T he video gaming industry is on a new high with sales of over $7 billion in 2005. No wonder many companies are raking in moolah through this. The target audience for the industry is children, teenagers and juveniles, who are increasingly getting alienated from the natural world and hooked on to the surreal world of gaming. It might be good news for the companies, but at what cost? Well, the cost is apocalyptic. It wouldn’t have been so, had the kids been playing the usual games on video. But when a whole new generation is growing up playing games of blood spilling, mutilation and inferno, then one cannot expect them to retain sanity by the time they become responsible citizens of the world. Shockingly, most of the video games simulate situations when the players are pitted against each other and the games only terminate when either of them have been killed, albeit in simulation. But this has had a shocking affect on the psychology of the kids, in whose frame of mind, violence becomes the right medium of getting anything in this world. And that’s when the thin red line, dividing sanity and insanity, starts getting diluted; the culmination of which is increasing violent behaviour among the juveniles. The incident in Columbine High School in Colorado, where two students aged between 17 and 18 killed 12 classmates and their teacher before eventually taking their own lives or the ones in Springfield (in Oregon) and Jonesboro (Arkansas) are becoming more of a norm than exception. In addition to this, the incidence of teenagers suffering from depression is on the rise.
The relentless proliferation of violent video games need not be the only reason for all these problems, but certainly a major one. For once, can’t we give peace a chance with a game on it?