After the tragedy at an elementary school in Newtown, CT that claimed the lives of twenty-eight people, including twenty children and eight adults, the country’s been struggling to come up with a way to keep something like that from ever happening again. It certainly wasn’t the first mass shooting in the states, or even the biggest, but the young age of a majority of the victims involved has made it one of the most jarring. It should come as no surprise that violent media has been targeted as a potential cause for the tragedy — video games in particular have been thrust into the spotlight after practically every shooting since Doom was partially blamed for Columbine back in 1999.
Last month, NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre decided to shamelessly shovel the blame onto the gaming industry yet again, saying “there exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people.” Interestingly enough, earlier this week the NRA released a game on iOS that teaches players how to use a gun and — until Apple stepped in to re-rate it — was intended for players ages four and up. Apparently, irony is lost on the NRA. More after the break.
All this is a long-winded way of building up to the actual news, which broke earlier this week after Vice President Joe Biden held a meeting with several games industry professionals, including the heads of Electronic Arts, Activision Blizzard, Epic Games, GameStop, Take-Two, as well as the ESA and ESRB that are responsible for rating and classifying video games. The focus of the meeting was to have an intelligent discussion about existing research on the effects video games have on people and potential ways for the gaming industry to improve its image among the non-gamer population. In case you missed it, here’s a snippet taken from the meeting:
On Wednesday, President Obama laid out 23 gun violence related executive actions including the allocation of funds so the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can conduct further research into the link, if any, between violent media and violence.
There’s already plenty of research into this very topic, but something like this could end up quieting those who would like to see violent movies and/or video games censored or stricter regulation on their distribution. If you don’t think something like that could happen, it already is. A new bill has already been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would require ratings labels on video games that say “exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior,” and would “prohibit the sales and rentals of adult-rated video games to minors.”