News Article

Talking Point: Gun Violence and Nintendo is an Unlikely Pairing

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Not, perhaps, for a want of trying

Yesterday we directed your attention to an extensive investigative article on Eurogamer, exploring the links between the gun industry and video games. Most importantly, the focus wasn't just on subjective debates about the relationship between guns in games and those on the market, but also explored real, undeniable links between the industries. No matter how anyone would like to slice it, money flows between game publishers and gun manufacturers, which means that the debate about violent games has an undeniable relevance.

We'd argue that shying away from this issue is a mistake, though provocative and un-constructive comments (see Ralph Nader) achieve little, apart from demeaning the issue and undermining any hopes of progress. It is clear — though critics will argue that it may be in a minority of cases — that some children/under-age gamers do play games in franchises such as Call of Duty and Battlefield and enjoy them to the point that they would like to own or experience the portrayed guns in reality. The Eurogamer article quotes Aidin Smith, a 13 year-old who was suspended from school for 30 days for taking a BB gun to school; here's what he said when talking about his enthusiasm for powerful guns.

I have six pellet and BB guns. These include two BB guns, modelled on the M14 rifle and M1911 pistol, and two pellet guns, modelled on the AK-47 and M16. I also own an M14 BB rifle M1911 BB pistol. And I got an AK-47 rifle, M16 rifle.

My favorite is the M1911. I shot a real M1911 when I lived in the country. I shot with my Grandpa. I love the action on it, it is like a real M1911, it recoils and springs back like a real gun. All of them are ones that are in Call of Duty. I like guns more because of Call of Duty. The M1911 is a pistol in almost in every Call of Duty.

It was a Monday and I was coming [to school] from my grandpa's. We had gone to the target range. I accidentally left a gun in my book bag. I forgot about it and took it to school. I don't know how they found it.

...The M16 has been in several Call of Duties. I got more interested in these guns from playing Call of Duty, it's fun to play them in a game... It's a lot easier to shoot in a game than in real life. My favourite gun is the MSR. It's a modified sniper rifle made by Remington firearms and it shoots a 338 Lapua round. It's a really nice, accurate, sniper rifle. It rarely misses a shot.

I think once I get old enough, I'd like to own the real things.

While the U.S. and other countries have guns as a part of culture, it's not only striking that a 13 year old is so enthused by them and actively cites Call of Duty as an influence, but also his daunting familiarity and knowledge of gun-types and brands. We're not suggesting that games with guns are wrong, as such, but that the lax attitude in video games that leads to impressionable youths playing these games, and becoming so familiar with real weapons, is a problem. We've shared thoughts on the role of parents and retailers in maintaining age ratings on games, and many will probably admit to either being under-age and playing 18-rated games, or knowing someone that is.

What this teenager's comments and the Eurogamer article show is that modern games are tying directly, through licensing deals or through familiar names, to the gun industry. The example we highlighted yesterday from the feature, GoldenEye 007 on the Nintendo 64, used fictional names that seemed suitable for a Bond universe. Yet we shouldn't forget that the game originally planned to feature real brands — video games are, lest we forget, big business, not paragons of virtue.

That brings us to Nintendo. If we choose to be idealists we can say that this debate doesn't affect Nintendo a great deal. Franchises such as those from EA (Battlefield) and Activision (Call of Duty) either have a limited record of releases on the company's systems, or the audience for these games is significantly smaller than on rival consoles. Nintendo's image is of family-friendly games, with an ethos of delivering wholesome titles featuring mascots such as a cheery plumber and, on occasions, its systems may host M-rated games that are often so fantastical and over-the-top that arguments on influencing the real world are on shaky ground — examples such as Madworld, House of the Dead: Overkill and, more recently, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge.

What's important to recognise, however, is that Nintendo hasn't been shy about pursuing the market of intensely violent FPS games; it is, after all, only earning a small part of a hugely lucrative business. A recent example was Nintendo of America's Wii U preview event, hosted by Reggie Fils-Aime in New York to announce the launch date and price of the system, made a big play of confirmation that Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 was a launch release. Nintendo as a whole, in its early messaging, made much of the so-called core credentials of Wii U, highlighting Activision's title alongside other launch games such as Assassin's Creed III. That effort to draw gamers more often associated with Xbox 360 or PS3 doesn't appear to have worked so far, and Nintendo's messaging in the early part of 2013 has reverted to targeting enthusiasts and those that were so charmed by Wii.

While most reasonable debate won't talk about banning violent games with guns, for example, action is clearly needed to address the application of age ratings, as well as ensuring that parents understand that an M-rated video game is at least equivalent, in influence, to other M-rated media. Arguments may also rage about whether licensed recreations of real guns, and the flow of related cash between the industries, is appropriate in light of the increasing realism — video game violence isn't, arguably, genuinely realistic, even if some believe it is when playing — of these games. Does that make such commercial arrangements inappropriate or dangerous?

If this topic does, in the coming months or years, evolve into changes to laws and/or attitudes, Nintendo will arguably miss most of the impact. In that respect its failure in recent times to earn a significant portion of the FPS hardcore market — for it most certainly has tried — will turn into an inadvertent and useful circumstance.

From the web

User Comments (94)



Auracle said:

This is what I like about Nintendo. They can provide genuinely fun gaming experiences without resorting to excessive violence and the like. Some may enjoy these types of games, but I just don't honestly.



FullbringIchigo said:

i don't think that they should ban games like Call of Duty i think that the games just need tighter control, the stores shouldn't be selling the games to under-age people and their parents should not be buying them for their children either they should take a bit more responsibly for the games their children play i have COD games for example but i never let my children play them or watch me play them



cornishlee said:

As someone on the other side of the Atlantic I find the hysteria around video game violence in the USA bizarre at the moment, even if there have been campaigns against violent games and films here in the past (usually led by the Daily Mail, Sun or Mary Whitehouse). Even at the time though, many of these campaigns were both baffling (witness the renaming of TMNT in the UK as "Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles") and less widely supported than what appears to be going on over there right now.

