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Cypress Hill

Videogames

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Cypress Hill

Seeing as this forum is based on a highly controversial and realatively violent videogame, this debate occurs fairly frequently here. But I was wondering how many, if any, members here actually think that violent videogames could desensitize people who play them to killing, and thus making the more likely to actually kill someone.

 

Not long ago, I got into an argument about this with my brother, who plans on majoring in criminal psychology and has been studying things like this, about whether or not games have this effect on gamers. I personally don't think this theory is true. One major argument made by those who advocate this this theory say that young people who commit murder are often found to play violent games, implying that there may be a connection, and playing violent videogames may make a person more violent. However, the converse of this could just as easily be true. Maybe people who are violent and more likely to kill are more inclined to play violent videogames to satiate their violent tendencies.

 

Of course, I've learned from multiple sources that the US military has been known to have soldiers play violent videogames in an attempt to desensitize these soldiers to killing people. I'm not sure though how successful this has been, if at all, at doing so.

 

The idea that pressing buttons with my fingers causing a mildly human-like appearing character to die on a television screen could desensitize me to killing actual people seems absurd. I know the people on the screen are not actual people, but, visual prolections of my ps2 meant to resemble people, so it doesn't make sense that "killing" these "people", an act which I have no moral qualms about committing, could desensitize me to killing actual people, a totally different act which I have been told countless times is wrong. Videogame killing seems far too different from actual killing for me to believe that I could subconsciousle interpret them as similar actions and densitize me to killing.

However, many "experts" have insisted that virtual violence does desensitize people to real violence.

 

Putting your biases as videogamers and GTA players aside, does anyone here think that killing a person in a game actually desensitizes you to killing a person in real life?

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Otter

There have been studies that show violent media - from stories to television to videogames - can increase agressive behavior in the impressionable. This is not to say that an increase in one's agression will lead to murder, but it certainly adds some spice to the conversation. If an individual incapable of self control is influenced by the arts, where does the blame stop? At the perpetrator? At the man who sold the videogame to him? The game's publisher? The designer? The receptionist at Vivendi Universal? wink.gif

 

My opinion is, of course, that the fault lies soley on the criminal. But the responsibilty of such manipulation can not be taken lightly, either - and that's why I'm a proponent of the ratings systems, and keeping certain things out of, for instance, the hands of children. Be it violent in nature, religious, or otherwise "heavy" subject matter. Ever see Quills? With the proper prodding, an individual can act on his own desires and twisted moral compass.

 

As for the soldiers/videogames - I wouldn't call it desensitizing - it's training designed to fine tune a soldier's response under stress. Many security agencies will run live tests where they actually fire bean bags at the trainees, to tighten their control over their training under duress. It's not that you learn to care less for dispatchng another life, but that you can react with intelligence when the sh*t hits the fan.

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TerminalGTA

It is an interesting arguement but one that I do not agree with. I would argue that in this day and age we as people from a younger age than probably previously more desensitised to violence than at any time ever before.

 

The amount of terrorism, gang related shooting, gun crime, etc. is very well publicised at least here in Britain. That reality automatically desensitised the common person to violence because it is well documented and therefore in some form that person has experienced that form of violence even from just seeing it.

 

My arguement is that violence in the real world is very different than one in a videogame. If you saw someone being killed on the streets, you might have mental ailments resulting from it such as not being able to sleep etc. Psychologists will be able to say more. Killing in a videogame such as GTA does not cause the same reaction, if a person is run down in the game I do not find that my mind can't take and my body cannot function. I believe the reason for this is that most people can seperate the two and realise that in the real world I cannot press and have my character stab someone. In the real world I would have to hold the knife myself and plunge it another person and then have to take all the other senses that you will have when that occurs, seeing that persons blood, hearing their screams, my own feelings. Knowing the consequences if I get caught

 

If video evolved to a standard such as the Wii, where I am acting out the actions and the graphics and AI is so believable that if I saw it with a passing glance and could think it were real then there would be more substance to this arguement.

 

My main problem with these people is that they identify and some protect say Hollywood's right to freedom of expression. Well is a game not expression. Is GTA not a story every time you play it.

