286: Videogame Myths Debunked

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Videogame Myths Debunked

Myths and misconceptions swirl around the videogame industry in a cloud of misinformation. C. J. Davies breaks through that mist and shines light on a few common videogame myths.

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Video games can and do promote violence in young people.

Last I checked, using a chainsaw to cut a creature in half or shooting up a base full of militants is violent.

Pirate Kitty:
Video games can and do promote violence in young people.

Last I checked, using a chainsaw to cut a creature in half or shooting up a base full of militants is violent.

Yes, but they're not going to do that in real life. Baring some kind of underlying mental issue.

Also: why is Braid so touted as a shiny example of video game art? It's a platformer with a well-worn plot. What is exactly more or less artistic about Braid than, say, Doom 1?

Pirate Kitty:
Video games can and do promote violence in young people.

Last I checked, using a chainsaw to cut a creature in half or shooting up a base full of militants is violent.

Game content can be quite violent indeed. The question is, does that content carry over into real life? People can always find something to blame for someone's real life violence, from the film "Natural Born Killers" to "Law and Order" and "CSI"-style shows, but proving that the thing they blame actually caused the violence is a lot harder. But don't forget that other things, like the parents spanking a child (Or conversely *not* spanking said child) is blamed as the cause of the violence.

To put it shortly, many things are blamed for violence in youths and teens (and even adults). Proving what the direct and proximal causes of the violence are is much harder. Maybe the kid was born with poor impulse control. Looking for an easy out, and an easy cause to blame means that the people doing the blaming are not looking for the real causes of violence. They want something easy to blame so they can go back to not really thinking about it- because not thinking about it is easier and then they don't have to address the real causes of violence (whatever they are- I'm not claiming to have all the answers, or even any answers. I suspect that it's different in every case.).

And the media loves it because it gives them something to stir up their readers with- and the media will tell you that everything in this world is scarier and more responsible for everything that's wrong in your or other people's lives than you think. And they'll tell you what to be afraid of... just keep watching!

LadyRhian:

Pirate Kitty:
Video games can and do promote violence in young people.

Last I checked, using a chainsaw to cut a creature in half or shooting up a base full of militants is violent.

Game content can be quite violent indeed. The question is, does that content carry over into real life? People can always find something to blame for someone's real life violence, from the film "Natural Born Killers" to "Law and Order" and "CSI"-style shows, but proving that the thing they blame actually caused the violence is a lot harder. But don't forget that other things, like the parents spanking a child (Or conversely *not* spanking said child) is blamed as the cause of the violence.

To put it shortly, many things are blamed for violence in youths and teens (and even adults). Proving what the direct and proximal causes of the violence is much harder. Maybe the kid was born with poor impulse control. Looking for an easy out, and an easy cause to blame means that the people doing the blaming are not looking for the real causes of violence. They want something easy to blame so they can go back to not really thinking about it- because not thinking about it is easier and then they don't have to address the real causes of violence (whatever they are- I'm not claiming to have all the answers, or even any answers. I suspect that it's different in every case.)

And the media loves it because it gives them something to stir up their readers with- and the media will tell you that everything in this world is scarier and more responsible for everything that's wrong in your or other people's lives than you think. And they'll tell you what to be afraid of... just keep watching!

I completely agree with you. 100%.

However, to say video games don't promote violence is just as silly as saying they cause real world crime.

Not all games are violent, and I'm fairly certain the majority of video games on the market feature no violence at all, but they can and do feature and promote the use of aggression, murder, destruction and death.

Videogames do make someone smarter. No, they won't get someone through college, but they do teach people things. If they were taught something, they became smarter.

Gaming CAN be social if you do it in the right way. Like a LAN party or a chatroom or voice chat or anything like that. It's just this blade cuts both ways. 90% of the time, a gamer will be alone. either in single player or in multiplayer ...

If Cloud gaming is the future, I'll eat my wardrobe ... with ketchup

Pirate Kitty:

LadyRhian:

Pirate Kitty:
Video games can and do promote violence in young people.

