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Violent video games

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
"A Michigan State University researcher and his colleagues have shown that playing violent video games leads to brain activity pattern that may be characteristic for aggressive thoughts."

http://www.newsroom.msu.edu/site/ind...32/content.htm

What do you think?
post #2 of 23
I think there's no reason to bother publicizing the results of that study except to say that there's actual brain activity when someone plays a game. Gee... I'm glad I wasted my time reading that.

To me, it seems like nobody really knows how to effectively study and interpret brain activity, so trying to apply it to an activity is just part of pioneering the understanding and can hardly be used to come to any conclusions about the physical activity itself. If they ever figure out :censor::censor::censor: they are doing when they are studying brain activity, researchers should be studying violent criminals and soldiers who are in action.

Besides that, I don't like certain violent video games myself, and especially not for youth and children, but at this point I can only deduce that I am extra cautious. While my nephews were growing up, they were not allowed to play fighting games and first person shooters at my house. They got to play them at their friends' houses and even at their own home, much to my disappointment in my sister, yet neither of my nephews beat on each other, nor do they act violently to other kids either. By some of the weak arguments bleeding into that article, you'd think individual people should be racking up body counts like the Zodiac killer. It's actually very rare that a killer or those close to him try to blame video games. Bizzare murders come out of mental illness. With the strange reasons mentally ill people have used for murder, we'd have to ban a lot more than video games.
post #3 of 23
We recently watched a show on G4 (a TV network devoted to gaming, mainly) on the argument of video games leading to violence. It was really interesting, but basically the conclusion (not surprising given the source) is that there is no conclusive evidence that ties video game violence to ACTUAL violence. Actually, as I mentioned in another thread, the number of youth violent crimes has decreased and remained at the lower levels since the time that game consoles became very popular, and violent games with them. I wouldn't say that is conclusive evidence either, but it's as much as the other side has.

Here's my own, very non-scientific theory. Aggression is natural, especially in adolescents. Ask any parent. These games give an outlet for the aggression, so yes, they would show "aggressive brain patterns" while playing the games. But this is the alternative to the after school fights, or worse, if their aggression remains pent up and must be let out physically. I think that in the vast majority of healthy kids the games don't do any harm. They may even be good for them. For the very, very small minority with serious issues to begin with - the ones who make the news - these games didn't cause anything but played into an already demented frame of mind.

Take that for what it's worth, which probably isn't a whole lot.
post #4 of 23
I must say, I've played violent video games ever since I was eleven. I still do, and I'm thirty! I love a good blow 'em up game like Halo or Doom (Doom 3 rocked!). I'm a Tomb Raider fan and even had the first Grand Theft Auto (Mom bought it for me, even). I don't like the subsequent ones. My Dad, who works at a college, used to network several computers in the lab together and we'd play late night Halo or Unreal tournaments until sometimes four am.

Even with all that, I'm about the least violent person you'd ever meet. The only time I could even imagine raising a hand to another person would be to protect my own life or the lives of my family. Other than that, nada.
post #5 of 23
I wish I had known about this study, I would have offered my services, go figure, get to play games for years on end, and get paid for it....
post #6 of 23
I love first person shooters.
A LOT.
It's fun to blow computer-generated cyborgs and aliens all to the devil. I like seeing CGI blood spatter all over.
I'm sure that while I am playing Halo 2, my brain scan would show aggressive thought activity. That's because I am pretending to shoot people and trying to win a competition! Competition is, by nature, aggressive.
A normal or non-conditioned brain will probably revert to it's non-aggressive state once the competition is over or the violent stimulation has ended. Also, a normal brain can probably distinguish between fantsy and reality.
A violent criminal's brain activity probably doesn't do either of those, due to defects or conditioning.

My boyfriend has been playing shooter video games since he was a little kid, and he turned out fine. As did my siblings. We are all well-behaved and non-violent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hydroaxe
To me, it seems like nobody really knows how to effectively study and interpret brain activity, so trying to apply it to an activity is just part of pioneering the understanding and can hardly be used to come to any conclusions about the physical activity itself. If they ever figure out :censor::censor::censor: they are doing when they are studying brain activity, researchers should be studying violent criminals and soldiers who are in action.
Very well-said.
With all our technology and medical advances, the brain is probably the least understood bit we have.
post #7 of 23
Does anyone who plays these games ever read the comic Penny-Arcade ? The writers over there recently got into an altercation with Jack Thompson, a lawyer who has made attacking video games his lifes work. It's pretty hysterical, he even sent a fax to their local police to try and get them arrested, their reactions are pretty funny.

These are also the guys who started Child's Play in an effort to prove that gamers aren't all these violent angry people you see in the media. They've raised $10,000s through their readers for childrens hospitals all over the country. It's getting bigger every year.

