By Robert Lyon
As a life-long PC gamer dating back to the Radio Shack TRS-80 and Commodore VIC-20 days, I don’t buy the assertion that violent video games have any more influence on our behavior than any other external stimuli. But as I can now attest, the opposite may be true.
For years I was a big fan of the online zombie-killing game Left 4 Dead 2. Run-and-gun shooters aren’t usually my thing, but the co-operative team-based play appealed to my inner White Hattiness. It was me and my buddy Bitmap Bob against the relentless zombie horde.
The ultra-violent gameplay (Germany and Australia initially demanded “no gore” versions) involves realistically killing (or “gibbing”) all manner of post-human and humanesque zombies with pistols, crowbars, sniper rifles, submachine guns, assault rifles, chainsaws, shotguns and grenades.
As of right now I haven’t played the game in months. And it isn’t because I suddenly tired of the gameplay or the online friends I’ve goofed-off with for years.
After the events in Newtown, I just couldn’t stomach it any more. Booting up the PC post-Newtown I quickly found that not only was I *not* enjoying the decapitating, dismembering, and asploding of zombies the way I used to – it actually gave me a knot in my stomach…and nightmares.
As a nation we’re trying to figure out if change is possible after Newtown. I blissfully gibbed zombies while Columbine was in the news – and Virginia Tech, and Tucson, and Aurora. After Newtown, I just can’t do it any more. Newtown changed me.
I think Newtown changed a lot of us in ways we may not even fully understand, which is probably why gun safety advocates believe now is the time to make gun reform happen.
In the event of an actual zombie apocalypse however, look us up. Me and Bitmap Bob gotcha covered.