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IGDA invites gun violence task force talks

The International Game Developer's Association has offered its services to U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's gun violence task force. While Biden plans to meet with several gaming industry representatives about the role of violent games in tragedies such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, the IGDA's letter of invitation leaves no doubt about the organization's views on the matter.

"We welcome more evidence-based research into the effects of our work to add to the large body of existing scientific literature that clearly shows no causal link between video game violence and real violence," the letter reads.

The IGDA states that it is the primary membership organization serving individuals who create games. As a representative for the people behind many of the violent games called into question, the IGDA pointed to several studies which have already shown no link between real-world violence and gaming. Still, the group recognizes media creators have responsibilities along with their rights.

"One way that game developers choose to recognize our responsibilities is by creating games with richer, deeper meanings in the lives of our audiences and by offering a wider range of experiences available than ever before. For example, some violent games add non-violent options and solutions based on problem-solving and player creativity. Other games offer greater rewards for mercy and compassion."

We weren't expecting the IGDA to hold, say, non-lethal Dishonored runs up as a beacon of gaming righteousness, but when the National Rifle Association has already shunted the conversation into amateur flash game Kindergarten Killers, we can't really blame it.

The letter's last point hearkens back to the creation of the Comics Code Authority in the 1950s, a voluntary self-censorship organization formed in response to public outcry and congressional inquiries.

"Censoring violent comic books did not reduce juvenile delinquency or increase literacy, it decimated the production of one of the few kinds of literature that at-risk youths read for pleasure. Censoring video games could have similar unintended consequences that we cannot currently foresee. Ironically, comic books are now used as part of the solution to illiteracy, even by the government. It may seem counter-intuitive, but video games, even violent video games, could be part of the solution here, as well."

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.