Kotaku points us towards an interesting Ted Talk in which David McCandless, a self-proclaimed “data journalist” discusses overcoming information overload by visualizing and designing information so we can focus on what’s important.
After showing a graph a “landscape of the world’s fears”, or a chart showing off popular scares over the last decade, which included Swine Flu, Bird Flu, SARS, the Millennium Bug, Asteroid Collisions and Killer Wasps, McCandless pulled up a slide charting the landscape of violent videogames.
McCandless stated, “As you can see there’s a kind of odd, regular pattern in the data… twin peaks every year.” Those peaks were in November and April. November is easily explainable in advance of the release of the Christmas slate of videogames, but why April? McCandless theorized that since the Columbine school shooting took place in April of 1999, “That fear has been remembered by the media and echoes throughout the group mind.”
Interestingly, McCandless notes a gap in violent videogame coverage or interest in the subject that occurred around September of 2001. Of course that’s when the World Trade Center and Pentagon were attacked, or as McCandless explains, “When we had something very real to be scared about.”