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    Shoot 'em up games- do they really cause violence?

    by the gibb

    We all remember it, the horrific incident where two students took the lives of 15, including themselves on that bloody day in Littleton, Colorado. To make it ironic, it occurred on April 20th, Adolf Hitler's birthday. (Apparently, the murderers planned the shooting for that date.) They even tried to blow up the school using propane bombs. They were students at Columbine High School, "outsiders", and part of the self-named "Trench Coat Mafia." They bragged about the guns they owned, and hated jocks, blacks, and other minorities. Here's the point I'm trying to get to. They played "Doom." With God mode on. (I'm sure if you're reading this you know what that means.) Some people in high places, and some in not so high places, say that helped cause the students' attack.

    First off let me say I don't like shoot 'em up games. They just bore me. I have Half-Life, but rarely play it. I've played all the "Doom" games before, but I don't own any of them.

    Millions of people, many of high school age, play Half-Life, Quake, and other first person shooters. I do not know one that has ever murdered someone or blown up a school or took a crowbar and ripped someone's chest apart. I'll admit I know people- some of these are my friends, who make disturbing comments like "Aww man I could just go in here with an assault rifle and a couple grenades and kill all these people." I know, well I hope that these people will never do such a horrific act. But it is disturbing that this happens- especially after the Columbine incident.

    As many have said, playing these games won't make you go out and kill someone for the heck of it. But it does desensitize you. I've noticed that even from playing Half-Life myself. The Armed Forces you simulations and games like Shogo, Quake, and other to desensitize soldiers so they can get used to killing real people in battle.

    There have been many arguments, namely in the US Congress, about these games. I have heard some of them, and I'll admit they do have a point. But it's where someone's First Amendment rights come in hand. People can play what games they want, when they want to, and however long they want to. Should these games be outlawed because of a couple insane acts by some immature freaks? I don't think so. I know I sound somewhat selfish saying that, but really, from the millions of people that play shoot em up games, how many of them killed anyone? Two. Though two is more than zero, it's still not a whole lot.

    You might say, "Well what about the rating system for games? That's as strict as it is!" And it is, too strict if you ask me. For example Starcraft got a rating of "M" (mature, 17+ audiences only.) If I could count the number of people that play Starcraft under the age of 17, the number would be astronomical. My parents and I pay no attention to the ratings set by the ESRB, Electronic Software Ratings Board. (www.esrb.com)

    My point is, violence in games don't contribute to the crime in our world, it's the people, like Eric Harris and Dlyan Klebold that manifest their angers into a murderous rage. Not the games.

    Copyright 1999 Brian Gilson. Please send your comments to thegibb@gamesurge.com I enjoy and appreciate all comments. Thank you.

    All trademarks are copyright of their respective owners.

    " "



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