by Nick Honeywell (age - 14)

ED. - We thought the issue of animated violence in computer and video games would be an interesting topic of discussion for a 14 year old to delve into. So. Here it is. An opinion from Nick Honeywe
ll, a 14 year old gamer from England.

Oh deary me, what is the world coming to these days? You can't go far without hearing someone connect violence to computer games and TV programs.

"Stop your children playing Doom!" the worst of the critics yell, "It will turn them into murdering psychopaths!" Thats the kind of bad press the games industry can do without.

True, you kill people in Doom. True, you pull out spinal cords in Mortal Kombat II. True, you beat people up in countless other games ... but does any of this have any lasting effect on children, or other people?

The ELPSA monitor man panel on the back of boxes in England was a good idea, but it was doomed to failure because it was rushed by the government threat of putting legal ratings on games. Even though a few big companies used this system, it was ususally in a small panel on the back of the box, so it was easily missed.

I feel that many people are giving a biased view about violence in computer games. They claim it will turn people into homicidal monsters who want to actually do the violence they see in Doom for real. Now that is a load of tosh. Throughout history there have been many people with violent tendencies, but did they have computers? Did Hitler play Doom? Had Genghis Kahn even played Mortal Kombat II? The answer of course, is no. There are some people who, just turn violent wit
hout the influence of computer games. What evidence do we have that games make people violent? Has anyone been in court for shooting 12 people with a sawn-off shotgun, and then said in his defence that is was "because I played Doom, and I felt like doing it in real life."? No.

Of course, people have tried to claim that even though there is currently no evidence of violence caused by games, there will be when 14 year olds grow up after living their teenage years playing violent games. Seeing as I and my friends are 14, I asked them what they thought. The general view was,

"Violent games will not make normal people into psychopaths. True, people like playing on Mortal Kombat II which has scenes of graphic violence, but it is only a game! No-one (unless they are mentally unstable), will try to re-enact Doom or Mortal Kombat II."

I think it is wrong for the English goverment to allow computer games to have legal age limits on them. Ok, I agree that it is alright to put certificates on games which have FMV (Full Motion Video) scenes of graphic violence, but it is *not* alright if it is a game in which the graphic violence is just a sprite drawn on computer by the graphics guy. It is just a collection of pixels made to look real, it is not actually real.

I do agree that it is the parents right to be worried about what their children are playing, and it is their right to know as much about the game their child wants to buy, but computers are different from, say ... drugs. Drugs harm people, games do not. (unless you play for a prolonged time).

This article is Copyright (C) 1994 by Nick Honeywell for Game Bytes Magazine. All rights reserved.

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