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DOOM Creator on Video Games & Violence: “It’s the Culture, Not the Player”

October 23, 2016 Written by Zarmena Khan

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John Romero’s DOOM has seen its fair share of controversy since its original release in the 90s. The game, alongside the likes of Mortal Kombat, is often cited in the context of video game violence. In fact, Germany imposed a ban on the game, which was lifted after 17 years in 2011. Romero addressed claims of video games contributing to violence at the GameON Ventures conference this past week, arguing that violence goes beyond this medium of entertainment.

I believe games are cultural and the violence that we see in the world goes beyond games. Plenty of countries play games. Canada, Germany, Japan, England, Ireland… They’re all hardcore consumers of games, yet we don’t see similar outbreaks of violence in these countries. It’s not the game, it’s the gun. It’s not the computer, it’s the culture. It’s not the player.

Interestingly, Romero brought up the debate of what exactly constitutes a game, stating that each generation has the tendency to dismiss newer definitions of the word whenever the industry pushes its boundaries.

Computer games weren’t games according to people who played board games back in the ’70s. While console games were not games according to computer game players in the ’80s… As we expand the boundary of games, people question whether it’s a game at all. Is Gone Home a game? Is Life is Strange a game? Is Her Story a game? Yes, I think they are. When we push the boundaries of games, when we experiment with the medium to see what it can do, there are always those who will question if the new work at the end is still within the boundary, when in fact it has just pushed it.

What do our readers think of Romero’s views?

[Source: Games Industry]