Another development in the recent discussion about the effect of videogame violence, sparked by the Sandy Hook shootings in Newtown Connecticut, is that California State Senator Leland Yee has said that “Gamers have no credibility in this argument. This is all about their lust for violence and the industry’s lust for money.”
Speaking to SFGate, Yee said “Gamers have got to just quiet down,” Yee said in an interview. “Gamers have no credibility in this argument. This is all about their lust for violence and the industry’s lust for money. This is a billion-dollar industry. This is about their self-interest.”
Yee authored the 2005 California bill that tried to ban the sale of violent games. The bill was shot down by the Supreme Court for being unconstitutional, straddling issues of censorship and free expression.
While Yee may be making his case rather vehemently, some of the things he is pushing for are very reasonable. The legal enforcement of age restrictions on games, for one.
Also, his point that gamers have a vested interest in seeing gamers ruled as fine bits of media that don’t negatively influence those that play them is true. They’re our hobby, our pastime, our passion. We don’t want to hear someone say (often ignorantly) thatthey’re corrupting, especially if the person saying it may be in a position that allows them to restrict our access to that hobby we so enjoy. The response then is often to dismiss the arguments of the aggressor. I think this is what Yee is suggesting.
He’s wrong, though.
He suggests that gamers are unable to think objectively, that we are too wrapped up in our hobby to rationally discuss games. This suggestion, that gamers need to be out of the discussion, relies on the underlying suggestion that non-gamers are able to rationally argue, that they are, themselves, wholly objective and not subject to bias. His argument establishes gamers as an other, a group less able to maintain reasonthan non-gamers.
This is a discussion that could have years of ramifications, particularly if it leads to a snap decision about the availability of some games. Gamers absolutely have a place in this discussion.
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