Jimquisition: Desensitized to Violence

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Hello. I'm a 20 year old male. I've played videogames ever since I was 4 years old at least. Got my first GameBoy in 1998. Played a lot of TimeSplitters 2 when I was 11 years old. Needless to say, I've killed more virtual people than I can count, in any way imaginable.

I came to the Escapist today. Noticed the age control on the video. Saw the warning in the description. I skipped ahead. I knew didn't want to see this. Didn't skip ahead enough. Got to see and hear the last 2 seconds or so.

I am scared.

Not to seem like a monster. But I wasn't faced by the clip.
Then again I think suffering is grusome and hard to watch. Death (in this maner at least) is quick and (as far as I know) painless.

Dammit Jim, you made the weirdest, but actually build on concrete Argument one can have. We feel in a definate negative way about it. O.o

I am quite used to some stuff on this show but woooaaah. that... rather "calm" incident gave me the chills, how calm and peacefull the guy looked. before and afterwards.

Yep.... good thing you where able to put it on here.

But I gotto say I don't find guns creepy, I find Idiots and Psychopaths with guns creepy. But same could be said about welding tools and the same persons. O__o

I took a college class on TV and pop culture, and one of the days was about the evolution of news. We talked about and watched violent footage from the Vietnam War that was broadcast on the news and it disturbed me then. This was the first time I've seen this footage, let alone even heard of Budd Dwyer, and it disturbed me now.

You make an excellent point about the difference between real and virtual violence. Kudos!

The end makes me think of this:


It's the same principle that caused more and more people to run onto the field during sports games. When they cut all coverage of those people during broadcasts, the number of incidence dropped precipitously.

I honestly will say that didn't shock me, but it wasn't videogames that did that.

Nah. It was r/WTF and 4chan that desensitized me to things like that presented over video. However, any real sign of blood, gore, or death around me and i'll panic.

Jim, while I ultimately respect this video because it was very well done and hit the nail on the head, the only point I would make would be that the sort of audience that a website like the Escapist attracts, mostly the regular internet user who knows their way around and has plenty of experience with it, all of us already know the Mainstream Media are scum and are truly to blame for this. You're preaching to the choir there. Your video needs the sort of exposure that virality provides.

Could I suggest that you upload this video to Youtube, just to give it a chance at a broader audience.

The Escapist also has a YouTube channel, so yes, this will show up there next week.

Jimothy Sterling:

I didn't really find it all that disturbing or shocking, mostly because your warning played it up so much that I was expecting something much more graphic.

I was worried about this. I underplayed it last time for that very reason and people got upset at me, so I figured it far more prudent to err on the side of playing it up than playing it down. For most, it still seems to have retained its effect, so I'm happy with the decision.

All things considered, it probably was the wisest choice. After all you're point is still very clear. I still didn't find the suicide very amusing in the slightest. It's like watching news footage of the wars in the middle east and whatever. That's not at all entertaining or funny or amusing.

No warning or timestamp for the Willem Dafoe scene at the end. Sterling's been desensitized to Dafoe.

I skipped that bit, but I saw the last few seconds and... oh, why did the cameraman zoom in?! Total Biscuit did a video similar to this one, and I agree with you both on all points. Screw the people that pin this on games, then go "tonight at 11, a bajillion murder cases that drive up our ratings." We need a better media, we need to stop pinning tragedies on stupid causes, but most of all, we need to talk about mental health and weapon control.

I'm not going to lie - I really didn't have much of a reaction to the clip. I think it was due to the low quality of the vid and me not being able to tell what was going on even when he actually pulled the trigger, but of course it makes me wonder. Still, I know how I react when I see violence or death happen in person and have gotten pretty upset by other real videos like the Middle-Eastern women who got killed by an AK-47 as the crowd cheered on or a lion latching on to someone's throat, so I know I'm not a full-on sociopath. I still wonder though why this barely got a reaction out of me. Is it really my confusion while watching due to the horrible quality, or is that just an excuse?


I didn't really find it all that disturbing or shocking, mostly because your warning played it up so much that I was expecting something much more graphic. You're right though, video game violence is far removed from real life violence. I recall once seeing a old black and white photograph of a war torn region that featured a child horribly burned by napalm on a road with a tank behind. Now that disturbed me.

Your once and future Fanboy:
Not to seem like a monster. But I wasn't faced by the clip.
Then again I think suffering is grusome and hard to watch. Death (in this maner at least) is quick and (as far as I know) painless.

These could also be a part of the reason why his didn't bother me much. Still, that could just be an excuse on my part.

Overall, good video and I definitely agree with your points here. Real guns do actually have a major terrifying presence to me, though it is countered somewhat by my fascination with technology.

Well, he died painlessly and quick, so it's not that gruesome, is it? I don't know... Just weren't as affected by it as some say they were.

