How do you like your blood?


I decided that I would write this blog post to talk about violence in the video games industry. I know what you’re thinking……Oh no, another discussion about violence and the youth of today.
Well actually I want to bring up violence and the youth of yesterday.

It seems that almost everyday now there’s a news story detailing the stories of “innocent” children or teenagers who willingly commit crimes and are, apparently, guided into doing this by video games.
Games are the new scapegoat for the media of today, Parents are hardly blamed for the lack of control over their children and they often turn a blind eye when a copy of an adult game surfaces in their house.
This culture of blaming games is ridiculous when we look at the history of gaming as a whole, Of course there are games today that have gratuitous amounts of blood and violence but then so did games fifteen years ago.
So, if this violence has always been around us then why only now do we ask if video games are corrupting our youth?

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I recently played through streets of rage on the SEGA Mega drive collection, originally released in 1991, Streets of rage is a side scrolling beat em up which could be seen as being ultra violent in some eyes. At one point in one of the early levels my character picked up a glass bottle and proceeded to smash it over someone’s head and then brandish it at waist height waiting to stab somebody with it.
I played this game on it’s original release, I was ten years old.
I never felt that the game spurned any hatred or violent tendencies, However this was as close as you could get to mimicking street violence at it’s worst.

So why then are we, as a society, are we only now pointing fingers at games and saying “don’t do that”
If violence has been present for such a lengthy time in gaming does it come down to the way violence is depicted? Is it more acceptable if it’s displayed with cartoon visuals or is that worse?
With the violence that was included in games in the nineties it was obviously portrayed in a more “cartoon” style due to the graphical capabilities of the consoles and computers that existed at the time. With the progress in games technology came more realistic violence for the eyes and ears to indulge in.
Cartoon style or realistic visual, violence is violence and nothing has changed in the last fifteen years, If anything it was worse in the nineties.

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Games like Mortal Kombat, splatterhouse, Shinobi and shooters like Doom and Duke Nukem had the same level of violence in them then as most adult games do today. But games in the nineties were more aimed at children than they are in the current climate.
So why were those games not highlighted as corrupting our impressionable youth?

I think a lot of the problem is with culture in itself. Back in the nineties this violence was seen as being more of a self defence act, whereas nowadays the violence is almost always pre-meditated and rewarded with jewellery and nice cars. This all comes back round to society and that’s a conversation for another day.
To me, this violence has been there forever and it’s the people that are changing. I may be stating the obvious here but after playing through some retro titles recently and looking back at my younger days, It makes me sad that people are ignorant to what has always been there.

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    • The Dukenator
    • March 18th, 2009

    Isn’t everything in this article ironic?

  1. Yes I suppose it is, I just felt a bit weird when I revisited older games and found that things haven’t changed yet public perception has.

    • Richard Austin
    • March 18th, 2009

    Ive played video games, violent or otherwise for most of my life and never had the urge to repeat what ive seen on screen (apart from trying to slide across things after playing stranglehold).
    Its always been the same, when society takes a nose dive and people dont know why, they always point the fingers outwards rather than inwards. If its not video games getting the blame its movies, or music. Now i watch violent films, listen to rock music, play violent video games and eat red meat yet im a well adjusted person with strong moral values.

    Dont think its really a case of people being ignorant of what was there but in truth games have now reach a level where coverage of them reaches blockbuster movie proportions so they are now in everybodies faces

  1. March 18th, 2009

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