Discussion: Would You Drop Gaming If Violence Was Banned?

We haven’t tried a discussion before, but hopefully we’ll get a good response and make this a semi-regular feature… anyway, we’ve got a bit of a tricky one to start with which tackles the issue of violence in video games.

Many media outlets (I’m looking at you, Daily Mail) get in a bit of a huff when it comes to violent games. I’m not really talking about the likes of Street Fighter, or the scuffles you sometimes find in the NHL games, but the more blatant violence. Mortal Kombat, Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, all that lot. You can guarantee that GTA5 will spark a media frenzy about how the developers insist on this meaningless and pointless violence, how we shouldn’t be encouraging kids to play with guns or steal cars.

Look at No Russian, the infamous mission from Modern Warfare 2. That single level got the whole game banned in some countries. Manhunt on the PS2 was banned in more places than it was allowed (probably, I haven’t checked that so don’t shout at me) and Mortal Kombat has had more opposition than a Labour politician.

So let’s consider something for a moment. Media madness takes over, the world’s governments crumble under the pressure of an uptight journalist and violence is banned in video games. Ignore the fact that kids see clips from war zones every day on the news, that’s different. Apparently. No, from this fictional (hopefully) point onwards, there’s to be no games that depict war, no fist fighting or weapon based gameplay, no stealing cars or running over policemen. Think about how many games that would take off the market.

Now think about your own games collection and what you love to play the most. I’ve just finished reviewing Sleeping Dogs, that one’s out, as is Darksiders. But there are plenty of other games left, plenty of untouched genres, and probably clever ways of adjusting FPS games to suit. Activision would take on the Bugsy Malone license, and spud guns will suddenly become popular.

But here’s the big question… would this kill gaming for you? Would banning violence ruin your fun and make you stop gaming completely? And if so, is that a sad indictment on the state of games in the current console generation?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments, it’d be great to get a good debate going!


  1. Not sure. It would piss me off if this happened, more so if it was because of media intevention. It depends if cartoon violence would still be allowed – if it wipes out stuff like Ratchet and Clank then it would be crazy. But generally, no I don’t think it would kill gaming, COD isn’t the be all and end all, but it would take out a lot of variety.

  2. This wouldn’t kill gaming for me. Unlike some of my friends I like a wide range of gaming and if it came down to it I would rather play games like ico etc than a GTA game.

  3. I might not buy a game if it didn’t have some form of violence in it. How far do you take the removal of violence in anything? I like some racing games and while it was cars getting all mashed up in Burnout Sunrise instead of humans that was a violent car game and a a lot fun! Why should I be inconvienced if I want to buy a violent game? I think with the various warning labels that accompany games these days parents can make an informed choice about whether a game is to violent or mature for the little ones. If a parent is to lazy to be a parent by checking labels or finding out what there kids are playing then that is a loss to the parent and child. As for the rest if you think it is too violent don’t buy it. No one is forcing you.

  4. Most games I play have some level of violence. I think that says more about me than games as a whole. Maybe I need counselling.

  5. Absolutely nothing is inappropriate in video games provided two rules are met:

    1: Truly inappropriate things must be discouraged as they would be in real life – they should be a choice, and nothing more (choice based games are the future).

    2: The Government ensures that only people who can handle inappropriate video games can play them. That and the media should be censored so it stops writing flimsy, sensationalist articles which bear very little truth.

    I’d rather irrational people were banned to be honest. People who barely understand the concept of logic and objectivity. The rabble need to be educated.

  6. There is no denying a big percentage of my games collection would suddenly disappear, including many of my favourites, but I enjoy such a wide variety of games there would still be plenty for me to play. A bigger question for me would be the effect on gaming as mass media. I may be perfectly happy playing Rayman Origins, Forza and Puzzle Quest, but what about the hordes of people who only play Call of Duty and its annual updates, the people who (like it or not) helped make the games industry the success it is today?

  7. I think it is funny that the question is ‘would you quit gaming if they take violence out’ and not do you call yourself a gamer anymore due to what’s become of the industry? ‘Have you already quit gaming BECAUSE gaming has become a multi-billion dollar industry by over glorifying ultra-violent games’ (which are mostly mediocre) while some of the best genres have all but disappeared because they can’t get any funding or an audience. And what’s left is even more mediocre than ever (Sim City 2013).

    But perhaps that could be your second piece.

    • I know what you’re saying, but it’s not just games. Look at just about any form of mass media and you’ll notice how soon kids (read boys) are introduced to violence as a form of entertainment. I have young kids and I’ve noticed that up to the age of about 5 everything is cute and safe (Bob the Builder, Octonauts, Postman Pat, etc). After than it suddenly changes to things like Ben 10, Avengers and Transformers, all of which frequently feature weapon usage, physical beatings, trauma and conflict. I don’t let me 6 year-old watch them, because compared to the equivalent shows from my childhood (Centaurions, Jace and Wheeled Warriors, Battle of the Planets, etc) the violence is blatant.

  8. I was thinking back to the late ’70s when I first held a gaming system controller (an binatone device) and became hooked. The game was a ‘sports’ compendium containing pong, table football, squash and a light gun shooting game. It wasn’t the shooting game that got me hooked. Then, Space Invaders followed (violence), Pac Man (violence towards ghosts?) and I was a confirmed gamer. Back then, your game collection consisted mainly of platformers, shmups, sports and adventure games. An old relative used to play strategy games but they were usually about the War, which didn’t interest me.

    I gave up gaming for a while in the 90s but one game did draw me back in – Doom. It totally blew me away. I became a Nintendophile in the early 00s and yes, they had their fare share of violence but it was a much more cartoony violence.

    Looking at my gaming over the past week, all that I’ve played have been violent. It’s a shame, but looking at my collection, there’s quite a variety, so it wouldn’t be a problem if violent games were banned ( the civil liberties issue therein would be much more concerning).

  9. No.. However, I saw some footage of a new game recently, a third person ‘action’ game (forget the name) where the object seemed to be to despatch opponents using the most gruesome means available.. Slamming them down on beds of spikes (why would you just have those knocking about in urban enviroments?) ovens, windows, slamming their heads repeatedly in car doors.. You get the idea.. I play games to role play, to pretend i’m a hot shot sniper or covert operative, an olde style sword swinger from the world of magic and fantasy, that sort of thing, in worlds where violence plays a part, but isn’t the lead role.. I’m not sure i’d be happy for my children to be in the company of someone who buys a game so that they can act out slamming someones head in a car door repeatedly.. Who on earth aspires to that? The criminally insane, that’s who.

  10. I have played games ever since I was a kid about the age of 5 etc. There has always been violent games out there and the only difference between now and then is that the graphics are so life like these days. Playing Double Dragon and Shadow of the Beast etc back in the day, it was cartoon like yet today it is so real its unbelievable.

    Would I quit gaming if they banned it? No. Plenty of other genres of gaming interest me, like racing, sports etc and games like Portal are fine examples that you don’t need graphic violence in games to make them good.

    The big issue is how does this affect children. Personally I was brought up in a fairly (I would say anyway) strict house where by the parents were respected and you never answer back, if you did you got a smack. I knew right from wrong and if I did something wrong, I knew about it. This is whats lacking in todays society. Parents can’t discipline kids like we were. Some people take it too far, yes, but kids these days know you can’t touch them, and for all there is to grounding kids, they’ll just be on the internet or gaming in their rooms whilst grounded so hardly a punishment. A short sharp smack on the arse or backs of the legs should suffice.

    Thats the problem, not games. Parents need to be able to discipline kids so that they know the difference between right and wrong.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.