I skipped the suicide part because I just didn't wanna see it. I'm not big fan of blood,gore,guts or pain in general.

But still overall the video was great and I do think NRA are hypocrites to the highest degree.

...You know, the video wasn't that bad (I mean there was nothing pleasant about it, but I didn't find it traumatizing), but still, your point stands. Still if I were to see someone get killed personally, I probably really would freak out, video game violence is seriously over the top. I'm not desensitized to violence because of video games. I'm desensitized to violence because of the FUCKING MEDIA, telling me that the umpteenth shooting happened and that another poor shlock got murdered today.

Props to the Escapist for allowing Jim to do this ep, and props to you Jim for doing one heck of a job with it. In my opinion your strongest video yet, from an emotional and argumentative point of view in any case.

I was expecting more after 2 minutes of warnings lol
I'd still say games/culture desensitize to violence, but that the whole patronising censorship thing is about unwarranted limiting freedom of your experiences

Jimothy Sterling:


You might be interested in watching this scene Fox News covered live depicting an alleged car thief escape from the police, leave his vehicle and then commit suicide by shooting himself in the head.

When I saw the video between 1:20 and 1:49 I didn't feel disturbed. I felt odd. It was as if something was missing and I was expecting a kill-cam to slow down the moment from between him pulling the trigger and him completely collapsed.

That clip actually seemed more disturbing to me the second time I saw it.

A part of me wants to try watching it a second time but I don't know if I'd go through with it...I was not expecting this but it was definitely effective. I see your point too Jim: Fist of the North Star, Solider of Fortune and, ultra violent movies like Ichi the Killer...they didn't help me prepare at all for that video.

First time seeing it myself, the footage was definitely disturbing, and it will stick with me for some time. Regardless, I believe it was necessary to get Jim's point across, which he delivered wonderfully. Great episode Jim, keep it up and of course, Thank God For You.

You folks wanna be even more disturbed....and have yet another example of the meida other than games glorfying violence watch the suciside clip. and then listen or read the lyrics to "Hey man nice shot" by fliter which was written about that very incident.

Jim is preaching to the choir again. Dull.
I like it much better when he says something controversial by the standards of this community, even if I have to disagree.

Also, I wasn't shocked at all by that old fuzzy footage. No pain, no onscreen damaged tissue, not gruesome.

Ah... fuck.

I paused for a moment, to collect my thoughts and decide whether I should watch it or not. I probably shouldn't have, I was having a good day, now my brain hurts.

You fucking broke me.

I can be a fairly aggressive and violent person in speech when I refer to people who disgust me, and often, when referring to some form of injustice, I can openly wish some pretty horrible things upon people. I admit that, had I not become increasingly familiar with violent video games, anime, music, etc, I might not have that sort of... imagination backing my general frustration with humanity. However, I am a very passive person who avoids conflict and hates to actually see violence inflicted on real people. Even gore films make me fairly uncomfortable. I don't think the violent video games that I've played have made me a more violent person, but I think the things I say when my temper is incited could easily give somebody the impression that they had. Maybe it's that sort of thing that contributes to the problem?

Just popping in to say that when I saw the graphic content warning I was like "Oh, I can handle this." Then when you described the video, having heard of it before I can assure you that no, I can't handle it. I skipped past it. If I hadn't, my January and perhaps February would have been ruined.

This video is something that everyone needs to understand. I on occasion play violent video games. As it turns out, I haven't killed anyone. Explain that one to me, Oprah, Dr. Phil, Jack Thompson, and the rest of you. According to all of you, I shouldn't exist.

Susan Arendt:
Hey, folks--

Just wanted to chime in about the age gate, the warning, etc. When Jim originally asked about doing this, I had complete confidence he would be making a strong and dramatic argument, but I also wanted to make 100% sure that nobody saw that footage by accident. It would be very easy to go into the episode expecting the usual shenanigans, and it was important to me that we took every reasonable precaution to make sure that if you saw that footage, it was because you chose to.

Some people will undoubtedly find the overcaution a bit excessive, but I believe enough people will appreciate it to have made it the right approach.

Don't worry, I'm sure people can understand the amount of caution given and I must give props both to Jim for making the episode and you guys for letting him show it.

Very worthwhile episode Jim, and I hope as many people not considered gamers, or even those "blame gamers" people manage to see this, so hopefully it can change a few hearts and minds. I'd hate it to just be preaching to the choir so to speak, as it was excellent.

Thank God For Jim, indeed.

