Turkish Family and Social Policies minister Aysenur Islam expressed concern about the game’s violent content last week, in particular regarding to violence against women and players being rewarded for killing other characters. The minister stated that the Turkish government “will examine the game and see if there is an element of violence” noting that the investigation could lead to a nationwide ban.
Controversy surrounding violence in video games is nothing new, but it comes as a bit of a surprise to hear a game like Minecraft mentioned in the same breath as usual suspects like Grand theft Auto V, Call of Duty and Mortal Kombat. Minecraft is generally considered to be suitable for children, earning an ESRB rating of E10+. While there is indeed some violence in the game, it is generally limited to players protecting themselves against zombies and other enemies with swords, arrows, or blocky bare fists if need be. It is certainly no more violent than other ‘family friendly’ titles such as The Legend of Zelda or Skylanders.
Besides, violence is hardly the main focus of Minecraft anyway. At it’s heart, this is a game about collecting resources and building defenses to survive in an otherwise hostile world. If anything, the goal is to avoid violence through ingenuity and careful planning. Minecraft is about managing time and juggling various responsibilities such as the need to eat. Even more than this, it’s a game that promotes and rewards creativity and imagination. Banning Minecraft for being too violent is akin to banning Lego for featuring pirates and knights. I’m all for keeping Grand theft Auto out of children’s hands, but it would be a terrible shame to deny them such a positive and creative means of expression.
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