John Carmack, the man behind classics like Quake, Wolfenstein 3D, and Doom has some words about violent video games. Obviously, his role in popularizing gibfests cannot go unnoticed, and with yet another enfant terrible in the Breivik case, the shitstorm is a-brewing again. But Carmack sees the problem as being nonexistent if not actually the reverse, saying the debate rages on only for talking heads to spew opinions. Obviously, this man has seen Fox News.
“I really think, if anything, there is more evidence to show that the violent games reduce aggression and violence. There have actually been some studies about that, that it’s cathartic. If you go to QuakeCon and you walk by and you see the people there [and compare that to] a random cross section of a college campus, you’re probably going to find a more peaceful crowd of people at the gaming convention. I think it’s at worst neutral and potentially positive.”
It’s safe to say that after a couple decades in the game industry, arguably founding the FPS craze, Carmack would know his target audience and their general disposition. By placing the role of violent video games as a catalyst for violent behavior against other humans, the argument is made that people cannot differentiate between reality and virtual space. As much as the older generation seems to fear full computer integration, the era above modern gamers takes umbrage to shortsightedness after having lived through the ‘90s and the PMRC days. On the heels of Australia’s frankly stupid game rating decision, John Carmack’s simple but eloquently even statement shows that the developers know what their games do better than a politician. As well they should.
The point is clear: games improve most people, aiding in honing hand-eye coordination, arguably forging teamwork and problem solving abilities, and even aiding some in learning skills outside of the school setting. Not every gamer will see a bunch of pixels as a calling to Helter Skelter their high school, and those that do clearly have a disconnect from reality. To imply that something as banal as video games could exacerbate natural aggressiveness is equally misinformed, relying on the concept of a completely malleable personality that defies modern genetic disposition.
To sum it up: look at the people who go to Quake and Doom tournaments these days. I don’t think they’ll be capable of violence, let alone able to handle basic firearm recoil.