“Video games need to grow up.” I cannot count the number of times I have heard that phrase being repeated countless times the last couple of years. As a massive entertainment medium that can easily rival the movie industry video games as an entertainment form does not need to prove anything to anyone. Except the people who actually play and consume video games, gamers themselves. How self-centered must you be to think that it is reasonable to ask video game developers to censor themselves and gamers to stop playing the games that they like? Just because it somehow does not conform to your worldview and political agendas. Call me crazy but I think that most gamers do not care whether or not video games need to grow up because they are actually too busy enjoying them to give a fuck about it.
Video games are exactly like every other artistic medium in existence, take the movie industry for example. You have your summer blockbuster movies light on plot but heavy on action, then you have your art house movies with limited runs in the theater. And then you have your slapstick/toilet humor movies. All these different movies cater to different people, the exact same thing applies to video games. Sometimes when I am hungry I prefer a cheap and nasty Mcdonalds burger over a steak and glass of red wine. The lack of cerebral storytelling in a video game should not be decried as being immature, or a need to “grow up”. Sometimes I am in the mood for playing a game where I can shoot at random shit and watch things explode on screen, kill dragons or just shoot nazis in the face. And sometimes I crave the exact opposite of the above and the industry caters for both.
Gamers like myself play games for escapism. I believe I am a well-balanced adult, who is reasonably well adjusted. I am neither racist, sexist or violent. When it comes to playing video games I want to explore aspects of my personality the law and common sense would not allow me to do in real life. Like playing a Hitman, a murderous thug on a killing spree or a scurvy pirate riding the high seas. There will always be games like DOOM and Grand Theft Auto, and I would not want it any other way, as more diversity in the type of video games we play means we have a bigger selection of choice when it comes to playing the games we enjoy. It would be sad day if artists, video game developers, writers, musicians, performers, and the people that have the ability to create had to limit what they create because some people want to profit from imaginary problems and hyperbole they created.
Life is already so short and meaningless. It would be even more meaningless if the brief moments of free time we have as gamers had to be censored and controlled by those who really do not have the same vested interest in our hobby like we do. I as a gamer and the industry don’t need to grow up because I am already an adult. I have a wife, child, job and real life responsibilities that comes with being an adult. The funny thing I noticed though is as soon as a video game tries to tackle serious subject matter they get called out, and told that it is not an appropriate medium to tackle these types of issues. These people don’t want the industry to grow, they want it to conform to their ideas of what video games should be allowed to do and what stories they should be able to tell. To these people, my reply would be: Video games can be art, but they can also just be just that, video games.