Hitting Is Natural Play

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Hitting Is Natural Play

I've killed thousands of people in games but I explain why that's a natural thing.

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*Applause*

We need more rational people out in the world. It disturbs me how much people will forgo using common sense for falling for fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Good article. :-)

Great article! I'll have it stored somewhere in order to use as an argument against people who don't know any better. It's amazing how many people succumb to fear in light of these events instead of thinking with a rational mindset.

Considering that this has been posted on the Escapist, you're pretty much preaching to the choir here. That said, some very good points, and I'll have to bookmark this for the next time I end up in a debate along these lines.

Greg Tito:
That's because there is not one single reason why these attacks occur.

Probably the best statement in there.

The focal point made about aggression, I think, should still be that aggression does not mean violence. Frustration and anger also don't mean violence.

Oh why do we need trained psychologists when we've got clever people on the internet "- an air horn? seriously? "

This is an established method of testing behaviour, I've even taken part in experiments exactly the same a couple of years ago about things completely unrelated to videogames. On the other hand we've got an aside and doubting the efficaciousness of the tests. I'm glad we have something other than unsubstantiated claims from lay people with a vested interest in the subject to counteract all these unsubstantiated claims from laypeople with a vested interest in the subject. I see a positive way forward in talking down the scientific studies

SCIENCE !!!!!!!! *rainbows*

Beyond that ... nah. I don't really have anything much to add. The writer here has said everything I'd want to say on this topic. Society is sick already, a few video games ain't pushing people over the edge anymore than that God ugly wench who won NZ's Next Top Model last night.

RRRRRRRAGE !!!!!

Capcha: screw driver.

Yes. In the face.

OMG! Capcha inspires me to violence!

EDIT: Maybe we should remove the Capcha because we don't know how many mass murderers have tried to post only to be told "we think you're a robot. try again."

Thank you greg, for pointing out that despite the tragedy of major events, not a lot of people die from them.

Hell, 1244 people younger than 15 died in road traffic accidents in 2010 in the united states- 30% more than died by violence.

BAN CARS IN GAMES AND IN EVERYWHERE

I want to participate in such an experiment.

I'll claim I've never played a videogame. Then they'll make me play Tetris or read a book or draw a pony after which I'll go on a rampage and kill everyone in the room.

For science.

I don;t play arena combat, FPS, or beat-em-ups, but I will defend other's rights too.

Personally, I can't see slaying thousands of monsters, thieves, soldiers, & woodland creatures that will respawn in minutes as "violence."

I would also argue that playing violent games deters the desire to commit real world violence. You have a stressful day, you're angry, so you unwind with a game with little victimless crimes that release happy little endorphins in your brain.

I don't agree that video games make people violent, but some of the arguments in that article were ridiculous.

I mean really, siblings hitting and throwing things at each other is a natural and desirable way for them to 'express themselves'? Not to mention "Violence isn't always bad because sometimes dogs bite each other and I have a friend who likes to get scratched by cats". Right.

It's good that industry insiders and commentators like Greg are stepping forward and explaining their positions and justifying this great passion/hobby/pastime of ours.

It'd be better if we could have these kinds of views reach those outside of our own demographic. To Greg and the other escapist staff, have you pursued any ways of getting yourselves heard by those outside the gaming community? I'm sure even editing this article and submitting it as an opinion piece in a mainstream publication would do good things.

I think they need to start including the unfair factor in games in these studys. I may become more violent and agressive after playing games like CoD or Soul Caliber but it is usualy after the game did some thing vary unfair to me. Like when the guy I just shot respawns behind me 10 times in a row, or when Nightmare was easy in round one but beats me to a pulp in half a second in round two. I've also gotten mad a wii sports when the same motion I did the last 10 times to get a strike suddenly makes my player flail around and toss the ball into the next lane. I wouldn't be suprised if more violence is caused by that winnie the pooh homerun game rather than CoD. Also if there is anything that I have learned from shooter games is that public shooting would be a horrible idea, everyone would just respawn behind me and take me out.

