On video game violence and misconceptions

Yesterday, I was writing a lovely little post about how much I identify with my character in Final Fantasy XIV when something occurred to me.

I was typing out a line about how she can help me channel all the savagery and saltiness that I collect throughout the course of a bad day, and all I could think about after was how people tend to assume video games are violent (and therefore make their players that way, too).

So it’s time to rant a little.

I think video game violence is a chicken-and-egg situation that people often get backward.

The thing is, for me at least, video games don’t make me violent.

I was born with a wicked temper, and I clearly remember it coming out in full force in my teenage years. I’d petulantly slam doors, I’d punch pillows, the whole drama-llama-teenage-girl shebang.

It was actually a lot like the Beast at the beginning of Beauty and the Beast; things would trigger me, and I wouldn’t know why, but as soon as I got upset about them, I just looked like a loud dumbass.

My mom once made me something to help: a little ball of yarn with a pair of silly googly eyes that she called a “fit.” That way, I could throw a fit across the room without doing any damage.

I think I threw it exactly once before I realized I felt like an absolute ridiculous idiot, throwing that sad little ball of yarn. It didn’t go far at all; it was like one of those old Bugs Bunny cartoons where one of the characters gets halfway through a leap of faith and then just falls in midair.

I distinctly remember staring at it, feeling completely deflated.

It was disappointing and a little infuriating at the time, but it worked. I’ve never lost my temper like that since. Instead, I took to video games, occasionally doing things like pulling out a Pokémon that was total overkill just because someone had been mean to me that day.

That always made me feel better.

The moral of the story: Even though we learn to control our tempers, it’s still nice to have an outlet that doesn’t negatively affect anyone. But that doesn’t mean that video games make people violent.

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