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What Do You Think of Violent Video Games?


Earlier today we posted a Q & A we did with Craig A. Anderson author of Violent Video Game Effects on Children and Adolescents: Theory, Research and Public Policy (co-authored with Douglas A. Gentile and Katherine E. Buckley). Below is a preview of the kind of game Anderson is addressing. Let us know what you think, is the game too violent?

Recent Comments

  1. zach

    I’ve thought about this a great deal, mostly because I work on war games for the Xbox 360. I never wanted to work on a violent game, up to this point I worked on sports titles so it’s been a bit of a moral dilemma. And I’ve come to a conclusion of sorts.

    Violent video games don’t inspire violence – they inspire apathy. I don’t think that anyone in their right mind is going to tell you that a video game is the root cause for violent behavior; if someone is violent they probably have more deeply rooted problems that leave to that behavior.

    However there is a cycle of violence in this world and it can be stopped through action or perpetuated by inaction. Take for example the “Saw” movies, or “The Hills Have Eyes” or “Turistas”. These movies feature as a central theme a group of young people being tortured. They are usually contemptible in some way or just irritating so that the audience feels a bit of relief when they get what’s coming to them.

    With this in mind look at the events that occurred at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Those people didn’t torture those prisoners because they viewed the “Saw” trilogy – but they were allowed to perpetuate their crimes because the people that view those crimes can no longer distinguish between entertainment and news. It all happens on the same screen, and we just dont have the filters to deal with it anymore.

    Video Games are having a similar effect on our population. They are not making people violent but they certainly are making that violence acceptable.

    Also if you want to see a game that will knock your socks off look at Saints Row – makes GTA look like Dig Dug.

  2. Roy

    I would have to agree with Zach. Video games and other media representations inspire violence no more so than rock and roll music was accused of in the 1950’s. The violent behaviour is and has always been there. No one need point out (as cliche as it has become) that neither Hitler, Stalin, nor Pol Pot played video games. Yet even fans of such games would find the the violence those three sanctioned to be more appalling than any game. Gamers will jump at the chance to play Darth Vader, we would never see anyone actually develop a game with nor want to play as the above mentioned historical figures.

    I think, rather, what we are seeing is dark fascination with what is known to be shocking and unacceptable to the social majority. Kids “dig it” even more so because their elders do not – it becomes part of this generation’s adolescent rebellion. Marketers picks up on this. As time goes by the “law of diminished return” sets in, and marketing seeks to push the envelope even more.

    However, there is little doubt that these games are an outlet of sorts for violent behavior. For the majority this is no different than playing “cowboys and indians” was for tv fans of the “Lone Ranger” in their youth. Perhaps we should study why life may have so enraged some of us to make fantasy the reality?

  3. Arthur Holmes

    Violent video games are what they really are and what you see in the game changes your perception about the reality. Got a nephew who’s been fond of playing PC and PS games. The louder the sound effects to him, the more enjoyment he experience. The brutality of the game doesn’t amaze him any more. Seems like he already absorbed and accepted that everything he sees in the game may have a possibility of happening in the outside world. And that would just be a normal event to him and he’s just 9. Incredible, isn’t it? But as for me, seeing a man being stabbed at the back with a sharp tool and seeing how his burst of blood turns into a fountain like never cease to give me the oh’s. Inside the video game that is.

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