Article: July 2001 Archives

by Robert de los Reyes, Esq.

At least since the advent of fighting games like Mortal Kombat and first person shooter (FPS) games like Doom, both individuals and groups have expressed concern over the effects of video game violence on the mental and emotional development of the children who play them. For such individuals, the Columbine High School shootings confirmed what they already knew. As it spread through the media that the two teen Columbine killers had played FPS games (what other games they played went unreported), mere concern and uneasiness about violent video games hardened for these people into moral certitude. According to them, whatever other events may be contributing to violence in our society, these video games are certainly part of the problem.

It is not the purpose of this article to debate the merits of the proposition that violent video games breed violent children. For these purposes, the important points are that some people believe this proposition to be true, and, among them, those with legislative and judicial power have undertaken to act upon their belief. Two responses, one in the U.S. and one in Germany, to the "threat" of violent video games form the subject of this article. It is worth noting that while the actions in both countries were confined to the (attempted) regulation of arcade games only, there is no particular reason why the logic of these actions would not also apply to console and PC games.

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This page is an archive of entries in the Article category from July 2001.

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