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Gamer Subversion: a study of media violence and its effects

By K1DA in Media
Sat Oct 22, 2005 at 10:29:01 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

In recent years there has been growing concern over media violence and its effects on our society. Various groups have lobbied governments and regulatory bodies, rating systems have been implemented, and thousands of studies have been conducted regarding the possibility of adverse effects, specifically with regards to adolescents or children. This paper argues that there is no evidence supporting a direct causal relationship between violence in the media and aggressive or deviant behavior. While briefly discussing the merits of media regulation, this paper will focus on the effects of video game violence, using the 1999 shootings in Littleton Colorado as a case study.


Before discussing case studies of media violence it is important to understand the theories that opponents of media violence have put forward. Most critics argue that media violence can have a direct or cumulative effect on whoever is consuming it (Lorimer 121, "Violent Video games product violent behavior" 2003, "Sounding the alarm on video game ratings" 2004, Linz 274). The case studies that these critics draw their arguments from employ effects research. These studies, which are rooted in 1940s and, 60s social psychology, initially assumed that media had a direct, strong effect on individual behavior (Lorimer 121). However, as Lorimer & Gasher note, they were only able to identify weak effects (121). So, past studies (and there have been many) suggest that media have minimal effects on individual behavior.

In addition to this, there are numerous methodological issues when attempting to measure the effects of media on individual behavior. As Lorimer & Gasher observe, the major difficulty is separating the influence of the media from the greater social context (ibid 121). Gerrard Jones, for example, argues that the research process itself may produce the reactions it measures (Jones 168). He notes that laboratory studies testing student's reactions to violent video games are often conducted so that the games are played for limited times and then stop abruptly - a situation he says, guaranteed to frustrate anyone in a high-adrenaline game (ibid). Additionally, arousal is bound to be heightened at the end of any competitive or exciting experience (ibid). The point here is that, even if studies have concluded that media (in this case video games) produce "aggressive behavior," they aren't being consumed in their natural fashion. That is to say the games aren't being used as they are used by the everyday consumer - in a domestic, relaxed situation. For example, the reactions of the person playing would arguably be much different if they played for the amount of time they wished and in comfortable circumstances. Perhaps Mastronardi states it best when she says that the assumption that we interact with media in discrete acts that can be isolated, flattens out the complexity of the relationships we have with media forms, and how we derive meaning from them (Mastronardi 88).

Before examining the results of case studies, it is evident that even the most methodologically sound studies of the effects of media violence have the potential to be flawed since laboratory research removes consumers from their natural environment. What about consumers in a real-life environment? A study by psychologists published in the Journal of Personality examined the effects of video games in real life ("Violent Video Games Produce Violent Behavior" 2003). College students were surveyed about their use of video games. The survey found that those people who played more aggressive video games had also engaged in more aggressive delinquent behavior (ibid). There are two problems with this study: first, the definitions of aggressive and delinquent behavior need to be defined, but more importantly it provides no proof of a causal link or a causal direction. As Slater observes, attributions of causality, possible external key variables, and directionality of causation are a concern (Slater 119). Aggressive people most likely would enjoy engaging in the use of violent video games, but this study does nothing to prove that it is the violent media content that is what made them aggressive in the first place.

As demonstrated, there are numerous methodological problems with investigating the effects of violent media content. What about other methods? A more technologically deterministic view would hold that since the advent of television, crime has increased dramatically in Canada and the United States, and claim that, "if...television...had never been developed, there would be today be 10,000 fewer homicides each year in the United States, 70,000 fewer rapes, and 700,000 fewer injurious assaults" (Freedman 4). However this is easily countered by the simple argument that these types of crime have always existed, as Jones notes, horrific and sadistic crimes have existed for centuries (Jones 181). The opponents of media violence once again fail to provide and causal link between violent behavior and media content.

Despite the evidence to the contrary, media violence receives a lot of negative attention within the media itself. In 1999 when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold murdered 14 students, one teacher, and injured another 20 students, ("Why did the Columbine shooting happen in Littleton CO?" 2001) the media were quick to blame video game violence. Specifically, the media blamed violent video games as the progenitor of their attack stating that the two adolescents enjoyed, and were heavy users of violent video games ("Violent Video Games produce Violent Behavior" 2003, Slater 105). The two modified their version of a popular video game Doom, a first-person shooter, to include two shooters, extra-weapons and made it so the other people couldn't shoot back (ibid). The media stated that the two used it to simulate the slaughter, which in turn made it easier for them to act (Jones 168).