Yeah, I think that the whole video game violence = real life violence is baloney.
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by eatrawfish
Does anyone who plays these games ever read the comic Penny-Arcade ? The writers over there recently got into an altercation with Jack Thompson, a lawyer who has made attacking video games his lifes work. It's pretty hysterical, he even sent a fax to their local police to try and get them arrested, their reactions are pretty funny.

These are also the guys who started Child's Play in an effort to prove that gamers aren't all these violent angry people you see in the media. They've raised $10,000s through their readers for childrens hospitals all over the country. It's getting bigger every year.

Yeah, I think that the whole video game violence = real life violence is baloney.
penny arcade (lower case intended) is officially the lamest and least funny web comic in the world according to various word searches. I tend to agree with that. I play video games and don't think their comics are funny at all.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoe'n'MissKitty
Very well-said.
With all our technology and medical advances, the brain is probably the least understood bit we have.
Thanks.
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hydroaxe
penny arcade (lower case intended) is officially the lamest and least funny web comic in the world according to various word searches. I tend to agree with that. I play video games and don't think their comics are funny at all.
I love it. I'm sorry you don't, but it's certainly not required reading/enjoyment for someone to play video games.

As long as we agree on video game violence.
post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by eatrawfish
I love it. I'm sorry you don't, but it's certainly not required reading/enjoyment for someone to play video games.
Fortunately, it isn't required.
post #11 of 23
First off I like to say that Jack Thompson is a ****ing idiot... and that’s being nice. No really... But I better be careful what I say, he classify that as a death threat...

But getting back to the MAIN subject, I am a gamer *point below to his signature* I love First Person shooters, always have. But then again, I love my strategic games, like Civilization IV and Starcraft. Never got into the Sims though. Tried it, didn’t like it. But I guess people have to be aware of me since I may get violent, break into sweats and shoot the next Mutant, Head Crab, Nazi, Stormtrooper that I see on the street or back alley. Oh yeah, Bush better be careful because I might use my religious influence to overturn his government or just bomb them from orbit. I know, maybe I can use the worms and cause the great storm… Yup, Video Games have made me violent. Okay not really, just great imagination. The Games are entertainment and for the most part, better then most of the garbage that I see on TV. They are the new source of entertainment, like in the 80’s with Atari (anyone go nuts shooting at space invaders or try to eat a blue ghost) and will be forever. Has anyone seen the new Playstation 3 and Xbox 360? Talk about making it more real.

What’s also interesting according to the recent statistics from the department of Justice is that Violent crime rates from 12 years in age on up, has dropped since the first Playstation was introduced back in 1996. It has even dropped even more since GTA III and Playstation 2 was introduced. No really. On top of that, nonfatal firearm related violent crimes have dropped dramatically in 10 years See graphs below:



(source: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/)

...any questions?

But wait… video games are a problem and causes the crime rate to go up and makes our streets unsafe or even the hallways of our schools. We have Clinton and Thompson saying bad bad bad and scream “won't someone think of the children.†Well I guess they don't know that there is a Rating system on the games (www.esrb.org) and they also don't know that the M-rated games only comprise of 12% of the industry while E-rated games (Everybody) had a 54% footprint in the game industry. That’s what peeved me off about the latest GTA game. It was rated M (17 and older) but I guess making it an AO-rating (18+). That extra year really makes a difference. I guess sex was too intensive then the violence in the game. I guess the movie industry is okay with about 55% of their movies are R-rated (and quiet a few of them, blockbusters) and not a menace to children who are able to watch it on their own TV or even their friends house, with or without their parents knowledge. Don't forget about all of the books that are out there. Yup, great family reading there. I guess I could have read Clive Barker or Mein Kampf when I was in Middle School. But wait, Video Games are the problem.

But wait, we have criminals that have blamed the games for what they have done, which was promptly laughed at. Even lawsuits against gaming companies and distributors have been dropped. Can we say certain people have, well Freud would say, "They have issues."

I'll step off the soapbox, I may write more later, but this is a subject I watch carefully and love to talk about. I’m off to storm a desert dune with my British mates that the Nazi’s are protecting.
post #12 of 23
OK, I also agree with the general sentiment on here. Playing violent video games triggers the aggression centers of the brain. Gee, that's news. Now, what WOULD be interesting is if they could show that playing violent video games on a regular basis increased either the intensity of or the frequency of activity in the brain's aggression centers while NOT playing the game, as part of daily life encounters.

