Hi, I’m video gaming’s Todd Howard, here with a question for you: do video games cause violence? This is something we grapple with in the gaming industry. Does the content we produce somehow unlock some primal violent urge within those who play? Many would say that the science is out and that it’s been proven that games don’t make people violent. To those people, I have another question: why am I currently coming to kill you?
I should really make this clear—this has nothing to do with the fact that you didn’t pay for Skyrim back in 2013, and it definitely isn’t for all of those emails you sent us with Starfield theories. The simple truth is that I, Todd Howard, currently barrelling down Route 112 with white knuckles gripping the leather steering wheel of a stolen 2008 Mercury Sable, am a violent person.
Do the video games cause these violent tendencies? I’m not certain, although I can hardly say that’s running through my mind while I turn into your driveway, cutting the engine and the headlights. Is it I who made the video games violent? Or have they turned me? I quietly exit the car. Through the window, I can see the trap has been set: you’re distracted reading a low-effort satire article on Kirkland-brand Onion Gaming Network. I look up to the sky. A full moon.
A shred of doubt forms in the back of your mind. The smile on your face wants to leave, but you cling to it. I enter through the basement bulkhead, confident that you’re alone. In focused, rehearsed movements, I walk up the basement stairs, avoiding the spot that creaks right when you reach the door. Somewhere deep in your mind, a voice is telling you to turn off your music, but you don’t—that would make it real.
Suddenly, I’m behind you. I’ve timed it well; you’re just finishing the article. You’re running out of time. I know it, and somewhere deep inside, you know it too. I let you finish reading as a professional courtesy before I snap your neck like a toothpick. Game over, kid.