I guess it all really started back in 2005, with the release of the now infamous “Hot Coffee Mod”, for GTA San Andreas, which enabled your character to have sex with his girlfriend.
At the time the game had a 15+ rating, this was quickly re-rated Adult only by the ESRB, and Rockstar went on to stop production of the game that allowed the MOD and replaced it with a new version with the assets removed.
It really all came to a head when the now disbarred Jack Thompson, decided to wage a vendetta against all violent video games.
Since then there have been various controversies including the alien sex scene in Mass Effect and Alan Titchmarsh had a debate on his panel show and claimed that video games aren’t even rated.
This is the main crux of the issue, most of the people who comment on games, have no real understanding of how they work, and still view consoles as toys, not a mature form of entertainment.
Most recently my local paper the Lancashire Evening Post, decided to run a story that claimed playing a video game for two hours produced the same addiction and high as doing a line of cocaine.
So lets have a look at this.
Effects Of Cocaine:
- Taking cocaine makes users feel on top of the world. Its effect is like the stimulant ‘amphetamines’ (speed) but is stronger and doesn’t last as long. People taking it feel wide-awake, confident and on top of their game.
- Cocaine is a stimulant, so it can raise the body’s temperature, make the heart beat faster and stave off feelings of hunger.
- The effects of crack smoking are virtually immediate, peaking for about two minutes and lasting for only about 10 minutes. For snorted coke there is a slower time to peak but the effects still don’t last that long (around 20-30 minutes).
- After a big night on cocaine, it’s not unusual for people to feel like they’ve got the flu.
- Some people are over-confident on it and so may take very careless risks.
- The hit from coke doesn’t last long and from ‘crack’ lasts even less. When the effects start to wear off there can be a very strong temptation to take more, particularly with the long ‘come down’, the crash period can happen days later.
- Crack and cocaine powder users have died from overdoses. High doses can raise the body’s temperature, cause convulsions and respiratory or heart failure. Risk of overdosing increases if crack is mixed with heroin, barbiturates (sedatives) or alcohol.
- Cocaine is highly risky for anybody with high blood pressure or a heart condition. Perfectly healthy, young people can have a fit or heart attack after taking too much coke and you may not know you’ve got a pre-existing heart condition.
- Those who get into cocaine very often find they begin to crave it more. And because the effects wear off so quickly, cocaine and crack can become an expensive habit to keep.
- Using cocaine a lot makes people feel depressed and run down.
- People who use crack or coke regularly often develop serious problems with anxiety and paranoia. It’s a known cause of panic attacks.
- Large or frequent use of coke tends to knock sexual desire on the head.
- Cocaine can bring previous mental health problems to the surface. If a close relative of yours has had serious mental health problems, it’s possible there might be an increased risk for you in taking cocaine.
- Injecting any drug can cause vein damage, ulcers and gangrene, particularly with dirty equipment. Sharing of needles and other injecting works can help the spread of HIV and hepatitis virus infections.
- It’s easier to overdose if you’re injecting your cocaine. Cocaine is a local anaesthetic and it deadens pain at the injection site. This makes it harder for users to notice the damage they may be doing.
- Using cocaine with other drugs or alcohol (whether with depressant or stimulant substances) can substantially increase risk of side-effects.
- Alcohol and cocaine together can be particularly dangerous as the substances interact in the body to produce a toxic chemical. The risks further increase if other drugs are taken as well.
- Injecting a mixture of cocaine and heroin, known as a ‘speedballing’ is a dangerous cocktail – with potentially fatal results.
- Taking cocaine when you’re pregnant can damage your baby. It may cause miscarriage, premature labour and low birth weight babies. Babies born to mothers who keep using throughout their pregnancy may experience a withdrawal syndrome after delivery.
- Heavy crack users may take heroin to try to dull their cravings. As a consequence, some crack users have become dependent on heroin as well.
- Regularly smoking crack can cause breathing problems and pains in the chest. Smoking anything damages the lungs.
As you can see, there is a huge world of difference between playing a video game and snorting cocaine, because I can’t remember the last time a gamer had a heart attack as a result or breathing problems and pains in the chest.
I suppose the point is, it depends on a persons personality, and people can become addicted to any number of things, not just video games.
To sum it up, when will ignorant people stop making wild claims and realise that as Rockstar recently stated, it is bad parents that allow children to play games that they shouldn’t and even with that considered, after numerous studies there is still no proven link between playing a violent video game and real life violence. If anything the opposite is true as there are numerous studies that show that games can have a positive effect on us, most recently that it can stave off Alzheimers.
So before people start spouting off, they should make sure they get their facts straight.