The Political Implications of Video Games
Video Games are one of the largest franchises on earth today, while technology progresses, so do these games, but when did these games become so violent? It all started with the first video game, and the foundation of the franchise we know today. Pong, the very first commercial video game released in 1972, a virtual game in which a player would hit a ball back and forth with either a friend or an AI (artificial intelligence) until the ball was dropped. But when exactly did the violence enter the video game franchise? Death Race, a game released in 1976 where the goal was to run down as many stick figure people as possible in a single run. Now this hardly sounds violent by today’s standards, but this started the framework of the extensive violence we see in today’s video games. But how exactly did the public react to this? This game was based on the film, Death Race 2000; along with the movies release, this game caused a public outrage, which not only fueled sales of the game but established a pattern in which games received high levels of press attention. Public opinion is used to judge how people feel about a certain subject. The video game franchise uses this same technique, but instead of using polls (397, Shea), they determine the public’s opinion through sales. So in spite of the public’s negative opinion about Death Race 2000, its popularity was gained through how many people played it. According to Douglas A. Gentile and Craig A. Anderson’s article, “During the 1980’s and early 1990s, the violence in video games was still fairly stylized, in large part because of technological constraints.” This meaning that the violence in video games was only going to get worse as technology advanced. Years later, another concept was born, the birth of fighting games. A landmark game which also received extensive opposition, was the game Double Dragon, released in 1987. This game focused on hand to hand fighting, in which two martial arts masters must defeat the Black Warriors gang in order to rescue a captive women. Gradually through the years, games became more violent, and through the years people became more accepting of these games, so much so that approximately seventy percent of games released have some sort of violence in them. Violent video games have received mass criticism throughout the years, but opposite of what many believe; these games are doing more good in our society then bad. In today’s society, one of the most concerning problems of the public, is the lack of jobs. One of the major positive impacts these games have is the number of jobs they create; along with the revenue it generates into the economy. The video game franchise has dozens of competing companies such as: Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft. These three major companies create hundreds of jobs around the world collecting billions of dollars a year. Along with these three companies, there are dozens of smaller companies, such as: Activision, Atari, Capcom, etc. With these companies combined, thousands of jobs are created. Political use of the media, more particular, mass media, (415, Shea) is exactly how video game industries advertise their games and consoles. Without their advertisements being broadcasted across multiple media outlets, the games wouldn’t sell. Despite today’s games being as violent as ever, they are still advertised across the nation. The most recent, and no doubt the most violent game released has broken multiple world records, Grand Theft Auto Five. Guinness World Records Editor-in-Chief, Craig Glenday, said: "GTA totally deserves to be recognized as an icon of modern British culture, and we're thrilled to be able to feature the game in the record books. Gaming is no longer a niche hobby, as GTA 5 has proved, and how exciting that it's taken on the might of Hollywood and won! I'm also doubly proud as a Dundonian to welcome this home-grown series back into the Guinness World Records...
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