The discussion of violent video games, and whether or not they are partially to blame for rising gun violence, is nothing new. However, the recent shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary has caused an unprecedented amount of attention to the subject. Earlier today, Adam Sessler (former X-Play co-host, and current executive producer at Revision3 Games), spoke to Fox News about violence in video games.
When asked whether members of the gaming industry bear any responsibility for gun violence, Sessler responded with:
I think it’s tough to say that the game industry bears responsibility, especially in light of the tragedies in Sandy Hook and Aurora, Colorado. This discussion seems to come up quite a bit. When tragedies like this happen, they do affect kind of a collective social psyche, and I think that people tend to go to what feels most alien, what feels most different and is changing in the society. In this case, it’s video games.
He went on to compare the attitude towards video games to how comic books were treated in the 1950’s. Non-gamers tend to know very little about gaming, and those who do not participate in it may even be frightened by what seems to be a strange niche culture, where ultra-violent games like Call of Duty receive the most media attention.
Sessler went on to say that, while there is no definitive evidence that violence in video games drive violent tendencies, it may cause some aggression, similar to other competitive activities. He also noted that some studies that may have supposedly linked violence in video games to real life violence, may be questionable due to biased funding.
When questioned about how parents may feel, watching their child act out gruesome acts of violence in video games, Sessler was quick to set straight that young children shouldn’t have access to violent games in the first place. He stated that calling them ‘games’ leads to the misnomer that all of them are meant for children.
These cost $60 and are designed for adults, and have a rating system to help explicate this to parents. In fact, one of the most popular games out there is called Grand Theft Auto, and I think for a lot of parents, if your game has the name of a felony in it, it is probably unwise to have your children engage in that.
While Sessler’s points were thought out and logical, it may not be enough to sway non-gamers into believing that there’s more to gaming than ‘violence aimed at children’. Hopefully this changes as video games become increasingly more mainstream. Adam Sessler can be found on Twitter @adamsessler, and acts as executive producer for Revision3 games.