This is advocacy.

This is a theory, a treatise, and a call to action.

You either play video games, or you do not.

I hope it's obvious by the very title and nature of this post that I am a gamer. I've been playing video games since I can remember, and my earliest memories of gaming are sitting in front of my grandparents' TV, playing the gold-cartridge Legend of Zelda on NES. The Zelda franchise continues to be my favorite series of all time. Hell, I'm playing back through Twilight Princess right now (and hoping that Nintendo will come to its collective senses and re-release Majora's Mask on Virtual Console).

Did I just lose you? Good. This is gonna be pretty dense, so unless you care about gaming, you would probably be better off reading something else. Unless you're just interested in theories of art and shit, in which case, stick around. We're gonna go into that like a bomber into hiding.

Since I started playing video games years ago, the medium has gone through its share of changes. While Mario and the Super Mario franchise remains one of the most volatile names in gaming today, the portly Italian plumber has been joined by Slavic immigrants infiltrating the criminal underworld, space marines, and a senile, screaming John Madden, hell-bent on telling you when and where the offense encroached.

Now, as the industry grew, taking in $9.5 billion in 2007 alone, the gamers like me who grew up jumping around The Mushroom Kingdom and brawling in Street Fighter II changed along with it. When Grand Theft Auto III came out, the first sandbox-style GTA and an innovative idea which has since become an industry standard, we younger gamers (I was 15 or so at the time of release, by my own pot-addled recollection) came out in droves to buy and play the game. Now, we same gamers are older (21 for me), and were among the first to buy Grand Theft Auto IV, only now we're legally able to do so.

What does this say about today's young adult (anywhere from 18-29, here) gaming culture? Have we been corrupted by video game violence and "mature" content? I can't speak for the collective, but I recognize that I am rather de-sensitized to violence, and a lot of my buddies love to watch those damn UFC fights. Mixed martial arts provides the same violence-centric entertainment outlet as do violent video games, violent cinema, and to a lesser extent, "Gang-star" rip-rappers.

Let me make it absurdly clear (I'm talking a pane of glass that cannot scratch, shatter, or smudge. Absurd.). I do not oppose violent video games. I do not wish to see them censored, thrown out, or condemned in any way. I think that legally aged adults should be able to engage in whatever recreational activities they so choose, as long as they're legal, or at least don't hurt anyone else (pot smokers, I'm looking at us). I play Grand Theft Auto, the Metal Gear Solid series, and kick ass at Call Of Duty 4. Any of you fuckers wanna get rocked, shoot me an email and we'll exchange PS3 usernames.

PIC Squad? I think so.

It's fine to say that we like violence in video games. I love sniping the enemy team in an online death match. I love blowing up rival gangs' cars in GTA. It's fuckin fun. It's fun to go see gory scary movies. It looks cool whenever a Persian gets their torso lopped off in 300. Many of us enjoy violent entertainment. We'd all be a lot better off if we acknowledged it. There's no argument against it. Is it moral? That's subjective, and isn't relevant. People make their own Goddamn choices.

I promise you, this'll make sense later. Just trust me. Come on, now.

That's right. I'll be back, it's OK.

To Be Continued…