“Video Games Affect People”

The full quote from Republican Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander is “I think video games is [sic] a bigger problem than guns, because video games affect people.” He said it during a short interview on MSNBC during the current Senate Judiciary hearings on gun violence:

He went on to acknowledge that the First Amendment protects video games the way the Second Amendment protects guns. But of course he was pounced on anyway for being an old codger who doesn’t understand video games.

The attempt to protect guns from regulation by blaming culture is obviously not a new thing, and the NRA has already been righteously mocked for embracing it as a defense in the wake of new gun control efforts inspired by the Sandy Hook tragedy.

He is wrong that video games are a bigger problem than guns (I would argue that neither video games nor guns are a problem, which is why I’m here and not at either Daily Kos or the NRA or serving political office). He is not wrong when he says that video games “affect” people, so I’m slightly interested that he used that particular phrasing.

Video games certainly can affect people the way movies and music and books do. This makes video games awesome, not scary. Game-friendly media outlets are quick to provide coverage to anything that shows the positive ways video games are affecting people’s lives, so there’s no excuse for a politician not to know better other than the cynical desire to connect with a particularly distrustful voter demographic (and the blame shifting – we mustn’t forget that).

Anybody interested in the video game counterpart of those anecdotes of mothers and fathers protecting their loved ones thanks to guns should check out “How Games Saved My Life.” It’s a modest little Tumblr feed full of submitted stories of people finding ways to deal with life’s curveballs with the help of games. The title of the feed can be misleading for quite a few of the stories, but there’s also quite a few doozies. Sadly, it looks as though the Tumblr organizer has abandoned it and there haven’t been any updates since last May.

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  • Almanian.||

    So no one's life has been "saved" by video games since last May, based on that Tumblr site.

    Therefore, DRONES. I mean, "BAN TEH VYLENT VIDEO GAMESZ!!11"!

  • Hugh Akston||

    Sadly, it looks as though the Tumblr organizer has abandoned it and there haven’t been any updates since last May.

    People who don't update their Tumblrs are worse than Hitler.

  • Almanian.||

    You know who el....never mind.

  • Rich||

    Indeed. They're worse than *Hitlr*.

  • Paul.||

    Literally.

  • SIV||

    Those video games are well-hidden behind the First Amendment. So what if they take a little criticism. The Senator isn't proposing any kind of ban LIKE THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF THE CATO INSTITUTE IS WITH GUNS.When are you cosmo-pussies going to go after Robert A. Levy?

  • Calidissident||

    Show me on the doll where the cosmotarian touched you

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    I don't get what this cosmotarian shit is supposed to mean. People who push preemptive laws are not libertarians.

  • AlmightyJB||

    The only thing I can come up with is that a Cosmotarian is a Libertarian who is also a Cosmonaut. I know that sounds cool but evidently some people don't like them. Not one bit.

  • SIV||

    Commies all...I hate those guys.

  • cavalier973||

    I thought it was they were devoted fans of Kramer.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Kramer was a communist....

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Good thing Ed Crank kept the Kochs from taking over and making CATO into a partisan mouthpiece instead of a libertarian thought source.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Funny thing is in that melee an Objectivist from the ARI managed to take control of Cato. That was several months ago. Should be some interesting changes ahead...

  • wingnutx||

    Blowing off steam by playing Fallout keeps me from actually burning the city down.

  • An0nB0t||

    I play StarCraft to redirect an otherwise uncontrollable urge to raise a private army of psionic warriors or breed several different strains of invasive and lethal xenomorphs.

  • Sudden||

    Anyone else try out the Sim City V beta this past weekend? No godmode terraforming. I am teh disappoint. All in all seems like a decent game, and I think some of the aspects will add a cool element to it (world markets in specific commodities, etc.) but with the city maps seeming pretty small and the lack of terraforming, I don't think it'll even match the decade old Sim City 4 for depth and detail.

  • Scott S.||

    I applied but didn't get an invite.

  • Aresen||

    I don't see why people need video games. Why can't they just play with themselves like people used to?

