9 Awful Crimes You Happily Commit in Video Games

Have you ever been in the middle of a sneak attack with your WoW guild and thought, “My actions are in clear violation of several federal and international laws?” Probably not, but the fact remains. There’s an argument to be made that art and interactivity inform your real-life choices, and if that’s the case, you’re probably hosed. Put down the joystick and pump up the volume – if you ever wanted to call yourself a criminal, now’s your chance. Here are nine heinous crimes that you’re committing.

  1. Murder

    Whether it’s old school Duck Hunt or Modern Warfare, you’ve definitely killed someone in a video game. Even if you stick to mostly puzzle games, there’s an element of violence at almost every gaming turn. And, as you’ve been taught, killing is bad. But when you’ve got a joystick gun in your hand, you’re more than happy to do it. Many people have blamed video games for their own criminal tendencies, so here’s hoping that it stops with your screen.
  2. Grand Theft Auto

    Speaking of Grand Theft Auto, it’s not just a game, it’s also a felony. If you steal cars in real life as you’re encouraged to do in the game (it’s the only way to get around), you’ll be behind bars quicker than you can say “knock that cop off his bike and let’s cruise around California.”
  3. Extortion

    The more organized, the better the crime. Or the game, at least. In the multi-console game The Godfather, your ability to advance gameplay involves treacherous murders and street assassinations.
    Additionally, missions in the game involve extorting businesses on the mean streets of New York City, and turning neighborhoods into rackets.
  4. Genocide

    Even as far back as Space Invaders, exterminating entire (alien) races of people (and aliens) is standard fare for the video game world. And while there are few games that encourage human genocide (2008’s amateur Muslim Massacre is an awful example), it’s the principle of the thing that counts. As gaming begins to be taken more seriously as an art form that’s not going anywhere, academic papers have been popping up recently regarding this same issue.
  5. Drug Possession/Public Intoxication

    Contrary to what you may glean from eating psychedelic mushrooms in Mario Bros., getting high in Narc, and the many available potions in RPGs (think: Zelda), doing drugs and drinking doesn’t make you bigger and it doesn’t give you extra life or health points. Drugs are bad. Don’t do them.
  6. Theft

    Is eating coins a federal offense? Because that Mario really has it coming.
    And aside from the lovable plumber and gaming character archetype, there are a host of titles that rely
    on your willingness to thieve for success. Breaking into buildings, stealing from your enemies, and cashing in your bounty for health potions and experience points may seem a harmless part of the gaming process. But applied in real life that’s theft, burglary, and pick-pocketing. And most of those guns you’re stealing are illegal.
  7. Terrorism

    Maybe you’ve never blown up a stadium, but there’s no doubt that you’ve dropped some bombs. Again, in The Godfather, as well as many other shoot-’em-up games (including even the Nintendo 64 classic Golden Eye and the much-debated Modern Warfare 2), organized bombings on military,
    government, and civilian buildings abound. Bombings and acts that any real world person would call senseless terrorism are all too common in the make-believe world of many a game.
  8. Sex Crimes

    Where else but GTA could you actually get health points for having sex with prostitutes, then killing them? It’s right there in the game. And there aren’t any male prostitutes, so not only have you broken laws in several non-Nevada states, you’re also arguably a sexist. Even if you don’t buy that, you’re certainly contributing to the generation and propagation of sex trafficking and violence against poor, defenseless, crack-addicted pixels in video games. You should be ashamed of yourself! What would your poor mother think? Note: This is actually a real discussion in the media. Psychologist Carol Lieberman, for example, believes that “the increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in video games.”
  9. Reckless Driving

    Some games award points for not only driving fast, but also recklessly. In Need for Speed 4, you’re prompted to run from the cops. And even in cuter games, like Mario Kart, popping wheelies and littering banana peels (also a crime!) is simply a fun part of game play. If you’re having trouble with road rage, forgo these games for some soothing Tetris – there are arguments that your in-game actions may affect you in the real world.