years isn’t a statistic. It’s barely an aberration.

As for complaining about it being anti-social I’m guessing that the complainants have never played a multi-player computer game, or better yet, attended a LAN Party. It would be easy for someone observing a gamer to come to the conclusion that they are closed off to the outside world, however they are often interacting with other people in virtual worlds and situations much like those in the real world. And they get to dress up as Orcs and bash other people over the heads with their +3 Mace of GBH as an added bonus. It’s not lack of interaction simply an evolution of it.

Out of curiosity, when was the last time you came across an USB M-16? Or a Uzi with a scroll-wheel. Can you reload your Glock by tapping the ‘R’ key? You want to shoot someone in the head at 500 metres without taking ballistic trajectories and wind drift into account? Are you retarded? To say that someone playing a game of Counterstrike will be a lethal killing machine if someone dropped a Colt in his hands is like saying that you can drive at Le Mans because you had a scale model Ford GT as a kid. Guns aren’t mouse-operated. You can’t change your key config and you can’t pause the the real world if you want to take a leak. There’s a reason why soldiers are given rigorous training in handling firearms. It’s so they don’t shoot themselves in the foot. And then they’re trained some more so that they don’t shoot their mates in the foot. Drop a gamer into a warzone with a rifle and you won’t have a trained killer braying for blood. You’ll have an anorexic Git squinting at the bright light and struggling not to fall over from trying to lift his rifle. Then he’ll shoot his foot off and be out of it for the rest of the battle. No respawns in real life.

Computer games kill people? Yeah, and I invented the Internet and Georgie watches Teletubbie porn.

L. B. Inc. Returns to Blogger?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

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