Late last year, game developer Destructive Creations released a trailer for its upcoming game Hatred. The trailer shows a sociopathic protagonist who describes his distaste for the world and how he wants to take down as many people as possible before he ultimately dies. A montage then begins of him hunting down and killing both innocent bystanders and police. Just recently, the ESRB gave the game an AO (adults-only) rating. There have only been a total of 25 games released with such a rating since the creation of the ESRB’s creation. This brings up an interesting topic. Should video games be refused a release or censored just because of negative attention?
For me, the answer is no. I am no fan of the game Hatred. I find the concept appalling and have no interest in purchasing or even playing it. Why then, do I find a need to defend this game’s existence? This is because like every other form of media out there, whether we like it or not, it’s a form of art. We live in a society that promotes freedom of expression. We may not like Hatred, or games of similar nature but having the only reason to censor its existence being that we don’t like it will not do. By banning Hatred, we would be allowing the censorship of expression, which conflict with one of the main principles of our society.
Hatred is not the only game to be scrutinized for its contents. Recently a petition was filed to remove the game Grand Theft Auto 5 from game stores in Australia. The petition was created by a woman named Nicole who claimed she was a survivor of sexual assault against prostitution and claimed the game Grand Theft Auto 5 promoted violence against those of the sex industry. The end result of this petition caused retailer Target and Kmart to remove Grand Theft Auto 5 from its stores in Australia.
Violence in video games will always be questioned and criticized. Some will always find enjoyment with certain products while others will find nothing but contempt for it. Freedom of expression will always cause this to happen. However, banning something just because you dislike it is not the answer. If you don’t like a particular game or movie or anything else in media, just don’t pay attention to it. If you believe a video game or any other type of media is harmful then don’t allow yourself to purchase or partake in the product. Since it is available to be purchased, it also has the possibility to be rejected and ignored by consumers. This is the power the consumer has. By allowing censorship to exist, you diminish any creative freedom in society and exchange it for a controlled, politically correct suppression. This diminishes and contradicts everything this society stands for and being allowed to censor something just because you dislike it sets a bad trend for the future of all types of media.