Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Violence in video games

I'm a gamer, I’ve been a gamer since 4 or 5 years old. My grandfather use to have the first Nintendo with a special cartridge that could hold one hundred and ten games. He was good at Tetris, he liked Arkanoid and other titles. To him it was a little tool of entertainment he liked to use here and there, but to me and my cousins IT WAS THE SHIT!!! I grew up and evolved with the constant upgrades of video games, every year it's a new birthday and every year it's a new step in the industry. The industry is big as ever. And many people don't like the fact that there is so much violence in it. To me the video game violence is similar to the violence in the movies, the music and the television shows. But the main differences between a video game and a movie is that in the game, you personify the character, the violence. It’s easy to say that violent video game doesn’t do much arm to our society, but at the same time, we’re lying to ourselves if we think it has no impact.

Everybody is influenced by something, with no exception. Somebody could come up and say; ‘nah man I’m so independent that nothing influences me’, but the truth is, if we wasn’t influenced, life couldn’t exist, there would be no concept of evolution, of change. We are constantly influenced. Video games have an influence on the player, some might be ok with it and some might be more affected than they think.

The individual mind state
The person mind state will have a major play around the impact that the game has on him. Just take somebody that has violent behavior already and that's living a psychotic episode and make him play Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty then yeah he might end up doing crazy things. But take somebody that's feeling good, that has a balanced mind state and make him play the titles you want, there is not much chances that he end up beating somebody to death because he just played Mortal Kombat. It's like don't give suicidal ideas to a suicidal person, don't give a gun to a Violent Maniac and etc... So the mind state I think, will have a major play in the process. The game will influence somebody but won't turn the person into a monster if the person wasn’t already going in that direction. You have to be clearly able to make the differences between the real world and the virtual world.

Violent behavior and peaceful games
Some might get very angry just by playing Mario Bros. Loosing makes a lot of gamers angry, and if you keep loosing, should you play Mortal Kombat or Mario Bros, you might feel like broking things. Getting angry when losing is popular around gamers, the term ‘Rage Quit’ has made its mark. You don’t have to quit a game necessarily to get angry though. I’ve broken many things in the past and I didn’t quit, I kept playing until I’ve beaten the game. Getting angry isn’t good; it’s not good for your body and your mind. Why getting pissed off because you failed at something that is only virtual/fake. If you tend to get pissed off by just playing video games, consider stopping or taking a break at the right moment. Listen to your mind, it will tell you when is the right time to stop or take a break. Loosing can have a worst influence on your temper than the violent content in it.

Back in 1988, you could play as much violent games as you want, you could easily tell the differences between the real world and the fake world, right now the games are getting more and more realistic but it's still not that hard to tell the differences between the real and the virtual, but what's it going to be in 2050? Realism will have much impact on the mind of an individual. If the individual really gets into the game, really feel like it's the real thing and play for hours and then weeks, months and years, he might have dreams that have connections with the games. He might have views and opinions that have been influenced by the type of games he plays. It's like right now, I’m reading 'The Rape of Nanking' by Iris Chang and I have feelings about the books, about the situations described in it, I have opinions. I just got through Need for Speed Hot Pursuit on the Ps3 yesterday and right now, I could easily start talking about my favorite cars, my favorite aspects in racing and so on. So a psycho that has played Call of Duty Black Ops 2 for 3 weeks in a row might have an opinion about putting a hole in somebody’s face, but if he played Galaga on the first Nintendo, I’m not sure the game would have impact, realism will have it's role.

The mind of a child
The mind of a child is very fragile, very curious, their minds are like sponges, they capture everything around them and they will try to imitate or do what the people around them are doing. If you let a 5 years old watch countless horror movies and let him play games like Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty or Mortal Kombat, I don’t think the results will be very positive. Unless you are watching them and giving them explanations after explanations on every topics they encounter in the game and even so, I don’t think these movies and games are very good for them. The fact that their judgment is not very sharp is a major factor. Even by giving them a book of explications, I’m not sure a kid needs that kind of influences around them. Just think, if a violent game can have an effect on an adult, imagine what it can do to a kid. The parents have a great responsibility, but the kids could probably even play at a friend’s house whose parents don’t care at all. Study can’t really be effective because the video games industry is evolving so fast. There should be a Pin for every violent game so that the kid playing habits could be controlled, that should come in a near future. At the same time, we can’t really make a world only for kids, and start eliminating everything that’s mature and complex, that would be ridiculous.