A very good read, and I fully agree with, but let's face it, you are preaching to the choir. Anyone who is reading this article (and even more so if they are reading the comments) will enjoy games and know that they do not cause violent behavior.
I would be interested to know if anyone has a link to a similar piece, or one discussing the same points form a similar perspective, in a mainstream American publication. I would be interested to see both how they make their case (if any differently) and what the response is.
An article like this form a develloper, or a games journalist in, say, the new york times, could do wonders. Hell, even a publisher could do it (not EA, because of the whole "buy the guns fron MoH thing would replace any intelligent debate")

Discussions like this mask problems with the gaming industry that gamers and gaming publications don't deal with, however.

80% of mass market video games feature killing as the primary mode of gameplay. If 80% of games featured dolphins there would be outrage from gamers, but killing in games is welcomed by most gamers.

If 80% of games featured dolphins the argument gamers would use against that is that dolphins over and over and over again is boring as hell. Too many dolphins, in other words, gamers would say, cut back that 80% number to 10%.

If 80% of movies featured killing as the primary plot device, such as for example Battle Royale, movie-goers would complain that for reasons of increased creativity, innovation, and *making better movies*, that number should be greatly reduced.

Yet gamers, because they believe that they need to remain constantly vigilant against the political machinations of the terrifying and terrified humans who proclaim games evil, welcome violence in games not because violence is fun, but because it's rebellious against the very people who don't deserve our rebellion.

By welcoming violence in games, gamers are reducing themselves to the same level as the monsters and fools who rail against games.

By needing to rebel against people undeserving as such, those people become NECESSARY and the Jack Thompsons of the world become useful tools who must be kept around to serve us.

Some gamers want that 80% raised to 90% or even 100%, not for the sake of more fun but to spit in the face of "our enemies".

This is a plea from me to my fellow gamers to start caring more for the quality of games than the political pain we can inflict on others.

Please grow up.

briankoontz:
Discussions like this mask problems with the gaming industry that gamers and gaming publications don't deal with, however.

80% of mass market video games feature killing as the primary mode of gameplay. If 80% of games featured dolphins there would be outrage from gamers, but killing in games is welcomed by most gamers.

If 80% of games featured dolphins the argument gamers would use against that is that dolphins over and over and over again is boring as hell. Too many dolphins, in other words, gamers would say, cut back that 80% number to 10%.

If 80% of movies featured killing as the primary plot device, such as for example Battle Royale, movie-goers would complain that for reasons of increased creativity, innovation, and *making better movies*, that number should be greatly reduced.

Yet gamers, because they believe that they need to remain constantly vigilant against the political machinations of the terrifying and terrified humans who proclaim games evil, welcome violence in games not because violence is fun, but because it's rebellious against the very people who don't deserve our rebellion.

By welcoming violence in games, gamers are reducing themselves to the same level as the monsters and fools who rail against games.

By needing to rebel against people undeserving as such, those people become NECESSARY and the Jack Thompsons of the world become useful tools who must be kept around to serve us.

Some gamers want that 80% raised to 90% or even 100%, not for the sake of more fun but to spit in the face of "our enemies".

This is a plea from me to my fellow gamers to start caring more for the quality of games than the political pain we can inflict on others.

Please grow up.

If 80% of all games feature killing in some form or another, that's because that is what gamers are paying for, what we want. Violence, or at least the idea of violence, is exciting to people. Real violence, not so much, but fake violence, where we can picture ourselves in the place of an ass-kicking tough guy? Yeah, that's going to remain popular pretty much for all time. It caters to the power fantasies most people have, it gets their blood pumping in a way that their day job won't, it lets off some of the pressure that they can't release during the day.

Whereas games about dolphins... well, that doesn't appeal to any of our fantasies or instincts, except maybe the "aww, that's cute" instinct. That would get old very quickly. There is a very good reason 80% of the games aren't about dolphins, as you say. They wouldn't sell, and the developers would quickly go out of business. And be replaced by ones who would promptly (and intelligently) make a shooter instead. That's human nature, you can't change that, and I'm not sure that you should even try.

I would also like to point out that Jack Thompson isn't a useful tool, he's just a tool, period.

You guys make good points. I know I'm not convincing any of you guys about how violence in games doesn't turn us into killers. But I'm hoping by spreading the word and making well-reasoned arguments the idea will somehow filter into the mainstream thought.

Greg

manic_depressive13:
I don't agree that video games make people violent, but some of the arguments in that article were ridiculous.

