Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
October 24, 2014
arrowPress Releases
October 24, 2014
PR Newswire
View All
View All     Submit Event





If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


 
Power in Games: Why Game Violence is a Red Herring
by Taekwan Kim on 12/19/12 09:05:00 am   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

It used to be my firm belief that cultural critics that blamed gun violence on videogames came from a place of deep ignorance. It was easy to dismiss their arguments as outsider commentary on experiences they had not obtained first hand. They seemed lazy in their reasoning, and inherently biased in their approach.

Maybe I’m just getting older. Perhaps it’s that I’m becoming less defensive of the things I enjoy and engage in regularly. But the shock of the Newtown shooting has caused me to become more honest in my assessment of my own experiences with gunplay in games. We’ve had mass shootings before, and I’m not in any way being dismissive of those tragedies, but... Christ, they were just kids.

We do this every time. We circle the wagons to fend off the inevitable accusations that games are evil. But in all honesty, as unrelated as they probably are, this time I could not help but make an immediate thought association between this devastating massacre and the fetishizing of guns in games. In a year when even long time veterans are disgusted by the portrayal and reception of violence in games, I suddenly feel I can no longer reject the question out of hand.

As a heartfelt proponent of games, I’m always going on about the ability of games to change lives. Speaking from personal experience, however, it would be dishonest to claim that the change is always positive. Too often it is also about self-indulgence and escaping responsibilities, sometimes to the point of self-detriment (as, again, I can personally attest to).

The trouble is that games readily allow us to get our way. Indeed, there is essentially an implicit contract that the player will eventually get what he wants if he puts enough effort into a game. This means that punishing players for skillful play breaks both engagement and investment—such a game wouldn’t even make sense from a ludic perspective.

In other words, skilled play equals agency and power. And almost all of us see our skills as the extension or embodiment of our identities. The more skilled we are, the more agential we feel ourselves to be. That’s what makes games so meaningful and impactful.

But that is also the primary drawback of the structure of gameplay. It can become all too difficult to separate ourselves from our skills and the agency they bring—the power of skills is entirely real. Moreover, great power in games does not come with great responsibility, there is never a downside to being too skilled, and there is rarely a sword of Damocles to keep the player grounded (the only game that I can recall that ever came close is Prototype, where the player needed to stop caring, needed to become the villain, to be effective). Even devices like friendly fire in games such as Left 4 Dead or Counter-Strike are more about, or inevitably becomes about, punishing lack of skill and coordination than they are about increasing respect for the fragility of life.

Permit me to take a short detour. My initial reaction upon reading Mr. Coberly’s piece on guns on Nightmare Mode was that, just as QWOP does not make us more mindful of walking, or fear falling, increasing the number of mechanical inputs required to use a gun in a game is not going to make the player care more. It simply makes it more gamey (or worse, fetishistic), not more consequential.

But I wonder now if I missed his point entirely (my apologies, Mr. Coberly, for my myopic comments, if you are somehow reading this). Surely his argument is for the increase of the burden and responsibility of reality that physicality can be a constant reminder of, and not so much for the actual physical manipulation itself.

And that’s what games too often fail to do. They give us all the power, and almost none of the consequences. The chaotic variations of reality are missing in gameplay, and we protest vigorously if they are introduced. Every ludic action has an exact, knowable, controllable result. If you press a button when your crosshairs align with a specific location, you will automatically hit that specific location every time. Your skills are a guarantee.

It’s not that violent games make us more violent (though they have been shown in various studies to make us more aggressive), it’s that they often foster a message of solving problems through unilateral power. And when you start showing, not simply telling, a troubled individual who believes himself to be severely disenfranchised that the kind of unmitigated power they desire is obtainable, you can see where the problems might begin to arise. And the particular problem with gunplay is that the unilateral power of guns in games is of the same degree as in real life.

So I have to ask if those of us who enjoy games aren’t doing a bit of the same thing that American 2nd Amendmentists do. Consider this quote from a US gun shopper on the Newtown massacre:

But there's people trying to use that to say I'm responsible because I own a gun. Where's the connection? The only people making one are doing it for political ends because there's not one of these massacres would ever have been stopped by a law that takes my gun away. But now they're talking about doing that again, I think this may be the time to buy.

