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If You Can't Tell the Difference Between Video Games and Reality, You're An Idiot!; or Kids Still Say the Darndest Things
October 2nd 2003, 12:06 CEST by yotsuya

As you may know, I teach high school students. We've been working on persuasive essays, and one of the topics I like to talk about is violence and video games. I'm a gamer myself, so are many of them, and so once a year, in Mr. yotsuya's English class (note: not my real name), we look at articles, video game trailers, and evidence to try and determine whether or not they think minors should be allowed to buy or play mature-rated games.

We have a process where we write out what we know about violent games, what we want to know about them, and what we have learned about them. They know a lot, and here's what they want to know at this point. Keep in  mind these questions come from teenagers, and not seasoned veterans like us:

1. Do video games really influence violent actions?

2. Are game makers to blame?

3. Why is there a need for violent games?

4. Are there more violent games out there than non-violent games?

5. Is there a limit to the amount of violence you can show?

6. Is there specific evidence to show violent games cause violent acts?

7. Would the gaming industry suffer if we banned violent video games?

8. Exactly how graphic are violent video games? Are they too graphic?

I think these are all great questions, and my students will hopefully read about and discover the answers to these questions over the next few days. My question to you is, how would you respond to any of these questions? What would your answers be? Let's discuss.

P.S. I did some marketing for 3DR, and it's not good. When I mentioned Duke Nukem 3D, out of 30 students, 10 had never, ever heard of Duke Nukem, only 10 had played Duke 3D, and 9 of them said they didn't like it. Likewise, I showed the Duke Forever E3 trailer from 2001, and these are actual comments I got, straight from the students' papers:

Q: After watching this trailer, would you go out and buy Duke Nukem Forever?

A. I would not go out and buy this game because it doesn't catch my attention.

A. No, because the trailer was boring.

A. I would not pay for this game because it's the same old scenario all over again.

A. Yes, I would buy this game because it looks like fun but with cheap graphics.

A. No, because it will probably never come out.

A. No, because it's just killing aliens with a bad plot and there seems like no point.

A. I would never in my life buy a POOP Nukem game ever, ever, ever. They are just too corny.

They stated that given the choice of a game based in reality, like Max Payne 2, or a game with sci-fi elements, like Duke, they'd go for the reality-based game every time.
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Home » Topic: If You Can't Tell the Difference Between Video Games and Reality, You're An Idiot!; or Kids Still Say the Darndest Things

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#1 by BobJustBob
2003-10-02 12:06:45
I'd love to help you out, but I already graduated.

Voices tell me I'm the shit.
<Whisp> BJB is a troll. <Whisp> Troll I say!
#2 by deadlock
2003-10-02 12:09:16
http://www.deadlocked.org/
What was the question?

"You know you are doing art when everyone has an opinion of what you're doing." - Lexx, creator of the supremely stupid Doom for Columbine mod.
#3 by jafd
2003-10-02 12:10:14
a game based in reality, like Max Payne 2

I have to go now.

"You do not truly know someone until you fight them."
#4 by deadlock
2003-10-02 12:13:32
http://www.deadlocked.org/
But you only just got back.

"You know you are doing art when everyone has an opinion of what you're doing." - Lexx, creator of the supremely stupid Doom for Columbine mod.
#5 by Marsh Davies
2003-10-02 12:37:56
www.verbalchilli.com
This topic doesn't have any pelicans biting childrens faces. MONEY BACK NOW!

Violence is endemic in our culture and media, not just computer games. Studies on desensitisation, etc. are very valid, in my opinion, but only in a broader context. Singling out computer games seems to attacking a very small fragment of the issue.

I wrote a short dissertation on the ideology of violent computer games, specifically Counter-Strike, for part of my course last year, and whilst I was researching it I found a few interesting things. Here's a snip:

--------------
After the massacre in Erfurt, Germany, in April of this year, when an expelled pupil, 16 year old Robert Steinhäuser, went on rampage in his school killing 17 people, including himself, questions were raised about the perpetrator’s obsession with Counter-Strike. The German Federal Ministry for Scientific Research commissioned and investigation into the effects of computer games on players. The project’s leader, Tanja Witting said:

Video games are not the cause of violence… For certain, it was not computer games that turned Robert Steinhäuser into a homicidal madman. At worst, certain aspects of the game appealed to him; for that to be the case, however, certain condition [sic] had to be created first.


