The 2020s already share something with past decades in video gaming and that something either says more about how continually out of touch the mainstream can be about our beloved hobby or how few, popular video game franchises are actually widely known.
But make one thing clear: Absolutely no one is giving oxygen to the recurrent tripe more recently taken up by Illinois State Representative Marcus Evans.
And what is that, you might ask?
Namely, the notion that violent video games should be banned.
So, who is the culprit this time? As we said before, this story either illustrates how out of touch people like Representative Evans are, or how few major titles breakthrough to the greater public consciousness.
That’s because Representative Evans isn’t citing something like Bloodborne or the Last of Us or even the fleet of horror-themed games that are getting really close (from a photo-visual standpoint) to their Hollywood counterparts. No, Representative Evans thinks that violent video games like Grand Theft Auto need to be banned. With its most recent outing coming out back in 2013, one might wonder why GTA is, yet again, the poster child for violent video games.
Well, it might have something to do with what is going on in Chicago right now. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the city is experiencing a rash of carjackings and other crimes, something that somehow yet another politician is tying back to a video game even though these phenomena existed well before GTA was even a thought (or computers for that matter).
Representative Evans proposed bill would ban the sale of any video games that depict psychological harm including carjackings.
“The bill would prohibit the sale of some of these games that promote the activities that we’re suffering from in our communities.”
Early Walker of Operation Safe Pump, agrees, “I feel like this game has become a huge issue in this spectrum. When you compare the two, you see harsh similarities as it relates to these carjackings.”
So, what, exactly, constitutes a violent video game? Only the broadest of descriptions.
According to this proposed legislation, a violent video game is when the player “control[s] a character within the video game that is encouraged to perpetuate human-on-human violence in which the player kills or otherwise causes serious physical or psychological harm to another human or an animal.”
When you have a definition so broad that it could include Minecraft and Pokemon Go, there may be little reason to take the proposed legislation seriously.
Nonetheless, the perception that violence in video games leads to real-world violence as well persists. Though legislation like that proposed by the Illinois representative would likely fail a stringent judicial test once push came to shove, the attempt does show that the industry, at a minimum, has a lot of work to do to shake off the appearance of promoting violence no matter how misconceived that notion might be.