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The Big Debate: Violence and Videogames

by on December 4, 2013
 

The majority of scientific studies reveal that video games increase the risk of violent behavior among its users. The progression of realism in the latest generation of games promotes mechanisms for identifying the character, and contrary to some theories, these games do not act as an tool for players , but would rather triggers aggression.

On the occasion of the release of Grand Theft Auto IV, various media, opinion and politicians wondered : what type of games makes you violent? Is it likely to encourage a inner conscious switch? Skeptics will answer it merely reflects the surrounding violence and only serve to mask the real social problems.

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Grand Theft Auto IV reached a level of unparalleled realism with this new opus. Urban vices found there do exist today in so-called modern cities such as New York: gangs, drugs, prostitution, trafficking and violence. Now to hear the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, take a position against GTA V makes me smile. Other video games, marketed or designed by amateurs for free download, also draw inspiration from the brutality of the world news. In 2002’s browser based flash game, Kaboom: The Suicide Bombing Game, you take the roll of a what-it-seems to be the late Yasser Arafat, depicted as an Arab suicide bomber operating in a city. Its objective is simple and naive: to kill as many people. After each explosion, the number of men, women and children killed and wounded by the explosion is counted. If these bloody games demonstrate the ubiquity of the course of human violence, they nevertheless pose a question: do violent video games make society even more violent?

To hear the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, take a position against GTA V makes me smile

This question has two kinds of answers. The most common is to select personal events and to use it in one way or another. In popular Video games forums (NeoGaff, Reddit and such), many users experience regular practice of violent games while satirizing the supposedly deleterious effects that some experts deplore, concluding that they have “never killed anyone!” A variant of this type of reasoning is to invoke current live events, such as a man stabbed for Grand Theft Auto V after queuing up at midnight launch back in September.

In another case, some point out at the mass-murder of the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, and that the accused student Seung-Hui Cho was no fan of violent video games. This approach links between video games and violence is fundamentally flawed because it ignores the significance of what the risk factors are called. As well as domestic abuse, alcohol consumption or social frustrations (anxiety, stress, etc.), the practice of violent video games can be considered a risk factor. This means that video games increase, independently or possibly in interaction with other factors, possibly the probability of a transition to the violent act.

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When it comes to homicides or extreme violence, there is generally presence of several risk factors. These acts are extremely rare, and the probability of a hardcore player seriously injuring or killing someone is minimal. In current events, we find that many perpetrators of school shootings were generally followers of violent videogames, but they also had several other risk factors.

So what do you hear usually in so-called news reports? Video games make you violent, cause isolation, and push gamers to brutalize citizens. Those are three themes that emerge each time a video game themed news is covered by general media. There are many examples: ” Addicted to video games: he kills his sister.” Or even “A South Korean addicted to video games arrested for killing her baby.”

Sometimes public figures are seized in these topic . Fox News is best known for making these headlines, such as Training simulation:’ Mass killers often share obsession with violent video games back in September 2013, right after the event of a former Navy reservist killing at least 12 people in a mass shooting D.C. Navy Yard. Author Mike Jaccarino bluntly start his feature by remiding the readers about Evan Ramsey’s mass-murder event and how “he described how playing video games had warped his sense of reality.”

Yet violence is now associated with games such as Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed , Battlefield  and of course GTA V (and the rest of the series). This is absolutely false. Videogame does not make a player or a violent child, and  If there is violence, it is because it already exists as a psychotic in people with schizophrenic or paranoid trend shape.

In psychotic behavior studies, it is proven that a child is very well aware of the distinction between the virtual and real world, thus between a game and reality. And only if there is an existing condition that a person may have to be violent, videogames have not initiated or created a disease.

However, as I’ve mentioned it above, videogames can increase aggressive behavior . This is when adrenaline is going to be the cause of aggressive behavior, a man’s primary instinct. We’re getting angry in front of his screen because we lost, virtually die or were defeated. Fifteen minutes later, the adrenaline surge from these events wears off, and you’re back to normal behavior. Videogames in this case becomes an outlet, a stress relief, a cure.

If there is an existing condition that a person may have to be violent, videogames have not initiated or created a disease.

Graphical images can indeed create violent scenes. This is often why video games are attacked by the media, and most importantly in gameplay, as this is an indirect way to learn how the player plays and react to these images. But violent images are everywhere nowadays, so it is the imagination that will pose the border, thus this distinction made between virtual and real.

But if violence exists in the video game, it serves mainly as a tool for reflection as I explained. Since everyone uses GTA as an example, so let it be. The game features you as you embody immoral characters. It is a satire of an ultra-violent society, allowing you to think and rationalized in the most absurd situations. In one key scene of the Federal Investigation Bureau mission, one promptly named By The Book, the game forces players to torture a secondary character, with images that can cause quite a high level of discomfort, creating a true reflection on violence.

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Video games are a window to the world as it is said so eagerly by popular media. The thing is that a game does not create asocial beings, as proven by  the release of massively multiplayer titles such as World of Warcraft. On the contrary of popular belief, World of Warcraft opens up the universe to the player, where users meet other players from other countries . They travel, and learn to develop the most commonly used language which is English, opening up to a more prevalent tolerance and greater team spirit. There is no longer any single game played in front of his screen , as we play with or against each other as a team , in contrast , in evolutionary universe. The other player is a fundamental element of gaming.

Obviously, a young person or child should not shut himself up in a video game. There must be a transfer from virtual world to the real one, where a user learns how to play in a game, helping him in all social contexts. This is a role that parents should take, and rather than observe, should be involved, as they will find an amazing and a real complicity established with their kids.

Today a majority of the titles offer multiplayer experiences. They still undertake the interaction between players and machines (AI), but mostly with other players. This way, games are the matrices of new behaviors and innovative forms of socialization that are close to real life. These games offer us the opportunity to create, think, and act together to build more.

So now with the last topic, do videogames brutalize players? Far from being a silly pass time like most describe it, video games stimulate and offer unique experiences that develop skills useful in life and in the professional world. One concrete example is a guild leader, who will commandeer an organization of several players in a game, which develops leadership skills, team management and strategic vision.

A considerable number of games bring reflection, personal stimulation such as Civilization, or maybe one of the best independent titles nowadays, Minecraft, offers the ability for many to team up and build gigantic construction, stimulating concentration and organized teamwork.

The debate is vast and complex, but it deserves to be reduced to more reasonable proportions. The controversy over violence in video games and censorship are sometimes subject to misinterpretations and a certain ignorance on the subject. As censoring videogames, that is above all refusing to make the effort to learn. Only certainty for us gaming industry professionals, the numbers and statistics that some studies are based on videogames to show finger are naive and should be denounce vehemently. The influence of video games on players’ behavior can not really be quantified, as they constantly change. When parents who are rightly concerned that their children might take hours they spend in front of the screen, controller in hand, they should lean a little on everything positive videogames can bring and the list goes on.

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