As I have an assignment due in tomorrow, I almost did not post this week. However, there will be no post on Wednesday as I have a 24-hour exam that day, so I felt like you guys deserved at least one post. Plus, you know, I’m all for putting off doing actual work in favour of talking about gaming.
That being said, this will be rather short and not too detailed as I do have very little time, but I do still want to give you guys something to think about. I am determined to do a much longer post about this in the future, so think of this as a little insight rather than an actual post.
So, for those who do not know me personally – which is actually a lot of you at this point – I live in the UK, and for my GCSE’s, I took sociology. That subject was actually my favourite and it partly led me to be as passionate about needing to change society as I am currently (but let’s be real for a second, that was mainly Persona 5). But it was in this lesson that the idea that video games could potentially cause violence came into my field of vision. To be honest, I have the same views as I did back then… only now, I have a few real life case studies in the form of my partner and myself. When I get round to doing the much, much larger post, I will include a bunch of case studies but for now, let’s get personal.
So, on an even more personal note and purely because I know she is okay with me talking about it, me and my mother went through domestic abuse a while ago. I bring this up because after that relationship ended, my mother (got ill but then…) got a lot of support in terms of being put into support groups and so on. My mother is also the type of person to believe anything that she reads on Facebook, bless her. So, when GTA V came out, there was a lot of stuff going around about it ‘promoting’ domestic violence. Now, both my sister and my partner have played this game. My partner in particular – who is very aware of all forms of abuse because I am traumatised (also please don’t worry, I use humour as a coping mechanism, I’m aware it comes off as strange, but I’m just trying to get certain points across and therefore have to talk like this), and he’s used to having to look after me, recognise what is triggering me and so on. So what I am trying to say is that he knows his stuff. He can recognise abuse from a mile off. And he states that there is no domestic violence in the game. As for myself… I’m ridiculously bad at driving cars (not just in video games, it is a talent I possess in real life too!) so I haven’t actually got past the opening. But regardless, there is another point I want to add about this and it’s sort of about GTA V in general.
Usually, GTA games are there to prevent people from doing violent acts in real life. There’s actually a torture scene in the game, where afterwards, the person who did the torture goes on a rant about how you should not do torture. The point of this is that this guy is a clear bad guy. If he does not agree with torture, you know it’s seriously messed up (even more than he is, which is real bad).
As for myself, I don’t tend to play a lot of “violent” video games. I think the closest I really get is like, The Witcher 3. But if I did not have video games, things would be a whole lot different. As you guys know if you’ve been following me for a while, I have a lot of mental health issues. Video games and narrative help me focus my attention on something positive rather than negative things going on. I used to not have the best coping mechanisms, and video games are a way of distracting me from that. Although I would never be violent against other people because, y’know, abuse, I would often be violent against myself. I really don’t want to make this post about my mental health or anything. Still, it is important to bring up because my mental health as a whole has significantly improved since I’ve been invested in gaming, and I have developed much more healthy coping mechanisms… if you count playing Persona 5 instead of sleeping as healthy, which I do! Video games allow me to remove myself from my own situation and calm me down so that I do not become violent with myself.
Similarly, my partner primarily plays games as an attempt to control his anger. He’s not an angry person, but he’s the type of person who doesn’t particularly like many people at all and has trouble understanding people. As a result, he gets frustrated. That frustration could easily turn into anger and aggression, but over the years he has taught himself to direct that negativity into video games. For him (from my perspective), video games are something positive that helps him handle a negative situation by providing him with an outlet where he can be angry if he wants but where no one gets hurt. Video games are a way for people to let out the anger that they are feeling towards the world in a safe environment in which no one gets hurt by them doing so.
I wonder if people who think video games cause violence have any idea as to what would happen if these people did not have video games? If they had no outlet for their negative emotions? It’s just a thought because surely any outlet is better than no outlet- especially when that outlet means that no one is getting hurt.
And that’s all for this post guys! Like I said, it’s just a little insight for a future post because I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and I feel like it is such an important, highly debated topic in our community.