Gamers and Weapons: Ask Dr. Mark

Gamers and Weapons: Ask Dr. Mark

Examining the connection between a love of gaming and a love of weapons.

Read Full Article

I think it's more that the children are interested in FPS's because they are fascinated by weapons and violence. Though, I suppose it's the classic chicken & the egg conundrum. For me, it's not hard to imagine an impressionable, dumb kid who fancies himself a hardcore FPS gamer would be fascinated by real life weapons. In a way I think every gamer (in this case, by gamer I mean anyone who plays violent video games) is at least somewhat interested in real-life weapons. I know a lot of people who go to cons/Renaissance festivals and buy medieval weapons. It's usually for the novelty of it if nothing else.

It's interesting, but let's say someone did something about these correlations between gun companies and video games.
Who would the state go after? The guns or the games?

Yeah...

As someone who goes shooting periodically: lord save me from people who decide to start shooting because of FPS games. Not always, but most of the time, those guys are the ones who don't give a crap about gun safety. If I'm around someone like that and a gun is involved, I'm always worried someone will accidentally get shot or something else stupid and dangerous will happen.

To anyone reading this who has never been shooting and is considering it: don't treat it like a game. You're basically training in how to use a deadly weapon, and there are safety procedures you need to follow in order to avoid killing anyone unintentionally. Videogames do /not/ model those procedures. Go with someone you trust who has actual experience with guns, and /listen to what they tell you/.

I don't really know if and what they could "do about" the product placement of real weapons in video games. If they'd be forbidden, video games would just be using weapons that look nearly exactly like real weapons and have names that can easily be identified as the original weapon the game's gun is modeled after.
This also applies to other items like cars in GTA, for example. It may not be called a Lamborgini but it still looks and sounds like one.

However, weapons clearly aren't for children (despite what some manufacturers might try to tell you). The letter doesn't mention what kind of knives those were but regardless of it, they shouldn't have knives while in school. I can only assume they were something combat-knife-ish (something they simply shouldn't be able to buy), not some swiss utility knife.

I agree with Fappy, most (if not all) kids are fascinated with weapons. Some of those will start playing FPS games.

As a kid we had a Commodore 64 (showing my age here), with zero FPS games, they just didn't exist. Better yet I don't think we had any games that featured guns. Though if the weather was good we'd take our toy guns and go into the woods to play war (and later Tour of Duty). Later one of my friends managed to acquire a bb-gun (these are illegal in the Netherlands) and we went out into the woods again to shoot at trees, and birds and each other. This all happened before I ever say a gun in a computer game.

Kids (and many adults) like playing with weapons, always have, probably always will.

As an aside, apparently the Walther PPK is popular because it's the gun Bond uses. People always have been influenced by popular culture, games are a big part of that, and guns are a big part of that.

"...my son's guidance counselor reported that some kids were bringing knives to school (and getting into trouble for it)..."

Long ago, in a time before zero tolerance policies and police hall monitors, the idea that a student might have a pocketknife wasn't cause for shrieking and drone strikes. There is a tendency to look at anything that's wrong with the world and believe that this must be a new problem, this didn't happen before, WHAT COULD BE CAUSING IT?!? Watch adolescent films from the 1950's and you'll see the stereotype "greaser" with a switchblade in his back pocket. There will always be an element of society that doesn't want to follow the rules, and an endless parade of scapegoats from the people who don't want to accept that.

I wanted to know everything there was to know about guns long before they were being depicted by name in video games or there was an internet to look them up on. I watched documentaries, read books, talked with people who owned them. I could watch war movies and point out the different models being used. None of this was a new phenomenon. Revisionist history wants to paint the past as an idyllic fairytale wonderland where children never did anything wrong, because that would show their generation in a more positive light. "Oh, we would never have done anything like that! Schools were better, and nobody was whipped with a bicycle chain for not joining a gang!"

...I was fascinated with weapons as a kid... brought knives to school and didn't get in trouble for it (late 80s through the 90s). Late in my highschool career, they started worrying about guns... but knives were still normal.