 

In my opionion films would cause more trauma to a person that might make them kill. i.e In Scarface we see a guy get chainsawed to death and the Tony shoot a guy in the head in the middle of the street. While I inherantly know no one died, the scenery and the scene itself is made to look real. With real people not characters made of pixels and textures. What I see in a movie, or escpecially these movies consistutes has much more ability to influence because its much more real than a game.

 

So to expand this question a little I would ask. Not only do you think games desensitize people to violence? and if you do think this are other forms of media acceptable?

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illspirit

I think that violent games (and movies) do desensitize to some degree. However, I also think this is a good thing. Contrary to what Jack Thompson, Dave Grossman, et al would have you believe, being desensitized does not necessarily mean the person will run out and commit violence. In some cases, the reverse is true..

 

Take doctors and nurses for instance. By being desensitized to blood and gore, they are able to think and act rationally when faced with traumatic injuries, and suppress the natural human instinct to panic or get sick in order to save people's lives. Or in the oft-used example of a soldier, their training (and subsequent battlefield experience) does not make them into mindless killers. Instead, it allows them to maintain some level of coolness under immense stress which most people couldn't process.

 

Whereas an average civilian might hear distant gunfire, then wet themselves and dive under their bed, a soldier is able to perform a more rational risk assessment before taking any defensive/evasive action. Likewise, if a soldier were to turn a corner in an urban combat situation and find someone with a gun, they would decide if it was a friend or foe before acting, while an untrained civilian might be more likely to panic and fire without thinking.

 

Or, like the Seventh Circuit Court said in American Amusement Machine Ass'n v. Kendrick, 244 F.3d 572 (7th Cir. 2001), emphasis mine:

 

 

People are unlikely to become well-functioning, independent-minded adults and responsible citizens if they are raised in an intellectual bubble.

 

No doubt the City would concede this point if the question were whether to forbid children to read without the presence of an adult the Odyssey, with its graphic descriptions of Odysseus's grinding out the eye of Polyphemus with a heated, sharpened stake, killing the suitors, and hanging the treacherous maidservants; or The Divine Comedy with its graphic descriptions of the tortures of the damned; or War and Peace with its graphic descriptions of execution by firing squad, death in childbirth, and death from war wounds. Or if the question were whether to ban the stories of Edgar Allen Poe, or the famous horror movies made from the classic novels of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (Frankenstein) and Bram Stoker (Dracula). Violence has always been and remains a central interest of humankind and a recurrent, even obsessive theme of culture both high and low. It engages the interest of children from an early age, as anyone familiar with the classic fairy tales collected by Grimm, Andersen, and Perrault are aware. To shield children right up to the age of 18 from exposure to violent descriptions and images would not only be quixotic, but deforming; it would leave them unequipped to cope with the world as we know it.

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Cypress Hill

 

My arguement is that violence in the real world is very different than one in a videogame. If you saw someone being killed on the streets, you might have mental ailments resulting from it such as not being able to sleep etc. Psychologists will be able to say more. Killing in a videogame such as GTA does not cause the same reaction, if a person is run down in the game I do not find that my mind can't take and my body cannot function. I believe the reason for this is that most people can seperate the two and realise that in the real world I cannot press and have my character stab someone. In the real world I would have to hold the knife myself and plunge it another person and then have to take all the other senses that you will have when that occurs, seeing that persons blood, hearing their screams, my own feelings. Knowing the consequences if I get caught

True, videogame violence is hardly similar to real violence, but one of the reasons people tend not to have guilt about killing someone in a videogame is because videogame violence has no consequence or punishment, whereas real violence does. Of course, any adult or mature adolescent can obviously differentiate videogame violence and real violence and understand that the consequences of real violence don't apply to videogames. However, young children who play violent games and have had little exposure to actual violence and its results might not realize the difference and, since videogame violence is clearly meant to imitate actual violence, they might come to think that because there since are no consequences for game violence, real violence has no consequences either. This could then make young children more inclined to commit vilence because they wouldn't realize the consequences. Much, if not most of the responsibility would belong to the parents for buying their nine or ten year old kid an M rated game. So this would raise a new issue. How would we keep small children from playing violent, possibly harmful videogames? Parents obviously can't be counted upon, since they are often irresponsible or ignorant to the rating system. So this brings me to another, somewhat on-topic question: should authorities be allowed to take more action to prevent parents from buying young kids violent videogames? Perhaps confiscating such violent games if found to be played by young children, maybe even imposing fines for parents who buy the violent games? Or would this be a violation of the parent(s) rights?