As an outsider, it seems only reasonable to suggest that the place to look for problems more or less peculiar to the USA should begin and end in the USA. Since the games scrutinised are available in many countries that don't suffer these problems then wouldn't it be fair to suggest that they're (at least) not (the primary) cause?

But then, what do I know? I'm just a foreigner who enjoys video games (even if they're not the ones with guns).



FullbringIchigo said:

@cornishlee hey i'm from the UK and i agree with you 100% i think the main problem is their gun culture (please no one take offence to this) i mean we play the same games, watch the same films and it doesn't happen here and i think it's because we have tighter gun controls than america does



andreoni79 said:

Videogames are part of the problem, which imo is all related to culture. Realistic Fps are played worlwide, but each country has its "gun culture". I don't know anyone who has a gun at home... we just consider that very stupid... (writing from Italy)



andreoni79 said:

This is the problem: in Italy (and UK too, according to Majin-Naruto) a gun will never be considered "just like any other tool". You can improperly use a knife or an hammer to kill someone, not a gun, 'cause killing is it's only purpose.



Pichuka97 said:

One thing I would change is if they will let me play a "M" game and view and post on its Miiverse community, then I don't understand why they won't let me view the same game on the eShop. Thats why parental controls are on the system. Come on Nintendo, get it together. I wanna play some AC3 DLC...



C-Olimar said:

What they need to do is enforce tighter controls on the sale of violent games to under-18s. Parents who buy the games for their children should be fined or something.

Of course, Activision would be against it, because children are 95% of CoD's market.



Suportedcofe said:

Many Americans might disagree with me but to me it's pretty damn obvious that the guns are the real problem in the USA not violent video games.



Assassinated said:

@Five-seveN: However, you can't deny that guns are designed for the primary purpose of killing and/or maiming living beings, whether animals as with hunting, or human beings, such as with weapons of war. There are few (if any) designed with the purpose of shooting targets, and most of those are considered barely more than toys by gun enthusiasts (ie. BB guns and the like). Perhaps if gun control were such that ordinary citizens would be barred from owning them, knifings would go up, but knives are far less efficient and far less deadly killing tools than guns are. Most gun control proponents are against outright bans of guns anyway, and are focused on specific types of weapons, ammo, and background checks.



theblackdragon said:

Hey guys, if the more extreme conspiracy theory rumblings can be kept to a minimum, we'd appreciate it. Thanks in advance! :3



drunkenmaster76 said:

Guns aint even legal in the UK but manchester used to be nicknamed gunchester and ive tried getting my 11yo son to play cod just so he fits in with all the other kids but he's not interested and would rather play pikmin.



Mk_II said:

i dont like FPS games at all; mostly because they are boring and humourless. I play games to have fun and that's why i love Nintendo



ThomasBW84 said:

@Five-seveN That's fair enough, and familiarity with fire arms is something that parents can introduce as they see fit, within laws. Many teens play games for those 18 and above and develop a great knowledge about weapons in that context. Considering the fact they shouldn't be playing the game is an issue, and the way they perceive those guns may also be grounded in an irresponsible way through a gaming experience.



C-Olimar said:

@drunkenmaster76 I'm in the UK and I got a shotgun license when I was 14. It isn't really that hard. In the UK you can get a shotgun licence under the age of 17, with your parents permission of course. Over 17 you can get a firearms license. The thing is, many people in the UK aren't interested in getting guns.



C-Olimar said:

@Five-seveN I'm not going to argue for against civillians owning guns, but I really think British police should carry guns. Most of them don't even have tasers. How are we supposed to feel protected?



madgear said:


"Their purpose is for protection against criminals and against a government should that government become tyrannical."

And how does this government become tyrannical? A bunch of politicians in the White House can not take over your country. Do you know how tyrants get to power? They have support from a large portion of the country's population who will fight for their cause (be it over religion, land etc). For the US government to turn tyrannical, a large percentage of the US population has to support their tyrannical regime - and those people currently have guns.

The US military and armed forces are also made up of civilians. If you talked to a soldier and asked "if the government told you to suppress the American people, would you do it?" do you honestly think they'd say yes? They're the same people as the rest of you. If the US government does ever become tyrannical, it'll be the average gun-toting civilians that oppress you, because who else can honestly do it?



theblackdragon said:

You're quite welcome, @pnachos. @Five-seveN, et. al — could we please keep the comments focused on the article at hand? We're not talking about overthrowing regimes and/or terrorist oppression, we're talking about M-rated FPS games and where they stand in relation to Nintendo here. :/



FritzFrapp said:

I've been saying for years that Nintendo need to ape what Disney did when they set up Touchstone Pictures to create an outlet for edgier fare. I really like Iwata, but he's just sitting on mountains of cash from the Wii and DS days and isn't using it aggressively enough. Set up a new studio, fill it with top talent, and aim to make Uncharted, Halo or Call of Duty types of experience.
Nintendo and violence can easily go together – the games don't necessarily have to have Nintendo's name directly on them though.



Assassinated said:

Five-seveN:I remember right around the time of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, there was a mass stabbing in a Chinese school. However there were zero casualties among the wounded. Guns make murder incredibly easy (physically) to commit.While other methods like stabbing can have the same effect, it takes a lot more work and is far more difficult to pull off. A lone knife man is far more likely to be overpowered than a lone gunman, and once he starts shooting, he becomes nearly impossible to stop until he reloads.

Just curious, are you a part of the small minority that opposes all kinds of gun restriction, or are there actions that you think could be taken, such as universal background checks, that are appropriate, and would not infringe upon the second ammendment?



WingedSnagret said:

I'm not even going to bother with my opinion here but I just wanted to say this. If such articles as these spark such head-butting conversations, and NL is a site that prefers to remain a peaceful fun place where people talk about video games without being at each others throats, why do these kinds of articles keep popping up here? Let me just clarify that I'm okay with news like this appearing on NL from time to time, but if folks are just going to cause ruckus anyway, which the site objects to, why post them here? This is really a question out of curiosity, so I'm not accusing anybody here, just asking is all. :/



DarkKirby said:

There has been many studies about if video games cause people to be violent in real life. None of them are conclusive, expect of course, the studies that outright were trying to prove that violent video games made children violent.

