As reported by Gamespot.com, the online prequel to each month’s edition of Computer Gaming World, scientists conclude that violent movies and games make children more violent. Considering the long history of scientific conclusions, take this with a grain of salt. It is only a matter of time before another study comes to an altogether different conclusion. I have a set of encyclopedias that once belonged to my grandfather. It states that the Earth’s moon is covered by seventeen miles of space dust, making any hopes for a lunar landing impossible. It goes on to speculate that the core of the moon is a block of ice created by atmospheric radiation from our own planet. It also dates the Earth as being twenty thousand years old. The job of a scientists is to come up with “new conclusions”, which means every fifty years or so, we get to look back and laugh at them. Sometimes they are right, and they just may well be on this one.
Nothing in my whole life, be it frustrations at work, relationships gone sour, or cars that up and die in the middle of a monsoon at four in the morning, has been more frustrating than playing Ultima Online. Even when I’m peacefully mining for ore, there is still a sub-surface layer of frustration boiling like the throat of a dormant volcano. I’m sure if one were to attach various components and gadgets to monitor these levels, the facts would support me. I’ve never been instigated or angered by a movie, but then I don’t like movies as much as others. Yet there is no denying that Ultima Online does find new and imaginative ways to frustrate and anger me. Each day is a new discovery in angst and palpitation. But is this the fault of Origin? Certainly the violence content in UO is minimal. Yes there is murder in UO, but not the dismembering, disemboweling murder that one can waggle an accusatory finger at and say, “UO bad!” There are at most, a few peals of ringing swords on armor, and the hauntingly familiar ‘brzt-zap’ of lightening before it is all said and done. But does this qualify as a violent game? Considering the mountain of FPS shooters currently available, each sporting new and improved levels of graphical dismemberment, I would have to say no.
So why would such a seemingly non-violent game make me so frustrated and angry, that it makes my midnight flat tires seem like a day at the beach? The answer is a big pudgy finger pointing right back at myself. The reason UO gets me so worked up into a froth is because I have invested a great deal of myself into my account(s). I have crossed the line willingly from “it’s just a game” to “these are my children” (okay, not quite “children”, but let’s just say I care a lot about my accounts). If I were to sit down at a Quake3 Arena box and play some deathmatch, and get my ass handed to me virtually literally (don’t ask, just keep reading), I would shrug and hit the space bar to try again (It was spacebar in Castle Wolfenstien. Is that still how you do it today?)
Unfortunately I am not your Senator. Unfortunately I am not your Governor. Unfortunately, your Senators and your Governors are going to grab this story by the scalp and shake it in your face like a medicine man’s hoodoo stick. They are going to frighten you and make you cower in a corner like undead from a level 50 cleric. They will use this to pass legislation and regulation and both of those are just fancy words for taxation.
Scientists make conclusions. Legislators make legislations. This is what they do. What do we do? We spend money on the games we want to play, to hell with scientists. What can we do? We can vote for people who don’t try to use hysteria to gather power.
I’d love to keep going but my GODDAM NIGHTMARE JUST WENT WILD AGAIN!!!