  • John Galt||

    +1

  • Tman||

    Egads Lamar is such a tool. As a resident of Tennessee I apologize.

  • An0nB0t||

    On the plus side, he is very old and will retire or die soon.

  • Aresen||

    He's only 82.

    That's practically puberty in Senate years.

  • An0nB0t||

    Sadly, he's only 72 and is running for reelection in 2014.

    But, since he's from TN, he has a very good chance of dying of diabetes in the next three to six months, so there's that.

  • Calidissident||

    *Diabeetus

  • ||

    Hey at least he admitted the Constitution protects both guns and video-games. The irony is of course lost on the Daily Kos.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Come on, Scott. McConnell isn't a turtle, he's Woodsy the Owl. "Give a hoot; don't Borderlands 2"

  • Virginian||

    Archer: Thanks, Woodsy. (Pause) The drug owl?

  • A Serious Man||

    Archer: Ugh, what the hell have I been doing?

    Lana: Chain smoking joints the size of tampons.

    Archer: Ew.

    Lana: Figure of speech.

    Archer: Still though ew.

  • Fatty Bolger||

  • A Serious Man||

    He's right, which is why ever since I first started playing Super Mario 64 at the age of 7 I've been stepping on every turtle I see and eating mushrooms.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Guns don't kill people, IMAGINARY guns kill people!

  • Jerry on the boat||

    Is it wrong to play Lemmings and see how many you can kill off?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Not at all! That's good training if you ever want a cabinet-level military command.

  • Scott S.||

    I think Chuck Hagel was asked about it today.

  • Hyperion||

    I think Chuck Hagel was asked about it today

    What happened to this guy today? I hear it went badly. Doesn't he know the drill?

    Questioning Senator: So, Mr. Hagel, what do you propose to do, to keep America Safe?

    Hagel: MOAR WARZ! DRONEZ! KILL MOAR BROWN BABIES!!! WAR! KILL! WAR GOOOOD, KILL!

    Questioning Senator: By Gawd! I think we have our guy!

  • Cytotoxic||

    You reveal more about your perception than anything else in this post.

  • General Butt Naked||

    No, it showed that you are physically incapable of stuffing your war-boner back into your pants for more than five minutes.

    "Hey everybody, Cyto's here to tell us about his war-boner..."

    "...again."

    *yawn*

  • Hyperion||

    You mean my perception that Cytotoxic of the Neocon tribe, is a war monger?

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Win

  • ||

    Keep that up and you'll be drafted as a Drone Specialist, 1st Class in no time.

  • Mike M.||

    I enjoy video games too, but if your kid is playing them sixteen hours a day day in and day out, well I'm sorry, but that's a problem. That isn't normal human behavior, and if it isn't nipped in the bud, the kid is going to have serious issues. That of course is a job for parents, who shouldn't need to be told something so freaking obvious.

  • Sudden||

    See: Korea, Republic of

  • mr lizard||

    You should've seen the shit that sega game Strider inspired me to do. I was bouncing off walls and climbing stuff long before this Parkore nonsense

  • Hyperion||

    I think video games is [sic] a bigger problem than guns

    Good grief, when are these geriatric old congress critters just going to fucking die already?

    If I would have been a young congress critter on the floor when he said that, I would have ran up behind him and gave him a giant wedgie with his depends.

    That decrepit old coot has never played a video game in his life.

    I swear I am beginning to think that the entire generation of people in the US born in the 30s and 40s were traumatized by something so bad, maybe world war II, I don't know, maybe the nuke tests they did back then poisoned the air and water and fucked them all up. They are all sociopathic and deranged as hell, and worthless for anything, except maybe to be sent to the glue factory.

    You wonder why kids are so worthless these days? Old coots like these are their professors! They are wondering the hallways of our universities like zombies, tenured forever, and the only way they ever leave is in a body bag!

    Ron Paul must have been in a bunker somewhere and so escaped the derangement syndrome that affected his entire generation.

    Gawd, if I ever get as fucking stupid as Lamar Alexander, please somebody shoot me, I am not even joking.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Ron Paul must have been in a bunker somewhere and so escaped the derangement syndrome that affected his entire generation.

