Many years ago, before most current gamers were born, video games arrived on the scene to a vast array of social concerns. People worried that staring at a screen would turn their children into mindless zombies and that the ‘activity’ was more sedentary than is strictly considered healthy.
These concerns have been partially allayed; multiplayer consoles and computers, now connected to the internet have made gaming more social and interactive; and the introduction of motion sensor technology has made gaming a physical pursuit. Some even use it as part of their exercise regime.
As the technology progressed and graphics became more detailed and defined, other concerns arose along typical PC whining lines. Now it was the sex and violence that would destroy civilisation. It has been the same trite hysteria with every art form. Books, music, motion pictures, television would derange us all leading to the decay of society, why would gaming be any different?
Of course these concerns are baseless. Countless studies have concluded there is no link between the media we consume and our behaviour within society. Many indicate the exact opposite. The fantasy world allows players catharsis, an escape from their lives wherein they can relieve their frustrations, after which they rejoin the real world with an improved emotional and mental state.
The hysterical claims were utterly defunct and persisted primarily as the deluded rantings of right-wing loons, which everybody should mockingly dismiss. And so they did.
More technological development gave games virtually unlimited resources, and so they grew. The world expanded, became three dimensional, more characters were introduced and storylines became more complex. Tasks were more involved and varied than the repetitive likes of Pac-Mac and so Non-Player Characters (NPCs) were created to help drive the narrative. These NPCs provided information, set missions, became love interests, and otherwise interacted with the player.
The loons kept whining. Still, they were dismissed.
A darker side emerged where players could play the villain rather than the hero. They could attack and kill good people or even neutral people, innocent bystanders.
The loons Kept whining. Yet again, they were dismissed. Their doomsday predictions remained unfounded.
Nothing has changed between then and now. The games offer the same options, and the science still informs us that there is not even a correlation, let alone a direct causal link, between violence in the fantasy world and the real.
The only discernible difference now is the complainant. It is no longer the conservatives, it is a new breed of social justice warrior, a group so far left they have come full circle and are now more authoritarian and oppressive than the right could ever have hoped to be, even with God and holy scripture on their side.
But the grievance is no longer that the games are violent and that they will, somehow, destroy the world. The new objection needs to be more specific. They need a hook. A false narrative that nobody would dare question in our modern, yet regressive, society. It is not that games will cause violence, it is that they will cause violence against women.
And so major outlets have banned Grand Theft Auto 5 in Australia. Proving once and for all that nothing is significant until it has been expressed by an hysterical woman, at which point the actual facts of the matter are no longer acceptable. Games now cause violence against women, it has been decreed.
It doesn’t matter that there is no link between the two, or even that the majority of people being killed in these games are actually male. Facts and logical consistency have lost the battle. It’s sexist. And if you dare show any interest in understanding or defending the truth, you’re sexist. Welcome to modern feminism…