I mean really, siblings hitting and throwing things at each other is a natural and desirable way for them to 'express themselves'? Not to mention "Violence isn't always bad because sometimes dogs bite each other and I have a friend who likes to get scratched by cats". Right.

Wrestling or play-fighting a very common way for children to bond with each other or with care-giving adults, particularly in boys. Don't confuse it with actual fighting between siblings which is very different. The similarity with video game violence is that play-fighting also has a resemblance to actual fighting but harms no-one and is for the enjoyment of the participants.

The one thing about 'violent games = violence' that always bugs me is that it assumes that everyone is ready to start mass murdering at the push of a button. If a Call of Duty game inspires people to go out and kill, why are the majority of the people who play CoD not going out killing people? (No comment on Xbox Live)

As you so eloquently put it, Greg, there's no one single reason to blame for any of this. It's just that video games are often used as the whipping boy.

Greg Tito:
You guys make good points. I know I'm not convincing any of you guys about how violence in games doesn't turn us into killers. But I'm hoping by spreading the word and making well-reasoned arguments the idea will somehow filter into the mainstream thought.

Greg

While you did make some fairly decent points, most of said points have been said time and time again already. This article is nothing more than preaching to the choir.

But really, I had a problem with your arguments as soon as you said this;

I've read all the arguments the videogame opponents throw out. "All that exposure to violence can't be good." "Studies show people are more aggressive after playing games." "My kids play too much dang videogames!" And you know what? They are all bullshit.

These are not bullshit whatsoever. Extensive exposure to violent media constantly is generally a sign that something is not right, studies have shown that short-term aggression increases when playing video games (or any other violent media for that matter), and if the kids are spending every day of every week playing games I'd say that's a bit too much video gaming or that the child is not getting something that he needs.

It's this dismisal of the opposing side of the argument that really ruffles my feathers. I remeber that you were the one who posted the article on the video game study months ago that I have criticized for being incredibly biased and self-righteous, and some of your arguments remind me of why it ticks me off in the first place. I'm more forgiving here as this is more of an actual editorial rather than a news story.

As was stated before, the use of an air-horn is a perfectly legitimate tactic in the use of scientific inquiry. Really think about what the use of an air-horn means, it provides a blaring, uncomfortable noise, and if someone plays or watches violent media and prolongs its use, that is fairly significant in regards to aggression. What ticks me off about your mention of this particular study is how you simply brush it off, as if you are qualified to counter scientific findings (which, again, I remember criticising you about in that new story months before). In addition, you are presuming partisianship from said study. Not every study that finds something negative about violent media is against said media, science has no bias, only scientists and even then said scientists from the study hardly cared about the politics of their findings. It simply is.

Still, despite my problems here, you do make some fair points, but again they have been points made a hundred times before. It's this simple brushing off of legitimate concerns, in some ways claiming that video games have absolutely no affect on people, that really bug me since of course games can affect us and infact they do. We accept that they can make us laugh, relieve us of stress, cry, feel terror. They can move us emotionally, physically, mentally, hell even sexually for some of them. Why is it so hard to understand that games, and in fact most violent media in general, can cause some negative side-effects for some people? It is what it is, and if we just brush off these sort of questions then we are only devaluing the medium as a result.

JoJo:
Wrestling or play-fighting a very common way for children to bond with each other or with care-giving adults, particularly in boys. Don't confuse it with actual fighting between siblings which is very different. The similarity with video game violence is that play-fighting also has a resemblance to actual fighting but harms no-one and is for the enjoyment of the participants.

Boys are socialised from a young age to be more aggressive than girls. It's not inherent, it's learned behaviour, and I don't think it's a good thing. While I don't doubt play-wrestling could serve as a way of bonding, I'm sure just playing normally with your child and giving them hugs would create an equally strong bond. I think it's silly to suggest, as the article seemed to do, that by discouraging play fighting in children you are potentially sabotaging their bonds and taking away a form of self expression.

Sterling never wrote anything eloquently in his life; I don't have to open the link to know that was sarcasm.
But seriously, why is this article on the Escapist? This is a good* article, but everyone here already agrees with these arguments. If it's really to change the hearts and minds of people and contribute to the debate, it should be taken to a local or even statewide newspaper. There an article like this can really be put to good use.

