Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

People Are Dying -- Blame Videogames

Yes, once again reporters are trying to breed hysteria while not checking their facts. CounterStrike is not particularly good training for a sniper, and it doesn't have a 'God mode'. Yet it was specifically identified in several articles (now apparently corrected or removed from the Web) as having a God mode. Now reporters at least seem to have identified actual sniper games to get hysterical about.

('God mode' is a really lame game feature anyway, IMHO. If you can do whatever you want with impunity, you're not playing a game.) had an interesting editorial on this sudden backlash. "A news report last night mentioned Grand Theft Auto as a game featuring a sniper rifle. One of the commentators said that he'd be taking that game away from his child now -- no one bothered to wonder why he thought it was okay before to have his kid sniping people for cash in the game...." makes the peevish comments for me. The Washington Post did its bit to contribute to the hysteria and then contributed this essay, which asked some of the right questions about how much violence in a game is too much.

Personally, I have no problem with slagging Grand Theft Auto and other crass games...for being crass! You don't need to blame a game for slaughter for saying that it's no good.

Meanwhile, Gamers Worry about the Actual Problem

My brother Kevin (an avid CounterStrike player) would like to see citizens in pairs, with rifles, on patrol around gas stations, shopping centers, and major street corners. The Guardian Angels seem to be making a good start, but as Kevin points out, there are plenty of responsible civilians in the DC area who could help take up the slack from the police. It would be less radical than calling in the National Guard (who are rather busy these days).

Maybe this is a bit much, but at least it would give people something to do.


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