.... *snip* ....

The same question was raised following the killings at Columbine (this time the press citing the strangely anachronistic example of Doom, a game from 1993) and, most recently, following the crimes of the Washington Sniper. Lt. Col. David Grossman, sometime paratrooper and West Point psychology professor, has long been an outspoken assailant of computer games, and it was after the events in Washington that his description of computer games as “murder simulators” become common parliament. His Killology institute promotes the banning of violent computer games. In a lecture to teachers in Vancouver Grossman asserts:  “You need three things to kill – you need the weapon, the skill and the will to kill. Violent video games provide two out of three.”  The example he often cites where this was the case, was in Paducah, Kentucky, when Michael Carneal, a 14 year old, shot 8 people in the torso and head. However, the psychiatrist involved in his analysis, Diane Schetzky, categorically said that games were not the inspiration for the killings. Furthermore, according to a report on schoolyard violence by the American Secret Service’s Threat Assessment centre, out of the 41 school killings since 1975, only in 5 of the instances had the perpetrators been playing violent video games, and in every one of those cases, the Secret Service denied that there was any influence from the computer games involved.
--------------

So, I find it hard to believe that in a culture where we live vicariously through our televisions, blaring images of slaughter and mayhem, that computer games *in particular* cause increase in violent behaviour.

#6 by lwf
2003-10-02 12:44:26
I think it's all that pot making every so killy.

the rain hits the ground and the trees they dry it up
#7 by lwf
2003-10-02 12:44:41
everyone!

the rain hits the ground and the trees they dry it up
#8 by Ashiran
2003-10-02 13:06:34
Ofcourse teenagers never heard of Duke3D. They were toddlers when it was a hit.

I would never in my life buy a POOP Nukem game ever, ever, ever.

Best one sentance review ever.

AND DON'T ADD A SMILEY AFTER EVERY GODDAMN THING YOU SAY!
#9 by deadlock
2003-10-02 13:09:17
http://www.deadlocked.org/
Marsh:

Is that dissertation available online anywhere? It looks like an interesting read.

"You know you are doing art when everyone has an opinion of what you're doing." - Lexx, creator of the supremely stupid Doom for Columbine mod.
#10 by Marsh Davies
2003-10-02 14:08:39
www.verbalchilli.com
Deadlock -

I only have the beta copy on my computer before I tweaked it and combed for spelling and grammar, but email me and I'll send it to you. Though, as someone who doesn't need the letters "FPS" explained to you, a lot of it will be quite tedious.

#11 by Desiato
2003-10-02 14:21:30
desiato_hotblack@hotmail.com http://www.spew2.com/
I'm glad we have games where we can do horrific things to avatars. Beats having it happen in real life, and it is a great stress release. I don't get where people think we can become a society of white toga-wearing peaceniks wearing lucite sandals eating our meals in pill-form. Violence is a core attribute of our society, its just how we channel it that counts. I'd let someone kill whatever they wanted in a game over having that expressed in the real world. Murder simulators? Sure, only if the other guy really dropped dead. For now it is just a visceral fun machine.

Programmers are the new blue-collar workforce. Bangalore or bust! Viva global economy!
#12 by ProStyle
2003-10-02 14:56:55
http://prostyle.deviantart.com
The whole fact that any of this comes up as an article of debate stems from the fact that we are slowly destroying any sort of cultural significance that we may have left in this country. People are just afraid to have standards and set strict conditions anymore. Who fucking cares if he played CS or listened to Helter Skelter by the Beatles every fucking day? Him or her is still responsible for what they do. Time for class.

I'm like a quote out of context...
#13 by Matt Perkins
2003-10-02 16:09:53
wizardque@yahoo.com http://whatwouldmattdo.com/
I'm going to take a test!  Weeee!

