Every once in a while, a politician tries to draw a connection between video games and real-life violence, sensationalizing their point with the grisliest game images they can find. The most recent example was on display during President Donald Trump’s White House meeting last week with the gaming industry. Now, the non-profit Games for Change is showing that two can play the montage game.
Trump’s meeting was intended to address video game violence in reference to the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida, though authorities didn’t cite game violence as a contributing factor and there’s no scientific evidence connecting video games and violent behavior. During the meeting, government officials showed an 88-second montage of violence in video games. The video also appears on the White House’s official YouTube channel.
It’s undeniable that video games can be violent—but anyone familiar with gaming could tell you that. Many games are indeed violent. Some are extremely violent. Some let you perform unspeakable, murderous acts on digital versions of humans, animals, aliens, and plants. There’s plenty of fodder for anyone looking to compile a highlight reel.
But that’s not all video games are. Just like any form of media—movies, books, television shows—some games depict violence, while many others don’t. You could play video games your whole life without ever shooting or stabbing anyone, or even slicing up a piece of fruit.
As a counterpoint to the White House’s gruesome montage, Games for Change released its own 88-second video highlighting the beauty of video games.
The goal of Games for Change is to “drive real-world change using games that help people to learn, improve their communities, and contribute to make the world a better place.”
The games highlighted in the reel include meditative adventures like Life is Strange, Never Alone, Journey, and Monument Valley. These games don’t hinge on violence. Even the games in the video that do depict violence, like Shadow of the Colossus, tend to do it in a more muted way.
In the video’s description, Games for Change writes, “Video games… are so much more than what is depicted in the White House’s video. We wanted to create our own version, at the same length, to challenge the White House’s misdirected blame being placed upon video games. To all you game developers and players who create and enjoy games – this is for you!”
Video games encompass a wide variety of genres, only some of which portray violent acts. And without any evidence of a connection between video game violence and real-life violence, politicians who bring it up are just wasting everyone’s time.