Gamers 'gearing' up for violence

By Matt Shatos

Gears of War 3 Logo - Are you 'gearing' up for this final chapter?

Tuesday marked the release of the final chapter in the highly acclaimed “Gears of War” videogame franchise that has not only brought its developer, Epic Studios much commendation, but has also been one of Xbox’s best selling series.  This chapter of “Gears” has once again exceeded its predecessors with an even bloodier and visceral experience – a progression that is troubling to some cautious parents.  In the words of common sense media, “Parents need to know ‘Gears of War 3’ is a very violent and gory third-person-shooter game. Players have access to a number of deadly weapons to kill aliens — who explode into messy chunks — plus there are other melee weapons like lancers, chainsaws, and special suits that can decapitate and dismember at close range.”
Gamers are used to being brutally criticized for their hobby, as many critics have attempted to link violent video games to real life tendencies and behaviors.  Fitchburg State University student, Jared Cyhowski says, “I do not believe that the violence in video games affects real life behaviors.  A video game itself can’t teach someone what it’s actually like to be in a war zone because it’s virtual reality. It’s fake. Human beings who are mentally stable understand the difference between shooting someone in a video game and shooting someone in real life.”
Violence in video games is a much debated topic across the internet as well; one of the more popular debates started from a video that gamer, “Muzz”, owner of Level1 Games, created in which he illustrates statistically the fact that real life murders cannot be blamed on video games by saying, “Since 1993, somewhere around 438.64 million consoles have been sold. On top of that over 80 percent of America has access to a PC – that’s about 244.8 million more people.  In total that’s over 683 million ways to access violent video games – nearly 378 million more ways than there are people to play them.  That means every murder in America can be tied to video games just as easily as they can be tied to fast food, movies, television, cell phones, or even cars.”
When asked about the possible problem of “Gears of War’s” extreme violence rubbing off on children, Nick Bridgewood, supervisor of the Leominster Best Buy’s gaming department, replied, “Realistically it comes down to parental knowledge of what they are buying for their children. The ESRB ratings are there for a reason.”  As inferred, “Gears of War 3” did receive a rating of “M” for Mature for graphic violence and heavy language – restricting the purchase of the game to adults ages 17 and up.  It is worth mentioning that “Gears” does offer a mode that allows parents to filter out some of the mature video and audio content that would otherwise be present.
“Gears of War 3” is now available for Xbox 360, and currently sells for $59.99 at all major retailers.