I WAS in high school when the family computer came out and became popular. In grade school, we had the “Game and Watch.” The object of the games in G&W was to count how many has one saved. I had my one and only G&W back then and it was “egg.” We had to be very keen on saving the eggs; three misses and you’re game over. I would borrow one from my classmates and the theme of all of it was to save lives – Octopus, Fire, and Manhole. I think those who are now on their 40’s and ’50s could relate to what I am saying.
When I graduated from high school, the family computer was out. The red and white one which we had to connect to our television set and had to buy the cartridge for it in order to play. The market was saturated with 1,000 games in one but you only have around 99 games. Super Mario was the most popular one. The object is to destroy (not kill) the obstacles. The turtles, the mushrooms and the dragon were not killed, they were simply kicked away by either Luigi or Mario. There were also arcade games. Pinball machines were the most popular ones. There were also Galalga and others, which the new generation has seen in the movie pixel.
Battle City was another game that was popular with Pac Man. But the games slowly introduced the young and the not so young to the culture of death. The games were teaching us that killing is normal as long as one kills the enemy. In Pac Man, the object was to eat the dots and the monster. The more you eat the more powerful you become. In short, the many enemies you kill or destroy give one the power. In the battle City, the object was to bomb all the other tanks and you will gain power and would later evolve into a “super tank or a mega tank”. Killing one to become better was the theme of the game way back then.
In the recent years, many videos and virtual games came out with the object of “kill or be killed”. Counter-Strike, Street Fighter, Warcraft, and many similar games came out where violence was the key in winning and one has to train himself to kill the opponent. Although, the graphics were not so gored at that time the theme was already death. Children of all ages come to play and spend precious time in computer gaming shops. Later these games became networked and one has to kill his virtual enemy. His intention was to destroy the others in the network. The culture of death has now evolved in the minds of young people. There was no fear of killing another being virtual. The generation became thirsty and hungry for killing one another virtually.
Then came the age of virtual reality. The graphics became realistic. The characters speak, bleed, breathe and have emotions. The characters seem to be a real enemy that one really wants to kill. One has to train before entering the arena of death. The object of the game was really to destroy and kill the opponent. Cheers of kill, kill and kill or death to the opponent could be heard. It seems that the generation was of no match to the ancient roman spectators in a war of the gladiators. Death, kill and murder became a household term for the young and the old. Respect for human life was no longer paramount. Arguments would often say that this is virtual reality and we are not into the actual killing. But, it was already training and conditioning that killing is good.
So, today, one would not be shocked by a murder in broad daylight. It seems like simply watching a movie or playing a game. If one speaks about the killings of today, then they might be misunderstood as those who come from the far past. What is the culture today?
God was so clear in His command to Moses and the Jews, “THOU SHALL NOT KILL!” Why is this a very difficult request for us today?
Why are we not strongly condemning the killings around us. The bishops have spoken and our beloved Bishop Buzon in strong terms has condemned the recent killings. How come we are so detached from what is happening around us today?
St. Ezekiel Moreno, pray for us.