It’s not that violent games make us more violent (though they have been shown in various studies to make us more aggressive), it’s that they often foster a message of solving problems through unilateral power. And when you start showing, not simply telling, a troubled individual who believes himself to be severely disenfranchised that the kind of unmitigated power they desire is obtainable, you can see where the problems might begin to arise. And the particular problem with gunplay is that the unilateral power of guns in games is of the same degree as in real life.
So I have to ask if those of us who enjoy games aren’t doing a bit of the same thing that American 2nd Amendmentists do. Consider this quote from a US gun shopper on the Newtown massacre:
But there's people trying to use that to say I'm responsible because I own a gun. Where's the connection? The only people making one are doing it for political ends because there's not one of these massacres would ever have been stopped by a law that takes my gun away. But now they're talking about doing that again, I think this may be the time to buy.
A false equivalency to be sure (games really don’t kill people*), but the question “Where’s the connection?” sounds entirely too familiar for comfort.
In the end, it’s difficult for me to escape the conclusion that games have more responsibility for their active content than other media, because the power one obtains for oneself in a game is more real and more personal than anything one can experience through projection as found in other media. And the defense that’s trotted out time and again, that games don’t desensitize us to violence any more than films, TV, or books do, just doesn’t apply. Because it’s not about desensitization at all, or even violence itself for that matter. It’s about power.