And I was mostly into fantasy RPGs with magic swords at the time (mostly on the NES. I was late to the party with every console, so I finished the 4 dragon warrior games and the first final fantasy many, many times). My magic swords in the real world were broom handles or sticks, the knives were a separate thing tied to the probability of actual violence where I was going to school. These things are no more likely or frequent in the inner city... it's all pretty much the same, except now there are ineffectual security measures in place.
In suburbia, though... I'm sorry, I really have to laugh. The violence of the poor has gotten fashionable with the middle class as it falls on hard times, and everyone suddenly cares.

...can't really speak for modern games, though. Now that we've got realistic modeling (if not physics or damage) in games, I can see where it would be more likely to influence these kids... but I'm not seeing that difference in the news.

Kids, especially boys have been fascinated with guns for a very long time. Games like COD and Battlefield only serve to create a fantasy meant for adults and young adults to enjoy. If it fosters an appreciation for guns and shooting then so be it. The problem isn't that we have these games and our kids are addicted to them. The problem is that we have these games that kids shouldn't be playing to begin with. The game developing community was forced to create the ESRB and the rating system is being ignored wholesale by the buying public. It's like pretending to be concerned about your kid watching "R" rated movies but then buying them tickets to see Rambo. I say stop putting the responsibility on the developers and put it back on the parents. And to the parents that don't like it...try raising your kids instead of letting them do it themselves. Might lower the amount of 13 year old halfwits online spouting garbage and racial epithets like a verbal fire hose.

I played video games all through my youth, including Contra and Doom and Wolfenstein and all other manner of games featuring guns and other weapons. I have never, once, in my entire life, wanted to hold or fire a real gun. I had friends who were not interested in video games and were fascinated with real life weapons. I also had friends who loved both video games and real life weapons.

Many boys are attracted to weapons. It was that way before video games were around and it will be that way for generations to come. I suspect the people who are, will also be attracted to video games that allow them to live out the fantasy of using those weapons, to some extent. But it seems foolish to me to suggest that playing video games featuring weapons will create a fascination with weapons where one did not already exist.

Thanks Doc! Good and interesting read...

Disclaimer... I born in Canada and lived in Arizona for 33 years. I live back in Canada now for the past 15 years, the West Coast, where there is seemingly more of a loathing of firearms than the rest of Canada and certainly more than the States. Having moved out of the States 15 years ago, it is disconcerting to go to my sister's and her husband's house (back in Arizona) and he starts bringing out his collect of assault weapons and handguns.

I am 53 and have been gaming video gaming since I was 15, yeah 15. I don't feel a great love of firearms, guns, weapons or the like. I have gamed LOTS, board and video. Having said that, while in grades 3-6, in my public school library in Tempe, AZ, I could easily check out and did, all types of books about weapons from WWI, WWII and then present day (late 1960's, the M-16 was the new wow thing). My parents bought me toy guns (gotta love that Johny 7 OMA) and I watched plenty of war movies and westerns but not the real violent ones, I snuck those in. Yet I turned out pacifistic. I credit my parents for helping me to understand and respect firearms as my dad was an ace hunter both game a foul. He was also a WWII vet, his father fought at Ypres when he was 16. My older brother did a tour in Nam and was in the Tet Offensive. They all had input into how I view weapons (and aggression) to this day. My guess is that parents and family do have a great deal to do with how their kids view weapons, their portrayal and use.

I do not think it is a good thing to set a grade or middle schooler in front of violent, graphic game for any period of time realistic or cartoonish. Having said that, if parents do allow that, then they would be wise to talk to and coach their kids on what they are seeing and doing, perhaps not using the PC or console as a babysitter.

Anyway... Just a thought

Let me guess: Katie Curic's little rant got here too?

Wow, didn't think she would rattle the bee's nest this badly.

