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Violence in Video Games

Violence in video games, unlike much of the violence on network television and Mel Gibson movies, is actually a big deal in the eyes of the media. American forgives showing violence depicted in the form of art, but hesitates when it comes to showing simulated violence in video games. This is largely because of western society's perception that video games are child's play. While this can be true, there are also many adult gamers who grew up on T-rated gaming violence (not to mention R-rated movies) and who are not bothered by increasingly morbid violence in video games.

Reporting On Violence In Video Games

Violence in video games is heavily criticized by American parent groups, psychologists, religious organizations and politicians for negatively affecting children who do enjoy playing games meant for adults. Some of the most notorious games that appealed to gamers of all ages included 1992's Mortal Kombat, which glorified explicit gore that had not previously been seen on arcades or home video game consoles. ID Software's Doom was released about a year later and featured a first-person shooter style game where players were treated to large weapons and required to mow down hundreds, even thousands of bad guys. If taking part in a death match were not dangerous enough, many people had reservations about games like Grand Theft Auto III, which encouraged players to perform acts of simulated random violence, namely running over pedestrians, car jacking and murdering various characters. The Grand Theft Auto Series also gained notoriety for allowing players to have sex with a prostitute to replenish health and then murder her to take back the money.

The Ratings System

Like TV or the movies, it's unrealistic to assume that censorship will go unnoticed in a free country. Therefore, politicians lobbied for a video game ratings system that designated games for appropriate ages according to violent or sexual content: E for Everyone, T for Teen, M for Mature Audiences (which allows parents to buy the games for their children) or AO for Adults Only, which restricts children's play. What's for sure is that there is always a market for violence; who is fit to enjoy it remains a hotly debated topic.