GTA Blaming Game, Because It's Easy.

How many people have to die before videogames aren’t brought into the blame equation? GTA has been at the forefront of news media since we apparently became international console terrorists or at least, consoles have become a tool of destruction.

Box art for the Windows stand-alone releaseWho do we have to blame as the Granddaddy of shooting games which turned your average little Johnny into a mass-murdering psychopath? That’s right, Counter Strike. Valve must have been so sick and tired at their most-played online PC game being blamed as the reason for so many real life shooting incidents, but FPS games shouldn’t factor in the proficiency of a shooter, can they?
It’s not as if you walk around with a mouse and keyboard, what would be the point? To kill someone, you need a real gun with real bullets and, to a certain degree, some actual skill of handling said firearm, something you cannot obtain from ANY videogame. No, not even instructional software, you can’t perform brain surgery by just reading books.
So, we move on to home consoles and I guess, more specifically, the Xbox 360. Do you ever wonder why the PlayStation 3 is hardly ever featured in news about people going on a killing rampage? Is it because the ‘gamer’ who goes on a spree doesn’t like the PS3 controller? I’m not that much of a fan myself, but the latest games being blamed are also available on that system, so let’s not focus on what they played the game on, in fact, there’s no need to focus on the game anyway.

GTA never hurt anyone!

What else is there to blame? Parents. Something I’ve advocated for a long time, some people will scoff and say the age rating is just a guide, but a good retailer won’t sell a game to anyone who appears to be below the recommended age. Therefore, who buys the game for their offspring/sibling? Bad or uncaring parents and relatives, but do the media blame them? Major news outlets such as Fox News, CNN and NBC would rather blame what they think is the source of the problem, the videogame.
They call upon so-called experts, but who are they and just what is their expertise? It’s nothing to do with the videogame industry at all. They never call in anyone to defend the games, what would be the point of that? These people don’t care, rational argument isn’t in their favour as they know they will always lose and especially with the latest case of an eight year old shooting his elderly carer (known to be his grandmother, some sources say “caregiver”).
There are obvious reasons why Grand Theft Auto isn’t to blame:

  • Why was an eight year old playing a GTA game?
  • Why was there a gun in the house?
  • Why was the gun so easily accessed?

GTA San Andreas logoJust a few questions with the first one being the most important. Anyone taking care of a child should be aware of limitations enforced by law, that includes age ratings for movies and especially videogames and if those people were properly educated, so many accidents and tragedies could be avoided. These are the questions major news outlets should be asking, not pointing accusations at the wrong problem.
The solution is simple, talk to the parents, carers or siblings about any concerns. It’s always the easy way out to blame something you know very little about, this is why so many gamers become annoyed when big guns like Fox News and CNN (and to a lesser extent, BBC and Sky News) use videogames as a scapegoat for the more serious underlying problems of why a situation became what it did.
Let’s just use this image someone posted to imgur to portray what a lot of sensible people are asking…

Jean Luc Picard WTF

Image courtesy of Imgur.

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