Panic on the streets of London, Panic on the streets of Birmingham , I wonder to myself, Could life ever be sane again?
So everywhere has been affected but the riots. We have displaced people, shops up in smoke and livelihoods in tatters. The UK… well England has gone to hell in a hand bag, but then you knew that right….
What you may not know is the press have started to blame video games. Again a surprise I know and it always seems to be one game they single out. Grand Theft Auto or GTA for short. For those of you that are not into games I will let Wikipedia tell you:
The series is set in fictional locales heavily modelled on American cities, while an expansion for the original was based in London. Gameplay focuses on an open world where the player can choose missions to progress an overall story, as well as engaging in side activities; all consisting of action, adventure, driving, occasional role-playing, stealth, and racing elements.
The subject of the games is usually a comedic satire of American culture, but the series has gained controversy for its adult nature and violent themes. The series focuses around many different protagonists who attempt to rise through the ranks of the criminal underworld, although their motives for doing so vary in each game.
I love video games, I am not very good at them but I have a soft spot for them. Ever since I had a spectrum 48k and spent an age typing in code from a book to make a basic hangman game. They hold a something which no other entertainment industry has. If I had to describe it I guess the closest thing to really doing something is playing the game. You are the protagonist and you decide what the outcomes are.
I remember as a kid playing games that were simply designed to annoy. Many a time I would go to sleep thinking of a game or trying to work out how to overcome a particular part of the game. Even today they can frustrate to the point of anger. Luckily YouTube has solved a lot of these issues with walk trough’s and other cheats. I have never wanted to act out anything I have seen in a game. I was, much more likely to copy a movie or TV show.
What I don’t understand is why the media are intent on blaming games with society’s ills? I think one of the reasons is the perceived image of a games player. They are often seen as young males who sit at home smoking drugs and drinking to excess, while playing violent games, all the while collecting benefits. There are people like that out there I am sure, but I think it’s a minority.
Looking at “Mapping the riots with poverty” on the Guardian website does show some correlation between deprivation and the riots. This I think is more key then games and the reasons the rioting spread. To me this looks like a case that people around England saw what could happen if you riot. People in London making off with £1000’s of goods and the police were powerless and in some cases waiting as this took place.
If you are from deprived area surly the thought that you could obtain a large TV, camera or even expensive champagne just by visiting you local high street and following the mob, must have seemed like a good idea at the time. Mob mentality really kicks in and you come home with bags of stuff. For most it’s only when the police come knocking on your door that you really understand what you have done.
For some it’s the sleepless nights as they get wrapped up in mob rule:
Natasha Reed, an aspiring social worker from Edmonton, admitted stealing a JVC television worth £299.99 from a Comet store on Saturday night. Sky reporter Nick Martin, at Westminster Magistrates Court, said the 24-year-old held her head in her hands as she sat in the dock after having handed herself in on Wednesday. Defending Andre Billington said: “She was arrested. She said she couldn’t sleep thinking about what she had done.” – SkyNews.Com
Laura Johnson, 19, appeared at Bexleyheath Magistrates Court charged in connection with the theft of £5,000-worth of goods from a Comet store in Charlton, south London. Johnson, an English and Italian student at the University of Exeter, is the daughter of successful businessman Robert Johnson, a director of a several high-profile companies” – SkyNews.Com
I am pretty sure neither of these people would have played GTA, well, not to the depths of some. So please stop blaming games for anything which seems unsocial. The world is not going to implode with people taking to the streets as we descend in to anarchy and possible civil war because of GTA or Call of Duty.
Besides the biggest selling games console of all time is a family orientated little white box where tennis and bowling are its most popular games