Personally, I also like violent computer games to a certain extent (of the complicated role-playing variety). Personally, though, I do have a problem with video/computer games whose PURPOSE is to have you engage in what I'll call "base criminal activity". Key word being "purpose". It's one thing to create a realistic fantasy world in which you can choose a path of "light" or "darkness" with any number of quests for each, and a game in which your only quests involve murder, mayhem and rape. Yes, I'm talking about GTA. I'm just not comfortable with making a game out of real-life criminal activity. But that's just me. I DON'T think that it "makes" people violent, because there is NO evidence that it does.
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Obi
It's one thing to create a realistic fantasy world in which you can choose a path of "light" or "darkness" with any number of quests for each, and a game in which your only quests involve murder, mayhem and rape. Yes, I'm talking about GTA.
I have played all versions of GTA and have NEVER seen rape in that series. That insinuation is incorrect. Yes you may pick up hookers up in GTA III, but other then that, there is NO rape. The only game that I am aware of that has rape was Phantasmagoria which did create SOME controversy but since it was rated M it was quiet and it was a part of the story line. No other game has rape in it though, sexual situations that are consensual is another story (Leisure Suit Larry anyone?) Heck even Sims2 have sexual situations when they have fun, either be in bed, the hot tub or elsewhere. And yes you know it happens.

Btw, situations and elements in GTA III and GTA: Vice City were taken from very famous movies and tv shows, like Scarface, Miami Vice and the such.
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arg0
I have played all versions of GTA and have NEVER seen rape in that series. That insinuation is incorrect. Yes you may pick up hookers up in GTA III, but other then that, there is NO rape. The only game that I am aware of that has rape was Phantasmagoria which did create SOME controversy but since it was rated M it was quiet and it was a part of the story line. No other game has rape in it though, sexual situations that are consensual is another story (Leisure Suit Larry anyone?) Heck even Sims2 have sexual situations when they have fun, either be in bed, the hot tub or elsewhere. And yes you know it happens.

Btw, situations and elements in GTA III and GTA: Vice City were taken from very famous movies and tv shows, like Scarface, Miami Vice and the such.
Given that the encounter with the prostitute in GTA allows you to hire the prostitute, have sex with the prostitute and then KILL HER and take your money back, I decided that the term rape was more appropriate.

Also, there is a difference between watching a movie, which is passive and involves no choices on your part other than to continue sitting there, and playing a game, which requires your active participation and decision-making in order to make the murder, etc occur. Sorry, you aren't going to change my mind on this unless you can bring up some totally spectacular point I've never encountered. Given the amount of investigation and thought I've given over to it, I doubt that'll happen. I just don't like that particular kind of game. Again, I don't think it makes people violent, and you'll note that I didn't utter the word "ban", I just don't like them and won't let my kids own them.
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Obi
Given that the encounter with the prostitute in GTA allows you to hire the prostitute, have sex with the prostitute and then KILL HER and take your money back, I decided that the term rape was more appropriate.

Also, there is a difference between watching a movie, which is passive and involves no choices on your part other than to continue sitting there, and playing a game, which requires your active participatiYOu don't have ton and decision-making in order to make the murder, etc occur. Sorry, you aren't going to change my mind on this unless you can bring up some totally spectacular point I've never encountered. Given the amount of investigation and thought I've given over to it, I doubt that'll happen. I just don't like that particular kind of game. Again, I don't think it makes people violent, and you'll note that I didn't utter the word "ban", I just don't like them and won't let my kids own them.
Despite the media reports, you don't kill the prostitute, only if you want to, I personally had never had done that. However you can kill anything in the game from regular people to policeman to feds with baseball bats to machine guns to flamethrowers to Anti-tank weapons (and even a tank). And thats not the first time a game has had something like this a game, Postal was the first, which it did create alot of controversy. However in GTA, You can choose not to "kill" people in this game also, unless its a part of the Mission aka storyline, again despite the media reports and some lawyer in Florida.

However, I'm glad you will never let your kids play these games becasue they are made for adults, hence the M-rating (and AO rating on the new GTA). ALl games that have a M rating is meant for 17 and up.
post #16 of 23
[quote=Arg0]Despite the media reports, you don't kill the prostitute, only if you want to [ ] However in GTA, You can choose not to "kill" people in this game also, unless its a part of the Mission aka storyline, again despite the media reports and some lawyer in Florida.QUOTE]

