So, What Explains Car Accidents Before Videogames?

from the crash dept

It hardly needs repeating that videogames take the blame for many things these days, including violence and obesity. But those things are tired, and increasingly people are looking for new ills that can be attributed to videogames. The hot new one seems to be bad youth driving. Back in January, police blamed the game Need for Speed for an auto accident, because a copy of it was found in the wrecked car. And in the spring, a man used the game Grand Theft Auto as an excuse for thinking he could outrun the cops. Now in New Zealand, the government has responded to a recent fatal car accident involving teenagers by pointing the finger at videogame systems, saying they make teenagers feel "bulletproof" when they drive. Frankly, if you've ever spent a day playing a racing videogame, you might find feel this way for a moment when you get into a car, as your brain adjusts back to reality. But it's hard to imagine that anyone would actually change their driving habits because of a game, unless they were really, well, stupid and reckless. Of course, young drivers have always been known to make stupid and reckless decisions, long before the advent of videogames, just as there has always been violence and obesity too.

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  1. identicon
    lil'bit, 29 Dec 2006 @ 6:38pm

    There isn't much hope for us, when we cannot debate a subject without name-calling. Contrary to the beliefs of The Man, you don't have to be with me or against me - there are shades of gray. Your opinion is just as valid as mine, even if it is moronic. Why 97832 had to get insulting is beyond me. While his point was certainly valid and I even agreed with it in part, I was totally turned off by the hateful way in which it was said.

    You know what? There is probably a good chance that videogames do have an influence on behavior, although I doubt it is as directly connected as those who "blame" video games try and make it. It may even be a good influence on behavior, but, as is obvious from this string of comments, we will probably never get past the name calling and do a proper study.

    I don't know if TV has had as horrible an effect as the anti-TV crowd has claimed. I find it laughable that cartoons have been edited so kids won't think they can really walk off a cliff and just hang suspended, like Wiley E. Coyote and Elmer Fudd. Besides never having heard of this actually happening, it can be a good thing. No one that stupid, or from parents that stupid, really needs to grow up and reproduce themselves. It goes without saying that the parents of that child really don't need to leave any lasting evidence of their stupidity either. (I don't, by the way, believe it was ever a problem, so the 'stupid' comments are meant tongue-in-cheek)

    TV has obviously given us a chance to experience things we may never have had the opportunity to know. I doubt I would have ever made it to the Kalahari Desert to observe Meerkats in person, but I sure do enjoy watching them on Animal Planet. So there's one good thing for which we can thank television.

    I strongly believe that the episodic nature of most TV shows - the idea that one's problems can be solved in 22 or 55 minutes; the disconnection between events that happen today with yesterday's events and tomorrow's - that's a bad thing I attribute to television. I believe that disconnect is directly responsible for much of the bs we are living through right now. Would we be in Iraq if the mainstream media had given us in-depth coverage, explaining the history of how Iraq came about and the beliefs and history of the people who live there? How about if the MM reminded us of the strong connection between the Bush Administration, Iran-Contra, support for Bin-Laden (!!) when he was doing our dirty work in Afganistan? I would hope that, had the media been more forthcoming instead of cheerleading us right into invasion, more people would have questioned the motives of our administration and perhaps public opinion against the invasion would have been great enough to stop it.

    I am convinced that Hussein's trial was held in Iraq, delibrately rushed and barely of the law, let alone justice, so Cheney and Rumsfield could cover something up or keep it from coming out - some connection to Hussein they would rather not see made public. The latest, the rush to execute, just strengthens my conviction.

    There again - would it even be an issue if people connected the dots, if the media provided real in-depth coverage? But no, it is presented as stand-alone news, like it doesn't have any effect on anything else around it.

    I wonder if Bush would have even come close to having enough votes to steal an election in 2000, if the media had filled us in on the backgrounds of the people he surrounded himself with - like Cheney et al. I keep learning new things about old news - connections between this administration and the Nixon administration, for example, that have me screaming "Why didn't they tell us this stuff before the electiom in 2000 or even 2004!?!"

    And now our little empire is on it's way down, like the British Empire before us and all 8 years of Bush have managed to do has been to hasten our decline. Don't believe me? The CIA released a study about 3 years ago indicating that the US would lose it's rank as the number one superpower (in all respects, not just or even partly in military and political power) in about 15 years - and that was much less time than it was before January 2001.

    You had to be looking at the little tiny articles buried in the back pages of the paper to read about it; that was one story that didn't come close to making it onto the front page, let alone an evening news program.

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