It's an interesting discussion and definitely one that needs to be had in a calm rational manner from both sides. It's very easy to scapegoat video games for several reasons.
First of all because they portray, typify and even glorify what most people would consider to be extreme acts of violence.
Secondly because the vocal gaming community, while generally well meaning, is still in its infancy and often times acts that way.
Thirdly gaming is just something else to blame, like TV and music before it. It's a medium that is popular amongst a generally young sector who are considered to be more agressive and anti social by older sectors who in their own youth did not have such access to the medium.

Bearing in mind these sorts of things it's very easy to see why gaming has had these associations thrown at it.

I personally don't feel that video games have made me more violent as an individual. In my childhood and teens I did glorify the violence that I was producing but I never had an urge to pick up a real weapon or physically hurt someone. As I've grown up gaming has become more of an escape or stress release to me and the actual act of whatever is happening on screen is secondary to the relaxation of my mind when I pick up a controller.

We are currently very fortunate to be at a turning point in the parenting/video game relationship as the first generation of kids to grow up as gamers are now coming to that age where they will or have become parents and it will be interesting to see how this discussion is affected by that.

Obviously it should go without saying that this is all purely my experience of the situation.

Before Video Games: Cops and Robbers. Cowboy and Indians.
Cap Guns, Water Guns, Nerf Guns.

Screw this, I'm out. Don't feed the trolls.

VortexCortex:
Before Video Games: Cops and Robbers. Cowboy and Indians.
Cap Guns, Water Guns, Nerf Guns.

Screw this, I'm out. Don't feed the trolls.

There will always be play based on violence/violent acts. People need to see that this fascination has been in our society since the beginning of recorded history. Time for some personal experience: my mom bought a shotgun for personal defense, and we ended up going to the local gun range, and we spent time getting a feel for firing it. Later, we had a learning experience cleaning it. I've always had a respect and reverence for firearms: I read all I can about their calibre, use, when/where they were used and how they impacted history (for the really revolutionary ones). That being said, I was extremely nervous about firing the shotgun for the first time, and I treated it like the deadly weapon it is.

Racers are some of my favorite games, especially "destruction racers" like Burnout 3 and Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit. Despite this, I'm an extremely careful driver in real life. Racing games that use licensed cars may influence my desire to buy certain cars (I love driving the Mustang GT500 in NFS:HP, even though it's not the best car in its class), but it doesn't make me want to drive in the oncoming lane in order to chase anyone down.

I also play first-person shooters, with one of my favorites being Day of Defeat: Source. I also like to go shooting, and I'm extremely careful that I'm safe while doing so. Shooters that use "real" guns may influence my desire to buy certain ones (I love using the M1 Garand in DOD:S), but I have no desire to kill anyone.

I may own guns primarily for defense, but only because there are evil, violent people in the world who don't mind harming my family to get what they want. If not for the evil in the world, I'd still like to go shooting, but only for the same reasons as I would go race a car on a track -- for fun.

I like to think that it's violent games that made me into the pacifist wuss afraid of real-life guns to the point of not going anywhere near the bloody things that I am now.

I see what happens when I pull the trigger in a game. It's all nice and fun within the game environment but to imagine the same thing happening in real life makes me shudder.

VortexCortex:
Before Video Games: Cops and Robbers. Cowboy and Indians.
Cap Guns, Water Guns, Nerf Guns.

Screw this, I'm out. Don't feed the trolls.

Indeed, Kids have always loved guns, even before videogames. These kids grew up to be gun owners well before videogames.

Dont know why thats so hard to grasp for some people...

I've never been into gun so much as I've been into swords spears knives etc. Grew up watching He-Man, TMNT, and GI-Joe. My parents never really encouraged it but never really bothered me since I wasn't one to shoot at birds or cats with anything stronger than a water or nerf gun. I think the US does have an over fascination with guns. Here in NC they're trying to get it so registered guns are allowed in vehicles on College Campuses. Don't see how that could go wrong /sarcasm
I have one pistol and that's more than enough I'm not fearing the collapse of Western civilization or Obama taking over with his atheist, Muslim, socialist army. So of my co-workers aren't so convinced ...

