It should come as a surprise to no one that video games often get the blame when certain crimes are committed - much more so than movies or TV shows ever do. A child beat up another child? Video games. A man go on a massacre in a shopping center? Of course, video games. While most logically thinking people are likely to realize that it takes a lot more than just inspiration to decide to commit a crime, the media and other groups sure don't want to believe it.
Last week, an anonymous game store employee wrote an editorial at Kotaku which stated that 10% of the games he sold (of about 1,000) went to parents accompanied by a young child. This sort of thing clearly doesn't help with the goal of having video games removed from blame whenever someone foolish who plays them commits a crime, that's for certain.
What might be worse, though, is when someone commits a crime and actually does the blaming themselves. Such is the case of a Baton Rouge man who stole a truck this past week and proceeded to ram into nine other vehicles. Oh - I'd be remiss to mention that he also kidnapped a woman as well.
When caught up by the police, Zachary Burgess told them that he "wanted to see what it was really like to play the video game Grand Theft Auto". Oy. Clearly, this is the sort of thing most media loves to hear, and it seems incredibly unfair of the man to even mention the video game. One might imagine that the reason he did mention it was to reduce the blame on him. If something else caused him to do it, maybe - just maybe - the courts would decide to give him a lighter sentence. And thus, video games get the blame once again - wrongly, in my opinion.
If you're one of those folk who can play a video game and not feel instantly compelled to reenact parts of it, I'd recommend hitting up Paul's excellent look at Rockstar's latest instant-classic.