From the early arcade and Atari game console days, I have loved video games. I remember the Sunday my parents got us the Coleco Vision which came with two controllers and this amazing game called “Donkey Kong” that featured this little plumber (Mario) who had to climb up to save the princess while Donkey Kong threw barrels down to try and stop him. Who knew that from those simple games, would come a PC adventure in 1995 called DOOM. Doom was the first FPS (First-Person Shooter) game that revolutionized the industry forever.
In a nutshell, Doom was about a righteous space marine stranded on Mars that had to survive by killing alien monsters with shotguns, machine guns, chainsaws via a first-person view which gave you the feeling as if you were doing it. It was sick!
Doom was gory and violent, but it was about shooting and killing alien monsters. Then came the war and gangster shooting era from the likes of Medal of Honor, Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty and more. All these games, now way more advanced than Doom ever was, gave you a real-life sense of what it was like to be in the battlefield shooting enemies, civilians, drug dealers, bad guys, and everything in the environment that could be shot or destroyed.
Unfortunately, these games give young minds a virtual experience of killing large amounts of people with no repercussions. Turn the game off, eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, ride a bike and do it all over again tomorrow.
Sadly, life sometimes imitates art, and bad things happen. Kids get their hands on real weapons, with a mix of bullying and mental issues, they snap and their world becomes a video game only to wind up dead in reality or in a courtroom with their heads down wondering why is this happening. By then it’s too late. Too late for the people who have lost their lives, and too late for the families left with broken hearts.
I am not blaming game developers for these tragedies by all means. I just think it would be beneficial if they contributed to an ongoing ad campaign to help raise awareness for suicide prevention, mental illness, and the difference between what is fantasy and what is reality.