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Analysis: Violence Part II

Analysis – Violence Part II

I’ve played violent video games, I’ve suffered from depression, I’ve been house bound from injury, and I haven’t killed anyone. Yay, me! And Yay to the 99% of that demographic that can say the same! If “violent video games” were being blamed for several crimes or shooting per week, then I’d agree that something has to be done. Then I’d put it up on the same platform like anti-gang and anti-drug efforts. But for now, I’m going to say they’ve done much more good than harm, not just video games as a whole, I’m going to talk about the violent ones, the fighters, the shooters, the murder sims, and the gore desensitization, the ones that make the news.

I mentioned in part 1 of this analysis that there was a distinct lack of what I called “insiders” in the conversation. There was no one intimately familiar with the sub-culture, no one even pretended to be. There were criminal psychologists and addiction counselors, but no actual gamers except for 2, neither of which blamed games. One person was excellent at gaming and gave it up to play football. He set the controller down and made his choice. The other decided to commit murder for reasons that don’t add up in the official story, but he did not blame games. I consider myself an insider to the gaming sub-culture. I know the jargon, I know the material, I know the sub-sets of gamers, I’ve hosted gaming parties, I’ve played them most of my life and have a relatively large collection. I’ve played the fighters, the shooters, the murder sims, and the gore-fests.

I’m very familiar with the Mortal Kombat series, Manhunt, The Ship, Mass Effect, Diablo, Doom, Quake, Duke Nukem, Grand Theft Auto, and lightly acquainted with the Hitman series. I’m even going to be a nice guy and throw the opposition a few bones and mention a particular moment in Final Fantasy VII and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Hopefully, me, being familiar with these games, having played them, read about them, or see them played through, will qualify me to speak on the subject. Katie Couric, has no such qualifications. Until she decides to embed herself at PAX, QuakeCon, or w00tstock, she had no reason to talk about something she doesn’t understand.

People need to be aware, that other people suck. Violence will be inflicted upon you weather you ask for it, or not. You cannot be protected from it or shielded from it. You cannot choose when this will happen. You must be prepared for it, as best you can, when the time comes. This, I believe, is a parent’s responsibility. Raise your child to be strong enough to handle the world he or she will inherit

I was a very isolated child while growing up. I didn’t associate with many of the neighborhood kids or even kids at school. Later on, when I had moved out, I found out why. People suck, particularly the people in the area where I was raised. Looking back I can see, they were actually terrible terrible people to be around. Associating with them was actually toxic to my well being. So, I had an escape, I had video games. Here I was, isolating myself, withdrawing, no parental interference, when it was actually for the best.

When I mentioned violence happens, I mean that it’s happened to me. I played a fighting game obsessively when I was in 3rd grade and thought I became really good at it. In 3rd grade I was also attending public school. Any 3rd grader in public school knows that at some point, someone will pick a fight with you. When it happened to me, I took some punches. My parents told me not to fight for any reason. This led to a recurring cycle of abuse from my attacker. When the day came that I had had enough, I launched into a combo I’d memorized from my favorite fighting game. This violent video game helped me defend myself, protect myself, protect others, and end a cycle of abuse. It might have saved my life. And it wasn’t the only time that would happen.

There were other solutions, but as any victim knows, they aren’t real solutions. Tell a teacher or a parent, call the school, they’ll do something about it. Well, that never happens. The type of people I had to face, bullies, are predators. They seek out opportunities, they hunt, they prey on weak individuals. They strike when no one is looking, in the bathroom, in the locker room, in the crowded hallways obscured by a sea of other students, surrounded by a circle of onlookers. There’s nothing the staff can legally do unless they catch a student in the act. I was on my own.

This situation reminds me of Hamlet’s famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy. “Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take up arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing, end them?” Suffering only leads to more suffering. Growth comes from taking up arms, opposing, and ending them. After I stood up to my bully, I was left alone. New bullies came along, I tried to be peaceful about it, I tried talking, I tried understanding, but there are some occasions where people will hate you for no reason. You have the right to protect yourself. You have the right to live free of fear. You sometimes have to do it yourself. Fighting games taught me how to fight.

Years later, the sequel to that fighting game came out. It was supposed to come out with mod tools that would allow you to design your own fighter, your own arena, your own power-ups, modify almost the whole game. Since I was a fan of the franchise, I was ravenous for information. Just for that game, I began learning about 3d graphics, art, animation, and I discovered a hidden passion. I can plug away at polygons for hours before I notice, I probably should have eaten today. This passion is present to this day and is one of the best ways for me to relax. Because of a violent video game, I learned an artistic skill that I want to turn into a career.

