When a player and a video game make a connection, there’s an unwritten contract stating that everything in the game is fake, the game is a temporary form of escapism and when the game is over, the game is over. End of statement.

Most people are perfectly capable of going into and out of escapism without any difficulty whether it’s books and movies or drugs and porn. Unfortunately, there are always bad apples that can’t control themselves and set the chain of events to ruin degrees or entire forms of entertainment for the rest of the population.

Leave it to Los Angeles, California—not Georgia, not Indiana, not the Carolinas—to screw up the laid back atmosphere of Internet cafes and destroy the enjoyment of a good frag fest like Counter-Strike. In 2002, the Los Angeles Police Department(LAPD) was forced to respond to more than 300 violent incidents at Internet cafes that have come to be known as “PC bangs.”

Let’s take a moment for definitions. A “frag fest” refers to a group of gamers that link machines to play first person shooters and kill each other for fun. An “Internet café” is a coffee house or bar with a battery of computers to allow patrons to putz around the net or play games against other patrons. “Counter-Strike” is a cult classic first person shooter that allows teams to hunt each other to virtual extinction.

It’s all in good fun… until somebody gets hit over the head with a real chair or a computer monitor and the cops need to crack skulls to restore order.

We can’t help but think that California’s new and, hopefully, unique problems stem from some kind of ill-conceived social program to get gangs off the street and learning valuable computer skills—like wielding a keyboard like a cricket bat. We also can’t help but think that, on some level, it’s Jesse Jackson’s fault.

Nobody wants to enter an Internet café to frag people and worry about getting fragged for keeps. A game like Counter-Strike, no matter how violent the content, has absolutely nothing to do with the violence that occurs afterwards. The people that engage in physical violence after a video game session are undeniably unstable and should be locked away forever. It isn’t the video game. People prone to violence will engage in violence over anything.

If, by chance, the perpetrators of this new Los Angeles trend are of relatively sound mind, then the problem is money and the cops have a illicit gambling matter on their hands. We know with absolute certainty that sex isn’t involved because nobody that plays Counter-Strike is getting any poontang.

Poontang? What’s that?

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