* "Indicting innocent individuals" is a beautiful example of alliteration used to drive a point home. Although I do have one concern with the line "evil exists", because it introduces a philosophically debatable concept to the argument, which could weaken the article as a whole. Other than that, the whole article is a concise summary of the left side of this debate.

Jumplion:

Yeah, I'd agree with that. Saying that "games did it" is of course rubbish. But saying "games have no effect on people whatsoever" is also rubbish.

Just because we enjoy something doesn't mean we have to ignore anything problematic about it.

I like the LotR movies (second half of the second one, not so much). But I recognise that Tolkien was a privileged man who wasn't particularly progressive for his time.

[\quote]Still, despite my problems here, you do make some fair points, but again they have been points made a hundred times before. It's this simple brushing off of legitimate concerns, in some ways claiming that video games have absolutely no affect on people, that really bug me since of course games can affect us and infact they do. We accept that they can make us laugh, relieve us of stress, cry, feel terror. They can move us emotionally, physically, mentally, hell even sexually for some of them. Why is it so hard to understand that games, and in fact most violent media in general, can cause some negative side-effects for some people? It is what it is, and if we just brush off these sort of questions then we are only devaluing the medium as a result.[/quote]

Yes this, and the fact that when anyone sounds like this they are called ignorant. This was a very good response.

Remeber when games had no ratings? Thanks to Mortal Kombat we had to have the ratings. IMO, violence in games is purely window dressing and it usually doesn't serve any purpose within the game. If it's Resident Evil, or some thriller type game, that's different...but even in movies, Guillermo Del Torro has figured out how to scare you without graphic depictions of violence (gore etc). Jumplion's response was on the money - we all agree that games don't cause people to go on murder sprees, and that games are not the real problem. However, the violence within games is being ignored whenever we do make these arguments. Violence in the USA is a historic problem that certainly didn't start with gaming, nor will it end if someone gains enough power to shut games down. Again, great post Jumplion

My CPU applauds you good sir.

This is exactly what I wanted to iterate to many a people who don't seem to understand that this has happened at least 5 times in our history counting the big names: Plays, Books, Comic Books, Film, Television and now with Video Games. Paraphrasing Yahtzee again "[You] can be consoled in the fact that everyone over 50 [won't be deciding what happens to our new media after 20 or so years]."

Although the concept of [squishy-organic] evil is debatable, your points are all so valid. Sheep go "bah", Cows go "moo" and old-people-who-don't-know-any-better-go "This is poisoning our youth!"

Captcha: whoopee cushion. [Aye lad, aye..]

Edit: I'd also like to make a mention Lord of the Flies, though I don't completely agree with it or find it to be very relevant, the kids in that book showed tremendous capacity for violence even without video games. Violence is a thing, we are violent, nothing has changed, only the format which it has been presented. [Although I recognise this book is a giant allegory]

We need to talk about raising awareness for the poor suffering parents of violent mentally ill children, but no one talks about it because it's a difficult issue, video games are easy to blame when most of the older, haughty taughty, ignorant politicians know bugger all about them.

Wish i was a lawyer for video games.
"Video games caused the crime!"
"Objection, video games don't cause violent mental illness"

Boom.

Hmm, yes, how "incomprehensible" it is that these shootings regularly occur in a country with more guns than people, the majority of whom require prescribed meds to remain functional.

First off, thank you Greg for articulating what so many folks seem to be ignoring and making another attempt to give our collective consciousness a solid kick.

To those of you who are claiming, "We've heard this song before.", yes, these points are old and timeworn and yet, despite being true, nobody seems to be paying attention to them in the long term. I'm not just talking about politicians or civic leaders here. Ordinary folks, parents of children young and old, agree that surrounding a child with violence is damaging. Yet, these are the same people who send their kids to football games, use televisions as stop-gaps, and get angry when their kids sass back.

Violence is everywhere and always has been. Conflict is life and it surrounds us at all times. During any form of conflict, from an argument to a sporting event to a bloodbath, people get excited and become aggressive. Blaming one kind of stimulus for making people aggressive while ignoring all other stimuli is bullshit. It's deceptive and it's foolish and it KEEPS ON HAPPENING!