Katie Couric mentioned Manhunt with a single sentence description. Since she’s unable or unwilling to do her job, I’ll help. Manhunt is a murder simulator with more points awarded for more violence and gore. You stalk the streets, confronting other computer controlled(no multiplayer) killers, luring them in with decoys, making noise, throwing rocks, and kill them with assorted weapons like glass shards, pipes, 2x4s, plastic bags, and firearms. It doesn’t quite matter as much that this player character is kidnapped and placed against his will into a (nominated best movie of the year!)Hunger Games-style killing game, but with grown adults, not children.

Manhunt is not the only “murder sim” out there. It had a sequel. I played The Ship in which every character on a cruise ship has a portrait of someone else and has to kill them, while someone has your picture, but no one knows who. The graphical depictions are all very Pixar-ish and cartoon-like. If that’s a problem, then Looney Toons should be added to the ban, and anvils. The Ship has a sequel called Bloody Good Time which takes place in a movie studio, same theme. These games and their lessons have served me greatly in my military career. No, I’m not some black op ghost assassin, but I was volunteered to perform risk assessments for bases. I sought out vulnerabilities and came up with measures to mitigate or eliminate them. It served me in a kind of “To catch a thief” sort of way. The faster paced Ship and Bloody Good Time games taught me to be resourceful in a scrape. While I’m glad I have not had to use those lessons, I’m still glad I have them.

Writing this, I’m reminded of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, where Spock is recovering in the Enterprise’s sick bay after reaching out and touching V’Ger’s mind. “It knows only that it needs… but like so many of us, it does not know what.” Children need. When parents cannot deliver, children can seek out and find whatever it is. If they have no friends, then an imaginary friend can fill the void, maybe now it’s video games that can serve that purpose. The on-line games where you can play with real people, definitely fit that description. If a child is never taught to fight or to stand up for himself, then a fighting game can be that teacher. If children are not being intellectually stimulated or challenged, then video games like Spec Ops: The Line or Mass Effect can fill that void.

I know Mass Effect wasn’t one of the “violent” video games in question, but it did make the news a few years back for being a game about lesbian pornography. That story really broke my heart to see because I never even played Mass Effect, but I knew it was being taken out of context. In a world where homosexual marriage is becoming more and more accepted every month, this story is already outrageous. What it really reminded me of was the story of Christopher Reeve on Capital Hill testifying in support of stem cell research. A ban on stem cell research was put in place despite Mr Reeve’s pleas. After the vote, he went around to someone who voted against it and asked why. The only answer the rep could give was that the committee he appointed to do research into the matter said, “no.” When the process was explained to the representative, he regretted voting the way he did. In the Mass Effect scene in question, it is a touching lovely passionate scene that makes sense in the context according to what goes on, better than most Hollywood movie hook-ups. Yes, your character can choose to share this scene with men or women, and your character upon creation at the beginning of the game, can be male or female. This entire sensational story could have been easily defused if someone bothered to look into it in even the slightest way, or ask someone who has seen the scene with knowledge of the context.

Early in my military experience I saw many young enlisted men and women go down and blow half their paycheck at the bar while I played video games up in my room. I spent less money than them, and it definitely decreased the chance of me doing something stupid or getting into trouble. It was what we did every weekend. In that regard, playing video games, violent or otherwise, reminds me of fishing, or going to the bar. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing or where you’re going, but who you’re with. When you go fishing, does it matter if you catch any fish? Or is it just an excuse to spend time with people close to you? Sure, some fish might be nice, but that’s never the main reason, is it? Is it? Maybe I just don’t understand the super competitive world of sport fishing. When folk go down to the bar with their crews, what’s the point? Is it to drink? Or is there a social reason? Then again, I could never stand the taste of beer, so maybe I misunderstand the reason for drinking. Either way, violent video games are used as a bonding tool, or a way to keep someone from going out and getting into trouble, there is a strong social aspect to some games, and it’s a better use of money.

