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What I know about violent games

Kyle Orland

We think it's a given by this point that most regular Joystiq readers know that playing violent video games will not suddenly turn you into a violent killer, or even make you any more likely to commit a violent act ever in your life. Still, with media personalities like Dr. Phil and Jack Thompson out there baselessly implicating games in the recent Virginia Tech massacre, we felt younger game players might need something to defend their hobby to parents that don't have the same familiarity with the medium.

Hence the following declaration, to be printed, signed and presented to any authority figure with the misguided fear that the games you love will lead to a life of violent crime. We hope this declaration will help start a conversation with the non-gamers in your life about why video games are so important to you and why they aren't the bogeymen some in the media make them out to be.

[Update: Original image removed at request of the artist; new image credit: Elizabeth Nixon.]

Dear ____________,

In light of the recent tragedy, you might have heard some people saying that violent games are partially to blame for real life violence. To put your minds at ease about these games, I, ____________, make the following declarations:

  • I know the difference between right and wrong.
  • I know the difference between fantasy and reality.
  • I know where the game ends and real life begins.
  • I know the difference between aliens/zombies/monsters and people.
  • I know the difference between digital people and real people.
  • I know the pain real violence can cause.
  • I know the pain real crime can cause.
  • I know that people who commit real crimes go to real jail.
  • I know that people have played Cops and Robbers for generations without becoming real robbers.
  • I know that millions of people play violent games without ever committing a violent act.
  • I know that video games are a safe way to let out my aggression without hurting anyone.
  • I know that pressing a button isn't the same as pulling a trigger.
  • I know that no amount of virtual deaths will make me comfortable seeing real death.
  • I know that virtual death and real death are worlds apart.
  • I know that, in real life, you get one life and there's no reset button.
  • I know, in the end, that these are only games.

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