1. Do video games really influence violent actions?

Not by themselves.  Add violent video games into a mix of lack parenting, social problems, mental underdevelopment and I think they can greatly influence someone.  And I'm not just talking about kids here (when I say kids, I'm think 10-15 or under, depending upon the kid).  But that also applies to movies, music, etc.

2. Are game makers to blame?

Of course not.  As to game makers not pushing a rating systems, that's unexcusable.  You shouldn't be a minor and be able to buy video games made for adult.  It's that simple.

3. Why is there a need for violent games?

Virtual violence can be a fun, healthy way to get out aggressions, have a good time, etc...  I don't know there is a need, but I would miss some of the great games I've played if I all of a sudden couldn't play them.

4. Are there more violent games out there than non-violent games?

Of course not.

5. Is there a limit to the amount of violence you can show?

Who would determine this?  What's too much violence for some is not enough for others...  Personally, extremely graphic violence is not my thing (ala Final Destination 2, some of the more graphic horror movies, etc)

6. Is there specific evidence to show violent games cause violent acts?

Not that I know of.  Though I do know of a study that shows FPS games improve your field of vision and reaction time.

7. Would the gaming industry suffer if we banned violent video games?

Of course.  Some of the best sellers in the industry have been violent games...  Banning anything is never the answer.

8. Exactly how graphic are violent video games? Are they too graphic?

Me, I have yet to find a game that was too graphically violent.  That's mainly because all of the violence looks silly and still somewhat cartoony.  When that changes, my opinion will probably change.

"I'm an extreme programmer. I don't plan anything when I code."- Lord Nekrull
#14 by Gunp01nt
2003-10-02 16:09:54
supersimon33@hotmail.com
1. Do video games really influence violent actions?
That's not unthinkable. Especially little kids seem likely to do this, because they're in a phase where they have the urge to imitate older people, and have a great imagination. However, hearing about cowboys & indians leads to playing 'cowboys & indians', but rarely leads to actual scalping or massacrating.

2. Are game makers to blame?
Well, they did make the game. the question is whether making violent games is something which deserves blame.

3. Why is there a need for violent games?
People want an exhaust valve for any frustrations. Especially guys can relieve tension by simulating violence, I think. Also, the feeling of power when you're getting violent on virtual people's asses can be a factor in why violent games are popular.

4. Are there more violent games out there than non-violent games?
Depends on where you draw the line. Is Pac Man violent? After all he eats/destroys stuff and can get 'killed' by ghosts. To some (read: whiny bitches/bastards) chess might be violent because you 'strike' an opponents pieces.
But overall, yeah, I think there are more violent than non-violent games.

5. Is there a limit to the amount of violence you can show?
Not so much to the amount, but more to the level and intensity. There's a limit to good taste and although it varies, there's a certain ceiling I think we all agree on should never be exceeded.

6. Is there specific evidence to show violent games cause violent acts?
No, at least not as the primary influence. I think that woman Bago quoted hit it on the head.

7. Would the gaming industry suffer if we banned violent video games?
Yes, one selling point of games is that it allows you to simulate violent behavior (just like playing cowboys & indians does) and allows you to let off some steam through that. If this selling point is gone, less games will be sold.

8. Exactly how graphic are violent video games? Are they too graphic?
There's not one single sort of violence. Low violence (let's say... err... Settlers 3 or something) isn't too graphic, but I think high violence (like Postal 2) is.

Little things like the apocalyptic extinction of all human life tend to make nuclear war a tad less necessary.
#15 by Gunp01nt
2003-10-02 16:10:39
supersimon33@hotmail.com
Hey, Matt peaked!

Little things like the apocalyptic extinction of all human life tend to make nuclear war a tad less necessary.
#16 by Gunp01nt
2003-10-02 16:11:00
supersimon33@hotmail.com
or should that be.. peeked? Damn, I failed my English test.