Last I checked, using a chainsaw to cut a creature in half or shooting up a base full of militants is violent.

Game content can be quite violent indeed. The question is, does that content carry over into real life? People can always find something to blame for someone's real life violence, from the film "Natural Born Killers" to "Law and Order" and "CSI"-style shows, but proving that the thing they blame actually caused the violence is a lot harder. But don't forget that other things, like the parents spanking a child (Or conversely *not* spanking said child) is blamed as the cause of the violence.

To put it shortly, many things are blamed for violence in youths and teens (and even adults). Proving what the direct and proximal causes of the violence is much harder. Maybe the kid was born with poor impulse control. Looking for an easy out, and an easy cause to blame means that the people doing the blaming are not looking for the real causes of violence. They want something easy to blame so they can go back to not really thinking about it- because not thinking about it is easier and then they don't have to address the real causes of violence (whatever they are- I'm not claiming to have all the answers, or even any answers. I suspect that it's different in every case.)

And the media loves it because it gives them something to stir up their readers with- and the media will tell you that everything in this world is scarier and more responsible for everything that's wrong in your or other people's lives than you think. And they'll tell you what to be afraid of... just keep watching!

I completely agree with you. 100%.

However, to say video games don't promote violence is just as silly as saying they cause real world crime.

Not all games are violent, and I'm fairly certain the majority of video games on the market feature no violence at all, but they can and do feature and promote the use of aggression, murder, destruction and death.

And I agree with you- but how many of the player/users of those games went on to commit violent acts of aggression, murder, destruction and death in real life? Look at that story of the woman who shook her baby to death after/during playing Farmville. The media would look at that and scream that Farmville is causing people to kill their children, and Farmville isn't even one of those violent, aggressive, destructive games. But look at how that is reported in the media, and I'll bet there was some subsection of the media who claimed just that. I am willing to bet that violent games serve as more of an outlet for those destructive feelings than a generator of them. If you want to hit something go play something like BlOps rather than taking it out on the real people around you.

LadyRhian:
snip a perfectly valid and agreeable post to save forum space

Like the article said: insane people will do insane things. Just like, on a slightly related note, people killed people before guns were invented. Banning guns won't stop killing. Education might.

Pirate Kitty:
Video games can and do promote violence in young people.

Last I checked, using a chainsaw to cut a creature in half or shooting up a base full of militants is violent.

There is absolutely no empirical evidence to support your claim. However, if you believe that there is then please cite the relevant peer reviewed paper.

If you simply mean the enactment of fictitious violence then presumably you believe that films, plays & books also encourage a similar participation in violence. In his Poetics Aristotle argued for exactly this kind of participation, creating the concept of catharsis:
the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.

The inability to distinguish between reality & fiction is a mental illness &, as Nazrel has pointed out, an existing mental illness will still exist regardless of how many books, films, plays or video games the sufferer is exposed to.

Catalyst, you seem to have completely missed the point of the discussion going on in here. if you hand't used a knee-jerk reaction to my post, you would have realized what we were saying.

Pirate Kitty:
Catalyst, you seem to have completely missed the point of the discussion going on in here. if you hand't used a knee-jerk reaction to my post, you would have realized what we were saying.

You repeatedly made a very vague assertion: Video games promote violence.

I pointed out the vagueness of your assertion (e.g. '[...]to say video games don't promote violence is just as silly as saying they cause real world crime.') & asked you to support it. Allow me to try again.

To follow your line of reasoning then, every Shakespeare tragedy promotes violence. So does every Pinter play (mental violence in his case). Or if you prefer we could cite poetry like Beowulf or The Iliad, & your line of argument would say that they can & do promote violence.

It's not a knee-jerk reaction, simply an observation that your assertions are mere supposition. To counter that I proposed the social benefit of cathartic release. So perhaps now that I've explained this you'd be good enough to address my point.

I think video games can only promote violence in people who are already really violent. Violent video games won't make a perfectly calm person suddenly violent.

Catalyst, did you read my first post?

