I just want to get this monkey off my back. I have enough of people saying that video games are "bad" influence to a person. But it's the last straw that pseudo-intellectuals and criminals are using video games as a scapegoat to justify their crimes, saying it was video games that teaches and influences violence to people. One current example would be Anders Breivik, who said that he was influenced by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare(which is I'm not a fan of, for sure) to plan us his attacks on the Norway massacre last year.
Another past case would be the Columbine University shooting, if you want some refreshment through history, if you know what I mean. Seriously, playing video games does not make people violent, and me, together with the majority of the video game community can't just help giving ourselves facepalms ala Jean-Luc Picard because people outside of the community keep on saying ta-ta that the masses believes.
We can't defend our side, but with all things said, we're not brute savages. I'm a gamer, and at my age, 25, I am still playing and I've played the creepiest, the most bloody/gory/violent, and the most touching(WRPGs/JRPGs). I mean, I'm not like planning on doing some random killings ala random encounters on RPGs to gain EXP, and all that jazz. Well that's pretty much it.
What are your thoughts people?
I think that generally speaking, the data on the matter of whether violence in video games causes other violence is sketchy at best. There have been some incidents which have brought it more to attention than others. For example, there was an incident where a child took a gun into a McDonalds after playing Duke Nukem, and it could be seen that he was definitely under the game's influence because after shooting up the resturant, he then proceeded to go into the toilets and shot the mirrors. Later, he said that in the game, when you shot mirrors in one particular level, there was health behind the mirrors, which is why he did this.
Now I'm not of the opinion that this proves that games are nessecarly encouraging violence, because it's a single isolated incident. But I do think that its quite sensable to more vigerously enforce the age limitations that already exist on games.
I also think that gamers need to be more aware that there's violence and there's violence. In the UK a few years ago, there was serious controversy over the level of violence in Modern Warfare 2. This wasn't because there was lots of people shooting each other, that's been in games for years. The problem was a specific level where you were basic encouraged to mow down a stream of innocent civilians at an airport, none of whom had guns. You were doing this to infiltrate a terrorist cell, but I would argue that making the massacre of hundreds of people into an entertainment is a little twisted. I can understand games where you're shooting people who are shooting you back, but this is different. This is more severe.
The fundamental difference about games is that unlike a film/book you arn't just watching something. You're taking part in something. That's something we really need to think about as we move forward in the genre.
I think you have to be careful with the type of words we use to defend ourselves.
If the question is something like: "Will Battlefield 3 or New Game X turn our children into monsters?" I respond with no.
At least in Canada the ESRB warnings state that most violent games have a rating of at least 13, though usually 17. In the cases in which children have gone violent, video games are often the scapegoat for the problem. If a child is bullied and bullied and brings a gun to school and police found that he was an avid Call of Duty player, is the video game the problem?
I would say no. Perhaps if the child didn't play call of duty he might not have brought a gun, but the stress of the bullying is going to come out. And it will probably come out as either violence against others, or a suicide attempt which is violence against himself.
Part of the problem with saying that video games cause violence is also problematic because of the number of individuals that play video games without partaking in anti-social violent behaviour. This would support the idea that video games are not a root cause, though they might overlap with many causes to result in violence.
So I'm still giving a bit of leeway.
However, for the idea of teaching people violence. I'll agree with it.
When you play video games you are seeing reconstructions of violence. Usually violence that has been choreographed to be realistic (more so than in the past). When faced with a bully, one student fought him using a combo from the student's favourite fighting game.
When I play Assassin's Creed or Arkham City, I pay attention to the way the combat flows and I watch the techniques. I usually pay the most attention to weapon disarms and counters as I need to choreograph my weapon disarms for my 2nd degree black belt exam.
As for Anders Breivik, I don't know how he could plan a massacre in an arcade shooter.
Also, I'm just going to put a plug in for Shadow of the Colossus if you have not played it.
in resent test on the results of gaming in general it was discovered that people with depression who started to game 30 minutes or more a day responded better to that than the leading anti depression medicine (I belive this was as it gave the gamer clear goals and feedback so even if they werent doing well they were sure of were they stood, developing confidence and helping them to recognize goals they needed to crteate in there own lives)
though this does directly correlated to the argument you are making, i thought it was relevant to show that games even violent ones have extremely positive "side effects" and that the media should not encourage parents or other people to stop children playing games as they should also not dismiss any forms of expression (books films etc) as only negative
just my opinion :)
first post ive made in like 6 months
I think that anyone who's grown up playing video games would have a gut feeling that these accusations are wrong, but it's hard to explain why. However I understand the concern since so much of what is allowed, and sometimes the goal, in games are pretty far out there and would be sickening if it were to happen for real. It is not surprising either that those who've committed recent massacres have been playing, sometimes excessively, some of the most graphically detailed FPS games. Still I don't believe these games are the actual cause for what they did, or why they wanted it.
It's not easy to understand why we enjoy violence so much, but fact is that we do (some more than others)... and I think that video games, along with action and horror movies, are actually important outlets for the curiosity and fascination we have for it. We get satisfied, in a sense... In the past there was always promise of another war to wrap your head around, and what better use of that grey than to dream up all the glory it would entail. Whether it was to avenge a father who'd got beaten down and crippled in the previous one, or to rise in the ranks as you raped and killed yourself through distant lands, there was always this huge disparity between anticipation and actual real life outcome. And you weren't a good leader if you didn't declare war or expand your territory at least once... but that was a digression...
I think another problem about these shooting sprees is that it has taken up a life of its own. It's become a meme and I'm afraid we'll never get rid of it. It will vary in frequency, and it appears to come in waves, right now it's been a lot of it... Most likely there are root causes that can be dealt with in order to minimize the frequency, but there will always be someone susceptible to pick it up again and nurture and/or justify the need to do these things. In these cases violent games are probably not very helpful, but I think these killers do and will continue to inspire other susceptible more so than any game ever will. We used to laugh at the crazyness going on in America, and then BAM Germany... and BAM Finland (twice). The first European wave if you will and I guess they are still laughing in China, for now...
Another thing I made note of while playing the first two segments of the Walking Dead game, was that even though you have the choice of being a total ass and kill both innocent (and not so innocent), very few people actually do that, even if it's just a game. I don't remember the actual numbers but they show us the combined stats for all the choices players made during the game at the end of each episode, and it is overwhelmingly good. Don't know if that means anything, but could be that the inhibition to do bad stuff is actually quite strong if you're given a choice.