Paper 2

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Violence and games

            Violence In video games has been a big hot spot for many years. Some would say it’s harmful to children and causes them to act out the scenes in the video games. Others have said it can be a healthy outlet for aggression and stress. Threw protesting and cases with problem children, one of the more common things said by the parents is it’s from playing violent video games on his Xbox. I doubt there will ever be a true answer to this problem, but it is even less likely that people will stop making games with violence in them. But who know maybe in a few years from now, oh let’s just say ten years, they might just have the answer to that question. And if in ten years they decide it’s true, violent games are what causes violence in children, that they find a way to properly regulate them, not remove them.

But before me move into the future I thought a brief look into the past would be helpful and informative.  One of the first video games to cause a large scale argument was developed in 1976, titled “Death Race.” In which the player drove a car and attempted to hit gremlins with his car, once hit they would turn into little grave markers showing that they were in fact dead. The game caused such uproar that it was not only pulled from the shelves but in a sense started the long winded debate today about violence in video games. In the early 1980s a man named Ronnie Lamm, who was president of a PTA, pushed for legislation pushed for arcades to be restricted on how close they were allowed to be to schools, also saying that the arcades and their games caused children to want to fight. One of the next big hitters to come along was a game made by a company called Rock star, Grand Theft Auto. Grand Theft Auto 3 is now one of if not the biggest example of a video game with intense scenes of violence, drug use, and sexual activities. But not only is there heavy talk about the violent gameplay, but also for supposedly encouraging racist hate crimes. The game is said to involve a gang war between some Haitians and Cuban refugees. The player’s character gets involved in the war and supposedly encourages the hate crime related violence. Most of the story plot is true but I doubt the game makers thought of it as hate crimes, and I know they didn’t do it to encourage hate crimes in children. On the flip side, however small it is there has been some research in favor of violent video games defense. Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl K. Olson are researchers and authors. They have claimed that violent behavior is not increase or caused by violent video games. The two researchers studies show that children that do not play any video games at all, violent or not, are more likely to show signs of violent behavior. While it seems like the evidence is against us gamers the more time goes by the more positive reinforcement seems to come out.  So I feel there is still hope for violent video games.

While todays violent games do a pretty decent job of showing off its realistic kills and explosions, I can only imagine what they will look like in ten years. Why just ten years ago we were looking at super Nintendo graphics and gameplay, and now….well its almost unbelievable how much progress we have made in almost no time at all. In the very soon future we will no doubt be entering the game with a sort of literal sense. This brings many exciting and fearful thoughts to my mind alone. In about 5 years I say we would be at the level of technology that was displayed in a game and animated TV series call dot hack. In the show you put on a virtual head set, and unless it was for added effect of the game and show you somewhat mind link with it. For the characters constantly showed appropriate facial expression as well as body language. But from what I understand all you had was a headset with a built in visor/screen and a controller. One of my fears about this possible entering the digital world future is also related to this game and show. The whole basis of the game is that a virus is leaked into the game and begins to attack and effect people. Since part of them in actually connected to the computer wouldn’t it be possible for something in the computer to connect to them? What if in ten years your whole body is entered in to the digital world and then a malfunction of the game causes your character or one of the other characters to override you. Or even worse another person to hack into you and take possession of you. This could in a sense cause all kinds of chaos, violence, and panic. If a character from a game like, Gears of War, was placed into a living body, who’s to say he would know the difference in a human being or not. There really aren’t a lot of them in the game. And if a person’s mind can be hacked, well to heck with their credit card you have something way more valuable.

If the digital space is going to become our new playground then can’t it also become our new lab, battlefield and testing ground? The insane and chaotic weapons we use in some of these video games can’t be too farfetched or people wouldn’t have put them in the game in the first place. If a digital world can learn how gravity works and how other advanced parts of the world and beyond work, then it’s very likely that instead of paper theories it will become digital theories. I’m sure there is already some form of this happening today, but when you can enter a space where your body is no longer “real” then the sky is the limit. Say you’re thinking of mixing two dangerous chemicals. In the real world there’s a 50/50 chance this will explode and kill you. In the digital world the odds are the same but no one dies. This will no doubt advance medicines but also the creation of weapons and the ways we can go to war with each other. Heck maybe we’ll all get lucky and wars will be fought in the digital world so no one actually dies and the world doesn’t become polluted with radiation and chemicals. Honestly in my eyes that’s an excellent answer. I doubt war will ever be over but if we could move it to a digital space, that provides everything they would have had in the real world, and then maybe things would actually improve in the world. A violent digital game space could be a very positive or negative thing depending on how it’s used but I have no doubt it will be created some day and used.

As for violence its self, I highly doubt it well ever go away. And even if they do ban violent game they will either have to ban games themselves or it will find a way to come back. If in ten years we are aloud free range to do as we please in these digital spaces, then I have no doubt it will at some point turn into something “violent” either by design or threw random chance it will happen. People love and seem to live for violence, one way or another. I personally hate anything violent that comes from me or is aimed towards me, but if it’s in a video game, I can’t get enough of it. Action movies murder mystery books table top games and even some board games show and involve a large amount of violence and people just eat it up. Violence in media whatever form it comes in has always been popular. So why one medium would cut it out but not the others doesn’t make any sense to me. I honestly can’t say if violence in games will stay or at least as the games main theme, but I do know it will be some time before is gone. And even if the USA manages to get the support to ban it that doesn’t mean other countries will.

So if you were wondering if we will have violent games in the future I can honestly say yes. The only way violent video games could possibly be stopped is if videogames themselves where stopped. Violence and media are best friends, it’s nearly impossible with get one without the other these days. And as more and more studies show up stating that violent video games are not responsible for violent behavior in kids it becomes less likely that we will be seeing an end to this type of gaming, and I personally couldn’t be happier about that. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go blow something up, but only in a video game.

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