Nintendo SHOULD openly bring violent titles that sell well on other platforms to Nintendo systems because it's good for the system, good for the Nintendo system owners that enjoy those games (even if you do not), and good for business overall. It is the responsibility of the PARENTS to teach their children the difference between fiction and reality, and monitor the media their children consume, NOT NINTENDO'S OR ANY OTHER CONSOLE MANUFACTURER. Too often do people expect "the world" to raise their children for them.

I want to note, the NRA often uses video games as a scapegoat to take heat off of themselves, who are ironically, often also being used as a scapegoat for another problem or event (or rather, guns are). I do not believe strict gun control solves any problems either, and really, I feel less safe if only the government (you hear all those stories about police that actually show up promptly when you call them, oh wait, that doesn't happen, I know from experience how much of them are cowards who would never take a risk to save anyone else's life and only want a paycheck) and criminals (tell me again about how criminals follow laws?) had guns and law abiding citizens were not allowed to.

”Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither, And Will Lose Both .”



Barbiegurl777 said:


I think NL just wants peoples opinions on this type of topic not so much for arguing/controversary but just to see peoples opinions on this type of stuff in general.


I agree with you.

Video games don't make people violent. Its a peice of software developed for a persons entertainment purposes on a game console or handheld. If a person chooses to do what they see in video game in real life then theres something truly wrong with the person not the video game. A video game is just a video game. Video games are meant for entertainment not to be taken literal in every day life. Most people that play video games with guns in them don't normally just play the video game then choose a half an hour later to go randomly killing people in real life for no reason or because they saw it in a video game & thought it looked like fun.

Happy gaming! (^_^)



The_Fox said:

You know what's really the problem? The NRA. I say that as a person owning several guns whom they claim to represent. They're nothing but a shill for the gun industry set on blocking the most reasonable of gun control (and I actually support much harsher control) under the pretense of "having our guns and liberties taken away". Seriously, I don't like those guys.
/end off topic rant.



Drobotic said:

Don't people know they can choose for the disturbing material not to be shown right before they play for the first time?



doctor_doak said:

I can see the point you're trying to make, but....

The question i'm asking, is how on earth does a 13 year old kid have 'access' to all those weapons?! Living in Australia, I wouldn't even know where to begin in an attempt to acquire guns here. Then you go and have a look Walmart's website and see the range of scoped rifles, assault rifles, shotguns and handguns and all the different ammo on offer for walk-in & buy customers, and it sinks in.

My father was in the US for work a number of years ago, and he came back with a catalogue that resembled a Target or Toys 'r' Us catalogue, but it was full of guns and all sorts of weapons paraphanaelia. It blew my mind. As an Australian, it seems absurd that you could just walk into your local target and pick up an assault rifle, hunting knives and a whole bunch of ammo with relatively little trouble.

The kid might be pointing to the CoD inspiration, but in a culture as gun obsessed, and where guns are as freely available as the US, I bet there have been innumerable occasions where he has been advertised to through the media, television, internet,, and various catalogues (such as the one I mentioned), not to mention the fact that many times he's gone shopping with his parents or whatever, he's likely to have come into contact with weapons displays at retail outlets and such.

Without addressing the free availability of guns. in the US..I mean the fact a 13 year old kid can acquire such weaponry is telling in itself, then you cannot hope to reduce the amount of gun violence. We've had tough restrictions on gun ownership since 1996 when Martin Bryant murdered over 30 people in the Port Arthur massacre. We haven't had a 'single' mass shooting in 17 years since the restrictions came into law. So make of that what you will..



Dogpigfish said:

More media hub bub. Find 1 or 2 occurrences to justify the means of millions. I'm not falling for this anymore.



Klinny said:

Okay, focusing primarily on the child's own words:

"My favorite is the M1911. I shot a real M1911 when I lived in the country. I shot with my Grandpa. " This leads me to believe that he originally lived in the country where his grandfather taught him how to shoot. It is not uncommon for those in the country, especially farm owners, to carry and use firearms.

"I like guns more because of Call of Duty. "

He likes guns more after playing the game, meaning that he had a pre-existing interest in firearms before playing COD.

I see very little correlation between video games and gun violence from this quote. I see a child who has been exposed to firearms and taught to shoot at a young age by older family members. Maybe this is the issue we should be focusing on.

However, it should also be noted that those in the country are often susceptible to dangers, such as cougars, bears, etc. so it may not be completely unreasonable to familiarize and educate a child on gun ownership, safety, and proper use if it is something that he may be required to use one day. (Of course this is speculative, and I don't believe an M1911 is a hunting weapon, so this situation may be a little extreme).



BlueNitrous said:

It's not the kids fault- it's his parents. Parents should know what their kids are doing, and they should decide if it is appropriate for their child to be playing those games. I'm the same age as the kid in the article (13) and I have a good friend who loves Call of Duty, but is in no way looking to purchase any of the guns now, or when he is older.



Shanksta said:

I agree that most if not all of the blame goes to the parents for not caring or being good parent in general. However that kid should know by then that taking a gun or anything resembling a gun should not to be taken to school. Its like yelling "FIRE" in a movie theater, people just don't do that.
Also, the parents shouldn't be related to each other either. IJK LOL



Assassinated said:

@JKBC97: I'll admit, that I am not a gun owner, and am unfamiliar with most types of guns, so I may very well have misspoken about the lack of guns designed for target shooting. However, those guns are not problematic anyway, and would not be kept around the house for either hunting or defense purposes.
The violent crime statistics are concurrent with what I've heard from the game industry "as video game consumption has gone up, violent crime has gone down".
However, the NRA and the politicians in their pocket have made it impossible to get meaningfull data on guns in the US. Something that I think is changing by executive order from the president, though I'm not positive.
The least contentious and most likely gun control measure, that roughly 92% of the country is in favor of, to get passed is universal background checks for buying guns.
The next most likely measure would be limiting magazines to ten round clips.
I find it rather unlikely that an assault weapons ban would make it past congress in this political climate.



triforcepower73 said:

@Five-seveN I agree 100% with everything you've said so far. Gun control is NOT the way to go. If a criminal walks up to a school and sees a gun restriction sign, he's not just going to say,"Bummer, I can't have a gun here! I guess I should just go home."