"Last I checked, using a chainsaw to cut a creature in half or shooting up a base full of militants is violent."

Tell me where I said video games encourage real life participation of violence.

If you took the time to read the discussion, you would notice we were taking about games themselves encouraging violent acts -- i.e: killing characters is rewarded, missions to blow up things, etc., etc.

Game testing is like prof-reading an essay? Hell I ALREADY play games like that! It would be great is someone actually did something about the problems I find in the games I play. And gaming can be social. I mean, they're something to talk about right?

Pirate Kitty:
Video games can and do promote violence in young people.

Last I checked, using a chainsaw to cut a creature in half or shooting up a base full of militants is violent.

After checking your other posts I realized that you were talking about promoting violent behavior in video games. I think it's more vice-versa, in-game violence promotes video games. It is Human nature that glorify violence to begin with.

I followed this article right up to "video games are art".

No they're not. They are not art in the same way books, pictures and carvings are not art. Any individual example of these things can be art. They can also be manuals, technical illustrations and markers.

When a video game communicates with the player on an emotional level and stirs our hearts like Shadow of the Colossus, it is art. That does not make the entire body of gaming culture art any more than great novels make the entirety of written language art.

Pirate Kitty:
Catalyst, did you read my first post?

"Last I checked, using a chainsaw to cut a creature in half or shooting up a base full of militants is violent."

Tell me where I said video games encourage real life participation of violence.

If you took the time to read the discussion, you would notice we were taking about games themselves encouraging violent acts -- i.e: killing characters is rewarded, missions to blow up things, etc., etc.

For the third time, your statements re. the promotion of violence are oblique.

You're also still refusing to engage with my point, regardless of the fact that I took the time to restate it. I'll try again, & will attempt to make it in the most simple way I can:

By your line of reasoning literature & dramatic performance, even including dance, promotes violence. However, this supposed promotion of violence is considered to be of benefit to members of society because of its cathartic effect upon those people.

You are completely missing the point of what I said, Catalyst.

Is Gears of War violent? Yes. Therefor, by playing it, the game is encouraging violent acts - chainsawing people, shooting weapons at enemies, destroying buildings, you get the picture. Never, not once, did I say this was good, bad, or that it carried though and invoked a real world recreation. My statement was that video games can and do promote violence.

And yes, books, art, movies, music - all of that - can also promote violence in this same way.

It's rather simple, hun.

Pecoros7:
I followed this article right up to "video games are art".

No they're not. They are not art in the same way books, pictures and carvings are not art. Any individual example of these things can be art. They can also be manuals, technical illustrations and markers.

When a video game communicates with the player on an emotional level and stirs our hearts like Shadow of the Colossus, it is art. That does not make the entire body of gaming culture art any more than great novels make the entirety of written language art.

You missed the point. He's not saying every game ever is art. He's saying games within the video game medium are art. As opposed to some people who contend that not a single game ever has any artistic merit.

Is every movie ever, art? No, but we consider movies art.

Is every book ever, art? No, but we consider books art.

Is every painting or picture ever, art? No, but we consider them art.

Think things through before you say them please.

*sigh* Thank you PK. We get the point.
Video games cause violence in video games. That is such a non-argument, not even Jack Thompson and Reverend Whogivesacrap has ever made a peep about it. Because it's obvious, and yet totally irrelevant to the debate.

Pecoros7:
I followed this article right up to "video games are art".

No they're not. They are not art in the same way books, pictures and carvings are not art. Any individual example of these things can be art. They can also be manuals, technical illustrations and markers.

When a video game communicates with the player on an emotional level and stirs our hearts like Shadow of the Colossus, it is art. That does not make the entire body of gaming culture art any more than great novels make the entirety of written language art.

It's art. Not even a question there. So is Piss Christ. So is The DaVinci Code. So is The Serbian Film, although that's apparently not art because it makes people feel bad (No, I'm not letting that one go.)
Move on.
(This thread is going to devolve into "derp modern art derp" in a page or two, isn't it?)