I didn't say killing the prostitute was a requirement. The mere fact that it is a game option disturbs me. Also, the point of the game is to engage in violently illegal activity. The issue of whether or not you can commit sideline violent activity as well as the mainline quest violent illegal activity is beside the point for me. I'm not just going off of "media reports", either. My brother-in-law loves this game, and I learned a lot about the framework of the game from seeing him play it and explain it to me. And this is starting to get totally OT, so I suggest we get off a discussion of the "acceptablity" of particular games and back onto the general question. The thread is about whether or not violent games cause real-world violence, and I have said that despite the fact that I have issues with some games, I do not agree that they cause violence.
post #17 of 23
I love gaming, FPS, RPG or other. I agree with the common sentiment here. I've played lots of violent games, even the dreaded GTA (love the soundtrack of Vice City). I still haven't beaten anyone senseless and I don't accept any kind of violence in real life. Blaming the gaming industry for kids playing violent games is ridicilous, it's the parents responsibility to control their kids' activities.
post #18 of 23
I don't go for the claim that playing violent video games leads a person or child to commit crimes in real life. I have mentioned this before, but my fiance's 8 year old is allowed to pretty much play what he wants. Right now his favorite game is Halo 2 and I can't find any reason why he shouldn't be allowed to play it. I have more of a problem with him wanting to spend an entire Saturday in his room playing the game and not going outside to play, but that's a whole other topic.
I did take GTA Vice City away from him at one point though because I didn't like the comments he was making while he was playing the game. I can't remember exactly what it was but it had to do with killing the cop, his tone bothered me more than anything. I talked to him about it and when I heard him say the same thing the following day I took it away. He has it back now and we haven't had a problem since. He knows that video games are a fantasy and are in no way a reflection of reality. I think it is the responsibility of the parents to ensure that their children know that and use common sense to know when and if the game causes a problem.
post #19 of 23
I just have to say I am one of the most violent people in the world when I play GTA, my bf gets a great kick out of seeing his tiny tree-hugging-liberal gf wander around and randomely kill people.

In reality however I'm one of those dopes who has trouble killing ants and picks snails off the sidewalk so they don't get crushed

I think people in the anti-violent-video game crowd (which is apparently none of us really, but anyway) don't understand that most gamers don't believe that violent video games should be sold to children, they just want the right to play them themselves.
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by lotsocats
"A Michigan State University researcher and his colleagues have shown that playing violent video games leads to brain activity pattern that may be characteristic for aggressive thoughts."

http://www.newsroom.msu.edu/site/ind...32/content.htm

What do you think?
I noticed this thread came out slightly just after my other thread where I pose the question relating to violent video games. Freaky coincidence.(http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=68621)

The news report did not seem to mention what other activities lead to "characteristic for aggressive thoughts" such as, does it include competitive sport.
post #21 of 23
I think it has to do more with how volatile the child is. not their actual participation in the game. If reading about, seeing or playing games including violence actually MADE people violent, then I don't think there'd be a single person alive who wasn't violent. The way I see it, you have Kid A (which is consequently the name of one of my favorite albums ever, but I digress) and Kid B. Kid A leads a typical suburban life. His parents provide for him lovingly, he has nice friends, above-average grades, he likes football and his favorite TV show is the Simpsons and he has a part time job at Blockbuster. He's bland yet well-adjusted. Kid B lives down the street and is, on the other hand, an outcast, his parents verbally abuse him, he has been abandoned by his family, his grades are slipping from lack of interest, the other kids make fun of him, he tends to trun to drugs and alcohol...you're looking at Kid A not having any problems separating video games from reality while Kid B who has no real reason to want to be grounded in reality might live in a world of fantasy in which the video games would give him ideas. I think certain content could push people over teh edge, but I don't think media does the initial damage.
post #22 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpy
I noticed this thread came out slightly just after my other thread where I pose the question relating to violent video games. Freaky coincidence.(http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=68621)
Yes, your thread made me remember this article I had read earlier in the day. I didn't want to hijack your thread, which seemed to be more focused on the Bible and mental illness.
post #23 of 23
I don't think they make children violent any more than playing Monopoly makes one a real estate tycoon. However, Monopoly can make someone better at math and I've read studies that show FPS games make kids' coordination better.

My X got me into playing mmorpgs and right now I'm playing City of Villains, where I get to play a villains and run around blasting heroes with fireballs. I named my characters things like Devicious, Sinsation, and Demonic Kiss. It doesn't mean I'm an evil person--I'm far, far, far from it.

Besides, cartoons have been violent for years. I grew up watching the roadrunner drop stuff on that poor coyote, but I didn't want to go out and drop an anvil on someone's head. I watched Popeye beat the crap out of Bluto but I didn't want to go grab someone and spin them around like a top then punch them across the world.

I was playing this game in which you chase people around and bonk them on their heads, knocking them out. I was on xbox live, talking to two little boys (it's a kids' game--the only type of console games I like until they come out with more girly games) and one bonked the other so the little boy said "I hate you!" and the other little boy said: "Well...hate is a strong word." I thought it was so cute! I think it has more to do with how they're raised than what they're playing. Way, WAY more.
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