They're called criminals for a reason and I have a hunch that a couple teachers with their own guns would have a better chance at stopping one than a sign.




@WingedFish I assume the reason why this topic is brought up because of the inevitability that if there isn't some sort of peaceful resolution upon this issue, things could get ugly. In other words, this is a serious issue that can impact the whole games industry.

Say the U.S. does decide to outlaw or put restrictions on games with guns. This can impact a portion of the industry there FPS and action shooters are popular. The biggest detriment to this phenomenon is that sales are lost, making publishers lose money. That puts up a risk of closures of game studios, platform holders losing money, and maybe even the collapse of a chunk of the console games industry in extreme cases. Heck, even Nintendo could be impacted by this in the long-term.

So, rather than directly jumping into the argument of whether guns in video-games are detrimental to the cognitive development of the youth, we need to figure out how to approach this issue (if that makes sense).



JKCB97 said:

@doctor_doak 13 years aren't allowed to aquire weapons in the US legally. And so what if you can go to any given store and find guns for sale? Does that bother you? As long as background checks are being done (which those need to be improved on acctually ) there isn't a problem. With out guns and freedom of honest men owning them , there wouldn't be a USA . When we had an assault weapons ban in the us there were still shootings. Here are some stats for you :



Slapshot said:

The only problem with this child's comments/actions is that he forgot to take a gun that he took shooting out of his bag and accidentally took it to school. There is nothing wrong with a child having considerable knowledge of firearms - regardless of where the child's interest is sparked from. With that said, I don't agree with parents not abiding by ESRB ratings either.

Let me show you what you and Eurogamer have missed, while trying to loosely tie this story into a "gaming" article to push your personal political views/opinions:

"My favorite is the M1911. I shot a real M1911 when I lived in the country. I shot with my Grandpa."

While the child started off speaking of his BB gun replicas (showing that his parents aren't carelessly giving him real guns), he then speaks of shooting his "favorite" gun - with his Grandpa. He is only shooting live ammunition with parental guidance. Also, he's shooting them in the "country," meaning that the place was most likely a very safe place to shoot live ammunition as well.

"It was a Monday and I was coming [to school] from my grandpa's. We had gone to the target range. I accidentally left a gun in my book bag. I forgot about it and took it to school. I don't know how they found it."

Again, the child's elder took him to a target range to fire live ammunition, which is a safe place to do so (most likely in the "country"). The problem here is that the supervising adult allowed the child to use his bag to transport one of the weapons, which in turn got taken into a school. The boy saying, "I don't know how they found it" makes me think that he didn't go around flashing the weapon after he realized that he had taken it into the school. And yes, the child should be reprimanded for his actions - accident or not - to ensure that he never uses his schoolbag to carry a firearm.

"My favourite gun is the MSR. It's a modified sniper rifle made by Remington firearms and it shoots a 338 Lapua round. It's a really nice, accurate, sniper rifle. It rarely misses a shot."

The kid really knows his stuff. The MSR can indeed fire a 338 Lapua round, among a few others (including multiple calibres). There's nothing wrong with a young boy learning about firearms that he finds interesting. Heck, anyone with a small interest in firearms most likely knows about Remington's MSR. It's an incredible precision sniper rifle, but it's very expensive. Most firearm fanatics will tell you that a Remington 700 is the better option, as it compares to the MSR very closely and is a great deal lighter on the pocketbook.

In fact, it's great for kid of his age to learn about them and how to handle them responsibly. How do I know this, because the boy's final statement is the tell-tale: "I think once I get old enough, I'd like to own the real things." The boy clearly acknowledges the fact that he is too young to own these type of firearms.

This story shows that Call of Duty can increase a boy's knowledge and handling of a firearm. He doesn't speak of wanting to use the guns for violence, only to "shoot" them, which he states that he does so at a "target range" and in the "country." He doesn't even speak to his desire to use weapons for the purpose of "hunting."

The fault with the gun ending up in his bag actually falls with the supervising adult allowing the boy to put a firearm in his schoolbag - not an excited adolescent boy that's something he enjoy with his Grandpa.

This story doesn't reflect the "gaming industry" in a negative way at all. This is a weak spin by Eurogamer to push a personal political view and I'm very disappointed to see that it's once again feature here at Nintendo Life. I'm not a gun advocate and I support the gun laws that are being put into effect here in the US (I just had a personal loss in my family from a firearm that should have never been purchased legally) - I don't appreciate this article.



JKCB97 said:

Guns aren't the problem . Crappy background checks and laws that prohibit law-biding citizens from defending themselves. A woman I just heard about had a weapons permit in the states but because of the laws she had to keep her weapon her car. Her husband was then beat and killled before her eyes because the gun-free zone she was in. If she would have had that gun on her person , her husband would be alive.



Bankai said:

@JKCB97 I know hey. Outside of the US where most countries have strict gun laws, if not bans on all guns, why, it's amazing anyone is left alive. We are all completely defenceless and because of that every single person is murdered every single day.



Slapshot said:

@JKCB97 No, there's a dang good reason for gun free zones - it stops people from using a weapon defensively and injuring innocent bystanders. Gun free zones are areas that have a large amount of people within them (or Federal Premises) and in the erratic episode of an event unfolding that a legally armed person needed a weapon, the chance of multiple people being injured on top of those being injured has the potential to only make matters worse - not better.

