Video games have become a central focus on today's media captivating different people and age groups with reasons varying from the games visuals, story, soundtrack, or play style. Today games continue to become more influential in today's pop culture, with many people starting to make assumptions that video games are the cause of mass violence and domestic terrorism, although video games were made only made for entertainment purposes.
A game that has been heavily praised and criticized is the Mortal Kombat series, which introduced a new concept to the fighting game industry by inputting a certain command the player was able to perform a fatality, which were finishers used after defeating an opponent. With the popularity that the game received with fatalities, there were also criticisms from the American public and parents who were concerned over the belief that these fatalities were influencing their children into becoming more rebellious and violent.
With the controversies behind the Mortal Kombat and other games for their use of video game violence, on September 16, 1994 the Entertainment Software Association, established the ESRB rating, which began to provide information to both consumers and parents about the games purchased, and began to separate video games by age groups with I.D.’s being needed in order to buy violent video games.
Today games are being used as a scapegoat and also wrongfully coming back under fire, with shooter games such as the Call of Duty series being called out after the 2019 El Paso and Dayton shooting, by President Trump and politicians for being a driving “cause” of those events. In a press conference in the White House, President Trump implied that video games are the problem and the main cause for the shootings, with the former being “A culture that celebrates violence”.
It is true that some video games are unnecessarily violent, and it might influence aggressive tendencies, with the American psychological association finding “consistent relation between violent video game use and increases in aggressive behavior, aggressive cognitions and aggressive affect''. Although video games may cause teens to be more prone to aggressive tendencies from it’s violent nature, it does not cause mass shootings, with shooters often being exposed to video games.
What should be done instead is for people to acknowledge video games aren’t the problem, and should focus on different solutions to overcome shootings like improved background checks, the banning of assault rifles to the public and high capacity magazines, while also pinpointing the actual cause of these tragedies instead of a narrow minded view towards video games. Video games are being used as a convenient scapegoat, the longer it takes for people to realize it the longer it hinders any progress in finding any real solutions for mass violence in America.
Reporter: Lorenzo Sevilla