Want to know what disgusts me? People who live in a society where hundreds of dollars get charged to those who want to sit/stand in a theatre while two men stand in a ring to beat the life out of each other. Those same patrons will condemn a simluation of the same content where control of the fighters is given to a pair of teenagers. Yet there are no pickets up to do away with Ultimate Fighting, the WWF/E, or the World Boxing Association are there? Instead, we have training facilities, gymnasiums and fitness outlets that will encourage you and teach you the most efficient methods of battering your fellow person.

Want to know what enrages me? People who enjoy a world where children are actively urged to join teams that gather on gridirons to run at each other in heavy equipment, causing pain, injury, and even death. These same people will state with straight faces that images on a screen should be censored because they trigger aggressive, violent, and lethal behaviour. We've got prime examples of publicly supported violence coming on the television in a couple hours. It's called the NFL (and if you don't like television, relax. For even more money, you can get in your car, drive to a game, and watch the action as it happens). People are going to paint their faces, jump up and down, scream their support, and rejoice in the incapacitation of players because of the delicious rush that goes along with just watching it. When was the last time you saw a protest against violence at your local football stadium? Answer: Never.

Only videogames must pay the price of condemnation. Only they could be responsible for wanton displays of destruction despite being carefully legislated to warn consumers exactly what lies inside them. With a videogame, there are no illusions about content. I'm not going to be playing something based on "My Little Pony" and then suddenly see one of the characters break her neck or be cut into pieces by a bloodspattered clown, because if that were to be a possibility, there would be a warning on the box: "Contains Violence". There is no warning on my television that says, "Someone in this competition might die during the proceedings and at least one player will almost certainly be injured." I don't receive a friendly reminder when I walk to the grocery store that I may, at any moment, witness or experience grevious bodily harm or death. Why? It is assumed that if you turn on your TV, leave your room, or are in any way exposed to the world in which we live, you will at some point encounter conflict and if the ones who raised you did their jobs, you'll know it and be ready to deal with that conflict.

We hold our fictions to standards we would never impose on our reality. Then, when our reality matches fiction, we blame the fiction for inspiring reality instead of seeing that reality is what inspired the fiction.

Jumplion:

Greg Tito:
You guys make good points. I know I'm not convincing any of you guys about how violence in games doesn't turn us into killers. But I'm hoping by spreading the word and making well-reasoned arguments the idea will somehow filter into the mainstream thought.

Greg

While you did make some fairly decent points, most of said points have been said time and time again already. This article is nothing more than preaching to the choir.

But really, I had a problem with your arguments as soon as you said this;

I've read all the arguments the videogame opponents throw out. "All that exposure to violence can't be good." "Studies show people are more aggressive after playing games." "My kids play too much dang videogames!" And you know what? They are all bullshit.

These are not bullshit whatsoever. Extensive exposure to violent media constantly is generally a sign that something is not right, studies have shown that short-term aggression increases when playing video games (or any other violent media for that matter), and if the kids are spending every day of every week playing games I'd say that's a bit too much video gaming or that the child is not getting something that he needs.

Are you referring to studies other than the two Greg previously posted about on this site (and linked to in this article)? If so, I'm genuinely interested in seeing them. The two aforementioned studies didn't show that people were more aggressive, that's basically just what the authors concluded. If your methods are crap, your conclusions can't be much more than crap, either, unfortunately.

The problem is, among other things--how do you test if video games (or any audio-visual media) contribute to real-world violence?

First, I'd want to know 1) if real-world violence is more often perpetrated by people who play video games (while accounting for factors like socioeconomic status, education, etc.) than it is by people who don't play video games (or than people who only play non-violent games), 2) what percentage of gamers have been seriously violent (i.e., done something that resulted in police involvement or any sort of legal documentation to demonstrate that they've been violent), and 3) some sort of gaming profile of violent and non-violent gamers (for instance, you could acquire approximate play times for most games they own, at least assuming Microsoft and Sony keep similar data to Steam... do they play primarily at a certain time? Do violent gamers play alone? Do violent gamers play more violent games more regularly [or more 'aggressively'] than non-violent gamers?).

...then you could at least start to examine the real question, if there was anything in all of that data to suggest that gamers (or a subset of gamers) might be more violent than the rest of the population. It's something worthy of study, but it wouldn't be cheap or easy to design, carry out, or come up with conclusive results (while still only performing broad analyses and ethical experiments). Hell, if actually done well, it could be pretty timeless/important research. Odds are very good that violent games do not cause violence, but do people who are more prone to act violently play differently than others? Does exposing young children to graphic violence (in games or other entertainment media) cause or contribute to problems later in life?