For some reason I always liked games where there is non-lethal alternative to guns
(SWAT4 and DeusEx are first ones that comes to mind)
To quote Doctor Who

Rose: Doctor, they've got guns
Doctor: And I haven't! Which makes me the better person, don't you think? They can shoot me dead, but the moral high ground is mine

P.S. Also try beating Postal2 without any killing- it is surprisingly fun :D

Eleuthera:
I agree with Fappy...

Aren't we all?
Seriously, Fappy can easily act as external conscience/common sense to anyone who lacks internal one :)

I don't think there's ever been a time period or place where people (especially guys) haven't been fascinated with weapons. You can call it basic human nature but I'd say it taps into a deeper sense of empowerment that weapons inherently come with.

But I think the question is still out there as to whether videogames increase these feelings by encouraging them or decrease them by providing an outlet for them. It's really hard to have a rational discussion about it when both sides of the argument are so strongly opinionated.

Mark J Kline:
Gamers and Weapons: Ask Dr. Mark

Examining the connection between a love of gaming and a love of weapons.

Read Full Article

We're bombarded by influences throughout our day. Many of them can't realistically be avoided, though many can. The current fixation with videogames, in my opinion, simply stems from the fact that they're the "last man on the heap." They're the newest, which means everything is their fault.

A more sensible approach, to me, seems to be stepping away from the specifics of the source of an influence, and instead focusing on the relative weight of that influence in a person's world. I can have acquaintances who use (even abuse) drugs without becoming a heroin addict... but if all of my acquaintances are drug addicts? Or if many of my close friends (who carry more weight in my world) are? Then I'm in more danger.

On one side, video games may, in some way, be telling a child, "Guns are fun! Use them often!" That voice may very well be present, even persistent. At the same time, millions of gamers play those games without going on shooting sprees. From what I've seen, the deciding factor seems to be whether or not that is the only voice a child is hearing.

We're all susceptible to peer pressure. The more numerous and the more constant the influence, the more likely we are to fall in line. If most of our "peers" are violent game characters, rather than real-life people, there may be a problem. If we're spending more time in that world than this one, there may be a problem. If the only people talking to us about guns/violence/sex/etc. are the fictional characters that glorify it, while the rest of our influencers remain silent on the subject... Well, nature abhors a vacuum, and our natures are no different.

The problem isn't video games, per se. The problem is kids who are left to play (often age-inappropriate) video games most of the time. The problem is parents who don't talk about the issues those games bring up. The problem is that a kid's mind is the purest democracy, and we've got far too many parents failing to make it to the polls.

Meh, kids have been bringing knives to school since the 50s. That is why the switchblade is banned/limited.

rofltehcat:
I don't really know if and what they could "do about" the product placement of real weapons in video games. If they'd be forbidden, video games would just be using weapons that look nearly exactly like real weapons and have names that can easily be identified as the original weapon the game's gun is modeled after.
This also applies to other items like cars in GTA, for example. It may not be called a Lamborgini but it still looks and sounds like one.

However, weapons clearly aren't for children (despite what some manufacturers might try to tell you). The letter doesn't mention what kind of knives those were but regardless of it, they shouldn't have knives while in school. I can only assume they were something combat-knife-ish (something they simply shouldn't be able to buy), not some swiss utility knife.

That advert. I feel a little bit sick now. Seriously.

A while back my dad and I sat down and talked about buying me an Air-Rifle. I say a while back, it was about 6/7 years ago. We came to the conclusion that it was a pointless buy (He was more interested in me getting one then I was, it was a birthday thing) and that it would only lead to either mischief or injury so we went against it. We used to sometimes talk about going to a shooting range (Once one of them opened up in our town) and my dad was talking to some of his students about taking me hunting (It would have just been a day out in a desert watching eagles fly around before eventually shooting water bottles with a hunting rifle). The point I am trying to make with that is responsible parents can responsibly teach their kids about weapons. My dad used to hunt, way back when.

