To the surprise of the general public, many groups are rising up around the world, fighting for what they call "video game rights". One of the more prominent is the Video Game Voterís Network (VGVN; http://www.videogamevoters.org
) VGVN keeps tabs on video game regulation laws that pass and fail in the United States. They also allow for letters to be sent to each stateís congressmen, stating why video games should not be regulated by the government. One of the more interesting things on their site, however, is a list: "Video Game Legislation Based on Myth". The list details different points that have been brought up when pushing for laws which would regulate video games. Details include that many courts have deemed such bills as unconstitutional in that they infringe upon the First Amendment of the United States, amongst other reasons. One detail also brought up on this list is the myth that "There is a direct correlation between exposure to violent video games and decline in social and cultural indicators". Studies show that the rate of violent crime in the United States, most noticeably in the youth, has decreased, and at the same time, the popularity of video games have increased, a direct inverse of what legislators lobbying for regulation are saying.
On April 16, 2007, the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States took place. One young man opened fire at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, killing 33, and injuring another 15. According to MSNBC, he was described as being a "depressed and deeply disturbed young man". Anti-video-game-violence activists have already gone on the news to declare that the man who carried out the shooting did so because he was heavily influenced by video games. Iím willing to wager money that at least 25% of the people attending the University played video games much more than the killer, yet you donít see those people going around committing murders, acting recklessly and without reserve, do you? No, because video games arenít a factor in violence. Studies show that an increase in video game playing isnít even remotely connected to heinous violence. There were definitely other things going on in this manís brain. Maybe he was tormented and bullied as a young child, and wanted revenge. Maybe he was just flat out mentally unstable, and didnít realize what he was doing. I donít know, but I do know that video games werenít a deciding factor.
I myself am a heavy video game playing individual. I tend to play some of the more violent and gory games, such as Doom 3, Half-Life 2, Prey, and Unreal Tournament 2004. I play these games because they are entertaining. Iíve gone through 3-to-4 hour sessions of some of these games, and never once afterward have I ever felt like committing any act of violence. In fact, I tend to feel relax. Video games are a good way to vent and let things loose. If I have a rough day at work, Iíll come home and blast some aliens to goo, blow up a few robots, and feel better. In fact, one can even argue that video games deter crime and violence, in that they allow a safe outlet for some of the more base emotions of the human being.
In summation, regulation of video games is a very controversial issue of today, and has both sides fighting strongly. The coming years will tell how the battle will go, and possibly end, and who will stand victorious.