9-3 | Moral Combat: Why the War on Violent Video Games Is Wrong

Book Review

Moral Combat: Why the War on Violent Video Games Is Wrong

Patrick M. Markey and Christopher Ferguson
Dallas, TX: BenBella Books, Inc., 2017, Notes and index. 248 pp. $16.95 paper. ISBN: 9781942952985

by Nicholas David Bowman

First Paragraph:

The concept of moral panic is a fascinating and scintillating one for scholars, because it speaks to the unfortunate, albeit inextricable, interaction between society and social science. Scholarship generally intends to help us better understand the world around us, but we usually prefer scholarship aimed at risk identification and aversion. Such preferences grow even stronger in the face of salient social and cultural flashpoints—for example, the sudden shift in funding towards auto-immunode-ficiency (AIDS) research after the disease was contracted by American teenager Ryan White, one of the first nonhomosexuals to die from the disease in the 1980s, or the September 11 terrorist attacks, which led to a focus on identifying and stopping ter-rorist threats. Indeed, in Moral Combat, media psychologists Patrick Markey and Christopher Ferguson discuss the Columbine school shooting in April 1999 as a flashpoint for a marked refocusing of media research on the psychological and social ills of video games. Data provided in chapter 2 (or level 2, using the book’s parlance) demonstrates a nearly five-fold increase in the number of scholarly publications on violent video games in 2001 in a self-labeled “post-Columbine era” that shows no signs of slowing.