It's only a game, right?

Last night we bought a refurbished PS2, not having the money for something shiny and new. We bought a bunch of used games - some his pick, some mine. One of his was Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, which series has apparently caused a lot of controversy for its pervasive violence and sexuality. It's a one-player game, so I watched him play it for about 15-20 minutes last night.

I am no prude, and not easily shocked, but I don't know what I was more horrified by - the fact that the game's character could beat up and kill innocent people on the street, or that my boyfriend did. Now, he's not a violent person, and I recognize that his behavior within the game in no way indicates he'd do anything of the sort in real life, but it bothers me that it would even occur to him. "Just because I can" seems to be the mentality.

I'm not sure what to do with this. Like I said, he's not a violent person, so I have no fear of him. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding something fundamental about male fantasies vs. realities. I know part of my disturbance stems from my belief that violent thoughts have the same internal impact as violent actions. In other words, intent is as important as action. Also, viewing violence desensitizes the viewer. In the end, it's his karma to deal with, and I'm not going to prevent him from playing it. I just want to have no part in it.

This describes my beliefs pretty well:

I doubt that anyone here went on a killing spree because they played a video game. A person who plays 100 hours of a violent game will have rehearsed that much more hostility in themselves than a person who has played 0 hours of it. A person who plays 1000 hours has that much more than a person who played 100 etc. That rehearses an emotion and mindset. It doesn't have to surface as physical violence. It may emerge as a more hostile attitude while your driving and someone cuts you off, or you may be just a litttle quicker to anger when someone confronts you with hostility.

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