Earlier this month, the American Psychological Association reaffirmed their stance that video game violence has no proven link with real-world violence. Despite the fact that no study has ever been able to find any kind of direct link between the two, video games have long been a scapegoat for real-life violence and societal ills. Perhaps no video game franchise has gotten more negative attention in this regard than Mortal Kombat. Mortal Kombat 11 is the latest game in the series, and it features Spawn as the latest downloadable character. In an interview with Multiplayer First, Spawn's creator Todd McFarlane was asked about violence in video games, and his views on the matter.
"People are capable of partaking in media and not being influenced to do terrible things. Kids know the difference between the ages of 5-7 that what they see on TV isn’t real. Whenever they are watching Looney Tunes, they know there isn’t a 6-foot tall rabbit that can talk, or you know a talking mouse named Mickey," McFarlane said to Multiplayer First. "Somehow, somewhere down the line, when we all get older, people who are between 18 and 25, they all of a sudden become incapable of doing this. I don’t buy that, that’s not how people work.
Just say you don’t like the content. These things are no more harmful than the typical action movie. There are bad people out there sure, psychopaths, who do awful things, but we can’t let them control what we can create."
It's not surprising to hear McFarlane defending violence in video games. After all, Spawn's appearances have never shied away from violent content, and the character's appearance in Mortal Kombat 11 certainly continues that trend. Still, it is surprising to see the topic come up all these years after the franchise's first release, back in 1992. In the nearly 28 years since, the series has continually upped the ante. That said, the violence has always been done in a less-than-serious tone.
No matter how many years pass, it seems that the Mortal Kombat series will never escape its unfair association with real-world violence. While the video game industry continues to gain respect as an art form, it seems that violence in games will always be held to an unfair standard that no other form of media is held to.
Do you think video game violence has an impact on real-life violence? How do you feel about McFarlane's thoughts on the matter? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!
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