I guess the point I am trying to say is that when I was 14/15, my dad was tempted to get me an air-rifle. Because, at the time (And I still am) I was interested in hunting and rifles. We then talked about planned trips to shooting ranges, or hunting with his students. We never got round to it (I left the country) so thats that. That advert was a mixture of insane and sexist, pitching guns to kids that young is utterly, utterly foul. I find it strange, gaming and gamers get in trouble because little kids play games with a clear 18 plus rating on them, yet gun companies can try and sell weapons to kids that young?

Over in Blighty you would get in trouble for trying to sell an air-rifle to a kid that young. I know it is a ridiculously low calibre rifle that they are pitching, it would be hard to do any real damage with it. Yet an air-rifle can take an eye out (Had a friend of a friend go to Juvi for doing just that), that toy could kill. I...

I have little to say, really. 14/15 year olds learning about guns does not bother me, adverts pitching guns to 8 year olds piss me off to no end. I know lots of people on this site are gun advocates and thats fine. But lets try and keep the NRA out of games and keep guns away from 8 year olds.

EDIT:

I read up. When I was young we used to fuck around with BB guns. BB pistols and AK-47's, including a few full auto ones when my friends found a shop that would sell them. However ridiculously dangerous those things were, none of us ever got badly hurt and at least it aint a rifle. Although you can get powerful enough air-rifles to kill things, I have a friend who used to go hunting rabbits with an air-rifle. Bleh. I am just sickened by that advert, honestly. The article is interesting and I think people should stop assuming gaming goes on in a vacuum. I am massively behind the rating system and I think it should be listened to.

Oh yeah. Video Games probably contributed to my interest in guns. I like the mechanical aspect of it, and if I want to shoot someone I get NERF blasters :D

rofltehcat:
I don't really know if and what they could "do about" the product placement of real weapons in video games. If they'd be forbidden, video games would just be using weapons that look nearly exactly like real weapons and have names that can easily be identified as the original weapon the game's gun is modeled after.
This also applies to other items like cars in GTA, for example. It may not be called a Lamborgini but it still looks and sounds like one.

However, weapons clearly aren't for children (despite what some manufacturers might try to tell you). The letter doesn't mention what kind of knives those were but regardless of it, they shouldn't have knives while in school. I can only assume they were something combat-knife-ish (something they simply shouldn't be able to buy), not some swiss utility knife.

I am for teaching kids to be responsible around guns, as abstinence only is a great way to not only make people interested in a subject, but they have a tendency to approach it unsafely. For example: see sex in more conservative communities (please don't actually see it, though, as that's illegal and creepy). I don't particularly agree with marketing something as a kid's rifle, but as long as the parents are actually freaking responsible about it then it should be okay.

Mr F.:

rofltehcat:
I don't really know if and what they could "do about" the product placement of real weapons in video games. If they'd be forbidden, video games would just be using weapons that look nearly exactly like real weapons and have names that can easily be identified as the original weapon the game's gun is modeled after.
This also applies to other items like cars in GTA, for example. It may not be called a Lamborgini but it still looks and sounds like one.

However, weapons clearly aren't for children (despite what some manufacturers might try to tell you). The letter doesn't mention what kind of knives those were but regardless of it, they shouldn't have knives while in school. I can only assume they were something combat-knife-ish (something they simply shouldn't be able to buy), not some swiss utility knife.

That advert. I feel a little bit sick now. Seriously.

A while back my dad and I sat down and talked about buying me an Air-Rifle. I say a while back, it was about 6/7 years ago. We came to the conclusion that it was a pointless buy (He was more interested in me getting one then I was, it was a birthday thing) and that it would only lead to either mischief or injury so we went against it. We used to sometimes talk about going to a shooting range (Once one of them opened up in our town) and my dad was talking to some of his students about taking me hunting (It would have just been a day out in a desert watching eagles fly around before eventually shooting water bottles with a hunting rifle). The point I am trying to make with that is responsible parents can responsibly teach their kids about weapons. My dad used to hunt, way back when.

