Friday, December 09, 2005

Wargames Are Hell

On her blog, Opinions From On High, "The Princess" brings up the observation that the gaming industry is getting more realistic as each year passes.

Does this realism truly pose a threat to our society? Should we try to "draw the line" on realism in gaming?

I thought I would share with you all my answer to her article since I think this makes for a good discussion topic. It is an industry that is not going to go away any time soon, so how you and your family deal with this access to the realistic games is a very real issue.

Tonight we watched a great mini-series, called The Triangle. It is a fictional T.V. series delving into the Bermuda Triangle Mysteries. While watching, we saw a commercial for a new X-Box 360 game. It is a WWII 1st person shooter that was so real, it left me wondering what the next step is. I am all for improving technology, but I think a line has to be drawn somewhere. If it becomes too real, then I see definite dangers with upcoming generations distinguishing the difference. Quite frankly, I’m a little scared for my son’s generation. This game was so lifelike that logically the next step would be characters so real you cannot tell that they aren’t. - The Princess

I would not like to stifle the development of technology because it is getting too good. I think the realism in the gaming world is fine. What this means, however, is just like inappropriate movies, parents must control what their children are exposed to.

Working in the computer industry I am approached all the time to “rat out” what people do online. Supervisors often want to subversively nail their employees, when what they should really be doing is supervising their people correctly. After all, if you have employees talking on the phone too much, or doodling on papers all day, or reading magazines at work, what do you do then?

This same philosophy holds for parents and children. Monitor their actions, don't buy them games of death and destruction, and attempt to prevent them from playing these at a friends house. I know, it's easier said then done.

You won't be successful all of the time, but even your actions of telling your children they cannot have these games at home because of the violent nature is something to make them pause and question why they even want to play them. Believe it or not, your concern for this type of content does rub off on them. They may think the game is cool, but they may not get the same satisfaction out of playing the game if in the back of their mind their moral compass kicks in. The same moral compass that you, as a parent, helped to program during their upbringing.

I love playing these types of games, but as I play them I am fully aware that they are simulating a horrible thing, war. My upbringing successfully impressed upon me that war is not a good thing, and during war horrible death occurs and this is not something to be enjoyed.

The feeling of trying to fight in a war type situation, however, is thrilling to most boys. The adrenaline gets pumped up and a certain excitement is found playing these games. The more realistic the better. If anything, the realism adds to the education that war is indeed hell.

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