E3 Is Not Your Soap Box: Why Blaming Violent Video Games At E3 Is A Cowardly Move
E3 is the time we see what’s new in the video game industry. Social media is ablaze with discussion, speculation and surprise. This year’s E3 came in the shadows of yet another mass shooting in America. It was a fact that was impossible to look past. Shirts were decorated with ribbons, conferences with nods of sympathy.
Unfortunately, a number of developers and members of the game media decided E3 was their soapbox. This was the year that guns in video games had suddenly became ‘a problem’. We should have seen it coming. There’s been nibbles at the topic for years, mostly people packing a kickstarter, patreon or product to sell. E3 2016 was the year that saw the likes of Jonathan Blow, Justin McElroy and ‘T.C. Sottek‘ bemoan guns in video games.
I sat there on twitter, watching the increasing amount of people highlighting the issue. I witnessed people working in PR (who front games like Call of Duty) making their voice heard in support of the notion…all while they took a pay cheque. It seemed people were happy to earn a living promoting something they clearly disagreed with.
The video game media has been whipping itself on the back of late. If it’s not lying to their users or giving misinformation, it’s declaring gamers ‘dead’ while lambasting certain genders and races. Should we be so shocked that this is the next step? The sad fact is, instead of using their platforms and voice to expose non-violent games, they chose to bemoan and preach.
Violence in entertainment sells. This is a simple fact. As a species, we have used violence as a form of entertainment for the longest time. From the Roman gladiators to the modern realm of boxing and mixed martial arts. Video games, books, film, Tv and music are no different. The controlled violence.
To see such people complain about violence in video games is both ignorant and frankly silly. There’s so many diverse options to explore outside of violent video games. Use them options, play those games. Don’t try to frame something you disagree with as ‘bad’ or corrupting. I find it depressing that there is so many video game industry figures and journalist so bitter towards their field of work.
Jonathan Blow was once known for his brilliance (Braid). After a rather forgettable follow up in The Witness, he can be found moaning about current trends in triple A games. Polygon writers are no different. Question cries of sexism, racism and other social issues have left their name dented. Following their inability to take on criticism or play video games (Hey Doom!) they’ve became something of a punch line.
It’s that they can’t express an opinion, it’s just the way they go about it. Rarely offering alternatives, they prefer to preach and preach and preach. Focusing on the complaint of guns in video games at this year’s E3, of all years, feels too convenient. Every year E3 is filled with shooters. Using the recent events in Orlando to suddenly decide this was the year to suddenly talk about the topic is quite distasteful, maybe even sick.
Video games aren’t the issue here. The art form that requires talented people to dedicate their lives to, is not the problem. Your countries gun laws are the topic to be discussed. It’s a shame, a disgusting one at that, when people still blame media for the atrocities of individuals. E3 is not your soap box, nor are video games the problem. Stop blaming the industry that feeds you, that made you. Stop being a coward.
Regardless of belief, race, gender or sexuality, the loss of life is tragic. 49 lives were cut short, 49 people with their own stories, their own daily routines. People just like you and me. Video games are a non-matter in comparison. We should all remember that, no matter where you stand on violence in the media.