Video Games and Violence.

I have been an avid videogame player since I was about 8 years old. My Dad took me to an arcade and I immediately fell in love with that little TV that I can make things move in. Video games evolved quite a bit since back then, almost like right before my eyes. I feel my generation got to see a very awesome progression on technology and with computer power evolving at the rate it does now days we get to see changes that affect society happen right before our eyes.

I remember writing a paper in school on how the clock had changed society and how it affected every day life. Our parents got to experience how TV became a part of not only family life but also our society. Also today we have this term Pop-culture which defines something I am sure has always been there on one way or another, but it is now something that we are evern more aware of. Many of us try to escape it on one way or another, but even being Anti-Pop culture is an acknowledgment of its existence.

Video games today are part of Pop-culture. They have become in many households an everyday part of our kids lives. Many adults in my generation play video games more than a lot of childrent do. Video games have been blamed for making our children violent and were brought up when the Columbine massacre happened.

I am a gamer, and more so that a lot of the general population. I play both console and computer games. I lately have been going to LAN parties where groups of people hook up computers together and game for hours. As a matter of fact I will be attending one this coming weekend. Most of the games we play there are realistic military games like the Battlefield series or Call of Duty, others are fiction based FPS(first person shooters) like Unreal Tournament or Doom 3. The games use gore, gamers like gore. Not saying every single gamer is gore hungry but yea generalizing from my experience I say that the more realistic the better.

Some of the newer games come to a level of detail that you have to shoot the characters at specific locations to be efficient. A headshot in most games is something you want to achieve to not only save your ammunition but to quickly frag (kill) your opponent. The main objective on most FPS is to, well kill everyone in the opposing team.

The United States Army provides a first person shooter that is completely free to download and play online. It is a very good game, I have played it and even though it might not be up to par with some of the retail games, it is available for everyone with the computer to handle. I have a couple of friends that are not totally into gaming and buying the latest FPS, but play Americas Army and love it.

I personally enjoy all these games quite a bit. The gore is not a necessity for me to enjoy a game but I do not mind it either. The realism is something that I do like, characters looking very life like and the physics of movement being so accurate. Games that reenact military combat are on my favorite list. I do not think that games have made me a violent person, but I do believe that they have affected me in some ways.

When the war started and we were getting constant footage from it on CNN, to me it looked more like a video game than real life. I was reminded of that again today when I clicked on this link. (Click on it before you read on.) No it is not Half Life 2 one of the most anticipated games of the year, but an actual photo. When I saw the picture and before I read anything in the article, the first thing that came to mind is wow those graphics are awesome. Then I started to realize just from looking at the picture closer that it was a real life photo.

I have already said how I do not blame games for making anyone violent or commit crimes, but I do believe that in me they have changed something. I am not going as far as saying that they have completely desensitized me but I do think that my brain goes for fiction before reality. A fiction that was provided to me by the hours of video game playing I have done. Now my question to you is, what do you think? Do video games make people more prone to violence? Did you look at that picture and thought it was a game?

16 comments on “Video Games and Violence.

  1. Video games are like all things in life…best in moderation. Also knowing how much is too much. Too much of any good thing can be a bad thing…a very bad thing.

    And I agree…the picture did look liek a video game at first. Kind of frightening when you think about it..

  2. The picture did look like americas army at first, that’s kinda creepy, but I imagine the developers would be happy if they heard people say such things. If psychos get their kicks online in rpgs instead of real life-shooting up schools-more power to them to play games to relieve their frustration.

  3. Hey!!! So sorry the ‘little lady’ has marked you off, before you are even given a chance!!! My advice is worth just what you pay for it!!!!!!!

    On the video games, as well as things seen on every day tv, yes, I agree it desensitizes us. Things we see today, our grandparents would cringe, and die all over again. Why are we so accepting? Because we see it so much, that the shock has worn off. As, you with what ever picture you are reeferring to. (Personally, I don’t want to know)!!! But, that is me!. I think our society as we even know it, will be a memory too, for our children of today. I don’t even want to imagine, how life will be in twenty years if Jesus doesn’t come back. Too sad.

  4. Video Games, a category within the “Pop-Culture” realm, is simply a commonly exploited approach to take part in a fictional environment. Indeed, I too have been an avid gamer for many years, and majority of the gamers acknowledge that gaming should be done in moderation and certainly never reenacted in reality.

    Gaming is a form of escape, a “break” from the world if you will. Although, gaming is criticized strongly today because it is 1. relatively new in society, and 2. an easy scapegoat. However, these “outlets from reality” have been around since the dawn of time. Whether it is a professor having a drink after work, children playing Cowboys and Indians, or even attending a renaissance festival, such methods of escape have always existed. And, they always will.

    Let?s face it, the routines of life can be very monotonous, and an occasional break can be a relief; and at times even healthy. However, individuals who are unable to differentiate between a factual and fiction environments typically find themselves depressed, anxious, and/or generally lost. Sadly enough, the extremity of this situation rarely appears in news reports such as the Columbine incident. This is a problem with an individual?s psychological stability and certainly not the gaming industry as a whole. After all, 99.999% of the active gamers would never consider such an act.

    Unfortunately, if there were not regular outlets available for people to take advantage of, Columbine incidents would probably become a more frequent affair. There were no school shootings yesterday, so I applaud the gaming industry for providing a momentary escape for the folks who needed it. Thank You!

