Over the weekend, The United States has seen 30 people killed, and many more injured, in two mass shooting within 24 hours of each other. Instead of looking into gun legislation, like any responsible leader would do, US President Donald Trump has slandered video games as a potential catalyst for these heinous crimes.
We could fact check this through multiple studies, coming to the conclusion that there is no, nor has there ever been, tangible link between the playing of so-called “violent video games” and actual violence - but I believe CNN Politics and The New York Times have got us covered.
What we’re going to do is look at the times video games have actually saved people in real life situations. Here’s our top five:
5. A boy saves his sister from a moose attack thanks to ‘WOW’
Norwegian born Hans Jørgen Olsen was walking home from school with his sister via a shortcut through the woods (which strangely sounds like the start to every child parable before shit hits the fan), when a moose started to become aggravated by their presence.
Rather than panic, Hans used the “taunt” skill he learnt from playing ‘World of Warcraft’ and distracted the moose’s attention away from his sister - for those who don’t know: the “taunt” is used in the game to focus enemies so you can take them on one at a time.
When the moose began to charge him, he used another trick he picked up from WOW and feigned his own death by dropping to the ground and playing dead (level 30, if you’re interested). The moose eventually lost interest and walked away. That’s a ‘W’ for Hans.
4. 12-year-old saves friends by recognising a grenade thanks to ‘Counter Strike’
In 2013, Jose Darwin Garciano and his friends were playing in the streets of their city Mandaue in the Phillipines when they found a few weird looking objects. Being young and fearless, the group decided to take a closer look at theses things by holding them - luckily Jose recognised the impending danger.
He remembered seeing this exact shape when playing the very popular shooter game ‘Counter Strike’, and quickly warned his friends to place them down safely until police can be notified and defuse them properly.
If there was ever an argument to be made about finding time to go to an internet cafe with friends to play ‘CS:GO’, this would be it.
3. ‘GTA’ helped a boy safely steer a vehicle after his grandfather blacked out
For a game that’s renowned for killing, prostitutes and stealing cars, it’s kind of nice to think that something good can come from it. Charley Cullen, aged 11, successfully navigated oncoming traffic on a highway in 2014, after his grandfather blacked out at the wheel.
He eventually collided with a wall while trying to wake his grandfather, and credited all his driving prowess to the game. Can’t say we fully endorse the game as a proper driver’s ed but hey, you go glen coco!
2. Canadian teen acts quickly to prevent a suicide
Online gaming can be a cesspit of aggravated youth exclaiming how they plan to violate your mother for no apparent reason other than losing at a game, but every now and again we are given a flicker of hope that the future of this planet may actually be in safe hands.
A Canadian teen noticed that another player was showing signs of depression and even hinting towards suicide. He didn’t know this player’s name, nor where he lived, and all he had was the player’s gamer tag - so that’s what he told the police when he called with the concern. They were able to log into Xbox Live and spend a few hours talking him down.
Here’s the kicker of that story: the boy’s own parents had no idea their son was even remotely depressed. If this is not the biggest advocate for how gaming communities are some of the best to be a part of it, I don’t know what is.
1. Man saves life thanks to medic training he received while playing ‘America’s Army’
It’s rare that any first person shooter game will teach you anything except how to navigate corners with paranoid precision, or how to replicate the sounds of ‘Goldeneye’ with eerie accuracy.
Speaking of ‘Goldneye’, the hero of story does sound like he is from the same universe. Paxton Galvanek witnessed an SUV flip upside down in front of him in 2007, slammed on his brakes and got out and helped. The SUV began billowing smoke, so with no prior training, apart from the countless hours he poured into ‘America’s Army’, Galvanek pulled the driver from the wreckage.
He expertly aided the victim by using a towel to stop the blood loss, telling him to raise his hand over his head to prevent any further blood flow, and elevated the wounds as not to cause any clots. All this without a single day at medical school.
These are just five examples we found that show how video games can be a positive thing, shaking off the derogatory dogma that has shackled it for nearly 20 years. The senseless act of gunning down the innocent breaks the very foundation of a unified humanity; mothers, daughters, fathers, sons - the world mourns every life taken.
To blame video games or the gaming industry is just a cop out, and we haven’t even explored the positive implications games can have for people’s mentality - look no further than The Feed on SBS. I hope we as a people can recognise this, and begin to pressure those who would use video games as a distraction from the real issues.