Why is it that some topics just never seem to go away? For several years now, the media has been dogging videogames as the source of teenage violence, and frankly, I am sick and tired of it. The latest anti-videogame rally is the result of a study on violent games from researchers at the renowned school Harvard.
Last night I got out of the shower and my little brother was downstairs laughing his head off. I came down to see what was so funny and he said, "You have got to see this!". Then he pushed play on the VCR and I saw another stupid news story about the Harvard study. I have to admit, it did make me angry, but I couldn't help but laugh at the obvious ignorance of those people. They get a bunch of old farts together and have them give "professional" opinions on something that they know nothing about. What really aggravates me is the fact that these rambling idiots are actually convincing uninformed parents that videogames are the work of the devil.
The main focus of this particular news story was that most "E" rated games are not suitable for children. To give you an idea of just how outrageous these people are, they actually showed a clip of Super Mario World for the SNES and said, "This game rewards you for stomping on insects." GIVE ME A BREAK! First of all, anyone who knows anything about videogames knows that the Koopa Troopas are NOT insects, they are in fact a breed of turtle! To further prove their stupidity they showed a small clip from Majora's Mask which featured the young Link attacking a bat. To go along with this the reporter says,"... a character slashing at objects with a knife." The biggest kicker is yet to come. They compiled a list of the "most violent" E rated games. What kind of games made the list? Well Nuclear Strike 64 was at the top of the list, but also making the top 5 were Pokemon Stadium and, get ready for this one, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. OH NO! How violent!
It's a fat pink marshmallow running through flowers and butterflies! Seriously, if you can't give Kirby or Pokemon an E rating, what kind of game does get one? Well, apparently none because the study found zero games with absolutely no violent content.
The reporter went on to attack the ESRB and its ratings. A local psychologist said that the only reason the ESRB exists is to give people the illusion that videogames are being monitored. The report stated that parents need to check out the games for themselves, and I couldn't agree more. If parents played these games, they would become more familiar with them and realize just how stupid these people are. I can't imagine ANYONE looking at Kirby 64 and saying, "Oh no, that is too violent."
The report concluded with the moron... er... reporter saying that videogames are not going away and that "Microsoft is preparing to launch its own home videogame this fall." Oh OK, so the Xbox isn't actually a console, it's a videogame. If these people can't tell the difference between a videogame and the machine that plays them, why are they even talking about games? Parents, I beg of you, get more involved in the games your kids play; don't take the advice of people who know absolutely nothing about them. There are certainly games out there that shouldn't be played by young children, but when a kid can't even play Kirby, there's definitely something wrong.