Video Games Don’t Need to Grow Up

The symbol of video games that won't grow up.

The symbol of video games that won’t grow up.

“Video games need to grow up.”

How many times have we heard that phrase? There’s always some group of cultural critics who wants video gaming to “engage the culture” or “embrace its potential” or some other thing. If only they’d stop being about violence and sex, we could get somewhere!

But video gaming doesn’t need to change a thing. It can stay exactly what it is and flourish.

When people ask why video games haven’t grown up, who are they trying to please? A bunch of trend-chasing snobs? Their tastes are worthless; the tastes of those who put money in game companies’ pockets matter far more. Some rabble-rousing social justice activist who wants to ban everything they don’t like? It is a mistake to fall under their control. Government officials? All the problems of the activist multiplied by ten thousand.

As a medium with great influence, video games do not need to prove themselves to anyone but the players. All the people saying “grow up” want to put a leash on the medium and force it to propagate their preferred message. They want to bully developers into making only games that social justice activists deem acceptable, often leveling vile accusations of race-hatred and woman-hatred simply because some developers won’t obey. Creative freedom is not worth headpats from people who hate you.

There is absolutely no need to fall prey to this scheme of takeover and control. Any developer worth their salt should roundly reject these calls to “grow up” and do what they do best: entertain the masses. That way lies freedom. Don’t let Brown v. EMA be for nothing; private activist censorship is just as bad as government censorship — and unlike the government, there is no one to hold them accountable to. Developers cannot trade one master for another.

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