Pirate Kitty:
You are completely missing the point of what I said, Catalyst.

Is Gears of War violent? Yes. Therefor, by playing it, the game is encouraging violent acts - chainsawing people, shooting weapons at enemies, destroying buildings, you get the picture. Never, not once, did I say this was good, bad, or that it carried though and invoked a real world recreation. My statement was that video games can and do promote violence.

And yes, books, art, movies, music - all of that - can also promote violence in this same way.

It's rather simple, hun.

That's being rather disingenuous about it, and using some VERY loose definitions of "promote" and "violence". Does Gears of War PORTRAY violence? Absolutely. Does it ENCOURAGE violence? No. No matter how hard you mash those buttons, you're not being violent (if you through the controller at the screen, you are, but the game isn't "encouraging" you to do that).

Portrayal != promotion.

targren:

Pirate Kitty:
You are completely missing the point of what I said, Catalyst.

Is Gears of War violent? Yes. Therefor, by playing it, the game is encouraging violent acts - chainsawing people, shooting weapons at enemies, destroying buildings, you get the picture. Never, not once, did I say this was good, bad, or that it carried though and invoked a real world recreation. My statement was that video games can and do promote violence.

And yes, books, art, movies, music - all of that - can also promote violence in this same way.

It's rather simple, hun.

That's being rather disingenuous about it, and using some VERY loose definitions of "promote" and "violence". Does Gears of War PORTRAY violence? Absolutely. Does it ENCOURAGE violence? No. No matter how hard you mash those buttons, you're not being violent (if you through the controller at the screen, you are, but the game isn't "encouraging" you to do that).

Portrayal != promotion.

You're telling me The Scarlet Letter doesn't promote adultery?
Dammit. I guess that means The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo isn't all about hot juicy misogyny either...

targren:
snip

You are wrong.

You CANNOT play through Gears of War without performing violence. It's not possible. You must kill things in order to progress. Thus, the game is promoting violence.

Strange, something awfully familiar about this article...
Has this been published here before?

Pirate Kitty:

targren:
snip

You are wrong.

You CANNOT play through Gears of War without performing violence. It's not possible. You must kill things in order to progress. Thus, the game is promoting violence.

Stop it, sweetie. You've made your mark on this thread. You can go now.

Frostbite3789:
snip

I did think it through. This is what was said that inspired my reaction:

Games are art, just as gravity pulls you to Earth and water quenches your thirst. It's not even debateable.

The implication of that statement to me was that games are inherently art. The comparison to gravity's pull or water's wetness implies that the artistic quality of games is inherent or fundamental to the medium. It is not fundamental, it is a quality which is striven to and achieved. Furthermore, it most certainly is debatable because there is debate. The subjective nature of art makes all artistic merit debatable, even in established media like painting or music.

mr_rubino:

You're telling me The Scarlet Letter doesn't promote adultery?
Dammit. I guess that means The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo isn't all about hot juicy misogyny either...

I'm getting the idea that your sarcasm might be wasted here. >_<

Pirate Kitty:

targren:
snip

You are wrong.

You CANNOT play through Gears of War without performing violence. It's not possible. You must kill things in order to progress. Thus, the game is promoting violence.

No, you CANNOT play through Gears of War without pushing little plastic Skittles on an Xbox controller. Nothing is actually being killed. Contrary to what you may have seen in TRON or Reboot, there are not actually little beings inside the game that play the roles of the NPCs.

Pecoros7:

Frostbite3789:
snip

I did think it through. This is what was said that inspired my reaction:

Games are art, just as gravity pulls you to Earth and water quenches your thirst. It's not even debateable.

The implication of that statement to me was that games are inherently art. The comparison to gravity's pull or water's wetness implies that the artistic quality of games is inherent or fundamental to the medium. It is not fundamental, it is a quality which is striven to and achieved. Furthermore, it most certainly is debatable because there is debate. The subjective nature of art makes all artistic merit debatable, even in established media like painting or music.