If you are in the US and have a permit to legally carry, you know and understand the limitations and precautions, as well as the responsibility that comes with carrying a weapon. Because yes, a person legally carrying a weapon for self-defence can make matters far worse, than better.

@Bankai But, I thought the maximum amount of lives peaked at 9? Otherwise, my cat's a fibber!



SteveW said:

I don't think games cause violence but can you honestly say that the Wii/Wii U has less guns? I personally own the Activision Top Shot Elite rifle and 8 others rifles along with over a dozen various pistols, and over 50 Wii games that support all these. Seriously! Wii's got guns! lets not help promote the dilusion that Nintendo is only for children.



WesCash said:

@Five-seveN The US does not have less crime than European countries. That's complete bollocks. Going by the most recent data, the US has a homicide rate of 4x that of the UK and over 4x that of Italy, Spain, France, Denmark, Sweden, and others. The US has one of the highest homicide rates in the world among developed countries. And 2/3 of the murders in the US are committed with firearms. The US has 40x the number of homicide firearms that the UK has. (Source: UN Office of Drug and Crime)

I understand the need to protect oneself. And there are plenty of law-abiding gun owners. But there are right ways and wrong ways to control and manage firearms in a country. Look around at the rest of the developed world. It's pretty clear that something is wrong in America. Numbers don't lie.

@Bankai So true.



Assassinated said:

Very few in the US are advocating a universal gun ban, despite the constant rhetoric to the contrary. Most that do advocate for a total gun ban come from countries that have such gun laws in place. There are reasonable restrictions that can be imposed without Infringing on one's second amendment rights, the very most extreme of these beings ban on the military style weapons known as assault weapons. From what I've heard those arguing against such measures can supply no cases where such a weapon was ever used successfully for self defense. Nor would it be practical to use it for hunting purposes. The only reason they want them are because the military and police have them, so they feel entitled to own whatever they've got.
I find it unlikely an assault weapons ban will pass the house anyway.
The ten round clip limit might be put into effect though. I can think of no reason that one would need more than ten rounds in their gun unless they were trying to kill a lot of people quickly. How big of a hassle is it to reload after ten shots in any non mass murder scenario. Ten should be fine for defense certainly. Most defensive situations do not require one to kill multiple attackers, often the mere presence of a firearm is enough to dissuade most assailants. Situations like in movies where five armed thugs invade someone's home, never happen in real life.
The argument against universal background checks does not even have a leg to stand on.



DaemonSword said:

Mentally impaired people are the problem, as are politicians who use a crisis to elevate their power, who feel you shouldn't own something for protection (guns), yet it's okay for their 20-30 bodyguards to own them, 'deadly' automatic ones at that.



Captain_Balko said:

I think there is something to be said about the gun culture that countries such as the United States currently have. Games like Call of Duty and Battlefield are not creating this gun culture, they are simply cashing in on it. However, if this gun culture were to change, these games would be less successful and less signifigant. The problem doesn't root from the games, it roots from ancient gun-loving mindsets that have been passed down for generations.
Personally, I take issue with the argument that "Guns are tools". They aren't tools, they're weapons. The difference between tools and guns are, a) Tools are not created specifically to injure or kill, and b) Tools are generally used for constructive purposes. Children usually don't have the maturity to deal with the danger and consequences of guns, and as such, shouldn't be obsessing over guns, and probably shouldn't be permitted to play Call of Duty. Adults are another matter entirely.
I'm sorry for my ramblings. I was just trying to add my bit to the discussion.



The_Fox said:

Anyone that bemoans a strict and thorough background check is foolish. I've been to a number of gun shows and I can honestly tell you that I've seen plenty of people there that have no business owning a gun. What exactly is the big issue for arguing against them? That the mentally unwell or those with violent criminal backgrounds are blocked from legally owning guns? Sounds good to me. Yes, I know that they can still find guns on the black market if they're dead set on obtaining one, but might as while make it as tough as possible for them to get one. Is is that those that legitimately qualify for owning a gun have to jump through a few extra hurdles and wait longer to acquire a weapon? That's a price I'm more than willing to pay to help reduce gun violence.



Bankai said:

A genuine question here for the Americans: in this gun debate (as in the rational one, forget about the NRA and other interest groups): has anyone actually mentioned the fact that outside of America there are dozens of advanced, westernised nations where the citizens live in safety (not perfect safety, but certainly lower rates of homocide than in the US?

That's the thing that bugs me the most about the debate, sitting outside of America looking in: there seems to be an assumption that owning guns is the only way to have a healthy society and for people to be safe. It's a blatantly incorrect assumption to make.

I've been to the US a few times, and I must admit I prefer living in an environment where I don't need to worry that my neighbour might own a gun.

Is there any reason, beyond an incredibly old and irrelevant document to modern society, and an incredibly difficult logistical problem, that America can't go gun free?



CharbroiledEwok said:

Consider this: if media doesn't influence people to do/believe silly or dangerous things, then why are so many (including some NLers in this very discussion) apt to believe that the government is ALWAYS out to get them, and, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, they could take on the entire US military (and its allies) with their small assortment of firearms?



bloodycelt said:

1.) The gun debate is just a distraction.
2.) So a kid has a hobby that he does with his grandfather. He made the mistake of forgetting to take it out of his backpack before going to school... so what. Is that any different than someone interested in medieval weaponry and heraldry?

4.) I should point out, there has been mass homicide in american schools since they were opened. Usually every four years.



Assassinated said:

@Bankai: The culture here in America is such that attempting to outright abolish the second ammendment would be not just political suicide, but would likely be hazardous to their health, as gun nuts would feel this move was tantamount to treason, and likely some would attempt to remove the threat to their "freedom" by exercising their "freedom" with gun violence. Some such threats have already been made, for even so little as calling for universal background checks, and banning thirty round ammo clips.
Few in America even want the removal of all guns, and those that do not almost certainly would take it as an "assault on their freedom".
The fear of the possibility of the removal of all guns is probably the biggest obstacle to getting any, even the most minor, gun control legislation passed.
In fact, the more discussion of banning guns there is, the deeper the gun nuts dig, and will refuse to allow anything, that would make it harder for anyone to get any type of gun, to get passed.
The strongest proponents want every single person to be able to own and carry a gun literally everywhere, with no "gun free zones" which they claim invite criminals to shoot innocents with impunity.