Little things like the apocalyptic extinction of all human life tend to make nuclear war a tad less necessary.
#17 by "Ghost in my Shell"
2003-10-02 16:24:29
Ouch partial HL2 source code leaked...someone is in deep doodoo...

The running joke is that ATIs at it again ;-)
#18 by mgns
2003-10-02 16:25:18
Thinking...

Turn out the light, bolt the door.
I ain't going out there no more.
#19 by TheTrunkDr.
2003-10-02 16:51:25
you sure about that?

I kid cause I care.
#20 by mgns
2003-10-02 17:06:43
Ah, the wit...

Turn out the light, bolt the door.
I ain't going out there no more.
#21 by TheTrunkDr.
2003-10-02 17:19:53
Well someone had to say something.

I kid cause I care.
#22 by Marcin
2003-10-02 17:21:29
marcin@wickedtoast.com www.damodred.net
Did they?

Every string which has one end also has another end - Finagle's First Fundamental Finding
#23 by G-Man
2003-10-02 17:21:37
I think SiN is in a lot of ways the spiritual successor to Duke Nukem 3D. It is what Duke Nukem Forever as originally concieved (with the Quake II engine) would have been like. Which is to say not that bad at all.
#24 by TheTrunkDr.
2003-10-02 17:41:59
Did they?

Didn't they?

I kid cause I care.
#25 by mgns
2003-10-02 17:48:52
Regrettably.

Turn out the light, bolt the door.
I ain't going out there no more.
#26 by Trolly McTroll
2003-10-02 17:54:36
First of all Grossman is a fucking 'tard.

Second of all, with a name like Steinhäuser is the only reason you need to be a psycho.

"..and Trolly McTroll is the best name EVER. I laugh every time I see it."  - ZEP
" If i ever have a daughter, I'm going to name her Trolly. - The_Joker
#27 by Phayyde
2003-10-02 17:55:38
SiN had problems with its implementation that forbade my enjoyment.   I did admire its direction and was glad to see they patched it up eventually.

Beat to fit, paint to match.
#28 by Dumdeedum
2003-10-02 18:09:56
http://www.dumdeedum.com
1. Do video games really influence violent actions?
Yes, like all media they influence the form violence takes, they're not however the root cause.

2. Are game makers to blame?
Undoubtedly, shifty ne'er-do-wells the lot of them.

3. Why is there a need for violent games?
Because we're not as civilized as we like to think.

4. Are there more violent games out there than non-violent games?
Unlikely.

5. Is there a limit to the amount of violence you can show?
See Postal 2's sales figures.

6. Is there specific evidence to show violent games cause violent acts?
Seems... hey! you're just question 1 in disguise.

7. Would the gaming industry suffer if we banned violent video games?
In the short term, yes.  It wouldn't solve anything though.

8. Exactly how graphic are violent video games? Are they too graphic?
They're about |----- this -----| graphic, which seems about right to me.

Studies have shown that I'm right.
#29 by "Anonymous"
2003-10-02 18:15:24
You people are idiots. By even discussing the idea that violence is the critical component of a game, you're automatically cutting a whole segment of critical thinking from your mindset. These are video games. They are played because they provide a challenge. How that challenge is manifested is the smaller part of the equation.

Besides, it's not whether you can tell a difference between a video game and reality, it's how your decision making process is influenced. For most people, say 99.9% of them in the civilized world, violent media isn't going to be the discriminator when it comes to making decisions.

Finally, the people who want to ban stuff like this are merely control freaks and are not actually giving a shit about the world. They are lazy parents (and pseudo-parents) who had children and now want to minimize that amount of personal effort they need to put into it. They'd rather have a world where their child would be influenced by external factors into being exactly the child the parent wants.
#30 by Ergo
2003-10-02 18:17:59
Looks like MaxyD couldn't stay away like he promised.

"I keep trying to read your posts, but all the letters keep morphing into "HULAHGUALGHUAALHAGH". Perhaps I can file this as a bug." --Bailey
DVDs
#31 by Bailey
2003-10-02 18:18:42
Thanks, stock reactionary retort!

Anywhere but here, with anyone but you.
#32 by Bailey
2003-10-02 18:19:01
Fucking Ergo.

