Via Penny Arcade, I've learned of a new documentary on video games called Moral Kombat. Here's the trailer:
This is utter bullshit on so many levels, I can't name them all. But I highly recommend Harold Schechter's book, Savage Pastimes, for a revealing look at just how violent our culture and society is compared to ages past. A bit of a spoiler--are first-person shooter games really worse than the bear-baiting of the Renaissance era? There's a big stink about the video of Saddam Hussein's
This issue hits my hot button because I'm a roleplayer, and my hobby went through this same bullshit over 20 years ago. (I'm also a video-gamer, though I'm not on top of every latest development in that industry.) The line from the trailer that really set me off was "we are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be." What?! Are they saying there is no boundary between imagination and reality? Puh-lease. Over the last two decades, I've "pretended" to be an evil knight in service to a dark god (in Dungeons & Dragons), a drug-dealing black market surgeon (in the Cyberpunk 2020 game), a Terminator-like killer cyborg (in the Mage: the Ascension game), a backstabbing, treacherous vampire (in live-action Vampire games), and a raging werewolf warrior (in a live-action Werewolf game). In real life, I've never been in a fight, never committed an act of violence on someone, never been charged with any crime (except exceeding the speed limit by 30 km/h), never drank anyone's blood, and never barked at the moon (OK, the last one I did, but in my defense I was singing along with Ozzy Osbourne).
If we were what we pretended to be, George W. Bush would be an effective president and warleader, Canada would be respected and envied the world over (newsflash: we're not), and Paris Hilton would be a paragon of moral virtue.