Updated: December 14, 2009
Only about 1% of human population is truly deemed violent. It's this 1% that ends up committing 99% of all crimes worth bothering and punishing for. One of the more serious crimes the humanity has labeled is murder. Both from the religious and scientific perspective, taking life is contrary to the prolongation of society, which is why we look so harshly upon murder.
Yet, many of us have, if not in body, then definitely in soul, committed countless murders, while playing computer games of all sorts. In other words, many of us have e-killed. In this article, I will try to quantify the typical kill ratio of an average gamer and see how it reflects upon us as a society. Follow me.
Just to set things straight: Do not mistake me for some anti-gamer nutcase! I do not believe that violent computer games have any influence on society. It's rather the less savvy parts of society have an influence on themselves, but it is easier for politicians to blame pixels than real problems, like education, poverty, unemployment, and the very fact just about anyone can copulate and produce offspring, without any real parental control. How can I claim this? Well, very simple. There were no computer games in 1965 and people were still violent. But then they blamed it on music, right? After that, you had violent TV shows. And now it's computer games. Tomorrow, some no-good-at-computer-games-I-envy-all-those-are-leet politician running Windows ME will find another scapegoat, rather than promote vasectomy.
Funny that I used the word parental control - but it is sometimes associated with computer games, rather than being associated with people whose parenthood should be controlled. Anyhow ...
e-kill - to kill someone in a computer game of any sort.
i-kill - to kill someone online or when playing games on Mac.
The average gamer is approx. 40 years old. Computer games really bloomed in early 90s. The turning point was the release of Doom, the finest classic First Person Shooter, which made the history and set the rules for oncoming generations. This means that the average computer gamer has had some 20 years of practice in shooting people on the computer monitor.
We'll soon get to gameplay averages, both in terms of time and actual kills. Let's first decide which games can be included in the tally.
Computer games that are counted in the e-kill score
Not every game where people die can be included. For example, world simulations, like Galactic Civilizations, are not applicable. In Galactic Civilizations, you can wipe off entire planets, killing tens of billions, but this hardly counts as you're not really doing any hard work yourself.
First Person Shooters of all sorts are definitely OK. So are Third Person Shooters, like Vice City or Diablo, and RPG/Quest-style games. Real-time strategies are tricky. For example, Age of Mythology can probably be counted in, because you're fighting individual units, but Total War games like Shogun or Medieval are more problematic.
For the sake of simplicity, I've decided to exclude all RTS games from the count.
Simulations are definitely counted in, except space exploration and conquest games. However, since you never fight other people in combat simulations, rather you target enemy units like aircraft, tanks or AAA batteries, the kills are rounded off to the collective names of fought units. For example, if you sink an aircraft carrier in 1942, your kill tally will only include a single enemy ship sunk rather than an entire deck of sailors, aircraft crewmen and associated ship dwellers.
To sum it up, we have: First Person Shooters, Third Person Shooters and near-space simulations.
Average gamer's throughput
Now comes the tricky part. How much does an average gamer play and how good is he/she at it? Well, let's assume the average gamer spends one hour in front of the monitor, shooting all sorts of guns. In one hour of quick-paced game, you can probably manage 15-20 kills easily.
Spaced over two decades of gaming, one hour a day, we're talking some 7,000+ hours of hard work. This is an underestimation of course, because the younger you are, the more you play. I remember spending entire days glued to the chair, wasting my tendons against the keyboard and mouse. Hell, just by playing America's Army for only about two years, I wasted some 1,200 hours of my time killing 19,000 enemies of freedom. Ignore the daily averages, since I have not played the game in the last 3.5+ years at all.
Throw in some 4-5 campaigns playing Operation Flashpoint, each as American, Russian and Resistance, at least fifty tours of duty flying planes in 1942, with approx. 150 kills and 70-80 ground kills each time, some fifteen campaigns as an M1A1 tank commander, with some 900 vehicle kills each time, an infinite number of Doom and Duke Nukem sessions, four or five Max Payne campaigns, seven or eight Soldier of Fortune campaigns, billions of hours spent playing all 90s MicroProse simulations, it all adds up really nicely.
Then, let us not forget Carmageddon, Serious Sam, all Delta Force releases, Hitman, and many other games.
All right, two decades, 1 hour a day, 15 kills an hour, this translates into: 110,000 kills! And this is a serious underestimation. Most likely, people play 3-4 hours a day and manage up to 20-25 kills, depending on the game they're playing. But let's stick with the "official" figure. Hey, let's round it. Juicy, solid, 100,000 kills!
Assuming that only about 10% of all computer users are gamers, this still leaves us with some 100-200 million people, each of which has committed 100,000 e-kills. Combined, we have killed some 1013 people. That's the current world population, 3,000 times over and counting! Wow!
Now, considering these staggering numbers, plus the fact only about 1% of all people are true criminals, the chance of someone turning to violence because of a computer/video game is virtually nil. How about that, dear Mr. politician? Oh yes, you could say that all gamers are criminals, but I don't see computer game sales dropping, which probably means most of the gamers are not in prisons, hence they are probably not criminals.
We have just proved that violence is an integral part of human society. What more, the computer games are a blessing, because they let us vent our anger in an innocent sort of a way, while financing the gaming industry, helping boost the technology advancement, since the gamers are the first to embrace new stuff, and bringing bread to many a family who can earn a decent living because of the games bought and paid for in hard cash.
It turns out that computer games are an important part of civilization, plus they better the evolution in the long run, all because of so many people you have e-killed. But like they say, better a pixilated bot than that poor co-worker of yours in the next cubic, right?