Slapshot said:

@Assassinated He understands that we can't go 'gun free' in America, because it would literally start a civil war. I think it's more of the mindset that he is referring to - do Americans actually realize that there are modern civilized countries that are gun free and have extremely low violent crime rates? Do we as Americans understand that it is possible to not live in fear and feeling the need to carry a weapon for self defense?

I'm an American and I legally carry a weapon. I understand that the place that I live in isn't safe and I hope that one day it will be different.



Void said:

@HawkeyeWii But I love Cod...
It's better than Salmon, although I do prefer Halibut over Cod, they taste rather similar, both being white meat fish.



triforcepower73 said:

@Slapshot In most cases as soon as the police or anyone with a gun shows up, the attacker usually just gives up. A lot of times, mostly with the mental cases, they even commit suicide. I live in the Memphis area where a few yrs ago a shnucks employee started stabbing his co-workers. An armed civilian told him to drop the knife and he immediately did so. He saved 9 peoples' lives. There are many other cases of this happening even when the attacker had a gun. A civilian certainly could make things worse, I agree. But they could and do make things a whole lot better too.



Schprocket said:

@Slapshot 's post 54# is the most sensible take on the story of the 13 yo that I've read.

The argument that @Five-seveN proposed and continued with it's selective overseas examples and ignorance of wider real-world facts - in my opinion - is how most of us outside of the US perceive the average US citizen and not, unfortunately, more like Slapshot and similar, who do not seem to be into twisting constitutional amendments written during the time of real tyrants and muzzle-loaders as an excuse to own weapons of mass carnage.

Is it a case of media making bucks out of the 'empty vessels' and the Eurogamer article is playing all of us - as gamers - to get more hits?

The cynic might even see this thread as being along those lines

BTW, I've been interested in guns on and off since I was about five but I've never owned one... unless you count cap-pistols and laser-tag...



M_Weiner_Wink said:

It's a hard case to make to a really young and reactionary crowd, but I'm pretty put off at this point by games with realistic looking guns where the goal is to go around shooting people. I don't think I could even get into ones I used to enjoy like Resident Evil. And I have no patience for anyone who puts mature games in the hands of children. Video game ratings are completely toothless and meaningless in the USA, which is sad.



R-L-A-George said:

Well if the kid is raised right and taught to handle guns wisely. He won't be much of a threat. Sounds like he's more into collecting and sport. People who are saying guns are not a tool. Don't think much about hunting for for food and protection. Everyone has a choice, it's the person behind the gun that counts, not the gun. We're not robots programmed to pull a trigger. We choose, we can't always control but its still a choice.



ramstrong said:

I blame the movies. It's true that in a game, you pull the trigger to make the kill, but the game also shows that you die a lot. Shooting virtual people can have very negative consequences, which is something that is missing in movies. Movies glorifies violence; (Good) Games clarifies.

Speaking of violence, I do believe that duck population declined just about the same time Nintendo came up with "Duck Hunt". Coincidence? I think not.

Here is Warren Spectors' take on it:

I hate game violence. I don't play most violent games. I like Bookstore Dream, and Sweet Memories Blackjack. Things of that nature. But I will defend the rights to have violence in games. Why? Because of Neil Gaiman: Why defend freedom of icky speech?

He has an excellent journal entry about the subject.

I will quote his most relevant item:

The Law is a blunt instrument. It's not a scalpel. It's a club. If there is something you consider indefensible, and there is something you consider defensible, and the same laws can take them both out, you are going to find yourself defending the indefensible.

I would like to keep bad things out. Don't we all? But not at the expense of good things being taken out as well.

I think discussion about guns is important, but I don't like to do it here. Isn't there a forum thread where these kind of discussions can take place?



R-L-A-George said:

Its a shame that parents don't show much responsibility these days. Its like once upon a time when parents thought it was the industry's responsibility. In videogames and TV.



StarDust4Ever said:

For the record, I don't like FPS games, but I don't have a problem with people who choose to play them. Violent video games don't make people violent any more than Super Mario Brothers teaches kids to stomp rodents and kick turtles around.

I don't own a firearm, nor do I have any desire to own one, but I've been known to fire off a few rounds in Duck Hunt or Hogan's Alley, from the safety of my own bedroom.

Secondly, guns are a huge problem in the US. Fact is, insubordinates are everywhere, and an insubordinate with a gun spells trouble. And how many times has the self-defense argument back fired? Pull trigger and ask questions later. Suppose a licensed gun owner get spooked in the night by an innocent civilian who's lost his/her way, and fire at the victim because they felt threatened? The courts are just as likely to rule it as self defense, especially if on private property, yet there's one more untimely death that could have been avoided if guns weren't involved. Also note that most unarmed scuffles typically don't end in death. People can also claim that knives are just as lethal as guns, but I'll take my chances with a robber armed with a knife over a gun anyday. At least with the knife, he can't kill me point blank at a moment's whim from 25 feet. Sure, he could throw it at me, but then he'd be left defenseless, and unless he has ninja-like reflexes, chances are he'll miss, or the resulting injury will be fairly minor.



MarioKenny1992 said:

I'm very glad that I wasn't allowed to play M rated games back in the mid-to-late 2000's - when Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4 were released, I wanted to give them a try because of how they were critically acclaimed, but I couldn't because of my parents. As I grew older with that restriction behind me in the past, I started to lose more and more interest in violent shooters, not because I find them too scary or anything, but because they now look very boring to me and I find them too hard to get into. also, I DEFINITELY agree with everyone who says parents don't raise their children properly - if their children wants to play video games or watch TV, make sure the game/program is appropriate for their age group, otherwise they would turn out like those 12 year olds on Xbox Live, and same with me had I played Halo 3 and CoD4 back when I was at a young age! I'm also very glad I was born in the early 90's with a Super Nintendo in my household too ^_^ This is why I'm always gonna be rooting for my champion, Nintendo!