In this case it is important to note that based on the data of Dr. James McGee, an authority on the "classroom avenger," there have been sixteen rampage shootings at high schools in recent years and only at Columbine did the perpetrators turn out to be heavy game players (Jones 168-169). As Jones and others note, there were common elements, but playing video games wasn't one of them (ibid). Much more common to those involved in the sixteen shootings were: bullying by peers, hostility with or dislocation from peers and suicidal threats (ibid). The evidence presented suggests that in high school shootings in general, violent media content (specifically video games), have not been a dominant contributing factor to aggressive and violent behavior.

In the specific case of those in Littleton, the same applies. Importantly, the costumes and rhetoric of Klebold and Harris were unlike any in the games they played (ibid 169). Again, those arguing that media violence is what perpetrated violent behavior in this case lack both a causal link and proof of causal direction. Let us note that the two killers had been labeled by some as, "fitting the psychological model of psychopaths" (Why did the Columbine Shooting happen in Littleton CO? 2004). In other words, Doom has been played by millions of people; the problem was with those two individuals, not the games (Jones 177). In this case, the media largely ignored the other possible factors and quickly placed the blame on video games and media violence. But as Slater and Jones suggest, every bit of research on the relationship between media and behavior find that the substantial correlations between media are far less significant than more common social issues which have a greater likelihood for a causal effect in relation to violence such as alienation from family and social groups, gender, and socio-economic status. (Slater 105 - 109, 119, Jones 167 - 168, 184).

But not everybody is a critic of media violence; there have been numerous studies which have concluded that there is no causal link at all, or even that media violence serves a positive social function. For example a study was done of grade two to six children who were randomly assigned to play either two violent or two non-violent video games, for a total of 14 minutes and then completed 20 trials on a help/hurt apparatus ("Effects of playing vs. observing violent vs. non violent video games on children's aggression" 1987) The data analysis from this study found that, "there were no short-term differences between the effects of violent versus non-violent video games" (ibid). Additionally, survey research and longitudinal research as outlined by Freedman found that "research does not demonstrate that exposure to media violence affects aggression" (Freedman 195), also that the results of such studies are not entirely consistent (ibid). Others simply argue that even the most objective and methodologically sound studies find no link between video game play and violent behavior (Sounding the Alarm on Video Game Ratings, 2004).

Jones argues that there is a positive socializing factor tied to playing violent video games. He argues that "what our kids are doing with their video games is playing, and they know it" (Jones 167). In fact, he states that kids have been less violent since those games came out and that it steers them away from real-life trouble (ibid 167, 172).

When all of the positive and negative evidence for media violence is put together the results are rather blurred. While many studies have identified a connection between consumption of violent media products and aggression, what they lack is concrete proof. No matter what the opinion on the results, good or bad, studies have failed to produce any evident causality, or evidence of the directionality of that causation.

It is important to note that there is a lot of discussion regarding censorship or regulation of media violence. There are concerns about how much is too much, and what types of violence should be allowed to be shown or not shown on television (e.g. Hateful or discriminatory violence). This discussion is contentious because there are contradictory legal doctrines concerning it. For example, freedom of opinion, expression; equality of rights without discrimination; and protection against advocacy of racial or religious hatred, are all internationally recognized human rights under the United Nations' International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Donnelly 6). There are problems when the rights of free speech can sometimes conflict with those of racial or religious groups. The question becomes which rights have supremacy, and should there be regulations in place to help solve this conflict?

An excellent example of the contentious nature of the discussion surrounding video game violence is the recent release of the game JFK Reloaded, in which players engage in a simulation of the assassination of John F. Kennedy ("JFK assassination now a video game" 2004). As mentioned by the Toronto Star, "A player must fire three shots at Kennedy's motorcade from assassin Lee Harvey Oswald's digitally re-created perch in the Texas School Book Depository" (ibid). Some people find the game disturbing or despicable, while the makers of the game claim that the objective was to show a lone gunman could kill the president, contrary to conspiracy theories (ibid).

Violence in the media is undoubtedly a contentious issue; one with no immediate universal agreement in sight. However, regardless of which side of the debate an argument originates from, it is difficult to prove any causality or direct effects between media violence and aggressive behavior and violence in people. The shootings in Littleton, Colorado provide an easy target for opponents of video game violence as there is a lot of stigma surrounding those who play such games and enjoy them regularly. However, this case provides little evidence that violent games directly caused the murders. Whether or not this topic will ever produce overarching agreement between psychologists and communications scholars is questionable, due to the restraints methodology places on the media experience, especially since it is impossible to separate it from the larger social construct. Will media violence ever disappear? Will it ever be fully accepted or censored? Rather than fearing or trivializing media violence, we should ask ourselves why we derive pleasure from it. Only then will we find any real answers.







