On violent video games

Here’s a question that’s asked often: how violent are video games?  Well, of course, that depends on the video game.  Tetris, for example, is hardly violent at all, unless you play it at full volume at 3am with a bunch of drunken friends.  But more importantly than the game itself is actually you.  Yes, that’s right, the video games are only as violent as you, the player, make them.  Here is a recent example that I picked up via kottke blog:

This feat may sound impossible, but for Game Informer reader and hardcore Modern Warfare 2 player Glen McCracken, it’s only a matter of time. In two hours of playing, Glen has reached rank 5 without taking a life. Using pacifist means to earn points, Glen estimates it will take him roughly two months to be the first player to reach rank 70 with zero kills.

And it reminded me of another story I read some time ago.  That one was about a four year old kid playing Grand Theft Auto:

In all his time with Grand Theft Auto he never once encountered any of the controversy surrounding this notorious title. He didn’t beat any hookers with a baseball bat.  He didn’t deal drugs. He didn’t go on a murderous rampage. He certainly never once had a cup of hot coffee. He didn’t avoid these things because I told him he counldn’t try them. It just never occurred to him to commit these acts.