The London Riots and Violence in Videogames

We just thought we’d take a few minutes to thank all of you who contacted us to make sure that we were ok during the London riots.

gta4We were very touched by some of the messages of support from as far afield as Australia and the US. Despite absolute anarchy on the Capital’s streets over the last few days, we’re glad to report that our offices and workshop have survived unscathed. We all finished work early for a few days so we could get home to our loved-ones by dark, but otherwise it was business as usual here at Bespoke Arcades.

We also wanted to send our best wishes to all the victims (and their families) caught up in the shocking scenes we witnessed, and salute the many heroes who put themselves in harm’s way for the greater good of society. Here at Bespoke Arcades, we try to distance ourselves from politics wherever possible – we build arcade cabinets and try to concentrate on doing that job to the best of our abilities.

Over the past few days we have noticed several journalists and commentators partly blaming the rise in violent arcade games such Grand Theft Auto for the way these people behaved, and we feel the need to counter these claims:

Although some of the scenes witnessed were reminiscent of GTA, we don’t necessarily feel that this is life imitating art. Riots existed long before computers. Some videogames are violent, this is not a new phenomenon as even games like Sonic involve killing. Violence in videogames is nothing when compared to how many movies glamourize every aspect of the negative side of humanity. Which would have a greater impact on youth behaviour, Scarface or GTA?!

Sonic vs EggmanThere are no calls for a ban on all violent movies. Having said that, these lines are definitely blurring as graphics and technology in computer games catches up with film. New titles have age restriction certificates which cannot be ignored and must be enforced to protect impressionable children from unsuitable images – be those images of a violent or sexual nature.

An adult has the right to watch any film which has been classified and that should be the same for all forms of media. It is up to the individual to decide whether they want to partake. Media censorship is not the answer, but the world has come a long way since Space Invaders!

If anything, buying one of our arcade machines will keep kids amused at home 🙂


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