Sources Cited

B.A. Robinson. Why did the Columbine shooting Happen? Beliefs from secular Sources. Revised December 3, 2001. from http://www.religioustolerance.org/sch_vio1.htm

Donnelly, Jack. (1998). International Human Rights. Westview Press: Colorado. Effects of playing versus observing violent versus nonviolent video games on children's aggression. from http://80-md1.csa.com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/htbin/ids65/procskel.cgi

Freedman, Jonathan L.. (2002). Media Violence and its effect on aggression: assessing the scientific evidence. University of Toronto Press: Toronto.

Holmes, Leonard. (2003) Violent Video Games Produce Violent Behavior. Revised Nov 16, 2003. from http://mentalhealth.about.com/cs/familyresources/a/vidgameviolence.htm JFK Assasination Now a Video Game. Revised November 22, 2004. from http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_T ype1&c=Article&cid=1101078609678&call_pageid=968332188492&col=96 8793972154

Jones, Gerard. (2002) Shooters. In Killing Monsters: why children need fantasy, super heroes and make-believe violence. (pp. 165 - 182). Basic Books: New York.

Jones, Gerard. (2002) Model, Mirror, and Mentor. In Killing Monsters: why children need fantasy, super heroes and make-believe violence. (pp. 183 - 204). Basic Books: New York.

Lorimer, Rowland & Mike Gasher. (2004). Media and Audiences. In Mass Communications in Canada. (pp. 116 - 144). Oxford: New York.

Mastronardi, Maria. (2004). Adolescence And Media. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, (22)1, 83 - 93.

Slater, Michael D.. (2003) Alienation, Aggression, and Sensation Seeking as Predictors of Adolescent Use of Violent Film, Computer, and Website Content. Jornal of Communication, (53), 105 - 121.

Wright, Brad. Sounding the Alarm on Video Game Ratings. Revised February 18, 2004. from http://archives.

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Poll
What's Your Favorite Violent Video game Series?
o GTA 28%
o Doom 7%
o Quake 15%
o Half-life & Half-life 2 25%
o F.E.A.R. 0%
o Something Else 23%

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Gamer Subversion: a study of media violence and its effects | 70 comments (51 topical, 19 editorial, 0 hidden)
I give this troll a 2 out of 10 = (1.08 / 12) (#1)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 10:15:53 AM EST


----------------

Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.

Answer (2.50 / 2) (#6)
by bml on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 10:37:08 AM EST

2 out of 10 = 0.2

I still hope you're not using = as a no-text marker.


The Internet is vast, and contains many people. This is the way of things. -- Russell Dovey
[ Parent ]

Like God told Moses (2.00 / 2) (#8)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 10:42:06 AM EST

I AM

----------------

Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.
[ Parent ]

Repent your wicked ways $ (none / 0) (#9)
by bml on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 11:20:45 AM EST



The Internet is vast, and contains many people. This is the way of things. -- Russell Dovey
[ Parent ]
I give this post a 0 out of 3. [nt] (3.00 / 2) (#39)
by Patrick Chalmers on Fri Oct 21, 2005 at 11:57:29 AM EST


Holy crap, working comment search!
[ Parent ]
UN Crap Irrelevant (2.33 / 3) (#7)
by adavies42 on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 10:41:16 AM EST

It is important to note that there is a lot of discussion regarding censorship or regulation of media violence. There are concerns about how much is too much, and what types of violence should be allowed to be shown or not shown on television (e.g. Hateful or discriminatory violence). This discussion is contentious because there are contradictory legal doctrines concerning it. For example, freedom of opinion, expression; equality of rights without discrimination; and protection against advocacy of racial or religious hatred, are all internationally recognized human rights under the United Nations' International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Donnelly 6). There are problems when the rights of free speech can sometimes conflict with those of racial or religious groups. The question becomes which rights have supremacy, and should there be regulations in place to help solve this conflict?

Why are you citing UN nonsense in an article primarily about America? The First Amendment trumps all that crap, as well it should--racial and religious groups have no "rights"--no group does. Only individual people have rights, and there are no conflicts among them.

Not necessarily (none / 0) (#18)
by Mathemagician on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 02:51:16 PM EST

It uses examples from America, but the results seem general enough to apply to any first world country.

[ Parent ]
Ha! (2.80 / 5) (#15)
by Kasreyn on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 01:34:12 PM EST

If Oswald shot Kennedy just because a video game lets you get off enough rounds with enough accuracy, then apparently hordes of zombies and demons are about to overrun our bases on Phobos and Deimos. Has anyone warned our brave Marines?!


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
Damn... (3.00 / 3) (#16)
by BJH on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 01:58:14 PM EST

...I was looking forward to reading a guide to source control systems for gamers ("Tagging a particular set of files  is like using a savepoint to take a copy of your character's stats, in case something bad happens later on. Just as you can go back and restart the game from that savepoint, you can always pull out the tagged versions of that set of files, no matter how many changes you've made since then...", etc. etc.).