Anywhere but here, with anyone but you.
#33 by Matt Perkins
2003-10-02 18:23:37
wizardque@yahoo.com http://whatwouldmattdo.com/
Thank you Ergo and Bailey...  I almost responded to a Anon troll attempt.  I think my postfu is getting even weaker than normal.

"I'm an extreme programmer. I don't plan anything when I code."- Lord Nekrull
#34 by Ergo
2003-10-02 18:23:42
#32 Bailey
Fucking Ergo.

No, you're not. Or maybe I'm asleep and don't realize it.

"I keep trying to read your posts, but all the letters keep morphing into "HULAHGUALGHUAALHAGH". Perhaps I can file this as a bug." --Bailey
DVDs
#35 by "Anonymous"
2003-10-02 18:27:34
Huh?
#36 by Bailey
2003-10-02 18:28:52
Huh.

Anywhere but here, with anyone but you.
#37 by Warren Marshall
2003-10-02 18:31:48
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
What?

Respawn Games
Open your mind, let the beatings begin.
#38 by Bailey
2003-10-02 18:39:15
What.

Anywhere but here, with anyone but you.
#39 by Phayyde
2003-10-02 18:54:23
I now go to the hospital where they will chop a portion of upper lip out of my head.  This is what they do when you get Basal Cell Carcinoma.  Basal Cell is common if you are blonde white and live where there's lotsa sun.  The procedure'll only take a short while.  

I wonder if my upper lip will heal symmetrically?  Such a superficial thing, I know.  But still.  I don't want to be no Phucklip.  Bah.  It's outta my hands.  Que sera and all.  Bring it ahn!

Beat to fit, paint to match.
#40 by Marcin
2003-10-02 18:57:13
marcin@wickedtoast.com www.damodred.net
I'm having zero difficulty resisting the urge to post ".gif! .gif!"

Flippancy aside, good luck.

Every string which has one end also has another end - Finagle's First Fundamental Finding
#41 by Matt Perkins
2003-10-02 19:00:06
wizardque@yahoo.com http://whatwouldmattdo.com/
Good luck, Phayyde.

"I'm an extreme programmer. I don't plan anything when I code."- Lord Nekrull
#42 by Shadarr
2003-10-02 19:00:46
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
The things the kids said weren't all that darned.  If you want us to believe they said the darndest things you'll have to post more darned things they said.
#43 by lwf
2003-10-02 19:06:27
And some photos of that Shannon broad in your morning class wouldn't hurt your case either.

the rain hits the ground and the trees they dry it up
#44 by bago
2003-10-02 19:06:54
manga_Rando@hotmail.com
Bailey: punctuation master!

#45 by Bailey
2003-10-02 19:08:20
Worst case scenario Phayyde, you can always bring the handlebar mustache back into style.

Anywhere but here, with anyone but you.
#46 by Trolly McTroll
2003-10-02 20:11:55
yotsuya, screw the violence in games crap you're teaching them. Move on to more enlightening subject matter, like how to perform quality lesbian kisses and masterbation techniques using only household objects.  that's what public skools are for, foo!

"..and Trolly McTroll is the best name EVER. I laugh every time I see it."  - ZEP
" If i ever have a daughter, I'm going to name her Trolly. - The_Joker
#47 by yotsuya
2003-10-02 20:54:44
Interesting comments, all.

"YES!!  You see people, THAT'S why he's the Vice-President of A/V Services here at Respawn Games.  Yotsuya ALWAYS unleashes the fucking fury!" - Warren Marshall
#48 by CheesyPoof
2003-10-02 21:00:18
Including me!
#49 by yotsuya
2003-10-02 21:02:44
Not you, Cheesy. To the back of the room with you!

"YES!!  You see people, THAT'S why he's the Vice-President of A/V Services here at Respawn Games.  Yotsuya ALWAYS unleashes the fucking fury!" - Warren Marshall
#50 by CheesyPoof
2003-10-02 21:05:24
But, but, I'm already in the back.
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