Doom designer on video game violence and culture

"It's not the game, it's the gun."

GameSpot staff
CNET's sister site GameSpot is the world's leading site for video game news, reviews, features, and more. Visit us at www.gamespot.com.
GameSpot staff
2 min read

Video game violence and what effect it could have on culture has been a much-discussed and controversial topic for years. Now, the designer of Doom, one of the games that constantly gets brought up when discussing video game violence, has weighed in.

During his keynote talk at the GameOn Ventures conference in Toronto, John Romero said, as reported by GI.biz, that "it's the culture" and "not the player" that has contributed to violence in society.

"I believe games are cultural and the violence that we see in the world goes beyond games," Romero said. "Plenty of countries play games. Canada, Germany, Japan, England, Ireland... They're all hardcore consumers of games, yet we don't see similar outbreaks of violence in these countries," he said. "It's not the game, it's the gun. It's not the computer, it's the culture. It's not the player."


Doom is one of the titles that have been at the center of discussions involving violence in video games.

Also during his talk, Romero spoke about the ongoing discussion around the topic of "What is a game?" in the wake of titles like Gone Home and Her Story.

"Computer games weren't games according to people who played board games back in the '70s," he said. "While console games were not games according to computer game players in the '80s...As we expand the boundary of games, people question whether it's a game at all. Is Gone Home a game? Is Life is Strange a game? Is Her Story a game? Yes, I think they are.

"When we push the boundaries of games, when we experiment with the medium to see what it can do, there are always those who will question if the new work at the end is still within the boundary, when in fact it has just pushed it."

Read the full GI.biz report about Romero's talk here.

Romero previously predicted that one day people will understand games to be the "ultimate art form."

"I absolutely believe this," he said. "Programming is an art form. Level design is an art form. Animation and modeling is an art form. Writing is an art form. All of that put together create a kind of Mega-art form that's very complex, especially when done well. In the future, museums will fully understand and be able to explain why games are the ultimate art form."