Instead the whole article was yet more drivel about how too much gaming might make your palms hairy or whatever.
--
Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

Uh (none / 0) (#25)
by K1DA on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 08:36:51 PM EST

I never claimed that effects research have any weight. Nor do I suggest that video games have negative effects. I'm a strong supporter, I play them all the time... I'm actually discrediting a causal relationship between violent content and real life violence.


Everything in it's right place...
[ Parent ]
Pay no attention to me... (none / 0) (#29)
by BJH on Fri Oct 21, 2005 at 01:49:13 AM EST

...I just wanted to make a joke about Subversion.
--
Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

[ Parent ]
pure unaduterated truth about violent/sexual media (2.40 / 10) (#17)
by circletimessquare on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 02:46:02 PM EST

i never understood why people get hung up on this issue. it is utterly academic to me at this point

if i watched 10 days straight of ultraviolent movies straight, then went out and punched someone, it would be my fault

if wacked off for 10 days straight to hardcore rape porn then went out and raped a woman, it would be my fault

if i played 10 days straight of ultraviolent videogames, then went out and shot someone, it would be my fault

100%

no grey area WHATSOEVER

why?

PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY

if it comes out of my mouth, or my hand, it is MY RESPONSIBILITY

"the devil made me do it" is a blame game, an attempt to avoid guilt, and it is a mode of defense as old as rape and murder (which never needed porn, videogames, or movies to happen going backt to he dawn of time)

if you play GTA, and then kill a cop in the EXACT same scenario as GTA, GTA BEARS NO RESPONSIBILITY WHATSOEVER

because YOU were the fucked up person to do that, not GTA. if you never played GTA, some other stupid pursuit would give an idea to do something incredibly retarded, get it? YOU ARE THE GUILTY PARTY, AND YOU ALONE

media cannot enable the well-balanced to commit crimes, media can only enable the previously fucked up to commir crimes, and even then, putting retstraints on media means nothing: the previously fucked up will be set off by some other factor you have no control over! so the point is you lay blame where blame is 100% due: THE FUCKED UP ASSHOLE WHO COMMITTED THE CRIME

if i am psychologically well-balanced, NONE OF THIS MEDIA WILL SO MUCH BREACH THE TINIEST BIT OF MY SENSE OF RIGHT AND WRONG

in fact, in the mid-1990s, when i was quite young, i might add, i must have played hours and hours of doom for weeks on end

and i'm a rabid anti-gun nut

how's that work? it works just fine! in me and 99.99999% of the rest of the well-adjusted population on questions of simple right and wrong... dylan klebold is the fucked up asshole, NOT DOOM!

now, the most amazing thing to me is how the people pushing for controls on videogames, porn, movies: these are the same social conservatives who talk so highly, with such vigor and passion, about the concept of personal responsibility

and yet they defile it with their censorship attempts

THEY DON'T FUCKING GET IT

in fact, i propose we have MORE access to porn, violent movies, and violent videogames

because i in fact suscribe to the theory of the safety release valve: violence we are complicit to on a video screen is violence we would not have committed in real life

in fact i would wager, if such a study would ever done, that rape and violence is static across all time and history... to think that it is increasing over time is hystorically myopic of you. really

in fact, i might wager violence has gone DOWN slightly over the course of recent history as ou access to more realistic media, and would go down even MORE, if people were exposed to more violent and sexual media, and would go down even MORE if our media gets MORE violent and MORE VR full immersion realistic

i really believe that 100%!

do you want people to be more peaceful? well people are inherently violent and sexual, so beam all of those pressures up on a screen in front of them, and voila: release

not that i'm going all clockwork orange on y'all and tying people down and prying their eyes open and force them to watch violence and sex, but at least stop trying to PREVENT people from pursing violent and sexual media as a natural instinctual desire to release that which if did not get released harmlessly on videoscreen, would build up and be released in real life

in other words, it all depends upon how you view human nature:

are we born pure unadulterated innocent snowflakes, and our environment corrupts us?

or are we born with the full range of sleaze and pathology seething within us, and our environment and society caps that, and teaches us to control our impulses, and mitigates our sexual and violent desires into more responsible and peaceful channels

yes, we are given natural qualities of empathy: those are peopel, just like me out there, who have feelings and rights just like i do. this is the seed of morality. and this grows us into responsible adults. it's not all nature=violence, nurture=placation. nurture can fuck someone up, but it must be repetitive and it must come from a constant adult source or in the absence of any adult source and some internal naturally fucked up psychology. anything that corrodes our ability to empathize is nurture gone bad. but for the most part, empathy is natural and easily fostered and grown for the vast majority of us. we are not sitting on a razors edge

at the same time, guess what fools, we're fucking mammals

we've been raping our women and braining our neighbors since way before we ever became homo sapiens

and cave art wasn't reponsible for that!