 

 

In my opionion films would cause more trauma to a person that might make them kill. i.e In Scarface we see a guy get chainsawed to death and the Tony shoot a guy in the head in the middle of the street. While I inherantly know no one died, the scenery and the scene itself is made to look real. With real people not characters made of pixels and textures. What I see in a movie, or escpecially these movies consistutes has much more ability to influence because its much more real than a game.

While seeing what appears to be real violence on TV may have a greater affect on a viewer than watching pixelated violence, it could be argued the fact that since the videogamer isn't just watching, but actually choosing to commit acts of violence in the game, the game might be more likely to desensitize a person to violence. I'm not a psychologist though, so I don't know whether seeing real violence or taking part in virtual violence would be more harmful (if at all). I would guess that the reason people focus more on videogames than other forms of media is because televion networks and production companies have far more influence in the media and elseware than videogame companies. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the politicians who complain about GTA are getting campaign contributions from other media companies.

 

 

I think that violent games (and movies) do desensitize to some degree. However, I also think this is a good thing. Contrary to what Jack Thompson, Dave Grossman, et al would have you believe, being desensitized does not necessarily mean the person will run out and commit violence. In some cases, the reverse is true..

 

Take doctors and nurses for instance. By being desensitized to blood and gore, they are able to think and act rationally when faced with traumatic injuries, and suppress the natural human instinct to panic or get sick in order to save people's lives. Or in the oft-used example of a soldier, their training (and subsequent battlefield experience) does not make them into mindless killers. Instead, it allows them to maintain some level of coolness under immense stress which most people couldn't process.

 

Videogames themselves might not drive a person to commit a violent act, but some people, for whatever reasons, do decide that they want to kill someone. And if a person who makes such a decision has been desensitized to killing, wouldn't it make more sense that they would be more likely to carry out their desire to kill than someone who hasn't been desensitized, disregarding all other variables?

 

 

To shield children right up to the age of 18 from exposure to violent descriptions and images would not only be quixotic, but deforming; it would leave them unequipped to cope with the world as we know it.

Hmm, perhaps we should have mandatory GTA playing sesions then.

Edited by Cypress Hill

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Saggy

Desensitizing is a term that is mis-used, I believe. It implies that a person is able to kill without feeling, or is more susceptible to disregard moral values against killing. However, what is really at play here, I believe, is the repetitive task of killing someone on the video game, simulates a fight-or-flight, instinctive reaction by the gamer, who then kills the enemy; if you repeat this operation thousands, if not millions of times, then this act becomes more natural, and a person is likely to respond in this way if pressed with circumstances similar to what they have played in the video game.

 

I see the problem starting to occur, where people are starting to differentiate between a game and real life more and more. Video games are becoming more realistic every day, and in fact this is good news to gamers, who want that realism. However difficult or unlikely it is now, that a gamer maybe take an instinctive reaction of killing an enemy in a video game while sitting in his living room to translate into that same instinctive mechanism firing in real life, it may become more likely to happen later on down the road, as video games become more and more real. Imagine yourself in a virtual reality environment, killing enemies and foes, with extreme realism and almost nothing to indicate that this world you are in is fictional. As you program your mind with these instinctive reflexes, you may find that these same reflexes will come through in real life, as the two environments--game world and real world--have become more difficult to distinguish between.

 

Psychology will show that when put in situations like this, an instinctual reaction will develop, however I do not think that killing someone in a video game can manifest itself as an instinct of killing a person in real life. Killing someone is a much more involved and difficult, awkward task than repeatedly pressing a button on a game controller; and the stimuli present in such situations is far more shocking and real than any video game. There is nothing really solid to say that traits learned from a video game, at least not killing, will carry over to real life.

 

There is no real way to study this. I think, "Well, people who are murders played video games as a kid," is no where near an accurate scientific statement for this. Millions of kids have played video games since the early 80s, the fact that a few of them have turned out to be killers is no surprise at all, but it does not indicate anything at all about video game's likeliness to "desensitize" one to murder, or make one any more likely to commit murder.

