Video games have inherent worth. To claim otherwise, would suggest that books, movies, songs, television shows, and paintings all have no inherent worth.
Sure: it is a newer medium, but even still: art is art is art. Pointing at the frequent regularity of wanton violence in many video game worlds and calling it corrupting would be the same as claiming movie’s depictions of violence are corrupting.
And, yeah, as you might point out, some do claim that. Some do not want any violence in any medium at all. But…that’s both ridiculous and not possible. There’s violence in the Bible, one of our most read books—and I mean no disrespect to any religion by saying that. I’m just pointing out you can’t easily take violence away from media. You can show its implications and teach a person how to respond to violence when it is present. Censorship is not an effective way to deter action—sometimes it does the opposite.
But that’s all a tangent anyway, because back to the point: video games have inherent worth. Sure, people end up with unhealthy obsessions with certain games and can whittle away massive amounts of hours on them. But blaming those situations and outcomes on the video game itself is like blaming a caffeine addiction on coffee. It’s not the coffee. It was never really the coffee. It’s the system, the environment, that requires one to use it to cope that should be blamed.
Escapism, when used in a healthy manner, isn’t a bad thing for the same reason. Ask why someone would need to escape.
But moving right along and taking on the next criticism: sure, video games can be trashy, not exactly high art, but, if you think all books, for instance, are wholesome and clean and intelligently stimulating: you sir or madam (or whatever gender you want me to say) have never been in a bookstore.
BioShock is better than some books I’ve read. Fahrenheit 451 trumps a ton of movies. The Matrix is leagues above some televisions shows I’ve seen. And BBC’s Sherlock is better than certain video games.
The medium is not the problem. Dismissing something so huge and detailed as trash, as harmful, is ridiculous: it would be like referring to cookies as a villainous baked good because some people eat too much of it.
And yes, I realize that last statement is closely mirroring to arguments about guns. And about “spoons making people fat” allegories—but I never said I wasn’t tackling a live grenade of a topic here.
I’m defending art, after all.
I’m defending—until we fix the whole freaking world—a place for someone to feel powerful, safe, and in control. Just one location, digital or otherwise, where they have their environment the way they want it.
Spec Ops: The Line, BioShock Infinite, The Beginner’s Guide, Five Nights at Freddy’s, Halo 3, Fallout 3, and yes, even Call of Duty: Black Ops are all worthy pieces of media which unequivocally changed me, as a person. And I am not the only one.
I don’t regret my time with them. And others should not either. I am, who I am, because of them. They showed me characters and ideas and worlds which dug deep into my mind, just as much as Alice In Wonderland, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Animorphs, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Animal Farm, Doctor Who, Death Note, Psycho-Pass, The Lego Movie, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Percy Jackson and The Olympians, and Star Wars did.
And so many others. So, so many others.
You can have a preference, but there is no lesser medium.
Special thanks to: Bob Gerkin, Collin Pearman, Dylan Alexander, Jerry Banfield, and Michael The Comic Nerd.
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