    He was in Pittsburgh.

    We're still waiting to hear the details of some sort of bombing in Hawaii by the Japs.

  • Hyperion||

    It was the magical fallout proof power of the 3 rivers, carried the radiation right away.

    Also made Terry Bradshaw bald, but that's another story.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Terry Bradshaw went bald from jerking off to pictures of himself.

    Everybody knows that.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Little know fact though. His hands look like they belong to a werewolf.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    That doesn't explain how Santorum was produced.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Well, one one man meets another man, and they really like each other, they get really close...

    Ummm, see, it's like wrestling, but naked...

  • Hyperion||

    That doesn't explain how Santorum was produced

    Mr. Rodgers had an affair with Tammy Fay Baker. When the baby was born, they wrapped him in a sweater vest.

    I thought everyone knew that story.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Leisure Suit Larry had quite an impact on my impressionable mind when I was a lad.

  • SweatingGin||

    And it's how I learned about Spiro Agnew. Would be much easier in the age of google and wiki.

  • Hyperion||

    At least looks were not considered important in putting together a winning presidential team ticket, back in those days.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Just to torment myself, I watched a little bit of Chrissie Matthews' show. The featured hysteric was that crazy bitch from New York who has made a political career out of being a "victim" of gun violence because somebody shot her husband or something.

    Anyway, the best part was hearing Chrissie hike up his skirts and squeal about how it's the Evul Heartless Republikkkins who have been driven completely insane by Sandy Hook.

  • ||

    I write video games for preschoolers and I've got to tell you, they're sanitized to the hilt. For example a badger is a total herbivore in one of these games; the little tykes would obviously faint if they learned that friendly badger actually (mostly) consumes other friendly animals.

  • Hyperion||

    I hope the badger is gender neutral, and only uses the correct gender neutral words when lecturing the less enlightened creatures about social justice.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I heard that badgers don't give a shit.

  • sarcasmic||

  • ||

    That's very disturbing.

  • Dweebston||

    Honey badgers don't give a shit. Regular badgers give quite a bit of it.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I heard that regular badgers couldn't give two shits.

    It's true that they may, on occasion, give a shit they've never been observed giving two. At least in the wild; I don't know about badgers raised in captivity.

  • Hyperion||

    I'm getting ready to mod Fallout 3 with the new HD textures for a future replay, looks pretty sweet.

    Currently doing replay of Skyrim with 8G of texture mods. Best graphics I've ever seen.

    Can't believe how much time some people spend on doing all of these free mods, but it sure gives some nice replay value to a lot of games.

    If you have to be a girly wuss and insist on a non-violent game, I would suggest The Book of Unwritten Tales. It's pretty cool for an adventure game.

  • Ska||

    Skyrim - try Skyrim HD 1_6, SMIM, and Natural Water on top of the regular Bethesda HD pack. All work great together. Better clutter, better dynamic snow, and enhanced night sky also work nicely. There is also the unofficial Skyrim patch at the Skyrim Nexus that does a lot of good bug fixing. I'd also recommend complete crafting overhaul, weapons and armor fixes, and perk fixes, as those three mods fix a lot of quirky Bethesda oversights that fuck up what the weapons and perks were really meant to do in the first place.

    Gave me a reason to start all over again. I also threw in Better Magic to fuck with a mage character.

  • Sudden||

    I need to restart my Skyrim journey. I loved the game, until I found the weapon hack (potions of fortify magicka and fortify smithing while wearing five items of fortify smithing enchantment and then I created a bow that could one shot kill any dragon in the game).

    I need to restart from square one and not get the temptation to cheatgame the system like a solar energy company.

  • Hyperion||

    The one I have installed(along with several others) that I have heard is the ultimate texture mod is the Skyrim Realistic Overhaul. Now difficult to find because the guy got himself banned from Nexus. But it looks incredible.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Fallout 3 with new textures? Crap, there goes my weekend.

  • Hyperion||

    NMC texture pack and Authentic ENB.