  5. Sure, I think it’s possible that games, violence in movies, etc, can desensitize us to violence. But as a whole, I just don’t see the big impact that some people worry about. How sensitive were people to violence during the French Revolution. the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the witch hangings on the middle ages? People have the capacity for both cruelty and kindness, it’s our values that dictate our actions, not what forms of entertainment we take part in. Besides, if I couldn’t shoot the occaisional baddie on the PC, I’d have to shoot some co-workers! 😉

  6. “Video games, books, movies, magazines are simply just that- Entertainment. Not guide books for damning yourself.”

    Time to quit searching for things to bitch and moan about. So what if the game resembles actual war?? It’s supposed to.
    What if we become desensitized?? You touchy feely mommy boys and girls might disagree, but I say kill off any sense of that emo shit. You wanna cry about war?? Go for it. See what that helps and whose life that saves.

    I know what you’re thinking…
    No, mommy didn’t hug me.

    As for me- I’m going to go play source. If you find my husband dead with a M4 head shot… then I take it all back.

  7. Ps. Dude- I see you’re reading intensity?? A totally properly titled book, don’t you think?? Soooo intense.
    Also- Ill nino?? FUCK YEAH!!! I love them

  8. I wouldn’t say video games make me more prone to violence. I play a lot of college football on the XBox but it doesn’t make me more prone to go try out with the Wildcats. :) I think you learn a lot more about violence playing violent games, but they don’t really make people violent. You can read some of the Columbine diaries and see that they had problems far extending their love of Doom.
    Personally, I am not a big shooter fan (OMG U CAMPER N00B!!) I like the sports games… they are much harder to “cheat” at, and you can always come up with a counter-strategy.

  9. I hate to say it, but video games definitely influence your mindset toward violence. I used to cringe at the original Half Life, now I don’t even bat an eye when someone’s head comes off in GTA:SA.

    But is this really a bad thing? I say: “Not necessarily”. For example, I intend to pursue a career in law enforcement. Say I am put into a situation where I may have to shoot and even kill someone to save an innocent life. Would you rather I hesitate with the thought of shooting someone, or do my job as necessary?

  10. When I saw the picture, I did not think it was a game although that scene does look staged to some degree for a picture, otherwise why the hell would one marine be covering the corner of a building he already was in. I do not think video games incite violence, but I do think they improve our hand/eye coordination and think that most of us that play these games a lot would actually have a clue on how to act in a real battlefield situation.

  11. I think that a lot of things contribute to violence and I think visual violence in any form TV, Video games etc are part of that. There is an article posted at

    The article is about how Nursery Rhymes have more violence than Kids TV. I think that the visual violence is more triggering for kids than reading it in the context of a Nursery Rhyme. But I digress….

    I think that proper parenting, good mentoring and good role models are the most important things for raising children who are not prones to exhibiting violence. In my opinion there is enough violence in the real world – why would you want your child exposed to more.

    That is for kids – if you are an adult – what can I say? Hopefully at that point you have developed enough moral character that playing a violent video game is not going to influence your tendencies.

    I thought the photo was real until I read the part where his friend said it was a video game…then I just got confused!

  12. Oh my kids would love you if you took them to a LAN party! LOL TJ plays Battlefield and both he and Nicki play Unreal Tournament. I don’t think it makes ppl more prone to violence…just desensitized to it.

  13. The potentially negative issues violence and video games involve parenting and family at the core. Some have argued video games promote healthy ways for people to vent their anger/frustrations (especially in young males) instead of real life. Others argue video games combine with other media to create a counter culture that’s disconnected with reality. Video game companies consistently promote how they try to make video games more “realistic” and a deeper experience for the gamer.

    I really like the quote on comment #8. �Video games, books, movies, magazines are simply just that- Entertainment. Not guide books for damning yourself.� Blaming video games for violence is like the lawsuits where Ozzy Osborne and other heavy metal stars were blamed for suicides because of the music they produce. If parents let their children become swamped with media, then the parents will lose their influence. As a parent, I�ve realized it�s my responsibility to curb my 14 year old�s media time and teach him things about the actual world. Moderation is the key and parents have to teach children skills where they will moderate any activity they do � talking on the phone, playing Halo, etc. Many children brag about the ridiculously long hours they spend on games, yet not many people seem to be counteracting this �do what you feel for as long as you want� mentality towards media and it�s becoming a norm in our society. Kids at school experience social and psychological changes in settings with other children their age. If the parents don�t teach children how to stand on their own and moderate their media consumption, the children won’t have another perspective to consider, which brings another important point � ultimately, games have to make decisions for themselves.

    There’s plenty of ideals and entities to choose from in modern society, which makes the choice much more difficult. Is life really productive by playing games for an average of ten hours a day? Are we helping our family, friends, neighbors and society in general? We’re certainly helping our consumer society which has created such an overdrive of media demand that the government and media producers has been forced to create tougher piracy and copyright laws because consumers want the products so bad and will do almost anything to get them. For example, several college students at 15 different universities have been recently charged with downloading media illegally in a widely publicized sting. Our society encourages the behavior of stealing and media obsession by offering services that allow the opportunity to get these materials quickly (in this case Internet 2 where a movie download that would normally take 24 hours can be complete in about a half hour). These people had to make that decision to download that media, but consumer society offers services and products that encourage this behavior. People care about the media more than people and basic morals. Media and society has created a grey area when it comes to stealing. At some point, whether they want to or not, people will have to admit one or the other � there is no gray area.

  14. LOL, no dude I actually wrote the article… if you check out my main site you will see that I am John Guzman… this post actually came up before Michael asked me to write for Phoronix.

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