Are today's video games too violent?

Spike Lee seems to think so! 

Today's video games have sparked controversy over their use of gratuitous violence. In these games, you control characters as they kill, maim, torture, dismember, or explode victims in horrific sprays of blood. These behaviors are even rewarded with money, better items, or congratulatory cutscenes.

Everyone wants to chime in with their opinion on the games, and Spike Lee is no different. In the movie "Inside Man", an 8-year-old boy carries with him a portable video game system. The "villian" in the movie plays the game briefly, and we see the game action on the screen. This clip of the scene is Spike Lee's over-the-top attempt to show us that video game violence has gone too far. Ironically, he fears someone may take his idea and run with it.

In my opinion, violent video games are only a problem for people unable to separate fantasy from reality. Normal, stable people can laugh at a video-game character's head being torn apart by a grenade in his mouth -- because it is fantasy. In fact, when I saw "Inside Man" in the theater (and again on DVD), I laughed at that scene until my stomach hurt and tears rolled down my face. Yet I would be horrified that someone would enjoy anything like that happening in reality.

In other words, I don't believe there is a problem for normal people. There will always be some small psychotic component of society that will take a fantasy situation in a game, movie, or other work of fiction and re-enact it to fufill their own sick desires. But banning violent games would have little effect; these people would just move to another medium to get their kicks.

That said, games like these should be kept out of kids hands -- by their parents! *gasp* Parental responsibility? What's that? In the movie, Clive Owen's character points this out when he says "I gotta talk to [your father] about this game."