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

OK I'll explain (2.50 / 2) (#19)
by The Diary Section on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 03:29:30 PM EST

i never understood why people get hung up on this issue. it is utterly academic to me at this point

if i watched 10 days straight of ultraviolent movies straight, then went out and punched someone, it would be my fault

if wacked off for 10 days straight to hardcore rape porn then went out and raped a woman, it would be my fault

if i played 10 days straight of ultraviolent videogames, then went out and shot someone, it would be my fault

OK, so now you've assaulted someone, raped a woman and shot someone. Our knowing its "your fault", which I agree with entirely, isn't going to unshoot or unrape anyone is it.

Kind of simple really isn't it.
Spend 10 minutes in the company of an American and you end up feeling like a Keats or a Shelley: Thin, brilliant, suave, and desperate for industrial-scale quantities of opium.
[ Parent ]

huh? (none / 0) (#20)
by circletimessquare on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 03:43:30 PM EST

yes, that's true

what's your point?


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Simple really (2.00 / 2) (#43)
by kero on Fri Oct 21, 2005 at 02:08:29 PM EST

Even if you are completely responsible for your actions we should STILL ban violent content because it makes his tummy feel weird. It's just too darned easy to blame someone else when something unimaginable happens. Just like the olde timee people blamed witches when the crops failed he would like to be able to blame violent media when some young kid who has been picked on for half his life gets a little tense and shoots up the place.

[ Parent ]
And..... (1.50 / 2) (#30)
by The Amazing Idiot on Fri Oct 21, 2005 at 02:27:05 AM EST

I agree.

[ Parent ]
An insightful CTS post?! (1.50 / 2) (#40)
by Patrick Chalmers on Fri Oct 21, 2005 at 11:59:01 AM EST

An obvious one, but still...
Holy crap, working comment search!
[ Parent ]
You can make some arguement (none / 0) (#57)
by debacle on Sat Oct 22, 2005 at 10:42:01 PM EST

That playing 10 hours of video games distorts your grip on reality.

Watching 10 hours of rape hentai distorts your views of sex.

It goes on.

I've never watched 10 hours of pron, but I've played a good amount of video games in my life, and there are some fine points where fantasy and reality can blur. The thing is, we as a society know this. The same could be said for books, paintings, poetry, religion, etc. The key is to not regulate 'artistic' mediums so that the difference can be easily recognizable.

If we allow censorship in video games and movies, suddenly we need censorship in books, in the news, etc. I realize this is being done to some extent now, but the key here is to recognize that there is a narrow line between the fantasies in video games and movies and that of other art forms.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]

no, moron (none / 0) (#60)
by circletimessquare on Sun Oct 23, 2005 at 01:51:14 AM EST

i've played doom for hours straight for weeks on end

i've never ever once felt like i saw an imp in public

that "fantasy and reality" blurring bit is pure unadulterated horseshit


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

You are pure unadulterated horseshit (none / 0) (#63)
by debacle on Sun Oct 23, 2005 at 10:47:42 PM EST

And I claim my $10.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]
what $10 (none / 0) (#65)
by circletimessquare on Tue Oct 25, 2005 at 02:19:19 PM EST

you're confusing reality and fantasy again, you fucking schizo

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Idiot (none / 0) (#67)
by tinkertux on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 08:44:56 AM EST

I don't know about you. Going around saying totally reasonable things in a thread on fantasy. People are going to read this and think "CTS is ranting non-garbage, reasonable logic in a fantasy thread!? It must be the apocalyse! Where's my AK? Time to fight at the end of the world!"
Rationality at this time and place is going to cause mass chaos and murder. Just so you know.

/me wanders off muttering about the apocalypse and filling magazines...

[ Parent ]
No (2.60 / 5) (#27)
by nailgun on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 10:12:20 PM EST

While there may be at present no empirical evidence of a link between video games and violence, the fact remains that even if incontrovertible proof of such a connection were to be shown, gamers and the game industry would raise a hue and cry, and violent video games would continue to be sold and bought.

This is of course because modern liberal society has fetishized "individual choice" and "freedom of speech" to such an extreme extent, that even media that blatantly contributes to the deterioration of society is tolerated and even promoted.

Such media also enriches big corporations, who therefore have a deeply vested interest in seeing to it that various "freedoms" continue to be pushed to greater and greater extremes.

All of which is of course goes to show that modern liberal democracy is surely in the latter end of its life cycle.

The drive toward more and more freedom and individuality which causes democracies to be formed is the same drive that eventually leads those same societies to succumb to internal strife and disorder, just as the metabolic cycle that leads an organism to mature and reproduce is the same one that leads to that creature's inevitable demise.