Now I want to talk about some violent games that don’t get enough attention, Final Fantasy VII and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Neither of these games are known for their violence, however they use the act of violence and killing in the story in a way to add an incredible amount of weight to it. There is a tragic scene in Final Fantasy VII where the player, as the main character is given the choice to murder an innocent woman in order to save the planet. This is a person who the player has come to care about, not the main character, but the player. The player has to press a button for each action, drawing his weapon, raising his weapon, and then press a final button to strike. The game puts players into a very uncomfortable position. This is the game that many will be the first to say, made them cry, or is a legitimate work of art.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is a super spy espionage stealth thriller set during the Cold War. The player, in the end, is forced to kill someone he is very close to, so the Cold War doesn’t become hot. The game does not end until you pull the trigger. The main character Snake has to kill his mentor, his teacher, The Boss. As the story progresses you learn about the complex history these two people had and what they meant to each other. There’s no doubt that these two were intimate. I don’t mean sex, but definitely intimate, something more akin to parent and child. It’s unfair to say you can ever “win” the game, the end is not a reward. The player should feel an incredible feeling of loss.

These two games are just two examples of how violence is used in a deliberate way to upset and disturb the player, not as a visceral visual reward. I would add Spec Ops: The Line, but I haven’t played through it yet, I just know about it’s reputation. These are games that, on the surface, have just as much reason for the “violent video games” protesters to single out, but because no one protesting is an insider, they go unnoticed.

First person shooters seem to be the target of most of the controversy, with Halo and Call of Duty in the spotlight. They’re not the first, they won’t be the last, and there’s already plenty more where they came from. I compared them to the “grind house” level of cinema. One game series from iD software, Quake, could fall into that category, but it elevates itself to something more than that. The first Quake was a leap forward in computer gaming graphics. It was popular enough and that it spawned a whole sub-sport of speed running. Quake also spawned one of the first and one of the largest computer gaming events, QuakeCon. Make no mistake, quake is violent, but if all you focus on is the violence, you’re missing so much more. You’re missing the real worth.

Some games are designed to draw you in with gory graphics and violent imagery. It is attractive to some, and a lot of times, it’s superficial. Action RPGs like the Diablo series, depict rooms full of mutilated bodies, burning crosses, and satanic imagery, sure to draw in any angsty teenagers. Just beneath the surface there are complex mathematical formulae that create a game within a game. I’ve been fortunate to have been blessed with wonderful teachers throughout school, but trying to get kids interested in math is tricky. The students need to find their own motivation, gaming can be that motivation. It involves percentages, fractions, multiplication, probability, statistics, algebra, and possibly geometry. The benefits of the math heavy action RPGs are also many of the same benefits provided by pencil and paper dice-rolling RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons, but we all know what parent groups think about that. Robbing kids of an effective tutor, because you don’t like the packaging, without finding something to replace it, does only harm. Will parents even bother to look past the surface to see it? Is that too much to ask?

This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Grand Theft Auto series, the game that lets you have sex with hookers, kill them, and take your money back. First of all, this game is meant for a specific audience, an audience that should be able to handle the fact that it is all imaginary. Just because a kid plays cops & robbers, doesn’t mean he’s destined for a life of crime or law enforcement. Secondly, the Grand Theft Auto series is one of the most modded games out there. It encourages people to program their own game, their own characters, their own models, their own everything. Some people have even been hired by major developers and made a career out of tinkering because they made a mod of a popular game. GTA made the news over something called the “Hot Coffee” mod, repeat, mod. Someone modded the game in such a way that someone complained and it made the news. The developers originally planned for it to be in the game, but decided to remove it. Someone tinkered with the game and put something in, the developers are not responsible for that one.

Wrapping up, what have we learned here today? I’ve listed problems of bias and shoddy work in reporting real issues and causes of violence unfairly blamed on violent video games. I’ve given positive examples of how violence can be used to affect a story and have an impact on the player, the opposite of desensitizing. I’ve recounted my personal experience and lessons that violent video games have given me. I’ve proposed a solution to prevent any more controversy by having an embedded journalist report back, and by suggesting parents get involved in their kids’ lives. From here on out, no one can ever say that there are no benefits, and no one can ever blame the game. The information is here for anyone who cares to look.

Thank you for reading.


Analysis: Violence Part I

Analysis – Violence Part I

Violence in video games is a very polarizing issue. One one hand, there are people who play “violent video games” and see no problem with them. On the other hand, there are blow hards, propaganda peddlers, fear mongers, and attention seekers who don’t play, “violent video games” that are trying to stir up controversy for their own benefit, like Katie Couric. These are the same type of people who raged against rock music, dirty dancing, pool tables(Trouble with a capital T and that sounds like V and that stand for Video games!), and anything else that was part of a cultural revolution.

