With a Supreme Court case that threatens government regulation of violent video games coalescing shortly and the token accompanying witch hunt that’s sure to precede its arrival, we thought it might be a good time to reiterate: Even the most seemingly ‘irredeemable’ and ‘horrifying’ games (e.g. Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto series) may simply appear that way because they’re viewed out of context.
Mind you, we’d be the last to say that Manhunt 2 was appropriate for minors, or spoke to anything besides audiences’ baser impulses (although it does emphasize strategic thinking and tactical approaches more than torture porn, which is the admittedly needlessly hyper-visceral visual payoff for your patience). And, of course, being fans of the Saw franchise, which topped domestic box office takes with nary a peep of protest from parents and educators throughout the U.S., realize that the whole argument seems a bit hypocritical at this point. Still, it’s important to note – just because a game is designed with mature adult audiences in mind doesn’t mean that it’s evil, intended to foster moral decay or, in fact, has anything to do with promoting crime or violence.
The above video, while shot for CBS News a couple years back on the eve of GTA IV‘s launch, sums up the point nicely, even today. People don’t necessarily play titles like Dead to Rights, True Crime or The Godfather for the bloodshed; rather, their mature approach to gameplay, storytelling and dialogue. Then again, we’re only human too: The occasional freedom to run amok with a chainsaw doesn’t hurt – if it helps, keep in mind that it’s a constructive outlet for negative impulses, and much more effective stress relief than doing so in real-life. And that’s word to our big homie, Saint’s Row.