Nope. He's correct. It's inherently art.
You seem to not really understand your argument, though. You're conflating art as a medium with that famed red herring "artistic merit"; you're effectively admitting games are art, but questioning what importance they serve. Which position are you taking?

Pirate Kitty, I can assure you that I'm not your 'hun', I'm not even Asiatic.

For the fourth time, I shall attempt to engage you with my point. When you say 'by playing it, the game is encouraging violent acts', by your reasoning the watching or reading of Hamlet is encouraging violent acts. You have agreed with this ('yes, books, art, movies, music - all of that - can also promote violence in this same way'). I've pointed out that it's a social benefit that this vicarious participation occurs.

However, the tone of your statement 'Video games can and do promote violence in young people' suggests that it's detrimental. It's also an incorrect statement, or at the very least it's an utterly unfounded claim. As I initially pointed out fictitious violence isn't real, it simply does not exist as violence any more than saying 'murder' does. You claim otherwise, but refuse to support your claim in any way, instead repeating the mantra 'You missed the point' in an attempt to escape justifying your claim.

I've seen you do this before, so that you don't have to engage with any debate over an empty claim you make you simply accuse the other person of not understanding, or of 'missing the point'. So why don't you actually attempt to support your claim this time? It would make a refreshing change.

Pirate Kitty:
SNIP.

I'm calling you out on this. You're just being a troll. :P

targren:
No, you CANNOT play through Gears of War without pushing little plastic Skittles on an Xbox controller. Nothing is actually being killed. Contrary to what you may have seen in TRON or Reboot, there are not actually little beings inside the game that play the roles of the NPCs.

It is the depiction of violence. You cannot possibly say otherwise.

There is a reason the rating system for an M classified game says 'Mild Violence', 'Strong Violence', and others to that effect.

That is my entire point; the player is, in some games, encouraged to use violence. Simple.

catalyst8:
I've seen you do this before, so that you don't have to engage with any debate over an empty claim you make you simply accuse the other person of not understanding, or of 'missing the point'.

Then why are you continuing to reply to her? If you already know intellectual dishonesty is the order of the day with PK - and it always is - why keep taking her bait?

Pirate Kitty:

targren:
No, you CANNOT play through Gears of War without pushing little plastic Skittles on an Xbox controller. Nothing is actually being killed. Contrary to what you may have seen in TRON or Reboot, there are not actually little beings inside the game that play the roles of the NPCs.

It is the depiction of violence. You cannot possibly say otherwise.

There is a reason the rating system for an M classified game says 'Mild Violence', 'Strong Violence', and others to that effect.

That is my entire point; the player is, in some games, encouraged to use violence. Simple.

Stop it, PK. You're breaking the flow of conversation.

mr_rubino:
If you already know intellectual dishonesty is the order of the day with PK - and it always is - why keep taking her bait?

I live in hope that one day s/he might gain some honesty or integrity. It's either that or hit the 'Report' button for trolling.

Pirate Kitty:

targren:
No, you CANNOT play through Gears of War without pushing little plastic Skittles on an Xbox controller. Nothing is actually being killed. Contrary to what you may have seen in TRON or Reboot, there are not actually little beings inside the game that play the roles of the NPCs.

It is the depiction of violence. You cannot possibly say otherwise.

There is a reason the rating system for an M classified game says 'Mild Violence', 'Strong Violence', and others to that effect.

That is my entire point; the player is, in some games, encouraged to use violence. Simple.

Why would I say otherwise? I'm the first one who SAID it was the portrayal of violence (which is a synonym for "depiction"). But yet again, "portrayal"(or "depiction") is NOT
"promotion."

catalyst8:

mr_rubino:
[quote="catalyst8" post="6.253544.9440202"]If you already know intellectual dishonesty is the order of the day with PK - and it always is - why keep taking her bait?

I live in hope that one day s/he might gain some honesty or integrity. It's either that or hit the 'Report' button for trolling.

It won't do anything. At least wikipedia has policies for dealing with people like her... They don't follow them, but it's on the books. On a free-for-all like The Escapist, there's no way to deal with a troll that flies under the radar.

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