@ Living Contradiction - Have you ever played football growing up? Have you ever trained in a martial art or in boxing? If you did, you wouldn't be so frustrated about these outlets. There are rules in football and boxing. There's a difference between what you're saying and street violence, or terrorist violence. You make no distinction, and I would gently suggest that this is not a good idea.

In typical fashion, people are blurring the definition of violence because they are annoyed with this issue. My point is that games have become progressively more gory, and no one cares. In fact, we like it. Can it be used as an outlet for frustrations? Absolutely. But this generation of kids playing games don't have the access to other outlets like I did when I was going to school. Music and art is being taken out of schools. Some parents are afraid to let their children go out and play with other children. So as a result, they sit for 20 hours in front of a screen.
If you're telling me that this has no impact on someone's development, I just don't believe it. At the very least it desensitizes people to gore. I'm going to clarify that when I say violent, I'm talking about gory, Connecticut violence. Mortal Kombat, Doom,etc.

bravetoaster:
Are you referring to studies other than the two Greg previously posted about on this site (and linked to in this article)? If so, I'm genuinely interested in seeing them. The two aforementioned studies didn't show that people were more aggressive, that's basically just what the authors concluded. If your methods are crap, your conclusions can't be much more than crap, either, unfortunately.

I'll message you the article if I can find it sometime, the search function on forums always seem to elude me.

The problem is, among other things--how do you test if video games (or any audio-visual media) contribute to real-world violence?

Most studies on violent media aren't about linking said media to real-world violence, they are about finding a potential like to aggression, and we to basically understand that some short-term aggression can occur. It is also equally likely that some of said media can be used to assuage and relieve stress. No ifs, ands, or buts, it just is what it is. If (non)game journalists want to politicize that, fine, but that's not what the science is trying to do.

First, I'd want to know 1) if real-world violence is more often perpetrated by people who play video games (while accounting for factors like socioeconomic status, education, etc.) than it is by people who don't play video games (or than people who only play non-violent games), 2) what percentage of gamers have been seriously violent (i.e., done something that resulted in police involvement or any sort of legal documentation to demonstrate that they've been violent), and 3) some sort of gaming profile of violent and non-violent gamers (for instance, you could acquire approximate play times for most games they own, at least assuming Microsoft and Sony keep similar data to Steam... do they play primarily at a certain time? Do violent gamers play alone? Do violent gamers play more violent games more regularly [or more 'aggressively'] than non-violent gamers?).

Again, these studies aren't about violence, just aggression. People tend to extremize these studies to use as either straw-mans or overexaggerated points for whichever side they are on. If the study finds some correlation with violent media and aggressive/violent behavior, it is instantly branded as "anti-media". If it finds some correlation with media and some sortof well being in the mind like increased comprehension, whatever, then people use it as some be-all end-all discussion on the matter. That is not the case.

...then you could at least start to examine the real question, if there was anything in all of that data to suggest that gamers (or a subset of gamers) might be more violent than the rest of the population. It's something worthy of study, but it wouldn't be cheap or easy to design, carry out, or come up with conclusive results (while still only performing broad analyses and ethical experiments). Hell, if actually done well, it could be pretty timeless/important research. Odds are very good that violent games do not cause violence, but do people who are more prone to act violently play differently than others? Does exposing young children to graphic violence (in games or other entertainment media) cause or contribute to problems later in life?

You are taking these studies to personally. No study has tried to find if "gamers" are more violent, or anything regarding violence for that matter, simply aggression. Slightly semantics, I know, but it is an important distinction that I feel many people do not bother with.

Your last few sentences are perfectly valid. It's unfortunate, however, that most people do not bother to ask these questions and simply brush them off.

gamernerdtg2:
@ Living Contradiction - Have you ever played football growing up? Have you ever trained in a martial art or in boxing? If you did, you wouldn't be so frustrated about these outlets. There are rules in football and boxing. There's a difference between what you're saying and street violence, or terrorist violence. You make no distinction, and I would gently suggest that this is not a good idea.

