Venezuelan Government Blames Video Games For Violence, Implements Widespread Ban

from the ouch dept

Via Game Politics we hear about the situation in Venezuela, where the government is apparently blaming video games for the widespread violence in the country, and has issued a ban on the import, production or sale of any video games that include weapons. The link above is a rather heartfelt writeup, by someone in Venezuela, discussing the many problems the people in that country face, and making it clear that it’s not violent video games that are the problem. It’s long, but is a worthwhile read. Here’s just a small snippet:

This situation is painful to behold. Even if I barely game at all these days, I am a gamer at neocortex. I spent countless hours solving puzzles, riddles and fighting monsters in dungeons. I rescued Toadstool many times, only to be told that thanks, but my Princess was in another castle, later I joined Link and rescued Zelda from Agahnim and Ganon, using the Master Sword and the Silver Arrows. I got the Zantetsu sword and cut metal, I summoned Ifrit, Odeen and Behemoth. From Dragoon, I became a Paladin. I sneaked on Big Boss’ fortress in Zanzibar and stopped doomsday with Solid Snake. I fought along a Double Dragon trapped on a Final Fight, using my Killer Instinct in a Mortal Kombat in which only the greatest Street Fighter would come alive. I was Linked to the Past by a Chrono Trigger, my Soul Blazing, as I lived my Final Fantasies, Wandering from Ys, arriving to a Lagoon, to learn about the Secret of Mana, and finally understood that there is Ever More to life.

These games are a cherished part of my life, they helped to shape my young mind, they gave me challenges and vastly improved my English, opening the door to a whole new world of literature, music and people from all around the world. What I have achieved, all my research, how I have been able to travel even though I’m always broke, the hard work I’ve done to convince people to fund a start up for cheap biotech for developing countries and regular folks, none of that would have been possible hadn’t I learned English through video games.

Now, thanks to the tiny horizons of the cast of morons who govern me, thanks to the stupidity and ham-fisted authoritarianism of the local authorities, so beloved of so many liberals, my 7 year old brother’s chances to do the same could be greatly impacted.

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Comments on “Venezuelan Government Blames Video Games For Violence, Implements Widespread Ban”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: English as a video game language

Hello Lobo Santo,
Welcome to remedial reading, 101.

“…none of that would have been possible hadn’t I learned English through video games.”

I suppose you also think that アニメ is also a poor method for improving one’s Japanese?

You suppose wrong. And I never said video games are a poor method for improving English either. But they certainly aren’t the only way, so put away your straw man.

R. Miles (profile) says:

Re: English as a video game language

That’s a pretty weak argument.
Reading comprehension lesson time:
“I learned English *** THROUGH *** video games.”

Not from. Big difference. Many of my friends not native to America share similar stories at having learned through movies and antiquated TV shows.

Hell, even I’m taking this approach learning Japanese *through* anime and *from* course books. Best way to learn dialogue, speech, and inflection which *no* book can do.

Agreed the ban is beyond moronic and it’s nice to see the statement on how it provided a benefit, rather than another negative.

Of course, he could always take up arms and overthrow the government. When the media requests where he got his knowledge, he can quip “Why, from ‘The A-Team’, of course!”

Chris Maresca (profile) says:

Re: English as a video game language

I would say that that comment could only come from someone that has NEVER learned another language. Static video of any kind is a fantastic way of improving/learning a language and interactive video is even better.

I know someone who has a perfect command of English and, more importantly, American idioms, almost solely through watching television… They are too old to have extensively played video games, but had they been younger, I have no doubt it would have played a huge part in their learning.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: English as a video game language

I would say that that comment could only come from someone that has NEVER learned another language. Static video of any kind is a fantastic way of improving/learning a language and interactive video is even better.

So, you really think video games are the only way to learn another language? I’ve got news for you, people have been learning languages since well before there was any such thing as video games. Now there may actually be some people out there who can only learn language from video games, but I think their numbers are probably low enough that it makes for a weak argument.

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

When it doesn't work ...

So what are they going to use as an explanation when the video game ban does absolutely nothing to stop violence?
Are they going to reverse this decision? (That goes back to the laws should have expirations and if the law isn’t accomplishing goal)

And to look at one tiny bright side, this will prove to be a most excellent demonstration to all those up here in the States like Jack Thompson that video games do indeed cause no violence. They do not make people evil.
We can point out that an entire country tried to get rid of them, and the violence did not stop once they were banned.
They would be hard pressed to come up with anything even remotely believable after this.

People are just violent. It is in the human nature. They can try to use video games as a scapegoat, but they have never been a root cause.

Martin Cohn (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“That’s what happens when your country is ruled by Donkey Kong.”

Quite profound! Questioning the logic of a dictator would be a lot like discussing law with a cartoon character. No matter what you say, the other side doesn’t have to obey any concept of reality. The only difference is that one yells “Rabbit Season” a bit less often, but I forget which one.

AOC (profile) says:

we, venezuelans, can't afford videogames

the ban doesn’t make any difference… the majority of venezuelans can’t afford videogames, instead they buy pirated copies. While an original videogame costs about $150 (yes, i’m talking about US$!!!), you can buy a pirated one for $2 – $15 on the street, and even some shopping mall’s stores.

The government can ban all the imported videogames they want, but nobody buys them anyway.

Glenn says:


No one ever said that intelligence was required in order to gain or exert political or social power… or to post comments in blogs: one person’s statement of how useful some game was to him in learning a language or with regard to opening up a world of possibilities for pursuits outside of a game does not necessarily imply anything for anyone else. I mean… WoW!

Luis says:

video games

El problema de la violencia en Venezuela no es debido
a los video-juegos si no a los caprichosos huevos de Hugo Chavez.
Quizas cuando los Venezolanos que lo elijieron se gasten unos
cuantos chavitos en balas en vez de juegos y maten a ese sinverguenza pueda tu hermanito competir tanto en los video-juegos que tu lamentas como en el juego de la vida.

qyiet (profile) says:

Interesting experiment

This is a good thing.. Well not for the Venezuelans (and I am sorry guys).

But lets keep a running track on violent crime figures and see if there is any significant difference. While correlation isn’t causation, and we can’t infer much from what comes out, if there IS a link then there should be a measureable difference in the stats after that ban goes live.

I’m sure the ‘think of the children’ people will ignore any data.. but at least it will give us ammunition to stop similar lunacy in our own countries.

yic17 (user link) says:

It's not impossible ...

that video games can cause violence in “kids”. I personally am not affected by it since I’m an adult. But I’ve got a 3 year old nephew who always “mimics” what he sees on TV or YouTube videos and started hitting people because those animations or video games show people hitting other people. So I definitely believe that “kids” who cannot yet control themselves can be affected by violence video games.

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