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Old 17th Jan 2013, 12:44   #1
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Violent Video Games and Real World Violent Behavior

So yet again, Video games are being put to the test in the effect that have on a person or persons behavior.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57...orld-violence/

I would like to see the out come of such scientific research. I know that those susceptible to violent imagery and a not so clear grasp that what they are seeing or doing isn't real has caused violent behavior in the past.

As a clear example of this not always being the case.

I am a twenty-six year old male. I first owned a console, Playstation to be exact in or around Christmas 1997. The first game I owned was Grand Theft Auto, along with Crash Bandicoot.

At that time I would have been eleven, and though I had previously used other consoles this was the first in my home. So I grew up with video games of varying age and genre, some violent some cutesy and fun.

I have played all the Grand Theft games as well as many other shoot em up, kill the bad guy in any manner you see fit games. I always knew that this was a fictional video game, where no one really died.

But then again I have a clear sense of reality. For the most part anyway.

So feel free to discuss, argue etc.
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Old 17th Jan 2013, 12:55   #2
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I find it a fallacy.

I have played video games that encourage "killing bad guys" since I was 4 maybe? - Mario, and over the years, progressed to controlling armies (C & C) by 8 or 9 and dispatching hundreds of miserable soldiers without batting an eyelid.

At 13/14 I was playing GTA, Solider of Fortune, Medal of Honour and other "realistic" FPS. Hell, I played Manhunt too - which I vaguely recall encouraging particularly gruesome kills of innocents as well as enemies (This was 10 years ago, I forget).

Roll on today, and while I appreciate that I am definitely desensitised to violence - There are are a lot other factors that have affected this also. However I feel no need/want/disposition to behave aggressively or hurt people.

What was much, much, much, much more damaging to me - were films that bolstered my aspirations of life in general... Happy people, happy endings, good guys always winning.

Sad reality is, life is miserable.

If anything, I feel that video games somewhat balanced my expectations of reality...
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Old 17th Jan 2013, 13:32   #3
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If you really want to be annoyed by people who argue this just look up the Alan Titchmarsh show segment on violence in video games.

In the end when people complain about violence in games being inappropriate for children the obvious answer is: "Don't allow 11 years olds to play 18 rated games". I have known parents who will not allow their child to see an 18 rated movie but will happily buy them the new GTA or CoD when it comes out.

People seem to associate "game" with "child" and assume that who they are for. However the main demographic of those that play video games is around 30 with under 16s making up a smaller portion than people would imagine.

People have been murdering and killing for thousands of years. It's not something that's going to stop, some people just do it. Video games are just the current easy target to blame it on rather than blaming the other factors that are more likely to be involved: home life, family issues, bully victim, etc.

There have been various studies done in the past that disprove a link between video games and violent behaviour but I welcome one done with this amount of publicity. Hopefully it afirms the previous studies and causes the proponents of the opposing theory to shut up. However if the past has shown anything, those that are against it will more than likely stick their fingers in their ears and refuse to listen.
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Old 17th Jan 2013, 13:45   #4
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Interesting piece on a similar theme at Kotaku, which rationalises my thoughts perfectly (although I don't have bi-polar as far as I know) - it's easy to blame the games for these shootings, but the reality is probably far more difficult to target, hence they're a scapegoat.
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Old 17th Jan 2013, 13:57   #5
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Interesting piece on a similar theme at Kotaku, which rationalises my thoughts perfectly (although I don't have bi-polar as far as I know) - it's easy to blame the games for these shootings, but the reality is probably far more difficult to target, hence they're a scapegoat.
That's a great article, thanks for linking. It's similar to what I was trying to get to in my post (although much more detailed and eloquently put).

The main problem of blaming games is, because they are used as a scapegoat, no one is looking for the real problems. I recommend watching Bowling for Columbine, especially the interview with Marlyn Manson who had his music blamed for influencing Klebold and Harris.
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Old 17th Jan 2013, 14:29   #6
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Fantasy violence has been with us for thousands of years, ever since we first could transmit ideas to one another, and for thousands of years certain parts of society have been trying to censor these perceived societal ills. This scapegoating is not new, it is not clever, it is not beneficial, it stagnates the argument and prevents progress. The only thing I will say to this subject is: desensitisation to fantasy violence is fundamentally different to desensitisation to physical violence. Multiple scientific studies have proven this - so end of really.

