The Sticker's not just for Show...
There's a heck of a lot of fire and brimstone right now flying around, caused by a game called Bulletstorm, chances are that if you've read anything about it, seen Fox News or been following gaming blogs and websites like ours, you know that by now it's being touted as Satan's Next Lovechild. The game that will encourage children to rape their animals and parents, it will be responsible for the rise of the Antichrist and the sky is falling, because someone got shot in the ass on a fake world, with a fake gun, with a completely over the top story.
Let me give Fox News and all those so-called professionals out there in psychology land a wake-up.
IT ISN'T REAL!
The media has been going after developers, publishers and writers since the year dot. Before we had video games, we had violent crime and during the rise of Hollywood in the 1945's or so it was also one of the most bloody and crime ridden eras, not because of moving pictures, but because of the mob and the alcohol that pervaded every facet of that society. Before that we had novels and god-forbid if you wrote science fiction or fantasy. I remember reading that the Lord of the Rings was banned in a good number of places, because it was Satan's Bible. Video games, Dungeons and Dragons, they didn't exist back then, so you can't use them as an excuse.
Oh man, that guy has begun a life of crime because he was playing: MONOPOLY!
There's only one root of evil here, it's not the game developers, and it's not the writers or the publishers. It's the parents at fault looking to scapegoat someone for their own lack of parenting skills. It's very easy to blame something for someone going off the rails, blame a game like Grand Theft Auto IV or so on. Someone picks up a gun and uses it in a school, oh look, he played video games and wow...GTA IV was on his list. Only I remember a certain shooting where the victim was the one who played the game and not the killer.
Oh, but the media soon spun that one so that every irate nut on the planet with a bit of paper was clamouring for the game to be pulled, the so-called Manual for Killers. Here's a little bit of an idea for you, just imagine for a moment that the person who pulled the trigger was already unstable enough to do it and stop blaming a game for the whole mess. Then there are parents who try and sue game companies and publishers because their Little Johnny played DANGEROUS BULLETMASSACRE 10.
A game with an AGE RATING of 18+
Hello? Do I see the person(s) at fault here, why yes I do. It's not the game at fault, it's the parents who bought the game for their son or daughter in the first place, and an 18+ game isn't suitable for an 8 year old who likes Princess Power Pony. I know a couple of parents who have gotten it spot on, they have raised some really good well-adjusted kids who know the value of fact from fiction, they play what you might consider violent games and they've turned out just fine.
I've played violent games and I've turned out a well-adjusted member of society, with intolerance for stupid press reports and idiots. I don't immediately pick up the nearest carving knife and go after people who annoy me though. As much as I'd like to slam my fist into the ground, lift up a member of the press and shoot them in the ass until the magic words: FIRE IN THE HOLE +500 appears before my eyes. The reason I don't do this is that I know the line between fantasy and reality.
It's not too hard to live in reality when you look at the planet as a whole, governed by idiots and populated by the same. So my ire is definitely reserved for that special brand of idiot parents/guardians that would buy a game like Bulletstorm for anyone who is under the age rating. The label is there as a good idea that a game like this, isn't going to be about planting flowers in a garden of magical pixies. It's going to be about shoving your foot so-far up someone's ass that they spit out your boot-laces with their teeth.
18+ means just that mom and dad, it means that you need to stop going to video game stores and asking the clerks behind the counter to sell it to you. I spend a lot of time in game stores and get sick and tired of seeing people come in, buy a game with an 18+ on the box and then hand it to Little Johnny outside of the store. They might as well be saying: here you go son, Happy Birthday, but we're going to sue the ass off the company if you grow up as a psychopath, because the game made you do it.
Or the parents that stand there and discuss with each other the reasons their son should have VIOLENT GRANDMOTHER DISMEMBERMENT X, with the manager of the store. When the manager tells them they can't have it, they throw a huge fit and march out of the store angrily claiming they'll never shop there again, or they lay a guilt trip. My heart goes out to staff of video game stores in that respect, and I have the utmost respect for anyone who says: NO to mom and dad in that regard.
So if you're a gamer that's reading this, or a parent that's looking to buy a game like Bulletstorm. Just stop, look at the label, and don't listen to Fox News and Professor Knowsass Aboutgames. You're the one that's bringing up your kid, not some Crusading Shrink or Disbarred Lawyer. It's too easy to lay the blame on a simple scapegoat, just take a step back and ask yourself, is the kid old enough to play a game like that, are they well adjusted or is their last name Lecter?
If you can't answer yes to your own internal questions in this regard, then for the sake of those game developers, writers, publishers, game store owners and staff - don't buy the game for them until you're sure they can handle it. If you think they can, they're old enough and buy the game - don't moan and whine or try and sue if the game offends you in any way.
One man's meat is another man's poison.
As long as your kid's not trying to take over the world, slaughtering thousands of people in another country or doing BAD THINGS(tm) - you've done your job.
I'm not saying violence is right or good, because it's not, but what I am saying is: read the damn sticker on the game box and buy responsibly.