Need for Speed: Most Wanted, released in both 2005 and 2012, is one of the most popular video games of the last decade, but some critics claim that it encourages criminal behavior. Are these people right? The argument over media, including video games, television, and music, causing criminal activity has been waging for decades. In the past, it was thought that Elvis Presley’ s gyrating hips would be the end of the world, and these days, people argue over whether video games that introduce criminal themes are the cause of the world’s ills.
The honest truth is that games like Need for Speed: Most Wanted have a direct connection to subversive behavior, at least on screen. After all, the entire point of the game is to outrun the cops and compete in illegal street races; however, how many instances do you know of where someone played a game like Need for Speed: Most Wanted and then went out and tried to emulate it? In fact, how many instances have you heard of in general where someone tried to directly emulate a video game in real life? Yes, there are such instances, but they are so few and far between that it’s difficult to even point them out.
Video Games Are an Easy Scapegoat
Part of the discussion on this topic is that opponents claim that video games are simply a scapegoat and that proponents are not looking at the deeper causes for people’s poor behavior. In this sense, video games become a scapegoat, being blamed when there are many underlying issues that may cause someone to engage in criminal activity. On the flipside, there have been some studies that demonstrate that acting out criminal or violent behavior through video games makes people less likely to act out. This is because they are able to let off steam in a virtual environment with no desire to actually emulate the acts on screen. In this sense, the video games actually prevent people from engaging in criminal activity.
Will This Debate Ever Be Solved?
The question of whether this debate will ever be solved is a tricky one. Although there seem to be constant studies from all angles of science on the subject, the fact is that technology continues to change. What would have been considered violent or criminal in the days of the Atari 2600 is completely different now, and it will likely be completely different in the decades to come. The bottom line? Enjoy playing games, take them for what they are, and treat others with respect. If everyone did that, there wouldn’t even be a debate.
If you love Need for Speed: Most Wanted, check out these 3 Great Simulators!