Blaming Video Games for Real World Violence

Discussion in 'Games' started by 07jonesj, Sep 20, 2013.

  1. 07jonesj Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2010
    star 4
    This is a thread that shouldn't need to exist. Unfortunately, it does exist.

    There have been a number of very tragic shootings in the US over the past couple years, and instead of looking at the mental healthcare system, looking at restricting semi-automatic weapons, or in the most recent case, closing a major security blunder, politicians blame video games.

    I live in the UK, and the catalyst for me creating this thread is that the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said on a radio show that video games can have a "very corrosive effect on someone's behaviour... a very detrimental effect," in reference to the most recent shooting.

    No study or research was cited, because of course, there isn't one. All research undertaken has shown no correlation between video games and real-world violent acts.

    That politicians in such high positions can consistently ignore the real problems and instead shift the blame to something irrelevant with only evidence existing to the contrary is pretty horrifying to me.

    How do my fellow gamers feel about this subject?
    Last edited by 07jonesj, Sep 20, 2013
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  2. squir1y Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 1, 2003
    star 2
    Reminds me of a George Carlin quote from the 80s:

    "It's a great country but it's a strange culture. This is the only country in the world where we could come up with a disease like bulimia. In some countries people have no food at all. In this country, some people eat a nourishing meal and then puke it up intentionally. This is a country where tobacco kills 400 thousand people a year so they ban artificial sweeteners BECAUSE A RAT DIED! This is a place where gun store owners are given a list of stolen credit cards, but not a list of criminals and maniacs... and now they're thinking about banning TOY guns AND THEY'RE GONNA KEEP THE F***IN' REAL ONES!"
    07jonesj and SithLordDarthRichie like this.
  3. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    People with the inability to separate reality from fiction and right from wrong are the sort who are influenced badly by violent material, not ordinary everyday gamers. Just because some of us might sit in a dark room all day and immerse ourselves in a fictional environment does not mean we lose all understanding of morality and become sociopaths.
    Socially lacking maybe, but not murderers :p


    I really only play sci-fi and fantasy games, with weapons and characters and situations that don't really exist in real life. Stuff like Call of Duty does not appeal to me very much, but even if I play something like it I'm not compelled to go around shooting people (would be hard to do it even if I wanted to, there's nowhere I can get a gun). I like the idea of outrageous weapons and super-powers, in comparison going around in real life just putting bullet holes in stuff would be pretty boring so I'm not inclined to do it (that and killing people is bad).

    I do think games as a whole are being based too much around violent content, always having to kill people and destroy stuff. Sure Mario kills Bowser a lot but it's a different type of violence, there is no gore and it's cartoony in it's animation style. There should be more games like Portal or Professor Layton, they require more than just repeatedly pressing the Fire button and also have interesting stories to keep you going through them.
    I don't see how it's any different to being exposed to violent movies or TV shows, yet people rarely seem to come out and speak of banning those because they are a bad influence.
  4. Penguinator RPF Modinator and Batmanager

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    Member Since:
    May 23, 2005
    star 6
    There's a lot to this topic that just grinds my gears, so I'll keep this brief to save myself unwanted stress.

    The issue isn't so much that games have a direct correlation with violence as much as it is that society likes easy scapegoats. Games are plenty violent, yes, but they're also plenty misogynistic or at least sexist, not to mention homophobic. The thing is, all these things exist in the real world too, and it's easier to blame something that (admittedly) has genuine things it needs to improve on or work out instead of discussing the role society plays in all this. All these perpetrators of violent acts that have been discovered to be gamers - certainly there's a divorce from reality there, but I think games are a symptom, not a cause.

    In any case, there's no hard evidence one way or the other to link violent action to video games. Again, I see it as a symptom, not a cause, and I think generally limited access to firearms or at the very least increased awareness over mental and emotional health is necessary and a stronger commitment to making society inclusive rather than exclusive. But I'm an idealist, and these things are easier said than done.
  5. DarthCane Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2002
    star 4

    Agreed. Video games get blamed for violence now, just like comic books back in the 1950s and movies back in the 1920s. It's an easy scapegoat, and conveniently the biggest demographic is perceived to be lazy, disrespectful young whippersnappers. That imagined demographic has probably existed since civilization began.

    If anything, video games have provided me with my favorite firearms safety soundbite. "If you pull the trigger on this, you are ruining someone's day, somewhere and sometime!"



    I was going to write a paragraph-length bit of some personal observations, but in the interests of staying on topic I'll avoid that ground.
  6. moosemousse CR - FF:UK South

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2004
    star 6
    @DarthCane: I loved that when I first heard it and I love it still. I think the UK armed police have video setups where they have a crowded street and an armed person. The officer has to shoot them and the shots are recorded and shown on the screen so it's very clear what would have been hit, whether it's the intended target or someone else. I've seen pistols that are actually cameras that were probably for the same thing, though you'd have to develop the film first. That sort of thing is intended to make them more aware of the consequences of shooting at someone. Sometimes it's better to let the criminal get away, especially if the alternative results in the death of an innocent bystander.

    Speaking from personal experience on this, I can only say that video games have had a positive influence on my behaviour. Before I started gaming I lost my temper a lot, I'd get violent, and it wasn't good. I once broke a door with safety glass in it. I'm not proud of that, it's just how I was. Gaming gave me an outlet and a safe place to do things like that, or just go crazy with an RPG and blow up everything that tries to stop me. But then I have a very clear boundary between what is real and what's just in a game. I understand that stealing any car I want after shooting the driver is a fun thing to do in a game but I also understand that any kind of car stealing in real life is bad and wrong, regardless of whether the driver was shot or not. The Saints Row games haven't made me any more likely to go out and start a gang, take drugs, or visit strip clubs, but I have a lot of fun playing them.

