A response to a Gamespot article about violence in Video Games

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The article can be found here: http://www.gamespot.com/news/study-89-percent-of-parents-believe-game-violence-a-problem-6402290

This post was originally too long, but I still wanted it to be published, just in case someone ever happens to stumble across my blog.

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I can definitely see a connection between violence in media and aggressive behavior, in my opinion mostly because in our culture we tend to glorify that violence, make it cool. Still, I have yet to read a study that provides conclusive, causal evidence that violent video games lead to violent acts.

On the parenting side, although I am not a parent myself, I think the responsibility lies with them ultimately in acting to the best of their abilities to regulate what they do or do not want their children to play. It is of the utmost importance that they talk with their children and ensure that the kids as well as the adults understand what the media is that's being consumed. As far as informing parents as to the level of adult content a video game contains, the ESRB does a fine job marking ratings claerly on the packages, and a child simply shouldn't be playing a game rated above their age. If a parent deems a 15-yr-old fit to play an M-rated game however that is their choice, and they alone are responsible.

The responsibility of society as a whole, i.e. law, government, communities, I believe, is first and foremost to educate and inform people of what is in our media - how that end is met is definitely up for debate. The ESRB in my mind serves the role of the institutional entity that informs the public in addition to store policies that prevent children from purchasing games that they shouldn't. Beyond that, the responsibility lies with the parents to foster responsible children.

I am a huge advocate of the 1st amendment, and art, a category under which video games, I believe rightly fall, and therefore am very much against the restriction or censorship of media at large.

Crazy people will emerge no matter what legislation is in place, and horrible things, although unfortunate, will be there no matter if we were to destroy all violent media on the planet. I think the best way to enact change is within our families and communities, working to develop a responsible social conscience that encourages against violent behavior towards our fellow humans.

If you happen to see this, share your thoughts please!

Journey - A must play for anyone and everyone.

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Seeing as how this is my very first blog post, I'm guessing not a soul will real this. But on the off chance that someone actually will swing by, I'll continue writing anyways!

Without further digression, this short post will be about one phenomenal game that I have just had the pleasure of completing: JOURNEY. I can say with confidence that this is one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences I've ever had. So much so, that it is more than worthy of being the first game ever that I take the time to write about.

Although short, Journey takes takes the player on an emotional ride, through confusion, discovery, happiness, sadness, fear, frustration, and eventually, elation. Surprisingly, it does this all without one recognizable "word" being spoken throughout the entire game by any character, and not one hint of backstory to guide the player. I put "word" in quotations because the character you play as does speak, although really it is more like singing, but interestingly enough, that little bit of communication is more than capable of getting its message across.

You begin the game alone, lost amidst the hot sands of an endless desert. There is only one noticable landmark to guide you on your way, and that is a prominent mountain in the background sprouting a bright stream of light. You're left with only one option: press forward. You may play through the entire game along, but more likely you will be joined by a friend. This is one of the most interesting parts of the game. At times, and seemlessly, another adventurer will join you. You may not even notice them at first, as was my experience, but they will soon, if you choose, become a key part of your experience.

As you press on towards the mountain peak, you begin to have more and more of the story revealed to you, although it is never made entirely clear. You are left piecing together all of the silent clues, the pictures, the mood, the music, the atmoshpere, into what you personally perceive to be the story. It is here that I find the core of the Journey experience to be: that every individual, although trudging roughly the same path as every other player, will interpret the story in a different way, and have different emotional experiences as a result of that, and their connections with other players.

Lasting only a couple of hours, Journey is a relatively short game, but what it does in that minute amount of time is deliver a more profound experience than some of the biggest titles that we see nowadays. Journey is a must buy, must rent, must play. It is a serious work of art, and my few words hardly do it justice. If you like video games, period, play this game, and experience your own journey.