I am biased. I admit it with every review and analysis. I specifically asked for a passionate analysis, which is a contradiction in terms. An analysis should be free of bias, it should be objective, it should be a list of parts that make up a whole. To add personal feelings and make something passionate, should destroy all of that. However, I like to think my reviews and analysis still come together to form something useful, insightful, entertaining, and educating.

Katie Couric in her report on violence in video games is biased. The difference between me and Ms. Couric is that I admit to my bias, upfront. Why doesn’t she? I assume it’s either because she is unable to admit her bias, she doesn’t see it as a bias, and she just did an incredibly terrible job of being a professional journalist and investigator. On the other hand, she may just be unwilling to admit her bias. She knows she has it and she knows she’s putting on a one-sided piece with complete disregard to the truth, roots, causes, issues and underlying problems. So, be it unable or unwilling, Katie Couric is either a terrible person, or just terrible at her job. Maybe I’m wrong, I accept the chance of that with everything I type. Maybe I’m missing something. I invite further criticism, I invite discussion, I invite collaboration, and further distancing myself from Katie Couric, I offer more than a 140 character Twitter message to do it.

It’s times like this that I miss journalists and investigators like Hunter S. Thompson and Neil Strauss. They both put themselves into their work, they were part of the story, they did their homework, they infiltrated the sub-cultures that they were investigating. Katie Couric’s surface-skimming fluff-piece is a perfect example of how to not write a story.

I hate to do this, I hate to give her any kind of traffic or support, but in the purpose of fairness, this is the link where I’m getting my information. I still encourage any readers to look at the source for themselves and double check the facts, like any good reporter should.

First video – Interview with Marc Petric

There is an info bar on the bottom that Marc Petric, the guest, “says violent video games turned son into killer.” The event happened in 2007. So Katie had to dig back 6 years to find this gentleman and remind him of the trauma.

When asked, “What role, do you think, Mark, violent video games played in Danny’s actions?” “He became very withdrawn” That could be because he was a teenager. “We were wondering what was going on.” Getting involved and asking seemed like too much trouble, did it? “We did not know he was playing hours and hours and hours on end.” If you did not know that, if you’re unaware of what your teenage children are doing for hours and hours and hours on end, then you’re either lying, or just dropped the parenting ball. Immediately following that sentence, Mark says, “In fact, the longest he ever played Halo 3 was for 72 hours.” So, it sounds like you DID know what he was doing for hours and hours and hours on end? I really have to wonder what this parent considers too much? 24 hours? 48 hours? 60 hours? 70 hours? Nope, 72 is where he draws the line! It turns out that he wasn’t allowed to play those types of games at home, so then how can the games be held responsible if there’s a ban on them in the household? How do you take them away if they aren’t allowed in the house. Either the ban signaled the moment of the attack, or there was something else which triggered the attack.

Second video – Interview with Daniel Petric

“He was lovely, he was smart, he is polite, it was really really difficult to square that with everything we’ve heard about what he’s done.” It sounds like the speaker doesn’t want to acknowledge the possibility that people can change, grow, or be rehabilitated. Once a killer, always a killer, and no good can come from them? Or do I misunderstand again?

The father originally couldn’t understand what happened or why his son had changed. It might be as simple as asking because, when asked, the son straight up says he was an athlete, he had a serious snowboarding accident, hospitalized, on heavy medication and he was layed up at the house. As a person with back problems, I can understand how limiting that can be. The father did not know or understand what his son was going through. Katie says, “You compete with nameless faceless people…” and she’s right. The father was competing with other people for his son’s attention and rather than get involved, ask questions, bond and parent, get to know these people, the father chose to take the kid off of his pain medication, by that I mean the video games which have been clinically proven to reduce chronic pain sufferers. Just look at the Child’s Play charity.

I find it particularly noteworthy, even though no one else does, that Daniel does not blame the video games, he never has, and has always taken full responsibility for his own actions. So I have to wonder, why does everybody blame video games when the only person who can, doesn’t? Other people are telling him that it’s video games. It makes me a little sick.