    We'll see how it goes.

    NV with the texture packs from Nexus is pure awesomeness.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Better stock up on RadAway

  • Hyperion||

    I'm still trying to get someone to do the mod where all the super mutants have congress critter faces.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    A-HA!

  • Hyperion||

    Yes, it was all my idea.

  • Ska||

    Yeah, I use the NMC packs for both as well.

    For NV I recommend he bounty hunter mods (there are 3 I think, each adding around 30 bounties with fully voiced NPCs) and the Bison Steve quests mod (player home outside of New Vegs, makes Bison Steve's a player owned casino after doing a whole questline, fully voiced). There are so many other ones to throw in, but that's off the top of my head and they're worth downloading.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Old coots like these are their professors! They are wondering the hallways of our universities like zombies, tenured forever, and the only way they ever leave is in a body bag!

    No shit. I happened to be in town at the time of my twenty fifth reunion, so I cruised the periphery of a few events to find a few people I was interested in talking to. I was horrified by how many of the same doddering imbeciles were still there, and still teaching the same classes I suffered through. It's good to know Woodrow Wilson is still revered as a god in those hallowed halls.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    My gaming career pretty much began and ended with Asteroids.

    I just never saw the point. Old mechanical pinball machines were way more fun.

  • General Butt Naked||

    That's 'cause you're like older than the constitution, and stuff.

  • Paul.||

    Clearly, you never played pong!

  • Hyperion||

    Dude, you need to drink a couple beers and play some Skyrim.

  • ||

    No, martinis and Borderlands. Which is what I should be doing, but I have to go to Trader Joe's and then work out instead. ARRGGHHH

  • Sudden||

    Except for your 8G texture modded version, he'll need a computer that would be capable of powering the entire NORAD system of 1984.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I think you could of ran NORAD on a TI 89 and had some leftover processing power to play minesweeper.

  • Sudden||

    Yeah, I should probably change my comment to indicate the NORAD system of 2004. Now if only I could find that damn edit button...

  • General Butt Naked||

    Yeah, didn't you see that movie in the 80s where they shut NORAD down with tic-tac-toe?

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    I heard norad ran on a palm pilot in 2004

  • Sudden||

    You misheard. The media said the NORAD was being run (into the ground) by a draft-dodging Texas Air National Guard pilot in 2004.

  • Hyperion||

    Well, yeah, he may need to upgrade from that TRS-80.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    TI-99/4As are much better

  • Paul.||

    Libertarians: Being gangbanged from both sides of the aisle.

  • Gus||

    You know you want it.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Isn't that part of GTA?

  • Gus||

    Choosing Super Mario to represent the panoply of video games is intellectually disingenuous.

  • General Butt Naked||

    You serious?

  • Sudden||

    He might have a point. Duck Hunt might be the quintessential example of gaming. Old skool like Mario (in fact was part of the same exact cartridge as the original Mario), but also involved TEH GUNZ and TEH VIOLENZE!

  • sarcasmic||

    Got the stepkid a Wii for Xmas and the new Mario is pretty good. Seriously.

  • General Butt Naked||

    What some don't understand is that video games are so ubiquitous among people under 30, that no matter what metric or phenomenon that you're looking at, for that age group, there will be correlation with gaming.

    Yes, these crazy fucks play video games, but so does every other kid in america.

  • Sudden||

    Being exactly 30 years old, this comment makes me feel young.

  • sarcasmic||

    Turning exactly 40 this year, this comment makes me feel old.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Your comment makes me feel old

  • sarcasmic||

    If it's any consolation, I did see Empire in the theater.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    So you're the one who saw Warhol's 6 hour film

  • sarcasmic||

    I meant the one where Leia says.. nevermind. I've never figured out is she meant he is a scruffy herder of nerfs, or a herder of scruffy nerfs.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    "Who's scruffy looking?" kind of gives it away.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I feel drunk.

  • sarcasmic||

    aye

  • Hyperion||

    I feel drunk

    That happens to me a lot when I drink.

