Coming as a bit of a shock to the video game community, the hugely popular Minecraft is under investigation in the Republic of Turkey. The reasons why may resonate a lot with gamers considering the past few months of events with Gamergate.
Minecraft was launched in 2009 as the brain child of Swedish video game developer Mojang. Since it’s inception, it has been used to re-create Denmark on a 1:1 scale (forty thousand billion bricks), became the most-played Xbox live game and sold more than 17 million copies. Unfortunately, it has also drawn the ire of a certain section of the Republic of Turkey’s government, more specifically the “Family and Social Policies Ministry.”
The Family and Social Policies Ministry provides a variety of services including: children services, family and public services, disabled and elderly services, social aids, status of women and others. According to the Daily News article linked above, this section of the Turkey government is investigating Minecraft over a number of accusations that it promotes violence and more importantly violence towards women. A more detailed look into the investigation shows that the ministry is seeking to find whether or not the game contains triggers that will induce violence in whoever is playing the game.
There is no doubt that Minecraft contains elements of violence which involve everything from slaying zombies to dragons to other unique creatures. However, killing these creatures is not completely necessary unless you are playing the games “survival mode”, which is one of several mode choices a player can start the game with. In short, this isn’t a situation which is forced upon the person playing the game. Unfortunately, this has not deterred some from linking Minecraft to the ill-founded actions of others.
For example, in September of 2013, a local news site reported on a nine year old boy in Orlando, Florida who had brought a handgun, a steak knife and several other weapons to his school. When his father was asked why he did this, he responded saying that his son was “playing a character he learned from a video game.” That game happened to be Minecraft.
With the recent debates about the link between violent video games and real life aggression, many studies have surfaced that show that this “link” is nothing but fluff. In fact, one study entitled “Violent Video Games and Real-World Violence: Rhetoric Versus Data” concluded that “Contrary to the claims that violent video games are linked to aggressive assaults and homicides, no evidence was found to suggest that this medium was positively related to real-world violence in the United States.”
Either way, time will tell if Minecraft gets labeled as a video game that incites violence in those who play it.
What do you guys think? Is the level of violence in Minecraft too much for young kids? Would you prefer to play a game before allowing your children to play if you had doubts?