Denying my part of the post-Nintendo generation, I do not keep company with video arcades or computer games. However, seeing young people lost in these pastimes I decided to have a go at one myself in the Atlanta Airport. Stepping into a game niche in the T terminal, I latched onto "Mortal Kombat," deposited my quarters and began losing the game rather rapidly. I can't remember if I was decapitated or merely kicked over the edge of a precipice onto those disemboweling stakes. I cried "uncle" and boarded my jet plane for home.
Once home, I decided to see the movie inspired by the video game. As I watched the furious progression of excessively muscled men kick-boxing their opponents into ghastly deaths of one kind or another, I kept repeating "God Bless John Wayne!" And I realized why America has come to be the most violent nation on earth.
The computer chip makes it possible for any kid with a dollar's worth of quarters to learn how to video their way through vast fields of corpses of their own creation. The fiery violence of "Mortal Kombat" leaves me weak, but not the child who took over my game in the arcade. Their eyes are as eager for Zen violence as any person in Vegas who is stuffing silver into their own machines in an effort "to get the cherries to line up!"There is no god in "Mortal Kombat." The god is the little child at the machine. This child does battle-violent battle-with a field of gods, triumphing over them in the name of superior ego.
The East exports two things to the West: New Age Philosophy and the computer chip. With the latter we have managed to become the fourteenth nation in the world in terms of childhood education. The computer chip has caused us to name our age the Information Age. But while the computer chip has brought the Britannica into our lives, we are daily forgetting how to read it as we learn how to play more and more video games. The horror is philosophical at its heart.
A new study released in September 1995, cited an over-abundance of violence in children's programs such as "Kombat" and "Power Rangers."Further, three adult programs which air at times in sync with child viewing were "Texas Rangers," "Mantis," and "Lois and Clark." But video arcades are a kind of "hands-on" violence where children do not merely watch violence but become the violent.
Are there practical evidences that these games are creating violent children? They are too numerous to mention. A prime example of child violence occurred in Modesto, CA a few months ago, when a 7-year-old repeatedly stabbed a 6-year-old with a steak knife, after a quarrel erupted over Barbie dolls.
People seldom rise any higher than their free-time pursuits. With Eastern, New-Age-worldviews taking the ascendancy, we have forgotten God. Perhaps we have not totally forgotten him, but we have traded Him in on a host of Eastern demons with which we do battle in 10,000 video arcades between Seattle and Miami Beach.
Where is the God of Generation X? One place He isn't is in the hearts of "Mortal Kombatants."Having done away with the God of the Bible, we quickly replace Him with our own strong self-perception.
How do we stack up among the nations of the world? We're number one in computer chips. Number one in violent crime. Number fourteen in reading skills. Uneducated people are rarely happy.
Teenage suicides may have proliferated because of the games people play. Dungeons and Dragons produced so much role identification and suicide it would be hard to measure the bloody effects of the game. But the teenager who is a god in "Mortal Kombat" may also find herself failing geometry or her war on acne and that the machines have lied. Adolescents are not ready for the godhood ordained by the buttons of video games. Their needs are many. Their answers few. When you stare at the Medusa of your own existence and find out you were never really in that all-important, competition for life, it is hard indeed to feel yourself a winner.
"Mortal Kombat" is a game that gives every player "clout" — divine clout. It's a way that every kid can be a god for a couple of quarters. But no God of mercy ever arises from video's arcades. Perhaps these adolescent, video-chip killers of our day need to heed the Apostle Peter:
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about seeking whom he may devour …" (1 Peter 5:8).