    As for Nick Clegg, he's an idiot. To illustrate my point further, here's a kotaku link. Yes, it's kotaku, but it has a video from Fry Cry 3: Blood Dragon and also a transcription of it too.
    http://kotaku.com/anyone-who-thinks-games-are-bad-for-you-is-a-f-ing-i-486200601

    Call me crazy but how about the press does something useful like question how these killers got the guns? Banning video game violence or complaining about it won't do anything if the crazy people can still get guns in the first place.
    Jedi Ben and 07jonesj like this.
  7. timmoishere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2007
    star 6
    I find it hilarious that the religious right blame video games for violence, but more people have been killed in the name of religion than for any other cause...
  8. Lazy Storm Trooper Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 18, 2012
    star 4
    I absolutely hate this topic. It just makes my blood boil. I mean most people who are against games have not played a game ever or have not played a since the Atari 2600 days. They don't understand that in 99% of games you are a hero fighting for humanity, your country or the greater good. Also the only example they use is Grand Theft Auto because it is the worst possible game to target for the gaming industry.
  9. Penguinator RPF Modinator and Batmanager

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    Member Since:
    May 23, 2005
    star 6

    Sorry, I don't buy that. Games are violent, and a lot of that violence is totally unnecessary. There are plenty of games with general, meaningless violence. Plenty.
    SithLordDarthRichie likes this.
  10. son_of_skywalker03 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 7, 2003
    star 4
    I want to know what video games Hitler, Stalin, Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, etc. all played.
  11. DarthCane Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2002
    star 4
    I will say that I've found RPGs (the genre, not the weapon) to be an interesting personality test. In KoTOR, I could never do a dark side playthrough. I mean, I have a little bit of mean-spirited vindictiveness in me (I thoroughly enjoy Tim Dorsey's Serge Storms books, which practically define the Heroic Comedic Sociopath trope), but I'm not going to rip off widows and orphans or screw over good people just for the evulz. In the ME series, I've wound up redoing my most renegade character (who at worst was about 60/40 renegade) because some of the things he did were beyond my ability to justify.

    Even in shooter-type games such as the Jedi Knight series, I not only can't kill innocents; in JK: Academy I even try to spare the Noghri in one level who are shooting at me because they're just punch-clock guards following expired orders from Vader (and they're also potshotting the stormtroopers and cultists).
  12. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    Oh god, there really is no subject he cannot be an idiot on, is there?
  13. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    More seriously - if you really cannot tell the difference between firing a gun in a video game and real life, then you've got far bigger problems than anything relating to the game! Guns are heavy and they have recoil and that's just an air rifle!

    Actually @SithLordDarthLordRichie go back a couple of decades and you'll find the same moral panic, but then it was videos - similar grounds too. Take 18 rated horror vid, place into hands of under 18 kid, tabloids get wind that the kids are watching Evil Dead and Driller Killer and Aliens - cue "BAN THIS SICK FILTH!".

    Jump back a further few decades and it's rock 'n' roll music. There's always something for the powers that be to blame.
  14. Jedi-Anakin-Solo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 26, 2001
    star 6
    GTA 5 has sold at least 15 million copies. If the game has that negative of an effect, why haven't we broken down into anarchy yet?
    Last edited by Jedi-Anakin-Solo, Sep 22, 2013
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  15. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    I think it's an incredibly idiotic argument and shouldn't exist.
  16. Lazy Storm Trooper Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 18, 2012
    star 4
    I agree.
  17. Shadow Trooper Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 18, 2013
    star 4
    I hate how whenever the issue of regulating firearms comes up in America, certain politicians get all up in arms (pardon the lame pun) about protecting the 2nd amendment rights, and won't even bother to vote for simple back ground checks, than the same guys have the gall to suggest it was Video games that need regulating rather than firearms. It is completly ridiculous.
    son_of_skywalker03 likes this.
  18. Zeta1127 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 4
    My ultimate argument on gun control is quite simply, "Firearms don't kill people, people kill people with firearms."
  19. Shadow Trooper Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 18, 2013
    star 4
    Exactly why back ground checks are needed. It is relatively easy for Psychos to obtain weapons under the current system. Finding out how the whack job got a gun should be more of a pressing issue for congress than figuring out the link between the shooter and his X-Box games.
  20. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    Guns don't kill people, bullets do.
  21. 07jonesj Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2010
    star 4
    Bullets don't kill people, kinetic energy does.
  22. Zeta1127 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 4
    Preventing people who have no business possessing a firearm or other weapons is the real problem, and it shouldn't be at the expense of responsible people who have proper respect for firearms.
  23. Penguinator RPF Modinator and Batmanager

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    Member Since:
    May 23, 2005
    star 6

    Yeah, that'll happen.
  24. sons_of_anakin_tatooine Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 28, 2005
    star 3

    fox news had the vp for the nra on yesterday and wile i despise guns i have to agree with him that the mental health issue needs even more investigating. everything else i diasgree with him on since he still thinks arming everyone will stop such a thing wich is impossible since nobody cant read minds.
  25. son_of_skywalker03 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 7, 2003
    star 4
    Many, the NRA included, say we need to simply enforce the laws we already have now. However, the NRA currently lobbies to prevent the ATF from having any teeth whatsoever when enforcing said laws. Seriously, watch the ATF video for gun store owners (believe it can be found on YouTube). They all but come out and say there's nothing they (the ATF) can do to force them (gun store owners) to comply with any laws for selling guns.