It’s a small move, but still one that highlights the effects of recent violent events on the video game industry. Last week, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation decided to remove arcade games considered violent from state-owned rest stops.
Only nine games had to be removed from roadside stops in Charlton, Ludlow, Lee and Beverly, the Boston Globe reported. The move came after the DoT received an email from a set of parents who were disturbed by the games’ presence.
Here’s more from the Globe regarding how the situation came about leading the parents to email a complaint to the DoT:
Something didn’t feel right to Andrew and Tracey Hyams when they entered the rest stop in Charlton on the Massachusetts Turnpike on Christmas Eve with their 12-year-old son and saw another boy absorbed in an arcade game.
The youth was firing a machine gun replica at the screen, licking off simulated rounds with a rapid-fire rat-tat-tat that reverberated off the walls. “You could even hear it in the bathroom,” Andrew Hyams, 58, of Newton, said in a telephone interview Thursday.
Because the plaza is close to Newtown, Conn., Hyams said, a relative of one of the school shooting victims could have walked in and seen a player firing away, 10 days after the massacre that took the lives of 20 first-graders and six adults.
“People have the freedom to have whatever video games in their own homes that they want,” Hyams said. “We were struck by walking into a [state-owned] rest stop within an hour’s drive of Newtown and seeing and hearing a life-sized, mounted machine gun on a video game.”
The Transportation Secretary Richard Davey said removal of the games was in direct response to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School last month.
“Bottom line is I think there isn’t a person who doesn’t believe that there isn’t too much violence in our society, and games can glorify that,” Davey said, according to the Globe. “A video game in a public space could be used by anybody of any age.”
The removal of these machines with shooting games comes as the video game industry is having to defend its content. The gaming industry would point out that while popularity of video games have increased since the 1990s, violent crime has decreased.
The Entertainment Software Association said in a statement that it had told Vice President Joe Biden, who attended a three-day meeting regarding gun violence last week, that “independent, scientific research conducted to date has found no causal connection between video games and real-life violence.”
The Associated Press reported that studies conflict as to the impact of violence in video games and films. Some would conclude that video games aid in desensitizing people to real-world violence or temporarily quiet part of the brain that governs impulse control, while other studies find no lasting effect.
Watch this local news report from KTLA regarding the gun violence meeting and how the entertainment industry was involved:
Read more coverage from TheBlaze regarding recent gun control debates here.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Featured image via Shutterstock by S. Buckley.