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Old 17th Jan 2013, 15:08   #7
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I play violent games, have done for many many years.

Haven't killed anyone, or even tried to.
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Old 17th Jan 2013, 15:15   #8
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Call me odd, but hasn't violence on the whole decreased in the developed world? When I look back in to history, I can't help but notice that civilisation used to be much more violent in general.

When I look to some of the less enlightened parts the Middle East (just for example - no xenophobia here), I see an awful lot more interpersonal violence than we get in the Western world with our evil computer games. I think certain religious beliefs and social exclusion/isolation would be better places to start when trying to reduce overall levels of violence in the world, don't you?

Unhappy folks + real weapons = violence.
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Old 17th Jan 2013, 15:43   #9
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The scaspegoat has always been, violent movies, Gangsta Rap, and Violent Video Games. rather than the medical condition or mental health issue that the person(s) have and then committed these acts.

I remember seeing some kids years ago when GTA:SA came out. I was on the bus to work and they where going to buy the game. Knowing full well that the game was an 18 rated Game.

An hour later I was coming home, Agency work and was told I wasn't needed. So I picked the game up myself which was my plan that day too. I saw the same kids on the bus without the game.

But have also been in Game etc and seen parents picking up a 15/18 rated game for their child. Beggars belief really.
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Old 17th Jan 2013, 15:49   #10
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But the video game/music argument only goes back to about 1990. Kids and young adults have been committing violent and heinous acts since long before then.

In fact I'd wager that pre-Homo Sapiens kids were doing the same thing.

It's just what nutjobs do, whether or not you expose then to fictional violence. After all, turn on the news for half an hour and you can watch it for real. Don't get me started on the real violent content available on the internet...
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Old 17th Jan 2013, 21:13   #11
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Want to know what I learned from video games? I learned the importance of keeping a clean house. Thanks to video games, I now know that if there is a pizza box on the floor, there is a good chance I'll die because I won't be able to get to the restroom. True story.
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Old 17th Jan 2013, 22:13   #12
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Killing in video games do help in the de-sensitisation to the subject.

A NATO "figure 11" target served more than just making sure you could shoot straight...



It's still used on the ranges today, but brass is expensive.

Enter cost effective military de-sensitisation in the 21st centrury....



http://products.bisimulations.com/pr.../vbs2/overview


No need for a witch-hunt, Just ask the military for their scientific assessment, there's your answer.
Keep 18 ratings on killing, simples.
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Old 17th Jan 2013, 22:27   #13
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Not a rigorous argument, sorry. The entire army training is designed to indoctrinate and desensitise their soldiers. Video simulations may have a negligible effect in comparison.

Thus far, there is no sound scientific evidence to suggest that video games depicting violence result in violent behaviour IRL. Studies have all sorts of methodological problems. Ethical analogues of 'violent behaviour' have a dubious relationship to the real thing, and there is a conflation between violence and competition, to name but a few. And the direction of the association is unclear: are violent people attracted to violent games, or do violent games make people violent? And what about the principle of catharsis?

It's tricky. No easy answers in human nature, I'm afraid.
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Old 17th Jan 2013, 23:41   #14
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On the subject this video from The Big Picture could be relevant, and Penn and Teller are always good fun.

As said before there are no evidence of video games causing people to become more violent and I doubt that there will ever be as our brains are fairly good at distinguishing real world form fiction and as such only people with pre existing "flaws" may be influenced by them. But then again mad men has been influenced by everything from the Beatles, films, video games to Avril Lavigne tickets.

More research has to be done but simply saying that games are making people more willing to commit murder because some psychopath told you so or because you found games in a murderers home does not make it a fact. I am fairly sure that they found dinner plates in all of these murderers homes as well and I don't see us banning those any time soon, games are simply there because like dinner plates they are at this point in every home. But now I think of it games are not found in all murderers homes but dinner plates are, we have been using plates since the dawn of civilization and we have been killing each other since the dawn of civilization so they must be linked.
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Old 18th Jan 2013, 04:49   #15
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Are games responsible. In a sense, yes. They are desensitizing. However it's never truly addressed why people become violent. We only look at the cart once the horse has left and turned into horse meat. I can't say that video games aren't responsible because ultimately it does desensitize, and if you combine this with a violent concoction of chaotic family history and an inability to discern reality and it's easy for games to be a catalyst of some sort.