Illusions and weak confidence
The majority of our actions, goods or bads will greatly be influenced by the amount of confidence that we have. What is the source of your confidence, do you get it from your working accomplishments, your workouts, or do you get it from the respect that you get from your family and peers? The source of our confidence will determine if it will last for long. Now, you won’t get good at fighting because you play Street Fighter and you won’t turn into a soldier because you play Battlefield. It sounds ridiculous, but some players will experience an upgrade of confidence out of playing video games. That’s weak confidence/fake confidence, it is confidence accumulated out of having many successes in a virtual world. And don’t get it twisted; it is a virtual world far from being the real one. Playing video games might help you develop virtual intelligence, virtual skills. But in what cases these virtual skills did really help you in the real world, with people out of the gaming realm? You might say it did help you, but just think about all the time you had to play to gain that confidence versus how much more confidence you could get in less time by countering real people and working hard at a craft of your choice. If you work in the video game industry or make a living out of playing video games, now that’s another thing. But consider that there is way more people that’s consuming video games than creating it. It’s a normal thing to be happy when you beat a game, but don’t start building confidence around that. That kind of confidence don’t last for long, it has a weak foundation; a foundation based on a virtual world, a fake world.

Violence in video games, is there any good in it?
I think that video games could be use as therapy for certain cases. It makes you express yourself in a virtual world through an avatar and even in some violent games, it ain't necessarily all that bad. A person who wants to shoot the place up is better shooting virtual people than real people, a person who wants to take somebody’s heart out is better to play Mortal Kombat and input a Fatality and so on. Violence in video game could be a stage in therapy for individuals, who have violent behaviors. I play violent games sometimes and there’s a good feeling to it for somebody like me who grew up in a culture full of violence, I can’t for now just throw all my violent video games away and play only Little Big Planet and Mario Bros, I like Mario Bros, but I like Mortal Kombat too. I believe that it can have some positive effect by letting you spend all your inner violence and bad energy through the game.

You got to have balance in your video games habits like in everything. If you’re very unstable, don’t put too much time consuming violent stuff. But for people in general, I think it’s ok to play a violent video game here and there, just have balance in the kinds of game you play and in the hours you put into them.

Violent video games definitely have an influence on people, more on some, less on others, but it sure does. It’s up to you to put balance in your everyday consumption, if you really feel all messed up after playing violent games, just don’t play them. As for the kids, I think the video games industry could input Pins into their games or create an effective system that can recognize the age of the player, if they can make such great video games, they can at least do more than only put an M for Mature on the box.

Games are made to have fun, to entertain (and for the industry to make lottsssss of cash!!)On that last note, whatever the style of game you play, I wish you a great gaming experience!


  1. Dear Steve, thank you for taking the time to analyze the video games subject.
    I like the way you expended the subject to realism,therapy or confidence.
    Like many young adults, I have spent countless hours playing with friends too. Now that I am older, I still like to play driving simulators or fight games, but I no longer wish to play violent video games (where you are supposed to kill people). I suppose this is a step in your life that has to be taken : transgression, violence, sex. Now that I am older I understand why adults constanlty warns us about the dangers of video games. Like you though, I do believe that anybody who has been given the sense of "responsabilities" and knows right from wrong should be free to enjoy games at times and share a good moment. We rarely emphasize all the symbolic things that has to be shared from video games : gaining experience, learning more and playing together. It can be valuable. Even if learning real skills in life would be more practical : hiking diving, riding a mountain bike...

  2. Thanks for the feedback, i enjoyed reading it!

  3. I am a gamer myself and I got to relate to me very much. I have a PS3 right now and I play some violent video games like Resident Evil 5 and 6, LA Noire, Sleeping Dogs. I am also one of the people who tend to get angry when loosing at a video game. Your advice is to take a break from it and get back at it when your mind tells you to.
    Yes, video games always have an influence on you no matter who you are. Everything we watch or play will influence you either positively or negatively. I like the way you talk about responsibilities in video game. If someone crazy enough play Grand Theft Auto, he will do a lot more crazy things. Someone who is balanced in mind can play any game you throw at him whether it's violent or not. It makes me think about the martial arts too. You cannot teach someone who is already too violent how to fight; otherwise, he or she will become a danger to other people's safety including yours.
    As for myself, I just need to have control over my anger when playing my PS3 so I don't get to break things one day. Other than that, I will still be a gamer until I live this earth.

  4. Thanks for your reply, getting angry while playing video games has been one of my major 'video games related probem' since i was a kid. I can't imagine myself trowing and hitting things on a near future where i'll have childrens and a wife surrounding me. Then i would be a worst influence to my kids than the games itselfs. I see the similarities in martial arts. If one martial artist gets angry all the time, he's getting away from being a true martial artist. I'm not a martial artist, but i like being a good person, i don't want to go away from the goods of life. But anyway, Resident Evil 5 was heelllaaaagood and the 6 is waiting right beside me for me to play, but before i play the 6th installment, i need some positive out of my Ps3, that's why i purchased Journey and Sonic 4, it will change my video game habit a little.

    1. Cool. I love Resident Evil 5. I know that it is pretty imaginary but it kind of shows how the masses are because they are blind from the truth. The humans in Resident Evil are actually the one that are awakened and they are willing to stand up against corruptions. Yes, the masses behave like zombies and the sad thing: they don't even notice that. However, if you want to get Sonic 4, that would be nice too.


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