Objective: kill Kennedy
The controversy has been unleashed again with a computer game. A Scottish company has recreated the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy in three dimensions and challenges users to accurately stage the assassination. The Kennedy family has shouted to the heavens. Are games of this type capable of generating violent behavior?
The player is rewarded as their shots get closer to the exact point of impact of the three sniper rifle shots fired from a library, which killed the president. The game also allows you to view the scene from different angles, including some from the “JFK mythology” such as that of the alleged second gunman.
While the Scottish company defends that the game is only intended to pay tribute and make people feel passionate about the mysteries of the most puzzling assassination of the 20th century, the family of John F. Kennedy has protested the distribution of the game, described as “despicable”. by Senator Ted Kennedy, the president’s brother.
This news reminds us a lot of the antecedent Carmaggedon: a car game that caused a great impact because it got points by running over grannies. Are some games as harmful as some claim? Can they themselves generate violent behavior in children?
According to the Valencian psychologist Rafael Rodriguez, a child who consumes these products will not become an aggressive person for the mere fact of enjoying these virtual adventures. Consumer magazine, specializing in consumer information, does establish, through some studies, a correspondence between violent games and aggressive behavior.
It is necessary to distinguish between two types of violence: gratuitous and “harmless”. The first recreates in brutality, in the bloody way of eliminating an enemy. This is the case of the game “Carmaggedon”. Sci, the developer of the game, after the criticism received, decided to lower the level of brutality.
The “harmless” is the one that characterized traditional computer games that consisted of killing Martians or “eating” strange colored “balls” with eyes and mouths. The scenario of the games did not try to reproduce real situations, but reality was quite differentiated from fiction. In many video games, red blood, with a more explicit meaning, has been replaced by other colors or textures. Exerting violence against an inanimate being, such as a droid in the game Star Wars Episode I, is not the same as the Carmaggedon example.
The European Union has established a regulation for these products of the entertainment industry. The regulation establishes that those over 3 years of age will be able to access video games that do not include scenes of *** or violence. The rest of the categories are for people over 7, 12, 16 and 18 years old, depending on the type of images they contain. Also, the sale of products that exceed the established limits of violence is prohibited. The infringement of these regulations, for example its marketing through alternative channels, may be sanctioned with high financial fines and possible prison sentences.
Some companies that develop these products such as Sega, Sony, Nintendo, Electronics Arts, following the example of other guilds such as advertising, have taken self-regulatory measures trying to establish a code of ethics. But is it enough? The video game industry currently moves capital comparable to the film industry. Their creatives are under pressure to excel and there are many cases in which they succeed.
I would not like to finish this article without underlining for once the positive aspects that playing video games has for a child: it encourages decision-making, allows skills and strategies to be learned, has an impact on self-esteem because it facilitates the child’s integration with his friends (games in network) and develops the imagination. The dangers of isolationism are real if a child abuses her time. But we will agree that playing the Sims 2, which I recommend, is not the same as playing Carmaggedon. One of my favorite online games is Call of Duty, which is based on the most famous battles of the second world war, I enjoy it a lot but I understand that many parents consider it an inappropriate game for their children. Although there is a lot of difference between exercising some violence and mythologizing it. Perhaps we should take care that our children watch the news under strict supervision, right?
– The eternal debate on violence in video games.
– Children and youth in the new media paradigm (PDF)
– The creators of Carmaggedon. Carmageddon 2 Carpocalypse and Carmaggeddon TDR 2000.
– Controversy breaks out over Kennedy’s game.