I guess the point I am trying to say is that when I was 14/15, my dad was tempted to get me an air-rifle. Because, at the time (And I still am) I was interested in hunting and rifles. We then talked about planned trips to shooting ranges, or hunting with his students. We never got round to it (I left the country) so thats that. That advert was a mixture of insane and sexist, pitching guns to kids that young is utterly, utterly foul. I find it strange, gaming and gamers get in trouble because little kids play games with a clear 18 plus rating on them, yet gun companies can try and sell weapons to kids that young?

Over in Blighty you would get in trouble for trying to sell an air-rifle to a kid that young. I know it is a ridiculously low calibre rifle that they are pitching, it would be hard to do any real damage with it. Yet an air-rifle can take an eye out (Had a friend of a friend go to Juvi for doing just that), that toy could kill. I...

I have little to say, really. 14/15 year olds learning about guns does not bother me, adverts pitching guns to 8 year olds piss me off to no end. I know lots of people on this site are gun advocates and thats fine. But lets try and keep the NRA out of games and keep guns away from 8 year olds.

EDIT:

I read up. When I was young we used to fuck around with BB guns. BB pistols and AK-47's, including a few full auto ones when my friends found a shop that would sell them. However ridiculously dangerous those things were, none of us ever got badly hurt and at least it aint a rifle. Although you can get powerful enough air-rifles to kill things, I have a friend who used to go hunting rabbits with an air-rifle. Bleh. I am just sickened by that advert, honestly. The article is interesting and I think people should stop assuming gaming goes on in a vacuum. I am massively behind the rating system and I think it should be listened to.

*sigh* The point of children's rifles like that is teaching them from a young age how to safely handle a firearm. I had a BB gun at the age of six or seven, but it was used as a tool to teach me how to safely handle a gun. I never shot anyone with it. In fact, the only guns I've ever shot anyone with are airsoft guns, which unlike BB guns and air rifles (which fire steel balls and lead pellets at a high velocity -- the higher end air rifles are designed to kill, let alone capable of it), fire plastic balls at low speeds, and are designed as a cheaper and more realistic alternative to paintball guns.

That digression aside, in some parts of the country, guns are everywhere, and it's impossible to keep kids away from them completely. This is especially true if, as is true for the target market of the Cricket, you have guns in the house already for hunting and target shooting. Basically, it's better to teach a kid real gun safety than it is to just tell them to stay away from guns. It's like the difference between saying "don't have sex" and leaving it at that, and adding "but if you do, wear a condom."

Fappy:
I think it's more that the children are interested in FPS's

This.

If you find smashing inanimate objects therapeutic but don't want to get into trouble, alarm your neighbors with the noise, buy new stuff, & clean up huge messes, you play stuff like Dungeon Siege.

I've always liked guns and I grew up around them but video games do make me want to go out and shoot too. It's not surprising, really. Racing games make me want to drive fast cars, flight simulators make me want to fly planes, watching people fuck in movies makes me want to fuck. Doing or watching fun things in entertainment reminds me that fun things are fun. Funny how that works, isn't it?

PeterMerkin69:
I've always liked guns and I grew up around them but video games do make me want to go out and shoot too. It's not surprising, really. Racing games make me want to drive fast cars, flight simulators make me want to fly planes, watching people fuck in movies makes me want to fuck. Doing or watching fun things in entertainment reminds me that fun things are fun. Funny how that works, isn't it?

Yeah and because I main Lich in Dota 2, I frequently get the urge to levitate, cast ice magic, and make horrible puns about cold things.

I would like to know the title of a certain computer game I've played years ago.?
I think it has stages/levels that you have to complete.
You need to collect something, I remember there were jewels.
Your character is a cute 'monster' with no arms, but with feet. It constantly jumps and you control the direction on where its jumping on. It's color pink,,, I think.
I think I remember some storm clouds with crown.
There are bonus stages where you can collect lots of stuff but with time limit, after which the tiles begin to fall.
I think the objective of the game is to change the color of the tiles in each stage.

THank you!

 

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