Of course it's absurd when people somehow think that only solely video games are capable or even responsible for muderderous behavior (ATT Customer Service puts me in an axe mode rage quicker than Ninja Gaiden). Even so, to say whole sale that video games bear no responsibility when it's an industry that still archaically caters to an what many percieve to be an overly-masculine-idolized, misogynistic, and childish audience and it's difficult for video games to be taken seriously as a medium much less a form of work/

Games like art, or even television have psychological impacts on the viewer which although different and contingent upon the viewer are still existent. What strikes me as concerning is that even now our culture and society is looking for the "miracle cure" to our problems when in reality we should be adults about such issues and discuss and figure out what must be done without resorting to straw man arguments or baseless statements.

But then again, I'm hoping for a pipe dream.
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Old 18th Jan 2013, 08:25   #16
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Perhaps the real answer is people with a predisposition towards violence are more likely to play violent video games much as they were drawn to 'video nasties' in the 80s that apparently were a cause of violent behaviour. Am I to understand that videos have been superceded?

I disagree Elton, I don't believe moving pixels have desensitized me to violence. If you've sat through a briefing showing CCTV of 3 guys kicking another guy unconscious and then one of them repeatedly jumping on his head it still makes you whince. Well, it did me.
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Old 18th Jan 2013, 08:46   #17
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Perhaps the real answer is people with a predisposition towards violence are more likely to play violent video games much as they were drawn to 'video nasties' in the 80s that apparently were a cause of violent behaviour. Am I to understand that videos have been superceded?

I disagree Elton, I don't believe moving pixels have desensitized me to violence. If you've sat through a briefing showing CCTV of 3 guys kicking another guy unconscious and then one of them repeatedly jumping on his head it still makes you whince. Well, it did me.
I'm not saying that it desensitizes you entirely, but you become more receptive to it. Doesn't mean you'll ever kill people though. What I was trying to express perhaps rather badly was the fact that we've come to associate violence in media as equatable with violence in real life. It isn't but we do it anyways.

Of course this is all said in the context of those who can't discern reality from fiction. Given that the majority of us can, it's all inevitably a scapegoat. My main point which seemed lost amongst the walls of text was simply thus: As a gamer and as a person who tries to analyze games, the industry itself is perpetuating this backwards stereotype that gives video games a horrible stigma. Why would the media not use such an easy and divided scapegoat as us?
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Old 18th Jan 2013, 09:02   #18
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I disagree with Elton as well.

before video games we had cap guns, running around "shooting" each other with cap guns was part of our growing up, it wasn't frowned upon(like it is now), you weren't going to get shot by armed police(like you might now). video games don't desensitise you, films don't desensitise you. some people, I think are predisposed to violence, the fact they "may" have played violent video games has nothing to do with it, some violent offenders have never played or seen violent games or films.
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Old 18th Jan 2013, 09:18   #19
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Originally Posted by RichCreedy View Post
I disagree with Elton as well.

before video games we had cap guns, running around "shooting" each other with cap guns was part of our growing up, it wasn't frowned upon(like it is now), you weren't going to get shot by armed police(like you might now). video games don't desensitise you, films don't desensitise you. some people, I think are predisposed to violence, the fact they "may" have played violent video games has nothing to do with it, some violent offenders have never played or seen violent games or films.
Indeed they are. Turns out my statement got more points on making games seem responsible than commenting on how games are merely a scapegoat.

Eh. I suck at comprehension at 1AM.
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Old 18th Jan 2013, 10:21   #20
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Isn't it more of a release valve than a de-sensitiser? There was nothing I loved more about GTA3 than walking into an old woman to provoke a reaction before beating her well beyond a pulp with my baseball bat - literally stood over her for minutes pounding away, then didn't even take her pension money afterwards, just to make it completely senseless.

And I haven't beaten up a single granny since that game came out.
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