The much-awaited Doom 3 has finally hit the shelves. The predictable, knee-jerk, tedious bleating about violence and videogames, on the other hand, never went away. And Circling The Square, a blog which I've mentioned before and thought dead, is back with a brilliant post on the subject:
'It's no secret that computer games make normal, well-adjusted youths want to commit acts of brutal violence. It's only natural! While various watchdog groups (ie. busybodies) have harshly criticized DOOM 3 for its baroque orgies of blood and gore, Circling the Square takes a rather different position.Read the whole thing, then go play your little hearts out!
It is certainly true that the violent content of video games has contributed to many serious social problems over the years. But at CtS, we feel that the problem hasn't stemmed from the presence of violent content so much from as the lack of specificity in that content.
Back in the old days, games were so abstract that you could never tell just how players would choose to express their uncontrollable violent impulses. The debut of Pong in 1972 inspired thousands of incidents, ranging from fist fights to vehicular homicide to carpet bombings of small South American nations: all because Pong enthusiasts couldn't relate the Pong experience to their own multi-hued, three dimensional lives. Jeffrey Dahmer, a Pac-Man fanatic, couldn't figure out what "power pellets" were - those mysterious white dots that gave Pac-Man his strength. This confusion left Dahmer feeling empty inside – an emptiness he could only fill by devouring the mutilated corpses of over a dozen gay black men. And who among us hasn't dropped cinderblocks on sleeping hobos from a penthouse apartment window after an all-night Tetris marathon? Abstract games inspire abstract violence – and that sort of violence is neither constructive nor entertaining!'