Every year for Christmas, my Grandparents get me a subscription to Canadian Business. Overall, I like the magazine. Not every article can be a winner, (just like here, suckers!) but the crap to non-crap ratio is solidly positive. On the cover of this month’s edition I spied a little bubble off to the side, all alone. The contents of the bubble? It asked whether video games were the new tobacco.
Naturally, I was immediately interested in the article. It talks about a recent supreme court ruling that made it legal for American retailers to sell violent video games to whoever wanted to buy them. The court ruled that it was a form of free speech- that consumers should be free to purchase anything they want regardless of age. That’s the same out clause that allows hardcore pornographers and tobacco companies to operate, hence the comparison.
Video games are like cigarettes in other ways too. They both have warning labels on them, with some video games being worse than others. They’re also both commonly enjoyed by young people. So that pretty much seals it. Video games and tobacco are exactly the same.
Video games are also directly related to cancer. It’s not lung cancer though. It’s some other cancer. Let’s go with ass cancer, since gamers spend a disproportionate amount of time sitting on it. Video games are also technically illegal for young people, yet their parents obviously don’t care. After all, that’s why so many parents get their kids video game systems for their birthdays.
The ironclad similarities don’t end there. Video games are also linked to various breathing problems, mostly because the people who play them are so fat. Video games cost people thousands of dollars per year, just like tobacco does. Video games are known to be addictive, maybe even more so than smoking. Do you know anybody who has ever successfully quit video games? I didn’t think so.
But wait, there’s more! Tobacco companies have other products designed to get you hooked like chewing tobacco or those lame stinky cigar things. Video game companies offer portable systems to keep you hooked on the go. Both are linked to thousands upon thousands of deaths per year, video games maybe even more than smokes. In fact, if you stop playing video games for a smoke break, you’re actually getting healthier when you do it.
Is there anybody who hasn’t figured out I’m being sarcastic? I hope not.
For some reason, video games get crapped on all the time, usually by people who have never bothered to ever play one, since they’re obviously best qualified to give an opinion on the matter. I’m not really sure why, since all the arguments are easily diffused by anybody with a brain.
Video games are violent? Yeah, they are. So are movies and television shows, and nobody seems to have a problem with them. Little Timmy can watch any number of tv shows that show people getting shot, but it’s different somehow because he controls the character in Grand Theft Auto? Little Timmy isn’t that stupid, why are you?
The same arguments apply when people accuse video games of objectifying women or promoting sex and drug use. Apparently those people have never seen a Lady Gaga video. I can’t say I blame them.
Or maybe you’re mad because video games keep kids cooped up inside. Well, there are two arguments to that. If video games don’t keep kids inside, then tv, the internet, cell phones, Facebook and ipods will. Why would kids go outside when inside is so awesome? Or maybe kids don’t go outside anymore because parents are paranoid every weird guy wants to lure their kid to the big pedophile van.
Go play in the yard! But stay where I can see you!
But Mom, I’m 21!
Video games are mindless entertainment say others. Well, just like tv, don’t fault the medium. Even noted violent games like the aforementioned Grand Theft Auto franchise require many hours of progressively more difficult play to complete. Players have to make their way through challenges that test their abilities and require them to use logic, reasoning and other higher brain functions to figure out a solution. Is that really worse than an episode of Big Brother?
Yes, some kids get addicted to video games. I’m sure you can tell me about a tragic story about some kid who murdered their parents because they took away his Playstation. Ultimately though, the number of lives ended prematurely because of video games pales in comparison to things people should actually care about, like drug abuse or underage drinking. All sorts of people accidentally drown, yet nobody wants to ban swimming pools or deep puddles.
So anyway, go ahead and keep playing video games. They’re just another form of entertainment, one that can get expensive if you let it. And if anyone ever whines about how they’re crap, just finish them with the moves you learned from Mortal Kombat.