Tell someone with a concussion that his injury is better because the person who knocked him out laced his gloves the right way and didn't use brass knuckles. Tell an ER doctor that the patient with a broken shoulder took a legitimate risk when she got on the field and that it makes that fracture better than if she was attacked in an alley. Violence, no matter how we dress it up and tell it to behave itself in public, is still violence and its results remain the same regardless of the rules and structures we erect around them.

That being said, the gore you've noticed escalating? It isn't escalating; It has always been there (Mortal Kombat, one of the bloodiest franchises in existance, came out in 1992. Things have stayed pretty constant since then as far as blood content goes). The reason we notice it more now than we did twenty years ago is because, unlike back then, when something bloody happens today, everyone has a means of seeing it and reacting to it instantly. We're sitting in that means right now. With a few keystrokes, I can call up images of Abu Ghraib, the Valentine's Day Massacre, and the Tianamen Square protests. Bloody, gory, horrible events that can give any video game you could name a run for its money and all of which are years, even decades old. Those are just the ones that got photographed. Can you imagine the coverage if the Munich Olympic killings took place today? Or Kristallnacht? Or any one of a hundred different nightmarish spectacles that fill history? That's an ugly part of our past and present: the violent acts we inflict on one another.

I'm not condemning the violence; It is part of our lives and I accept it as an element of the world I share with everyone. What I condemn is the idea that it has a single source: video games. I condemn the notion that a video game, no other factor, makes people aggressive and pushes them to violent acts. That line of thinking screams its ignorance, both of the world we live in and the people who live within it.

@ Living Contradiction - These three paragraphs corrospond with your three...

The person that gets hurt in the street will not be able to confront his attacker later on. The person who gets hurt in the ring or on the field has access to the other party, and there can be an emotional release that makes the physical healing process way easier. In the case of sports, legal action (fines etc) are imposed on the person at fault. In the street it's you or them and legal action may not be an option. The difference lies in the intent. You have an interesting way of lumping all violence together. I dissagree with this because it ignores how complicated we are. Again, the intent is very important. The art part in the martial arts comes from the self-knowledge that you gain if you take it seriously. That kind of "violence" (as you would call it) deserves a separate distinction.

It's very interesting that you don't mention American historical violence. Emmet Till. As an American, I feel that we have much to talk about regarding this issue within our own country. That's for another thread. Before Mortal Kombat, this kind of gory violence wasn't even an issue, nor were ratings on console games. That is quite significant to me. It wasn't in as many games as it is today. The violence in Ninja Gaiden II for the 360 is way more gruesome, and way more bloody than Mortal Kombat. I had to play Sigma 2 on the PS3 because I just couldn't deal with Gaiden II on the 360. It's non stop. There aren't as many games out there like Gaiden II, but my point is that it's gotten worse, and it continues.

Yes,violence doesn't come from one source. However, the perspective that lumps all violence into one thing is just as polarized as the view claiming that games kill people. We gamers are great at defending ourselves, but we're miserable when it comes to owning the flaws in our perspectives when it comes to the issue of violence in games.

Great response by the way. I can see that this website has very well written, thoughtful folk dispersed throughout here. Me likey.

Good article. Although I will say that, the truth is, although US violent crime rates are declining and in other parts of the world violent crime rates are increasing, the US in particular seems like a very high-strung, hyper-aggressive culture. No, aggressiveness isn't a bad thing but aggressiveness can turn bad quickly. There's aggressiveness and then there's recklessness. There is a major issue in the US in regards to........emotional and behavioral health. Banning violent video games won't fix that. But there is truth in the fact that kids who *are* in a vulnerable place and see the culture around them more or less openly promoting violence through video games and otherwise, will become violent themselves and given they're in a distressed mode, take it too far. Most things are best in moderation.

101flyboy:
Good article. Although I will say that, the truth is, although US violent crime rates are declining and in other parts of the world violent crime rates are increasing, the US in particular seems like a very high-strung, hyper-aggressive culture. No, aggressiveness isn't a bad thing but aggressiveness can turn bad quickly. There's aggressiveness and then there's recklessness. There is a major issue in the US in regards to........emotional and behavioral health. Banning violent video games won't fix that. But there is truth in the fact that kids who *are* in a vulnerable place and see the culture around them more or less openly promoting violence through video games and otherwise, will become violent themselves and given they're in a distressed mode, take it too far. Most things are best in moderation.

According to which statistics?
recklessness is a good distinction.

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