Third video – Interview back with Marc

“I want to help get the word out to other people so these kinds of things don’t continue to happen like the Sandy Hook shooter… Columbine… They’re all related.” Yes, Marc actually said that. I’ve been saying this for years, that when the Columbine shooters references Doom in their journals, if Doom didn’t exist, it would just be replaced with something else incredibly violent like an action movie, a comic book, or literature like Dante’s Inferno. There was already plenty of evidence that the killers behind Columbine were reacting to bullying or mental illness. To say a kid who plays video games is a warning sign is like saying a kid with ears is at risk of drug use, because he listens to rock music. Video games are just this generations entertainment revolution, and anyone who can’t see that is looking in the wrong place.

Michael Welner, MD, Forensic Psychiatrist and guest submits that in this case Daniel had a pathological attachment to playing video games, and the killing happened when they were taken away from him. But doctor, if these video games weren’t allowed in the house, if Daniel went over to friends’ houses to play them, what was there to take away? Something about this doesn’t make sense or add up.

“The key attachment connection between mass shooters and video game violence is that mass shooters use the video games as training videos.” By that logic, I am Batman.

Aside from that strange first analysis of his, I think the rest of what he says has some merit. But just as he’s making sense and drawing focus away from video games, and put attention on how controlling and constricting the father was, Katie cuts him off. Way to go, Katie.

Fourth video – Quinn Pitcock whos video game addiction cost him his NFL career

Am I the only one who doesn’t feel sorry for an NFL player out of a job, given their salary? Not once during the interview do either of them mention Quinn Pitcock was also diagnosed with depression at the time. This begs the question, do you play video games because you’re depressed or are you depressed because you play video games? Either one could be true, or neither. Though it deserves a look on a case by case basis. I believe depression existed long before video games, it’s merely the most modern and recent coping device, not a cause.

Quinn Pitcock was drafted by the Colts in 2007, again, either this video is very old, or Katie Couric just loves digging up buried tragedies. Since the pastor referenced Sandy Hook, that means this is a recent video, further evidence Katie Couric is a terrible person, or can’t be bothered to find examples less than 6 years old.

On a brighter note, Mr Pitcock has since played for Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, and Orlando Predators. So it seems video games haven’t had such a detrimental impact on his career as Katie would love for you to believe.

Fifth video – Are video games to blame for violent crimes?

“Research is still wrestling with that.” No kidding? “What we’ve been able to establish is that violent video games increase the arousal, increase hostility, in a number of people who play them.” So, some people like violence? He didn’t say majority, or a percent, or any solid figure, just “some.” Way to be scientific. This is not news, we know that imagery can excite people, men like Hefner & Flint have made a living off of it. “Players are desensitized to violence…desensitized to gore.” That might be true, I’ll come back to that and call it a positive.

Now there’s an “addiction specialist.” That’s like asking a plumber’s opinion on an electrical problem. This show keeps using the word addiction, which refers to chemical changes in the brain and a dependency. The word they should be using is “compulsion.” This is part of why I can’t take this show seriously. Go take a look at the Extra Credits guys for a better explanation and exploration of the subject matter.

And this is where Michael Welner, MD loses all credibility. “Sometimes research isn’t needed” That first phrase alone chills me. “…when you have Quinn Pitcock saying he could be the best in his career and he basically threw it all away.” Quinn Pitcock also said he could have been #1 in his video game, he was getting ranked on ladders, but he chose not to. Here was a talented man who could have been excellent in 2 careers, but had to pick. “It’s a familiar story to anyone who’s dealt with the addiction model.” I’m sure video games never made Quinn think about selling his kidney, turning tricks, or waking up in a sleazy motel with no memory of how he got there, and then checking himself into a court appointed rehab facility. Yeah, discounting all those, it’s a familiar story.

“The game is designed to absorb people.” “I don’t think the developers are blameless.” So, if a woman dresses in a way to attract people, she is not blameless for any crimes committed? People still have free will. People still have a choice. Nobody is being Clockwork Orange’d into playing games, except for maybe Chinese gold farmers. “…they have to be dealt with in the same way(as tobacco companies).” The video game industry, unlike the tobacco industry, was NOT ordered to place warnings about content onto games. It was a self-policing measure from the games industry because of the controversy. They heard, they listened, and acted with full cooperation. There is a difference.

The addiction specialist begins to make sense in the next scene, I mean after she compares alcohol addiction to food addiction(compulsive eater, not addiction). “We really have to focus on thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, before, during, and after.” And just as soon as she’s making sense, she’s cut off and Katie talks to someone else.

