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Ban Video Games? A History of Moral Panic & Media Censorship



Video game bans are once again a topic of discussion after the Stoneman Douglas school shooting in Florida. President Trump and other politicians have been calling for more regulations on video game violence. The belief that violent video games make killers is silly to me and a quick look a history will show that violence in media has little impact on violence in society. So today, we’re going to talk about Moral Panic and Media Censorship in the last century. Topics will include censorship of film, movie review boards, pinball machines being banned, the Comics Code Authority censoring comic book, the PMRC giving parental advisory warnings for music with explicit lyrics, the Satanic Panic from the 80s & 90s, and finally video game censorship. Gameplay will be from Doom, Mortal Kombat, Call of Duty, Bully, Manhunt, Fortnite, and PUBG.

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37 thoughts on “Ban Video Games? A History of Moral Panic & Media Censorship”

  1. Thank you for the thoughtful history on the matter. How many hours of research and writing did this piece take? It doesn’t sound like you’re reading from a script. How do you cover all your points? Great video essay!

  2. Oh! Heads up, Police actually did believe that satanism was a serious thing cropping up in their areas, they weren't bullshitting for money. You can look up official police documents from a variety of cities that claim to be guides to various satanic symbols, I recall one coming out of the Wisconsin that listed the Kiss and Twisted Sister logos alongside Paganism's Pentagrams, Rituals, and various Summoning Cirkets ("Real Satanism" or "Witchcraft" as far as mid evil Christians were concerned and as many still are concerned) as well as both manji and swastika as marks of a Satanist. Let's just say they let superstition surpass their better judgement.

  3. My problem with modern culture is everyone being unable to blame people, rather that objects. Shootings? Blame the gun, video games pills etc. not the failure of parents, mental health problems caused by the latter (example depression), and failure of the laws and officials we already have for obtaining a gun.

  4. HEY GUYS SAY TO PEOPLE WHO LOVE GUN CONTROL TO MOVE TO BRAZIL, WE HAVE GUN CONTROL SINCE 2003 AND NOW ITS ABOULT 60000 MURDER AT THE YEAR. PEOPLE ARE NOT ALOWED TO BUY A SIMPLE REVOLVER 38 AND RIO DE JANEIRO IS IN A WAR AGAINTS DRUGS, SPREAD THE WORD. PS SORRY FOR CAPS AND MY BAD ENGLISH.

  5. Let's look at it this way. I've been listening to heavy metal for over a decade, been watching violent films for the majority of my life, and have enjoyed many gory and violent video games over the years. Still, I think that violence is an immature way to solve problems. I lived with parents that are truly pacifists, I was never surrounded by angry people, and I was never bullied in school. Meanwhile, you look at some of the backgrounds of these people who shoot up schools, and you'll see that they come from broken homes, have abusive parents, and have been subjected to bullying for years.
    The problem isn't with video games, movies, or music. The problem is us. You want tangible results? You want these attacks to actually stop? Then the government isn't what needs to bring change. You need to change. I need to change. We all have to change.

  6. Case by case
    I wouldn't say its necessarily video games. I would argue that a larger issue is the education system. Teaching and informing young people about how/why to learn will make them more aware, and therefore probably realise that Video Games are a fantasy . Older people are at fault for thinking its solely Video Games causing violence, because THEy don't understand them, and learning. Thats my viewpoint.

  7. One thing I do have to add, since the music crusade of the 80s, censorship movements have been losing. Sure, Video games may have a rating system and some age restrictions depending on where you buy them, but no one has been able to stop the industry when it was new. Now, video games are established and make up a multi-billion dollar industry. The truth is, the moral panic dilemma is fading on account of people becoming self-aware of it and seeing just how empty it truly is.

  8. I’m not on either side, but I’m darn tired of politics everywhere, I’ve been subscribed for years and have enjoyed a lot of your content, it’s your channel so do what you want, but politics run rampant these days and it’s starting to drive everyone off the walls, I don’t necessarily agree with what the president said, but he’s no the first and he said it much lighter than most politicians have and he never said to outright ban violent video games

  9. It was satisfying to see Dee Snider just flip the PMRC on its head. It proved that metalheads and rock fans weren’t just drugged morons incapable of deep thought. He really stood up for that community and that’s a blessing that the rock/metal community really needed.

  10. Less and less "freedom" every day. Instead of punishing criminals. Our government and all it's "wisdom" and "intelligence" punish the victims. You're too mental unstable to play, than you can't play. Don't punish everyone because of retards.

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