White House reel on video game violence draws massive eyeballs online, spurs fiery debate

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Mar 9, 2018, 10:30 PM EST

Given the generous overlap between those who use the internet and those who play video games, it was all but inevitable that President Donald Trump’s call to dial back the blood and gore, expressed in a meeting with major game developers Thursday, would provoke strong online reactions in the life-imitating-violent-art debate.

After the White House released its graphic mash-up video (you can view the uber-violent video here, but you've been forewarned) highlighting what the Trump administration regards as examples of violence-inciting video game content, the reactions across the twitterverse came fast and furious, particularly in defense of gaming.

The bloody video went viral within hours after its release, drawing over 700,000 views by press time. Some of those viewers have voiced strong opinions about the Trump administration’s claim that there’s a connection between violent games and violent acts, like last month’s Florida school shooting. That tragedy, which left 17 people dead, spurred the president’s call for a private meeting with game studio executives.

The Trump administration focused on a number of massively successful game franchises, including Fallout 4, the Call of Duty series, Sniper Elite 4, The Evil Within, Dead by Daylight, and Wolfenstein, in the process getting the attention of not only the people who make the games but, of course, the people who play them.

Below is a selection of Twitter reactions from people working across the games industry.

A day out from the meeting, which was closed to media, it’s doesn't appear there’s any legislation immediately forthcoming that would affect the way studios create and market violent games. 

Following the roundtable, the Entertainment Software Association shared with the press the position it took with the Trump administration, saying (via The Washington Post) “we discussed the numerous scientific studies establishing that there is no connection between video games and violence, First Amendment protection of video games, and how our industry’s rating system effectively helps parents make informed entertainment choices.”

Some who favor getting the government involved in gaming restrictions said they’d also like for the White House to focus not only on games, but on other forms of media — TV, film, and music — where violence often shows up. If that does end up happening, expect a repeat of today’s flood of online reactions.

There’s a lot of bloody stuff out there, whether in games, movies, comics, or on TV. Does the Trump administration’s highlight reel affect your take on whether art, for some, influences real-life action? No matter which side of the debate you come down on, let us know your thoughts in the comments. It’s a topic we as fans can get pretty passionate about, so please remember to play nice and state your case with civility, as well as an open ear to what others are thinking.