By ZACKERY BEDARD
After booting up his PC that he built himself, Shane Cotter loads Tom Clancy’s “The Division,” one of the most recent popular third person-shooter video games. Cotter, 21, an avid gamer, waits impatiently to begin, to be immersed into a virtual reality in which gun violence is the primary objective.
Cotter is a senior at Western Michigan University majoring in Aviation Maintenance.
Cotter strategically moves his character around a “post-apocalyptic” Manhattan map as he is taking cover behind a destroyed taxi cab to avoid a sniper in the distance. Though “The Division” is but a video game in which he shoots a variety of guns including assault rifle, marksman rifle, shotguns and pistols. Cotter wanted to learn how to shoot in real life, so he learned how to shoot a pistol in real life. This was not in any relation to his gaming.
Cotter enters the Dark Zone, in which the goal is to eliminate opposing players any way possible and loot their belongings. As Cotter fights off teams of six non player characters that are referred to as Artificial Intelligence or AI, he gets several kills with his personalized rifle. His screen fills with red. Then, his video game persona is gunned down by another player with an assault rifle. In this game, Cotter plays with other players from all over the world, where he can communicate and strategize if he will play alone or on a team.
Killed in virtual reality, Cotter shuts off his PC and returns to his normal life as a student.
Cotter began playing video games in 5th grade and has preferred the type of video games called “shooters” ever since. He gains nothing else from playing “The Division” except fulfilling his entertainment needs and enjoying a hobby that relieves stress from school.
Cotter does not believe video game violence leads to violence in real life.
“There is a fine line between reality and virtual reality and any person that is adequately sane will understand that line,” said Cotter. “It is a freedom to play shooters; they will always be around.”