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Violence and Video Games

Updated on December 15, 2015
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Introduction

Violence, something we should all be accustomed to; it's in daytime television, video games, music, books, and any other media/entertainment you might get your hands on. With the United States and the recent outbreak of mass shootings going on across the country. Media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and many others explode and speak about that this is the only country where shootings like this are common place. Even President Barack Obama spoke up about a change needing to be done.

Now while this isn't new news. It is however common for things in news reports of the killers to have some sort of record of liking a specific music, or playing a specific game. I see it often that news channels do in-depth reports on what the killers like. Mentioning the games by name such as Grand Theft auto, Call of Duty, and even one case; Mass Effect.

I'll be showing you several things I noticed, researched, and show you why video games are not causing all of this violence.

What is violence?

Violence is normally described for terrible acts done to other people, these can involve brutal attacks, taking someone's life, and torture.

What is violence in video games?

Now, that is a much harder question to ask. Violence while in the real world might be more black and white, with easy to spot lines. In video gaming, violence is not so easily described.

Take Mario. Mario is a stalwart hero, who wouldn't harm an innocent, or a fly. He uses his famous jumping ability to thwart Bowser and his evil empire time and time again, while saving his beloved Princess Peach and protecting Mushroom Kingdom.

The acts of violence in this game are his jumping on Goombas, torching piranha plants with fireballs, and kicking turtle shells that take out packs of enemies.

Something a little more modern aged now. Mirror's Edge/Infamous. These are two games with a story set around a modern/futuristic world, you take on a character who is once a seemingly normal person until an event changes their lives.

Infamous has moments of Karma, Good or Evil, you may choose your Karma through decisions. In Infamous Second Son you can go an entire route of performing non-lethal attacks on D.U.P soldiers. Is it still violence? Even if you're doing it for good and saving the people of Seattle from their oppressive and dangerous ways.

Mirror's Edge is revolved around being chased by the police force dubbed 'Blues' they are totting sniper rifles, machine guns, automatic rifles. Faith has the ability to disarm them and she can incapacitate them with her martial arts. Is this violence?

While there are outright violent games like Call of Duty, all revolving around getting high killstreaks and blowing things up. God of War with blood and legendary executions and ripping off enemy's heads.

There are games that seek to open that world of fighting a bit. Giving violence many shades of gray, that could be argued if they are bad examples on people or not. To simply state that violence in video games is all just violence in the end, is a rash thing to say.

Violence is a simple mold for modern games. This can add conflict, story elements, or character depth. There are many games that I've personally played that include combat. These games make use of different ideas. Such as optional combat, and non-lethal methods

Above all, video games are all art. They could be compared to Shakespeare's plays. They included death, dramatic irony, suicide. Yet Shakespeare was a good man, who loved creating art.

If you were sitting on the fence on all violent video games are the same. I hope I've given some evidence to change your mind on it.


The Media

Now, while watching or reading the news is a good way of finding out about the world's events. There are also issues with news channels and their reports. I can guarantee that not all information you're given and shown is 100% true.

What it boils down to is, the media and the news needs views. This can lead to a lot of motives to pulling shady tactics to net them popularity.

It has become more and more apparent as of late for me that media sites that generate articles for their content. They will say just about anything to get the views they need. They'll do a report on anything that could cause a spike in people to click on their links, or people to talk about the article and flock more people to their site.

While the news channels won't do this as much, or on a higher level as news article websites. The news is certainly guilty of their own pleasures. This would have to do with shootings, and murderers that created the shootings

It's not uncommon for there to be a shooting in the US and many news channels will cover it for not just a few days, but a week, and then to bring it all back up should something happen with the killer(s)

While this isn't anything I have an issue with. What I DO have an issue with is how the News channels conduct themselves. They don't seem to bat an eye to the killer's victims, to the victim's families, or wanting to send out prayers to the family. What they do is present the killer as something of an anti-hero and talk about his death count and give this person so much popularity. Then that is just a single spark to then a raging fire, as another troubled adult or teenager might look at the news and think "Wow, that's something I'd like to be known and remembered for and famous." Next thing you know, another shooting has taken place just a week or two after the previous one.

As for video games, The media and news websites will easily blame video games as the cause due to them have seemingly at first glance violent nature. Also the killer has shown they have violent nature. To them it's as simple as connecting the dots, however that is not always the case.

Due to the shooters often committing suicide after their violent acts, most people will never understand the killer's motives and so news articles and channels will point to the nearest thing that reads 'violence'.

The rise of other entertainment sources, that are becoming more popular then watching TV. I.E. Video games, this to me could be seen as a motive for News websites and channels to attempt to crack down on video games. In attempt to get more viewers back watching their channels.

Take the case of 3 teenage girls. Two of the girls were plotting on murdering their friend to summon the iconic character Slenderman. The girl managed to survive after being stabbed 18 times by her friends and she managed to crawl to safety once they left her in the forest. She survived and told her story and the two girls were arrested. The media of course, jumped on this story. Blaming for the creation of Slenderman on Creepypasta.com and the creation of the Slender series games.

Many people from Creepypasta.com helped with the girl's recovery by creating a donation fund for her. The media, barely covered that. Nor did they want to simply state that the girl who plotted to murder her friend in the first place; was not wired correctly in her head; that she was suffering from mental conditions. The first thing they took a shot at was the website behind the creation and the games created in Slenderman's name.

Totalbiscuit covering violence and video game violence.

Jim Sterling's point on violence in relation to real violence

Final Words

I can only state; please be more mindful of the video gaming industry. Gamers are not violence craving fiends. We are shocked by real violence, real death, as much as the next person.

Once again, video games are a form of art, nothing different then portraits, and plays.

Also, do not allow yourself to be pulled into believing everything that is said on TV. Including for News channels.

I hope you walked away from this article with new information, or you found it very informative on this controversial subject.

Thank you for reading and take care!

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    • thegecko profile image

      Warren Samu 2 years ago from San Diego, CA

      The media and other organizations use the gaming industry as a scapegoat. While being exposed to more violent entertainment in any form can slightly increase someone's violent tendencies, there's been no causal evidence that violent video games produce violent people. In fact, video games provide plenty of cognitive and critical thinking benefits to gamers. One of my favorite books, though a bit dated now, "What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy" does a great job covering how video games are even more efficient and practical than our academic institutions at teaching us skills.

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