  • Hyperion||

    Both of you will still be gaming when you're 50. But at least for Sudden, those will be games that make Skyrim look like pong, probably full VR immersion that you will barely be able to tell, if at all, from real life, except hopefully it won't hurt as bad when you get blown up or hacked to pieces by super mutants.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    I fully expect (and demand) VR immersion by my 80's. It's the only way I'm still going to get laid.

  • sarcasmic||

    The other day I'm playing Mario with the eleven year old stepkid and he remarks "Wow, you're good at this!" to which I reply "Yeah, I first started playing it twenty five years ago. Shit. I'm old."

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Lamar is old enough to have participated in the comic book moral panics as well. May his eternal watchfulness keep us all safe from the hazards of supermutants and daedra.

  • Hyperion||

    His biggest adrenalin gaming rush was rolling some glass marbles around in an alley.

  • General Butt Naked||

    That sounds like some sort of old white republican guy sex thing.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    He was probably tossing cow pies

  • General Butt Naked||

    Poop-cow-sex is gross.

    I bet that's what it was.

  • crashland||

    With the pussification of kids today, where everybody gets a ribbon just for trying, thank GOD for violent video games. When kids are suspended for Lego guns,finger guns etc etc, where else we will we get the next generation of soldiers to continue our everlasting war?

    I want a fucking holo deck. I want to see my opponents die and scream in pain from a well placed gut shot.

  • Hyperion||

    Oculus Rift type devices will be the closest thing for the near future.

    Maybe in a few years, we can all print our own holo decks.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I'm not calling for banning games or whatever, but there's a big difference between fantasy games like Super Mario Bros and the more verisimilar gaming that we have nowadays. You probably weren't either satiating or solidifying any desire to stomp on or slide turtles when playing SMB, because it was clearly a fantasy setting.

    Some kids who have violent urges might satiate them via violent, realistic video games; others will solidify them via the same games. Most will have neither phenomenon happen but let's not pretend that it doesn't happen.

  • sarcasmic||

    As someone who has played both, I can tell that you've played neither.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Uh, sure you can.

  • Hyperion||

    Never mind Tulpa, his inner nanny stater is coming out, he can't help it.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Whatever, dude.

    There's a reason married couples watch porn videos together to get in the mood rather than looking at naughty comics.

  • General Butt Naked||

    If this were true, we'd see a statistically significant number of shootings by gamers, but we don't. The sheer number of young gamers out there indicates that at least a couple of them will be killers.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    It's hard to ascribe anything statistical to the tiny amount of observations we have.

  • General Butt Naked||

    That's your answer right there.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    It's not a question, but a lesson learned in time.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    *Grabs bag of popcorn*

  • nilecroc||

    I joined solely for purpose of telling you how stupid you are.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Don't tell him that, he'll start thinking his "insights" are providing page views for Reason. It'll go to his egg-shaped head.

    And, welcome to the neighborhood.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Whatever dude.

    Back when they started registration, they sent me a personal email specifically asking me to please register so I could continue sharing my commentary.

    It's clear they see the talent.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I got the same email, and I have no talent.

    Take that as you want.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Don't you steal my sunshine.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Oh, and did you see Mr. ColionNoir's new vid?

    This dude has some of the best and logically argued vids out there.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    No, I didn't.

  • SIV||

    Back in the day when your Dad was still pumping his allowance into Galaxians and Missle Command I was bangin' your Mom.
    I'm not looking to ban your Ataris and your Gameboys but that doesn't mean I have to like 'em, particularly when they come as bloatware on my computer phone. Now get off my lawn!

  • Killazontherun||

    “I think video games is [sic] a bigger problem than guns, because video games affect people."

    This is why Republicans can't be taken seriously.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I think politicians are a bigger problem than guns, because politicians fuck you in the ass which is not cool.

  • eyeroller||

    This is why Republicans can't be taken seriously.

    Yeah, that's the only reason.

  • cavalier973||

    You know what's fun? Playing a game and blogging about it.

    http://balanpshaw.wordpress.com/

  • cavalier973||

    ^^This is Baldur's Gate.

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