I am immensely freaked out by the concept of this suicide video and couldn't bring myself to watch it. Like most of the other folks here, I play games with plenty of blood and gore; I routinely shoot, knife, punch, kick, break, and otherwise destroy the bodies of all kinds of people and critters on a routine basis in these things. I even practiced martial arts and learned how to break a person's bones in large numbers of ways. Yet, the thought of attacking someone not in self defense makes me all kinds of sick and terrified, and I can't watch a clip of a man shooting himself. It's too real. I agree that there has to be a line between the 'violence' we're seeing in games, and violence in real life; the game atmosphere is distant, and the violence is over the top and very not realistic. Even when it's supposed to look real, the entire setting isn't Real Life. It's very different.

I don't think I've been that disturbed by a piece of footage in a long, long while. Thank you for showing me that, though. I understand fully what you mean.

I don't usually comment videos but when I do I type something like this:

Jim, don't go into that fucked up territory of "any sane civilian should be afraid of guns." As a gamer and a gun enthusiast I am sick and tired of both sides trying to stomp one another. Gun nuts claiming that those so called violent video games cause the trouble and gamers suggesting that something's wrong with owning a firearm when being a civilian. This benefits no one, it only makes the valid points of discussion seem a bit less valid when mangled together with sich crap. I post same things every time someone from the gun community suggests that maybe "they" should look into that videogaming thing instead of guns owned by law abiding citizens. Of all the places containing gaming related opinions Jimquisition is least suitable for containing invalid arguments.

Eh... I don't remember Jim saying it's wrong to own a firearm. I remember him saying you should be afraid of them, and rightly so. I don't live in the US, and personally, I feel if you own a gun you are mad... ...perhaps not literally so, but it's still not something I'm comfortable with. I imagine Jim meant that you need to be 'afraid' of guns in the same sense as religious people are meant to be 'afraid' of their resident deity - that a gun or deity is powerful, and dangerous.

It's odd, I didn't really feel anything watching the clip right up to the point where he pulls the trigger... but then he slumped and the blood came out and I felt sick to the stomach. I really think it's the reality of it which horrifies. So Jim, your point was very well proven indeed.

I've been gaming since I was a kid and watching Action movies since as long. Sure, playing Dizzy on the spectrum, while watching James bond films at Christmas, is hardly the pinnacle of bloody but the point is I escalated. From Dizzy to St Dragon, St Dragon to R-type, to Ninja Gaiden, to Streets of Rage, Two Crude Dudes, Aliens etc etc.

What the result? I dropped Aikido. I'm scared of actually hurting another person in practice and so can't train well.

Desensitisation to violence through gaming is horseshit. I totally agree with Jim's assertion that of the entertainment available, the news has a far worse impact on society.

Mean world syndrome, the mistaken idea that the world is far more dangerous than it actually is, is a direct result of the news industry, saturating peoples lives with images and ideas of danger at every turn. Despite the fact that crime has fallen dramatically over the last decade in the US (and UK, the last few years have seen massive profits for the American Gun Industry. For people like the NRA. Even though America is safer than it has been in years, Americans are buying guns by the truckload because they think that every other person is going to mug them, rape them, steal their shoes and what have you.

Of course the facking NRA, will lie about video games and of course the media will help them spread such lies. Each roup is run by the same people, the old boy network that profits from fear and intimidation and they have never been wealthier.

Was that a singing, dancing Willem Dafoe flower? Why was it dancing? (quite funny though, Jim.)

It's my belief that people (mostly men) are attracted to violent media not because they want to enact violence, but because violent media is the one place where it's ok for a man to show emotions without restraint (the one other place is within a romantic relationship and that's a whole other story). Be it sadness over noble deaths and other acts of chivalry or basic rage, violence in media is an outlet for that. I don't think for a second that that media is harming it's viewers in any way. On the contrary, it's giving them some breathing space and is preventing them from doing something stupid (by which I'm not implying a killing spree). The problem, if there is one, lies in a society that thinks it's ok to police people's emotions.

We can apply Jim's logic about violence in video games to everything in video games right? Sexism in games is ok because its not really like "real" sexism, same with racism, not really "real" so its ok right? I doesn't affect people the same way right? Or are we splitting hairs?

Don't get me wrong I'm not condemning any video games for anything they contain, they are a free art form, you cant blame them for murders, those are done out of a persons free will. I did like the use of the video clip, had nothing to do with video game violence, hell was not even violent but +10 for shock and awe , maybe some people need to see real death to have more respect for it because if video games had real violence in them a lot of people couldn't handle them.

P.S.- Blaming video games makes about as much logical sense as blaming guns right?

Huge props to the Escapist for going ahead with publishing this, and thanks Jim. A fantastic episode, never have you proved a point so clearly.

As a police officer and someone who has had to take a life in the line of duty. I have made this EXACT argument to people. Those who are adamant that video games make for violent people do not want to hear it though.

What makes someone lose their humanity and become a mass murderer cannot be blamed on any one factor. The fact that media and people try to do that boggles the mind.

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