Bass_X0 said:

Why are Americans more protective about their guns than the lives of their own family? I find it hypocritical for someone to be pro-gun and also cry when a gun is used as it is designed to be used - to kill another human being.



Omenapoika said:

I come from a very peaceful country, and I believe the reason is that people don't need to point guns at each other. Social welfare, free education and public healthcare keep people busy studying, working and familying.
No offense americans, but I can't help but say that if people didn't need to resort to guns, they wouldn't.

Also, I find the hubbub about video games increasing violence completely silly. Of course it can warp the thoughts of little kids, but they are to be guided by the parents, not the government.

edit: we have one of the world's highest guns per capita due to necessary hunting and hobbyists. But I wouldn't want to live in a country where I would need a gun for safety.



Slapshot said:

@triforcepower73 You are exactly right man and that's the exact reason that I choose to carry a weapon legally. The down turned economy has resulted in severe cuts to our law enforcement agencies where I live and if, let say, someone broke into your home, which is happening all the time lately (and with the tenants inside the home), calling the police will only notify them to come to the aftermath. The police are encouraging civilians to be responsibly armed, because they simply can't respond fast enough any more.

But, those who choose to use weapons for ill intentions also prey on this situation too. That's why they're breaking into homes in broad daylight - with the owners/children inside their homes! A full gun ban here in the US will primarily take the guns away from legal citizens, allowing the millions of illegal owners to have nothing to fear from their heinous actions. I wish it wasn't this way, but sadly, it is the way that it is here.

With that said though, I've seen the articles/journalist who think that people who carry a weapon legally think they are "Mr. He-Man" or "Rambo." But, this is so far from the truth. A citizen who uses a weapon for self-defence purposes in a public area could easily find themselves in jail for murder, if a strong enough defence attorney takes the case. Sometimes, just the weapon being shown can stop the incident, but unless your professionally trained to talk down a person - that will most likely find yourself being a part of the carnage by taking that approach. Like I said before, there's an extremely high level of responsibility and mind-set that needs to be possessed for someone to chose to do so.

The "idea" of legally armed citizens is, like this article, so far stretched from the truth. I pray to the heavens that I never have to use a weapon in a self-defence situation! I know the situations here in the US aren't good though and I'll be damned if I'm not going to have a way to protect myself either.

Just like people outside of the US don't understand what life is like with guns being a normal part of society (whether that's good or bad), they also don't understand what it is like to live in a society where guns are everywhere and they're being used on innocent, defenceless civilians in a cowardly way either. I live in a neighbourhood that brings about 200+ children to my doorstep on Halloween night. My home has been "gun free" for the vast majority of the time I've lived here. Nowadays though, daytime robberies in this neighbourhood have forced me to be able to protect myself and my family in the event that my home becomes a target. This was encouraged by a law enforcement officer.

@Omenapoika No offence taken mate. I wish it wasn't this way here either, but it is in some parts of the States. Where I live, the illegal drugs/guns are flooding across the borders and things are getting very bad here, especially with the highly addictive and cheap to produce methamphetamine destroying our youth. If there was to be a complete ban on guns (which isn't even being discussed politically in the US, only outside of our country) I would pack my things and move. Guns would become the primary "drug" that's smuggled across our borders and I wouldn't want to be down here any more.



The_Fox said:

By the way, has anyone else noticed that almost no one has actually talked about the article itself? Not that I have anything to do with derailing the topic myself. cough cough



GreenDream said:

There is one caveat to all of this...

A few days ago, I visited a Toys R' Us store which I had not visited in years. I still remember the enormous layout, with several aisles of Nintendo, Sega, and Sony products. Most of the games were relatively suitable for children, ranging from Mario & Sonic to Final Fantasy & Dragon Quest to Battletoads & Ninja Turtles. There were a few exceptions, such as Resident Evil. (Which is arguably still OK, since that had a fantasy setting and survival goals.) You bought games by picking up a paper tab in the game selection aisles, then taking it to the cash register to buy the product. You acquired the product by showing the paper tab to the stock workers, who handled the storage rooms while interacting with the public behind a window.

When I walked in a few days ago... the almost magical atmosphere that I remember was gone. The store was much smaller, and all that remained of the video game section were a few paltry metal shelves, and a meager locked glass window shelving, which closed off some still boxed games.

Something struck me about the game selection- almost half of the games available included the likes of Call of Duty, Sleeping Dogs, Homefront, Red Faction, and other ultra-violent, pseudo-realistic violent games.

What were these games doing in a Toys R' Us??? I know selling them is protected by the first amendment, but isn't there something wrong with offering young children computer games where the player uses an assault rifle to wage pseudo-realistic war situations, alongside offering them Mario and Nintendo Land? Isn't there something to be said for selling these violent games alongside Barbies and baby diapers? At least for Goldeneye and Perfect Dark, the context indicated being a spy who was taking on evil organizations, not necessarily being a war machine.

Maybe I'm just getting old... but I think I understand the sentiment of minimizing the chances for children to be exposed to such things... Studies which would accurately document this change from the products consumed by the Toys R' Us of my childhood, in contrast to the Toys R' Us of today, would probably take at least two decades to conduct.



The_Fox said:

"At least for Goldeneye and Perfect Dark, the context indicated being a spy who was taking on evil organizations, not necessarily being a war machine."

I don't really see the context of being a spy covertly assassinating people as that much different from COD, myself.



GreenDream said:

In many stores within the USA, only "nonviolent" Nintendo products are stocked, while "ultraviolent" products from everyone else is stocked. I think this is specifically tied into the USA gun culture- kids are being nudged into growing up on Nintendo, then when they become teenagers, they are offered increasingly realistic and violent products.