 

I think the real fear is that, starting from such an early age, children and teens are being conditioned and programmed with certain responses to certain scenarios. Such as, if cops are around, shoot them. However, the idea that today, video games are any where near realistic enough for someone to confuse the appropriate responses in a video game to real life, is completely ludicrous, except for in special circumstances, such as mental illness or maturity.

 

Video games today, in my opinion, are just not realistic enough to make anyone emulate behavior and responses seen on them, in the type of situation that we are discussing here. Very few people are going to be in a conflict, and ask themself, "How did I solve this in Grand Theft Auto?" It just doesn't happen.

 

If the idea is that, being desensitized to the visual imagery of murder is going to make your more likely to commit murder, then I have to say that whoever suggests that is not looking very far into the motives and deterrents of murder. In most circumstances, when a person commits murder, the visual imagery will not be shocking enough to deter them, regardless of whether they grew up watching violent video-games; on the other hand, though, most serial killers are known to have abused/slaughter animals as children, so perhaps that suggests that desensitizing children/teens to violence and death like this makes them less likely to be disturbed by death, I still do not think the visual imagery in video games is at all powerful enough to recreate this symptom. You think add in the other deterrents, such as legal and moral grounds, and I don't see how video games are supposed to circumvent those enough to make anyone feel that murder is an appropriate response.

 

I think that with stronger visual imagery, it is likely that people will be further desensitized to such images, but that does not make them more likely to commit acts like these. After all, most war veterans do not come back and resume killing people who they see as threats; however, some still do. We won't know until we do solid research, but studying such a thing takes very much time, and is not really possible to conduct with laboratory precision such as controls, because of course murdering any person is illegal; the result is, the only cases available to study are actual murder cases, which may not yield the most reliable data due to other factors involved.

 

Ultimately, I think that we should take precautions to emphasize the difference between reality and video game. Currently we do not need to do this, as technology has not reached the level to fully emulate life in video-games. However when it does, and only when it does, I feel we will need to take steps to make sure that video-players realize that it is only fantasy, and prevent them from applying habits learned in the video-game realm to real-life. As video-games do become more life-like, we have to watch what parts of life we are simulating; not only to protect people from becoming desensitized to thinks like this, but infact to protect them from being traumatized from it. I think many of this precautions will be taken automatically; for an example, if we do have the technology to emulate the smell of rotting flesh, I doubt that game makers would include this, as most people would find it most dis-satisfying. However, if technology becomes great enough to wear a person is holding a gun in a video game, firing that gun like you would fire a real gun, and killing a person like you would kill a real person, exactly as real life, then there is the potential for certain wires to be crossed that cannot be undone, such as in war; however, we will have to cross this bridge when we come to it.

 

 

 

I think it is clear however, that people sometimes do take traits learned from video games, and apply them to real life. This is not always negative. My friend is one of the most competent people at mathematics I've ever known; he can do complex math computations in seconds. Why? Because he has been playing RPG games involving mathematical hit points and the like since he was 4. He had learned how to do most basic math by the time he was in middle-school just by playing these video games and exercising math in them. Interestingly enough, it has had a similar effect on his reading, as he is now able to read very fast. However, as the speed increases, his comprehension of what he has read is less, and this is where we can see the give-and-take that this effect can have on people. I still believe as I said that murder is something too powerful for video games to even properly emulate, let alone make anyone more likely to commit, but it is for this reason that I think we do need to be careful of it in the future to not dismiss it.

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TerminalGTA

One must all look and see that the boundaries are constantly being set a new level

 

When King Kong came out in 1920, people fainted in the cinema's because of the thought of having a 200 foot ape rampaging the streets of New York. If I look at that now you wonder how.

 

To be honest I look at The Exorcist and go "Man how did that scare me back in the day."

 

Progressively all mediums need to reinvent themselves to push the boundaries of the human experience, but I reckon througout all age there has been murderers. You may present figures to say that crime has got worse, im not sure whether that is correct. Figures may suggest an increase but many factors have influenced them.