The next speaker, Jim Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media, had the ear of the White House after the Sandy Hook shooting. He claims America has a culture of violence and violent video games are contributing, but can’t be singled out for blame. I can’t argue that. When he says the video game industry is clearly in denial, I might not be able to argue, but I must ask, how does he define the industry? Has he investigated all the games that don’t sell 1,000,000 copies in a month? How pervasive are they? How much violence is in something like Fez or Super Hexagon? So when he wraps up the entire industry in one neat little violent ticking package, I have to wonder why he is ignoring everyone daring to do something different and actually help his cause? He says the industry constantly blames parents, I must agree. Parents may not be the single factor, but contributing, absolutely! We saw just how “involved” the Petric family was when their story didn’t add up.

So the White house proposed $10,000,000 for research into a link between violence and violent video games. According to Mr. Steyer, the video game industry opposed the idea. This is where the simple assistance of one gonzo journalist can help. Is the video game industry protecting themselves from exposure of a dark secret? Or is there really no link? Not one opinion on this show has come from an insider of the culture. I may as well ask a Martian about the weather on Mercury.

Then Katie brings up the labeling, that the industry “fended off government action 20 years ago,” like it was a bad thing. Katie is saying that fully cooperating and fixing a problem yourself is bad? Then Mr Steyer calls it a, “fox guarding a chicken coop. The video game industry is not a fox if it willingly polices itself. Such an uncharacteristic “nice” move is just unbelievable. “How can we let an industry that denies the science…” They don’t deny it, they just disagree, and two of Katie’s “experts” already said the science is still being wrestled with. The White House just put forth $10m to investigate, because there is no science to back it up yet. “All parents have to do is read the box.” I find that totally acceptable. “An industry that actively opposed positive measures.” No, they actively took positive measures before anyone forced legal action. Imagine if you could drive at any speed until you’re pulled over and told to drive the speed limit. Well, the video game industry is nice enough to not want to get ticketed in the first place. I see absolutely no harm, or badness, or ill will in that. The industry’s self-control seems to confuse people.

We knew it would eventually come to free speech. Again, the only arguments I ever hear about this come from outsiders who claim it isn’t, and insiders who claim it is. Who has the greater working knowledge of the sub-culture? I’ll be the last to say Call of Duty Modern Warfare is art, but I won’t judge an entire concept based on one “grindhouse” entry. To deny the epic works of Chrono Trigger, the fantasy adventure of Zelda & Link, the pantomime story from Shadow of the Colossus, the wit and parody of The Bard’s Tale, one of the greatest sci-fi epic trilogies since Star Wars, Mass Effect, the touching mystery and groundbreaking technology in Heavy Rain, is to cheat yourself out of an incredible experience you will not soon forget. The only argument Mr Steyer can muster is, “he’s wrong.” Then he talks about politicians who need courage and the needs of the family which, to me, sounds like nothing more than The Music Man running through River City.

Katie says she reached out to the Entertainment Software Association for comment. On the surface, that seems like good work on her part. Upon slight investigation, the ESA does not represent Activision, Vivendi, or iD, some of the biggest publishers in the business. To target only one representative shows a distinct lack of effort. If she had contacted Konami, Square, Ubisoft, Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, Capcom, EA, Disney, and Atari, and they all turned her down, I’d be disappointed.

Last video – Warning signs!

“If your child becomes a different person” Well, yeah. Video games or not, that means something big has probably happened and needs your attention. That’s universal, not specific. This person is giving parenting advice, not video gaming addiction warning signs. Then he starts listing the symptoms of depression. Next, they start throwing out the same buzzwords I heard to describe the dangers of comic books.

Katie then says, that when you give kids with a predisposition to violence these games, “that’s when they turn into Adam Lanza.” Really? Really, Katie Couric? Adam Lanza already had developmental disorders for his entire life, long before video games entered it. The Columbine shooters also loved Marylin Manson, or has someone already beaten you to it, in making a special about the evils of music? But if you decide to discount evidence, you can compare that sweet innocent 6-year old girl down the street to Pol Pot. I swear at some point she wanted to say, “basement-dwelling.”

Wrapping up, the MD says that it’s important to talk to other parents at a community level. For some reason actually getting involved in their kids’ lives is never once brought up. Hmm? Why couldn’t she have used an example that was less than 6 years old? There are plenty of examples of South Koreans who die at cyber cafes. There’s the viral misogyny and sexism directed at “girl gamers.” There was the Norway shooter who said he used video games to train. With just a cursory amount of effort, she could have made the segment so much more!