As with democratic Athens and republican Rome, modern democratic society will soon be at the point where it is no longer able to function, and will be replaced with some form of authoritarian rule.

Since this result is unavoidable, in the meantime we may as well enjoy ourselves. I say, bring on the Xbox 360 and PS3. And while we're at it, we should go ahead and legalize marijuana, cocaine, heroin, automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades, polygamy, prostitution, and duelling.

While you have a good point... (none / 0) (#28)
by K1DA on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 11:30:55 PM EST

it vaguely reminds me of the "social problem film" of the late 70's and 80's...

Violence was used to promote capitalism and corporate-conservative values...

In this case I suppose you could argue the opposite, that it is promoting the "Evil liberal" agenda...

however, i wholeheartedly agree... bring on the games... i surely enjoy them..


Everything in it's right place...
[ Parent ]

what about your username (none / 0) (#32)
by m a r c on Fri Oct 21, 2005 at 06:51:44 AM EST

Isn't that a weapon from a FPS shooter... I forget the name but its a lot like quake... I'd hardly expect you to agree that video games and violent behaviour are linked ;)


I got a dog and named him "Stay". Now, I go "Come here, Stay!". After a while, the dog went insane and wouldn't move at all.
[ Parent ]

It was quake $ (none / 0) (#36)
by Have A Nice Day on Fri Oct 21, 2005 at 11:21:29 AM EST



--------------
Have A Nice Day may have reentered the building.
[ Parent ]
they're also used for, you know, nailing things (none / 1) (#46)
by Wenceslaus of Bohemia on Fri Oct 21, 2005 at 04:45:26 PM EST

to other things. usually for construction purposes. HTH.

[ Parent ]
can't escape violence (none / 1) (#33)
by m a r c on Fri Oct 21, 2005 at 06:58:18 AM EST

Video game violence is a valid expression of natural violence within people. We live in a society that socially condemns violence and violent behaviour and yet biologically we cannot escape from the drives that cause such behaviour. Just as sport is a cathartic experience for our violent urges, so too are video games.

The fact that some people have blurred the line between video game violence and real life violence probably has more to do with their perceptions of reality verses non reality more than the violent video game itself. In this way any type of media (movies, books) is more likely to effect behaviour.

Most normal people know the difference. For them they can use the violence in video games as a natural outlet for their aggression in the same way as playing sport or visiting the gym.
I got a dog and named him "Stay". Now, I go "Come here, Stay!". After a while, the dog went insane and wouldn't move at all.

+1 FP (1.50 / 2) (#34)
by Enlarged to Show Texture on Fri Oct 21, 2005 at 10:58:39 AM EST

Unlike some of the others, I don't think that the lack of links is a problem. You've created a story that is well-reasoned, relevant to the issues of the day, and takes a solid stand.

I'm trying to find a way to work in some thoughts on other related (or potentially so) topics that could be incorporated into the discussion - GTA/hot coffee, a similar school shooting in Red Lake, Minnesota, and so forth. I'm sure someone could probably drag some of these topics to the forefront in the discussion; because of all the possible spinoff discussion possibilities, I'll vote FP over section.




"Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do." -- Isaac Asimov
-1, Good rticles are boring (1.88 / 9) (#35)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Fri Oct 21, 2005 at 11:16:48 AM EST

Please re-work as a nice troll. kthnx

----------------

Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.

Freedom to.. (2.00 / 6) (#37)
by Lemon Juice on Fri Oct 21, 2005 at 11:44:18 AM EST

Read Mein Kampf cover to cover.
Be a nazi.
Go on the internet and say kill all jews.

Read the Quaran.
Become a muslim.
Say the Terrorists are on god side.

Look at rape porn.
Look at snuff porn.
Look at child porn.

Play Grand Theft Auto.
Play Manhunt.
Play Defile Rape Kill Children 5.

Which level of freedom do you believe in?
Is it level 1.
Is it level 2.
Or is it level 3.

The USA is at level 2.

Japan is at level 3.

JEWZ DID WTC [nt] (1.20 / 5) (#38)
by Patrick Chalmers on Fri Oct 21, 2005 at 11:52:57 AM EST


Holy crap, working comment search!
[ Parent ]
+1FP, cite sources (none / 1) (#41)
by Patrick Chalmers on Fri Oct 21, 2005 at 12:02:21 PM EST


Holy crap, working comment search!
ror, s/cite/cites/nt (1.50 / 2) (#42)
by Patrick Chalmers on Fri Oct 21, 2005 at 12:02:45 PM EST


Holy crap, working comment search!
[ Parent ]
Murder simulators are a lot like flight simulators (none / 0) (#44)
by balsamic vinigga on Fri Oct 21, 2005 at 02:53:05 PM EST

Sure, they can train us well for the real shit...  and make us better at the real shit...  but you still have to decide if you just wanna fuck with thi sim or do it for real.

