A brief look at video game violence – A political and video gamer view

In the United States of America gun violence is an on-going problem. Many people want to see the numbers of gun crime decrease and in order to do this, to find solutions; they look at what the causes of gun violence could be – even before the tragic Newtown massacre of 26 people, which includes 20 children, which happened on 14th December 2012. Although this has now made American Politicians want to create a new legislation, which, when in place, could prevent a similar tragic event from occurring again.

People have often wondered if playing video games can consequently lead towards gun violence. Vice President, Joe Biden, met with video game industry representatives on Friday 11th January 2013 to discuss possible solutions. They were discussing whether playing video games does create gun violence. He has headed up, along with President Barack Obama, twenty-three executive orders and a number of suggestions (One of which is a requested allocation of $10 million to study violent media) to the Congress.

In today’s society, while it is important to note that not all video games consist of having an act of violence in them, it is the more popular video games that do feature violence in them. (For examples of popular video games see previous post; https://pwnersmanual.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/favourite-game-of-2012-as-voted-for-by-you-and-hottest-game-of-2012-to-purchase)

In a talk with Casey Lynch, who works for IGN, Adam Sessler, the Executive Producer and Editor-in-Chief of Revision3 Games was quoted saying, “We cannot ignore that the primary virtual interaction in the majority of popular games is an act of violence.”

This blog post is neither agreeing nor disagreeing; it is quite simply showing important and relevant facts to discuss.

A study done by Keele University, showed that “violent video games help increase your pain tolerance by as much as 65%”. This means that video games can be an effective way of easing pain. This study was aired on NBC on September 27, 2012.

(For more information on the study see ‘NBC – In Game’ video link at the bottom of this post)

Before coming to any conclusions, in order to have a knowledgeable argument it is important to not only consider, but study, both sides.

One reason why video games are being accused for violence is that, quoted from NBC,

‘”Wayne LaPierre, the executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association, has blamed Hollywood and the video game industry for the rash of U.S. shooting sprees. There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people,”’ he said in a controversial speech last month, citing video games like Grand Theft Auto and Mortal Kombat. He called such games the “filthiest form of pornography.””

(For more information see ‘NBC link’ ‘will biden target violent video games and should he?’)

Although upon hearing this, California senator, Leland Yee, entitled this claim “mind-boggling.

A 2006 study, which was done by researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine, conducted MIR Brain scans on a group of 44 adolescents. Half of which played

“…the high-octane but non-violent racing game “Need for Speed: Underground.” The other was the ultra-violent first-person shooter “Medal of Honor: Frontline.””

Afterwards the brain scans of the people that played the violent video game showed an increase in emotional arousal – and a corresponding decrease of activity in brain areas involved in self-control, inhibition and attention.

(For more on this study, visit the ‘NBC’ link, ‘does game violence make make teens aggressive’)

Interestingly two recent studies discovered that college students who teamed up to play violent video games later, showed more cooperative behaviour and sometimes less signs of aggression, than students who played the games competitively. David Ewoldsen, co-author of the studies and professor of communication at Ohio State University, wanted to go ahead with this study as he realised that the previous studies have all been looking at how players are individually, whereas now a majority of people use the game and consoles that they are playing on to connect with other players, not only on a national level but also international. “If you’re playing with a rival, and that rival is cooperating with you that violates your expectations — you’re surprised by their cooperation and that makes you even more willing to cooperate…the point is that the way you act in the real world very quickly overrides anything that is going on in the video games,” Ewoldsen said. “Video games aren’t controlling who we are.”

(To see the in depth report of both studies , visit the ‘Science Daily ‘ link at the bottom of this post)


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Gamespot (2013) Violent game bill dies. [online] Available at: http://uk.gamespot.com/news/violent-game-bill-dies-6402205 [Accessed: 17 Jan 2013].

IGN (2013) The Politics of Violence . [online] Available at: http://uk.ign.com/articles/2013/01/16/the-politics-of-violence [Accessed: 17 Jan 2013].

IGN (2013) Obama Asks Congress to Commission Violent Games Study. [online] Available at: http://uk.ign.com/articles/2013/01/16/obama-asks-congress-to-commission-violent-games-study [Accessed: 17 Jan 2013].

NBC News (2013) Will Biden target violent video games? (And should he?). [online] Available at: http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/01/14/will-biden-target-violent-video-games-and-should-he/ [Accessed: 17 Jan 2013].

NBC News (2012) Violent video games can help ease pain. [online] Available at: http://video.msnbc.msn.com/in-game/49201788#49201788 [Accessed: 17 Jan 2013].

NBC News (2008) Playing the blame game. [online] Available at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23204875/ns/technology_and_science-games/t/playing-blame-game/#.UPfuXyevHSg [Accessed: 17 Jan 2013].

NBC News (2006) Does game violence make teens aggressive?. [online] Available at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16099971/ns/technology_and_science-games/t/does-game-violence-make-teens-aggressive/#.UPfuVievHSg [Accessed: 17 Jan 2013].

pwnrsmanual (2013) Favourite Game of 2012! As voted for by you (and hottest game of 2012 to purchase). [online] Available at: https://pwnersmanual.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/favourite-game-of-2012-as-voted-for-by-you-and-hottest-game-of-2012-to-purchase/ [Accessed: 17 Jan 2013].

Science Daily (2012) Violent video games not so bad when players cooperate. [online] Available at: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120904170724.htm [Accessed: 17 Jan 2013].