This is exacerbated by offering mostly western titles, of which more often portrays people as mere punching bags who cannot hope to equal the player's prowess; their eastern counterparts are more likely to make human figures interactive in a nonviolent context, or to place the opponents on either an equal playing field or a seemingly omnipotent authority figure role. The player must psychologically change their outlook on measuring success when the opponent is perpetually equal to or stronger than they are; the player is allowed to be psychologically lazy when the opponent is weaker.

I think this trend is very similar to the article's case, where the parents offered a young boy a BB gun, which he becomes a little TOO attached to, then he will likely be expected to move on to paintball guns as a teenager, then rifles as an adult. This is most certainly a case of cultural conditioning, which definitely does have a significant impact upon the thought processes of children.

Take note that the boy cites Call of Duty because it meshes so well with his reality. If he were only offered books instead of bb guns, and games like illusion of Gaia or To the Moon, would his life perspective be different?



GreenDream said:

@The_Fox That's true, but the player was often presented with an oppressively claustrophobic environment for the gauntlets, and alternative choices to proceed for the open-ended stages. The player needed to be careful to survive, they could not just hold up on the control stick and hold down Z to clear any level at will (without cheats, of course).

Some characters had to die, like Trevelyan and the Skedar, but it was possible to disarm most of the other opponents. The exception is on the highest difficulty levels; though they still require more critical thinking than a game like Call of Duty.



Slapshot said:

@GreenDream See, that's quite the funny, because my local Toys R' Us as an entire back wall sectioned off for Nintendo products, with the PlayStation and Microsoft products are set aside onto small aisles. In fact, our Best Buy has an entire aisle (both sides) for Nintendo products, while both Sony and Microsoft products only get one side of a half-aisle.

@The_Fox There's not a lot to talk about, really. Eurogamer somehow thinks that their example somehow "proves" that gun manufactures shouldn't be allowed to purchase their way into games. If that's so - why should anyone else be able to do so? Should Nike not be able to have their symbol slapped into every sports game, because it can create financial irresponsibility among young children? Should soft drink and food manufactures not be able to have their products featured within a game, because it gives children the desire to eat unhealthy foods - further spreading the world's obesity epidemic?

It's a poor argument, that is so loosely tied together that it is nearly irrelevant. Like the old adage goes: "if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck - then chances are, it is probably a duck." A gun is a gun - it doesn't matter if it has "Remington" stamped on its side or not.

I'm not trying to be disrespectful in the least, but if your going to bring an argument like this to the table, make sure it's a solid piece that has hard reasoning behind it and factual evidence to support its theories. This proves nothing for the gaming industry and it's a well-known fact that Nintendo has very little to worry about when it comes to this issue. The install base is so little for gun violent games on Nintendo's platforms that the lack of them would only slightly damage the company's profits.



WesCash said:

@JKBC97 I'm well aware of crime statistics and all of the potential explanations. I've taken a few university level courses on crime and stats. The problem with comparing "violent crime" among countries is that it has no meaning. Different countries have different definitions and thresholds for what a "violent crime" is. It's essentially comparing apples and oranges.

Homicide is one of the few crimes that is recorded, reported, and explicitly defined in the same way in most countries. The US homicide rates are well above the majority of developed countries. I'm not saying this is due entirely to firearms. Population density and economic inequality are both almost certainly an issue as well. It's a combination of factors. But certainly no one in their right mind can be against the idea of keeping guns out of the hands of unstable individuals. That is something that everyone can get behind, even if we disagree on how to accomplish it.



R-L-A-George said:

@Bass_X0 It's more like people are protecting their right to protect. So far gun bans and attempted control have been proven to not work very well.

Japan has a ban but the Yakuza still are the ones with the guns.
Chicago has a ban and people are shot daily.
And a lot more... Humanity is very complicated.



madgear said:


I suggest you look up gun murder in Japan and you'll see it is almost the lowest in the world. People just seem to be making assumptions.

Also, I'm quite annoyed yet more of my posts are getting deleted on this site. Posts that aren't aggressive, insulting, inappropiate or off topic - just opinionated. On that note, I am through with this site. The level of over-zealous forum administration here makes this a very unpleasant place to post. Why encourage discussion on a topic yet start deleting posts when you think they get too opinionated? That's what discussions and debates are for. So what if other issues are brought up related to the subject? That's just what happens in debates. Even though I disagree with @Five-seveN I don't like to see that his posts have been deleted too and others who have interacted with him.

If you just want your comments section for people to say "hey, great article, well done" then so be it. However that's not for me so I think I'll find a site a more mature games site that encourages proper discussions elsewhere.



theblackdragon said:

@madgear: I've deleted exactly two comments from this thread, and that is because they strayed too far away from the subject matter and dove straight into conspiracy-land — that's why I asked for the discussion to return to Nintendo and M-rated FPS games, as laid out in the article. I haven't touched anything you've posted in this article comment thread, or I would've said something, either via e-mail or in the thread itself.



scrubbyscum999 said:

As an American, believe the problem is gun regulation and the War on drugs. Other countries with no guns and guns have less gun violation than us. The problem is the frickin NRA's greedy selfs wanting to have no regulation at all. It doesn't help that ONE of our political parties don't want to help with even the smallest gun regulation. I think video games with guns being played by little kids is a big problem (little kids who play M rated games tend to become very rude as they get older from my experience) but that's not the core. All this ridiculous rhetoric about guns to protect ourselves from the government, which is ridiculous due to values of freedom are so ingrained in the American mindset, ESPECIALLY people in the military.

That and even in fantasyland if that was possible our military is WAY too advanced for us to do anything about it. The reasons there is a lot of gun violence is gangs. Gangs make money off of illegal drugs. What we should do is legalize these drugs and put strict moderation and discourage their use like cigarettes. Nintendo thankfully doesn't have to deal with this as much because they haven't been too successful in the FPS biz. I do not believe there should be any connection between the video game and gun industries. I do believe owning a gun is a choice (mainly hunting) but we should not encourage it.

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