Someone at The White House must have known that Super Smash Bros. was getting revealed at the Nintendo Direct last night. They either released this terrible video in the hopes that it would go under the radar because of the incoming hype, or they were distracted by the prospect of squiddly inkers going up against Mario and friends.
Coming in at just over a minute and a half long, “Violence in Video Games” is currently unlisted on YouTube — that hasn’t stopped it from getting a rather joyfully disproportionate likes to dislikes ratio, though.
The scorn is pretty understandable. In the wake of the recent Florida shootings, President Trump has been searching for a scapegoat, and what better than video games –the digital demon warping our youth– to put the blame upon? It’s not like academic research disproving the correlation between video game violence and real violence was conducted as recently as January or anything.
The scapegoating of video games is hardly a new thing. Most famously, serial mouth-frother Jack Thompson led a campaign against the Grand Theft Auto games while channeling the spirit of Maude Flanders. Clearly Thompson had been bested far too many times by the Zero missions in San Andreas and it turned him quite mad, as it does to the best of us.
Thompson even crawled out of his cave ahead of the recent meeting to giddily let Kotaku’s Jason Schreier in on what was going on:
Jack Thompson sent me four emails in the past hour telling me to call him, so I just did. He said "Hey dude," told me that tomorrow's White House meeting will have some people "of great interest to the video game folks," and then hung up. What a world
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) March 7, 2018
The behind-closed-doors meeting was reportedly rather uneventful, with the only thing of note being The White House mistakenly referring to Patricia Vance as “Mr. Pat Vance”:
The list of people going to the “Video Games” summit is… weird, but in addition to everything else The White House doesn’t seem to know that Pat Vance – that is to say, Patricia Vance @patriciaevance – is a woman. https://t.co/znudCVheuI
— Tycho Brahe (@TychoBrahe) March 8, 2018
At the meeting, which was attended by head honchos from the likes of Zenimax and Take-Two’s Strauss Zelnick, the video below was shown after it had been edited together by an intern who clearly regretted writing Bernie in on the ballot:
There’s so much to unpack here. First off, there’s absolutely no context to any of it, just a series of admittedly pretty grisly but also pretty awesome scenes from video games. In the mix you have the infamous “No Russian” sequence from Modern Warfare 2, which the player actually does not have to take part in at all. Also of note is the Wolfenstein and Sniper Elite shots, because if there is anyone who should be spared a gruesome death, it’s a Nazi.
Worst of all, though, is that the videos were pulled from established YouTubers’ channels without any effort to remove watermarks. Videos by Dan Ryckert and Dat360NoScope have quite clearly just been lazily ripped and hastily mashed together in Sony Vegas on someone’s lunch break.
If there’s any worth to this video, it’s to once again prove that conservative curtain-twitchers refuse to believe in facts when it comes to video games. Rather than addressing the root of America’s gun problem, which, you know, might have something to do with all the guns, they’re looking for an easy way out and something else to demonise apart from confronting their own precious lobbies and ideals.
If anyone from The White House is reading this and wants to discuss it further, meet me at Rust.