SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 29 /PRNewswire/ — While our colleagues at Popcap have announced that their video game products can, to paraphrase their words, keep you casual, we here at Valve Software wish to weigh in on the dramatic sociological effects that our titles, Day of Defeat: Source and Counterstrike: Source, are having upon the online population at large. As everyone in the gaming industry knows, empirical evidence, meaning data that is not accepted in a scientific environment, is the lifeblood of marketing spin. It’s the Flying Spaghetti Monster that floats any multimillion dollar industry. Or to put it another way, sixty thousand coders can’t be wrong.
Some reactionaries may decry the levels of violence within our respective games, the frightening accuracy of the preteens who snipe you as you spawn, and the enduring popularity of the Axis team which permits everyone from a forty-two year old shut-in to an adolescent pariah to get in touch with their inner Adolf. Let us not place blame for these realities. This is only the natural extension of a certain Freudian term representing a base psychological component that we will not name — for it will unfurl a certain competitor we are hoping you will ignore. In fact, forget we said that. The important thing to know here is that the mutliplayer first-person shooter environment is inhabited for the most part by thugs, potential ROTC recruits, and other everyday people with a penchant for vicarious violence.
Let’s pay attention to the national homicide rate. Since our Half-Life technology was unleashed in the mid-1990s, the homicide rate has steadily dropped. Have you ever wondered just why this is?
“I think it’s perfectly obvious,” says Dr. Calvert Defraudio, a New York-based psychologist and motivational speaker who can often be found on UHF stations at 3 AM. “Great products are helping to keep violent criminals in the house, lonely and trigger-happy. The potential pathological killer is kept at bay by violently murdering some random 14 year old in a first-person shooter environment.”
Take the case of Jimmy Studebaker (we use a psuedonym to respect his privacy). Studebaker was a ninth grader overly fond of dissecting frogs and very adept with the mitre saw in metal shop. “Had I not found friends who I could repeatedly kill in Counterstrike: Source, it’s likely I would have gone a little crazy.”
And parents, we all know that it’s a five minute fox trot from “going a little crazy” to pulling a Columbine at your neighborhood ! Had not Studebaker found the solace of blowing his fellow peers to smithereens, who is to say what he would have become? A pickpocket? The leader of a Branch Davidian splinter group?
Instead, Studebaker is an antisocial student earning a C average. Every now and then, he gets tied up and thrown into a dumpster by malicious seniors. But this hasn’t stopped him from perfecting his assault rifle skills just after loading up Steam. The important thing is that Studebaker is in his element while experiencing Valve’s products. And it’s all thanks to Valve that he’s off the streets!
So remember folks, the next time you , think about Jimmy Studebaker, the kid who transferred his rage to his mouse and keyboard.
Valve Software. Keeping hoodlums off the streets, one delinquent at a time.
© 2005, Edward Champion. All rights reserved.