I mean if shit starts to get 100% realistic... you could have a situation where a person doesn't know if they're in a simulator or not...  but otherwise i don't see what the prob. is.

---
Please help fund a Filipino Horror Movie. It's been in limbo since 2007 due to lack of funding. Please donate today!

Please Point me to the Murder Simulators (none / 0) (#49)
by richarj on Sat Oct 22, 2005 at 12:51:36 AM EST

I can see flight Simulators, Tanks, Racing cars etc but when it comes to simulated murder the gameing world is remarkably empty. I know that certain militaries around the world have such simulators but you will not find them in gameing. The closest you can get is something like "time crisis". The difference between a game and a simulator is that a simulator trys to be as realistic as possible upto and including using parts of the real world such as flight sticks and throttles, games don't they abstract things out. Games like GTA or Doom make you move the mouse to aim then click to shoot. If you have ever used a firearm you will instantly realise that you will learn how to shoot far better on a real shooting range in one day than 10,000 years of playing computer games.

"if you are uncool, don't worry, K5 is still the place for you!" -- rusty
[ Parent ]
Truly a Phillip K. Dick novel in the making. (none / 0) (#52)
by A Protracted Genocide of the Obese on Sat Oct 22, 2005 at 12:26:59 PM EST



[ Parent ]
to paraphrase The Simpsons (2.00 / 3) (#45)
by VoxLobster on Fri Oct 21, 2005 at 02:54:28 PM EST

Meyers: I did a little research and I discovered a startling thing...
           There was violence in the past, long before video games were invented.

Kent:   I see.  Fascinating.

Meyers: Yeah, and know something, Kent?  The Crusades, for instance.
           Tremendous violence, many people killed, the darned thing went
           on for thirty years.

Kent:   And this was before video games were invented?

Meyers: That's right, Kent.
   -- `Smartline', ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''

VoxLobster
I was raised by a cup of coffee! -- Homsar

For anyone needing the article cliff notes (3.00 / 2) (#47)
by NaCh0 on Fri Oct 21, 2005 at 06:52:22 PM EST

Q: Is there a connection between violence and what you see in the media?

A: Nobody knows.

--
K5: Your daily dose of socialism.

Just wait until REAL murder simulators come out. (2.60 / 5) (#50)
by codebunny on Sat Oct 22, 2005 at 05:23:05 AM EST

The day WILL come when games are available that will make the mayhem of GTA look quaint.

How long until someone comes out with a Virtual Auschwitz game? It could be played like Sim City where you have to design your death camp, make rules to conserve ammunition for the Lugers and rationing out Zyklon B (like changing the rules for summary execution, or just dispensing with the showers all together and throwing Jews into the ovens alive.) It would be a hit on the White Nationalist circuit. Perhaps Baldrson could even beta test it...

What about a game where you rape and torture women in graphic detail? You get points on how long you can keep them alive or something creepy like that.   Or a child sexual abuse game (courtesy of NAMBLA) where you drive around an elementary school in a van with blackened windows with a bag of Blow-Pops. Or an FPS that is truly based on Columbine (not just Klebold's bullshit Doom levels) where you have to kill as many students as you can before the SWAT team kills you.

(or takes several hours to even enter the school as was the real case with Columbine, but I won't even start to get into that...)

Terrorist Flight Simulator 9/11: The 72nd Virgin wouldn't be too hard to make either. Avoid the F-16's and fly your jetliner into a major US landmark, before your timer runs out and the passengers "let's roll" on your ass.

I'm just saying, we haven't even begun to plumb the moral depths of what gaming is capable of.

"The written equivalent of goatse or Tubgirl...you deserve to get hauled into a court of law and at least fined until you can't afford Internet access any more." --HitlerHopDrive


+1 FP (none / 1) (#51)
by Hung Fu on Sat Oct 22, 2005 at 08:16:29 AM EST

Or a child sexual abuse game
I believe that's a whole genre in Japan.

__
From Israel To Lebanon
[ Parent ]
And thus, (none / 0) (#53)
by A Protracted Genocide of the Obese on Sat Oct 22, 2005 at 12:29:57 PM EST

You have enumerated Running With Scissors' upcoming lineup.

[ Parent ]
People are stupid, bad people are stupider (none / 0) (#58)
by cdguru on Sat Oct 22, 2005 at 10:46:54 PM EST

Hang around with cops a lot and you will hear an unending litany of dumb, dumber and incredibly dumb things they have seen. Would it be a surprise if bad people therefore were more susceptible to influences from video games, comic books, pornography and just about anything else you can imagine?

