Did you know the political left hates video games? This right-wing douchebag apparently thinks so, anyway, because the opinions of two people on an aspect of one game amounts to a blanket condemnation of an entire medium by one side of the political spectrum. Yeah, it’s a really stupid article, but I think it led to some interesting discussion on Facebook. I don’t really agree with Anita Sarkeesian on this particular point, although I have about other things in the past. I’ve watched some of her videos, and it’s obvious that she doesn’t hate video games as an art form, but rather the prevalence in the medium of certain regressive trends. As for cheering on violence in particular, I don’t play Doom, and the fighting in the games I do play tends not to be very graphic. There’s no gore when a number pops up saying how many hit points a monster has lost.
But on the subject of violence, I know my wife enjoys brutal slasher movies and books about serial killers, but I don’t think she has the desire to kill anyone or cheer on actual violence. That’s just one example, of course, but I still hold to the general idea that people don’t become violent because of the media. People who already have these tendencies are often drawn to violent media, but you can’t really blame the movies or games.
I don’t totally rule out the idea that seeing a lot of fictional violence can desensitize you to it, but there are plenty of people who enjoy horror movies and first-person shooters while also opposing actual war. In some cases, they might provide an outlet for violent tendencies so that people DON’T act on them in real life. A lot of it simply rests on the ability to tell fiction from reality, and I’m not sure you’re really in any position to complain about others not being able to do this when you’re on the side of Biblical literalists. Perhaps even more than that, however, I hate the idea that criticizing something means you must hate it. This gives me the chance to link to this article I’d been saving until I’d actually seen the relevant movie, pointing out that Avengers: Age of Ultron didn’t really do too well with its female characters. I liked the movie, but I still agreed with a lot of what was in the article. I don’t think the film is actively keeping women down, but I do think it reflects an unfortunate trend. And the same can certainly be true of video games.
I don’t know that I’ve ever heard anyone who identifies as left-wing claim that humanity can be perfected, but I’ve seen right-wingers make that charge before. I guess it’s because the right is traditionally considered tough on crime, while the left is more optimistic when it comes to rehabilitating criminals and solving problems without violence. Strange, then, that the writer of the article claims that the left thinks humanity can be improved “using coercive force.” That kind of seems backwards, but I guess it’s like how anti-tax protestors insist the government is strong-arming people into paying taxes. I think that only happens when people don’t pay on their own. Also, it’s more of a right-wing thing to believe that anyone can pull themselves up by the bootstraps and become rich, though, right? Isn’t that overly optimistic? But then the author pulls out this “humanity is naturally sinful” thing, which basically seems to me to be saying, “Can’t win, don’t try.” I kind of figured people who believed in sin were generally against it, but perhaps not this guy. I guess it’s okay because you’re killing demons, which are fundamentally evil?
Anyway, I think the main sin of the article is that it mentions other games where you chop up people with chainsaws, yet completely ignores the Texas Chainsaw Massacre game for Atari 2600.