 

What I am trying to say is that as time passes inherently the boundaries will go further. Games will have to go further and to be honest in 20 years who know what playing a game will involve. Remember there is already guns to play certain games, does that mean that we will kill more. I'm not sure.

 

But because I play Gran Turismo with a racing wheel does that mean that I am going to step into my car now and go at 140 miles an hour through the streets. Well I won't. Will others, it's very debateable.

 

But GTA gets a bad press unfairly. Shooting games have been around for absolutely ages before GTA. Just because I shoot something in GTA is it any different than shooting a zombie in Resident Evil, or killing a monster in Final Fantasy again it's up for debate but I believe that honestly it probably effects a minority to kill and hurt others but it's a minority. Does that mean that they should deprive me of my computer/game because there is a small minority who are willing to do this and can't tell the difference between right and wrong/reality and fiction.

 

Having said that should we ban crime thrillers because they tell me how to plan "perfect murders", action movies because they again advertise violence.

 

I believe that the world we live in is hypes the crap out of anything. A person kills someone and blames it on something then that thing has killed the person. People kill people not games, not movies, books or anything else.

 

In truth we should protect the right to free speach and free expression. What was it Voltaire said "I do not agree with what you believe, but I will die to protect your right to it."

 

That probably didn't answer many questions and only added more questions but hell there is no answer's

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GM Dude

I personally believe that while it should be okay for people who aren't as impressionable {usually starts at about 11-12 years of age, as far as I know}, let's keep it away from retards, people who have mental disorders{except ADD/ADHD} and younger people.

 

I've played Vice City, and I haven't become a murderous crook. As a matter of fact, I've actually learned a few things from playing it.

 

No, to do that to a normal person over that age, you need something much more powerful, like fundamentalist Christianity, radical Islam, etc.

Edited by GM Dude

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Moth

I find that the arugement that videogames cause volence is a little true but mostly false. IF you are metally unstable shouldn't be playing games. The fact that movies are ususally more volent but the damn polticions (SP) don't freaking see that. They think doing something like killing someone in a game will make that person think it is alright to do it in real life.

 

Compare GTA to The hitcher or what ever you want. Which one is more volent. The movie is more volent. And the fact they are using real people instead of things that look like people but are made of pixels and code not fleash and blood.

 

Just because some asshole polticion (SP) said that videogames cause volence you shouldn't believe it. Theu are jsut saying that to make parents and other people to hate videogames and father their own goals.

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reptilexcq

I have written and debated about this topic before. I think as a person, you should be able to differentiate the real world from the video game world. If a person commit a crime because he wants to imitate what he did in the videogame, then he's got a mental problem and he should not be playing video game to begin with. In fact, he shouldn't be allow to play game anymore than watching TV or playing with guns. He is as dangerous to any of these toys. He is the problem, not the games, TVs or guns!

 

So my conclusion...i don't see a problem with playing violent games BUT i am definitely worry about the very few mentally unstable out there that can speak for the masses who have no problem playing violent games.

 

I also think that playing violent games regardless if you're mentally stable or not, CAN effect your psychic of what is like killing or actually doing a killing. And also mentally prepare you to overcome the shocking of seeing an actual killing. I say this because for example, when i first play my very first shooting game and seeing and carrying out an execution style of shooting someone in the head and seeing them drop, i was shocked! But then as i play more and more, the shocking of the initial experience is gone and so what is left is that it mentally prepare u to overcome that shock if indeed you actually experience it in real life. Now is this a good thing or bad thing?? I don't know...it can be good and bad i guess....because i realize there are idiots out there, i am talking about violent idiots that don't feel any remorse anymore when they see a crime scene or even redicule about the scene because they overcome that shock by playing violent games...they're mentally prepared...they don't go around and go OMG OMG...they're just calm. And this calmness and coolness can translate into bad thing and bad influence in society. And it may translate into a good thing because it mentally prepare and help you overcome any shocking state that you come across.

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blue blaze
Violent games lead to the same kind of behaviour.If you're a good & loving person & play such games u will act violently.For a tiny thing also u will shout at everyone.Now people play such games for long hours & a chemical reaction takes place.People get irritated for tiny things.So,they shall not play such games for long hours.1 hour is enough for everyday.

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