So, what are we do to?

The folks that want to insure there is a "safety net" for all, that hate speech is criminalized and that nobody ever utters a non-PC word have an answer. We should just eliminate these potential influences from affecting the more vulnerable people. Of course, that pretty much means that we have eliminate these things completely, but that is a small price to pay for protecting the people that find these things too stimulating.

There is another solution. Bad people do bad things. They can find almost any excuse for these things, including video games. We aren't going to stop them from doing bad things, no matter what we prevent people from having. We have to choose as this is a real decision that affects everyone. And so far we have tried to push the choice off on people that are completely unqualified to make it for the rest of us.

Ah yes; the censorship card again. (none / 0) (#59)
by Millennium on Sat Oct 22, 2005 at 11:34:18 PM EST

Censoring media violence is just an attempt by some people to remove a corrupting moral influence from the vicinity of our children. Much like, for example, censoring pornography, messages of hate , techniques which could be used to commit criminal behavior, advertisements for certain products, scientific textbooks, messages of tolerance, and so on. It's all censorship, it's all based on the morality of the one advocating it, and it's all of exactly the same validity.

Take that however you will.

What's the fun in being "cool" if you can't wear a sombrero? -Hobbes


Buggy Boy syndrome... (none / 0) (#61)
by toychicken on Sun Oct 23, 2005 at 04:59:13 PM EST

Of course there's a link between media and violence.  You only have to ask nebbish...

- - - - - - -8<- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Just how many is a Brazillian anyway?


Okay... (none / 0) (#62)
by rebelcan on Sun Oct 23, 2005 at 05:36:05 PM EST

If we're going to hold the video game industry responsible for violence, we should also hold the car industry responsible for car accidents.


=============================
God is dead -- Nietzsche
Nietzsche is dead -- God
but Zombie Nietzsche lives! -- Zombie Nietzsche
violence too (none / 0) (#64)
by cgenman on Tue Oct 25, 2005 at 10:06:09 AM EST

I see a study every morning linking cars to violence, usually involving some form of IQ degredation and impoverished verbal skills.

.
- This Sig is a mnemonic device designed to allow you to recognize this author in the future. This is only a device.
[ Parent ]

additional comments (none / 1) (#66)
by tgibbs on Thu Oct 27, 2005 at 11:40:09 PM EST

Good article. A few additional issues that were not addressed:

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the accusations that have been leveled at videogames is that violent crimes have dropped steadily as games have gotten steadily more realistically violent. Furthermore, they have dropped most rapidly in the same demographic segment that plays video games. By itself, this tells us that even if games promote violence, their influence is so slight as to be swamped by other social and demographic factors.

It is instructive to read some of the studies that purport to support the link between games and violence. The vast majority make the same two errors:

1) No control for general arousal. Games are exciting. People are more likely to behave aggressively when they are exciting. So any decent study would have to compare games against some other stimulus that is equally exciting by some objective criteria, such as heart rate--an exciting sports game for example. This is virtually never done.

2) Confusion of violence with aggression. Aggression is not always a bad thing. There are many contexts--sports, for example--where a level of aggression is encouraged and appropriate. Violence is aggressive, but not all aggression is violent. Violence is an aggressive act with the intent to cause harm. Most studies count any behavior that looks violent or aggression, without judging whether there is a genuine attempt to cause harm.



Good Comment (none / 0) (#69)
by K1DA on Fri Nov 04, 2005 at 11:56:40 AM EST

I agree with you that most studies ignore the additional social factors.

We situate ourselves within media based on our overall experiences. You carry your baggage with you each time you engage a media text, so its really pointless to argue for any direct effects.

Sure, they may cause agression but as you point out: not all aggression is violent. Nobody blames video games for lawyers do they...


Everything in it's right place...
[ Parent ]

Gamers... (none / 0) (#68)
by Ad Captandum Vulgus on Mon Oct 31, 2005 at 06:56:11 AM EST

Video games, along with other presumably, gratuitously violent entertainment venues, are not the cause of violence in America; they are symptoms of an all-together, predominantly violent species. I love human beings! Let's make more!


"The Armies we are afraid to stand up against will decide for us all what will become the truth. Their vision becomes reality; their tongue becomes reason." -Uriah
violence in anything does nothing (none / 0) (#70)
by gimpyd on Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 12:21:21 PM EST

violence is everywhere, its on the internet, the news, music, tv, and just because its in a movie or video game does not make it anymore different.

take my site for example

www.gimpyd.com

we find the sickest things on the internet using a search engine, its not sick, its reality.

Gamer Subversion: a study of media violence and its effects | 70 comments (51 topical, 19 editorial, 0 hidden)
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