The Daily Show Takes on Mortal Kombat
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
So, Jon Stewart over at “The Daily Show” decided to cover the Supreme Court’s recent pro-gamer ruling. Although at first, his tone seems friendly enough to our cause, I began to get the sense that he was quietly mocking us. And then, towards the end, he picked the worst fatality he could find in “Mortal Kombat” and showed it to everyone. And it was pretty bad. Even Ed Boon tweeted an “ouch” reaction. We, uh…we look like a bunch of sickos right now to everyone who watches “The Daily Show.” I mean, check it out for yourself. Then hit the jump, where I shall make a few points in our defense.
Okay yes, that particular “Mortal Kombat” fatality is gruesome, and yes, it’s made even worse because it’s being done to a woman (which is a little bogus, Sonya’s a combatant like everyone else). But if we’re being fair here–and I’m not saying “The Daily Show” has any reputation for that–I could easily choose a couple of clips from particularly graphic movies that would make that fatality blush. Anybody remember “I Spit On Your Grave?” How about “Ichi the Killer,” or “Audition?” I could go all day. Now a lot of people are going to look at that one clip and use it to swear off video games as base and vile, but it’s a total double-standard. Movies are even worse, and you still love “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” so there’s no reason to disregard “Portal 2″ or “Donkey Kong Country Returns” just because Ed Boon is and always has been a troubled man.
Jon hops around the most important part of this whole mess: double standards. He draws attention to the discrepancy between regulations against sexual content and violent content, but he seems to ignore that the California bill was going to treat video games in a different way than every other art form in existence. No sane person wants a 10 year old playing “Mortal Kombat,” but that doesn’t mean it’s fair to make it illegal when you don’t practice similar restraints anywhere else. If you want to make it a crime for a tween to sneak into “Bad Teacher,” then maybe we can talk. Or wait, no we can’t, because that would be stupid, just like it’s stupid to have even considered this bill. We all need to pay attention to what children are being exposed to, but if there’s no scientific evidence that games are any different than any other art form, then why should they be treated by the law like some kind of brain-destroying virus?
And let me just nip Stewart’s little “I don’t know if violent video games affect children” aside right in the bud: they don’t. They just don’t. The only scientific evidence that they do details effects which are identical in reading books, watching movies, or listening to music, and those effects are incredibly minimal. This is not an open question, people. Researchers have been trying to prove that “Doom” fans are going to shoot up their schools for decades, and even they have to admit they just can’t do it. Leaving it noncommittal like Stewart did is like keeping an open mind about whether gravity pulls you towards the sky or the ground. If you want to see if violent video games produce violent people, look at the millions of gamers in the world who play them. Are they violent? Do they rob banks? Shoot people? Steal cars? Are they even more likely to commit misdemeanors? The answer is “no.” You don’t need a study to tell you what is plainly observable. Gravity pulls you down, and gamers are not an army of killing machines, so I guess games don’t turn your children into monsters. Case closed.
i’m giving you gold here