Volume 96, Issue 57
Friday, January 10, 2003

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A&E Roundtable: Do we blame games?

Welcome back to the 2003 edition of the new and vastly improved roundtable. With the help of Gazette graphics editor and video game junkie Christopher Hodge, we decided to debate the merit of violent video games.

MAGGIE: I think violent video games are useless. I think they just help to contribute to the deterioration of America's youth, mentally and physically.

DALE: A game is just a game. Violence is everywhere in our society, whether it's Ninja Turtles, the news or sports. There are no strong grounds that warrant blaming video games for anything.

MEGAN: I disagree. Most suburban teens – the ones who are playing these video games – are not hunters, and have no practical use for guns. So why would they need that type of target practice? To practice getting a good shot in case they get angry with their peers?

CHRIS: Games are primarily marketed towards boys. There are now different groups and ratings for different games. Plus, violent games like Vice City are aimed more toward our generation – the same people who grew up on Mario.

MAGGIE: It just worries me what people are thinking when they play those games. I don't get the entertainment value behind people blowing other people up.

CHRIS: Seriously, how many violent crimes can be directly connected with video games? Parents should be aware of the rating system and take it seriously. There is a certain onus on them.

MEGAN: But there are definitely healthier forms of entertainment. I'm not saying that violent video games are the primary cause of violence in society, but there's nothing actively beneficial about them.

DALE: I don't agree with that – video games are better for the mind than television. At least they engage the player and often require a certain amount of intelligence.

MAGGIE: There are so many other things kids can do. Team sports, for example, give you all the things that a violent game can, like competition, only they get you active at the same time.

CHRIS: They can help you to learn problem solving skills, achieve goals and build hand-eye co-ordination. It's just harmless fun. Honestly, how many people have gone out and shot someone after doing it in a video game?

DALE: If you're going to blame violent games for violent crimes, then you might as well blame violent music for violent crimes and sad music for making people cry. It's silly.

MEGAN: Violent music is just words; violent video games are active training, encouraging teens to develop a better shot. There's a big difference.

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