A false equivalency to be sure (games really don’t kill people*), but the question “Where’s the connection?” sounds entirely too familiar for comfort.

In the end, it’s difficult for me to escape the conclusion that games have more responsibility for their active content than other media, because the power one obtains for oneself in a game is more real and more personal than anything one can experience through projection as found in other media. And the defense that’s trotted out time and again, that games don’t desensitize us to violence any more than films, TV, or books do, just doesn’t apply. Because it’s not about desensitization at all, or even violence itself for that matter. It’s about power.


*It should be noted, however, and not entirely unrelatedly, that the intensity of psychological attachment to one’s play that games can induce can indeed kill, in the form of e-thrombosis.


Related Jobs

Petroglyph Games
Petroglyph Games — Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
[10.24.14]

Unity Engineer
University of Central Florida, School of Visual Arts and Design
University of Central Florida, School of Visual Arts and Design — Orlando, Florida, United States
[10.24.14]

Assistant Professor in Digital Media (Game Design)
Yoh
Yoh — Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
[10.24.14]

Build & Test Engineer
The College of New Jersey
The College of New Jersey — Ewing, New Jersey, United States
[10.24.14]

Assistant Professor - Interactive Multi Media - Tenure Track






Comments


Ricky Bankemper
profile image
I do believe games have more responsibility, as you are the one controlling the power of the violence. But I don't think they need to be any more responsible than they already are. We have game ratings which do not allow minors to purchase mature rated games. I hear GameStop employees say “I’m obligated to tell you that this is a Mature rated title, are you aware of that?”

Taekwan Kim
profile image
I agree that from a regulatory perspective, there's not much more that can or should be done. I also understand that game retailers are the most vigilant of all media retailers in checking for IDs to insure that customers meet age minimums (I somehow _still_ get carded). It's worth noting, though, that many of these "apolitical suicidal terrorists" are over the age of 18. I just wish that developers consider the power of ludic systems more seriously in their design processes. We can't have it both; we can't claim to be creating impactful experiences and simultaneously dismiss the impact they can have.

But I have to admit I am somewhat worried that it is much easier to pass censorship laws in America than it is to pass gun control laws.

Matt McConnell
profile image
@Mark
For the same reason that Final Fantasy games are not incitement to dress androgynously and wield weapons larger than our own bodies.

Millions of new car-thefts and street murders didn't suddenly start occurring when GTA started selling by the millions.

Putting someone in a role does not make them *become* that role. The problem comes when someone is unable to distinguish between the game (and the power it offers, as Taekwan conjectures) and their own life. This points to a deeper-seated issue in the actual person, which is then exacerbated by whatever aggression and violence they may take away from the game.

Ricky Bankemper
profile image
@Taekwan Kim
I see your point more now. Only time I have felt a game was out of line, that I have played at least, was Call of Duty MW2's "No Russian" mission. The mission sees the player take part in an airport massacre of hundreds of civilians. I turned the game off mid mission and I don't see any reason for this to be in a game, it is over the top violence. I literally didn't feel right participating in a simulation of something like this.

I am confused why any developer would think people would enjoy playing that or hope they enjoy it. Both are rather disturbing thoughts.

So maybe the ESRB should become more strict in their rating system? The next game that comes through with that type of violence, slap a 'Adults Only' rating on it? Thus, potentially, influencing the developers to lower the violence to get a more marketable rating? As I do not even know a place where I can purchase a "Adult Only" game, aside from online.

Thibaud de Souza
profile image
@Matt - Now that you mention it I really feel the urge to dress androgynously and wield weapons larger than my own body.
Worse, I seem to recall that I was flagged for a slightly bossy attitude after playing the role of Arturo in His Resistible Ascension.
However, I did not start a 3rd world war.

I think ratings are the way to go; games are a kind of carnival. If kids can't be villains anymore (virtually) and games are re-commissioned to have educational value, well not only that's oxymoronical, it also signals that the institutions traditionally in charge of education aren't doing a good job.

So, it isn't games that should have more responsibility towards the player's education, it is society that has a responbility to educate players...

All said, shooting games are so mainstreamly commonplace that I hardly see any escapism involved in them...

Michael Ball
profile image
@Mark Taylor
Downplaying both the existence and importance of the ability to differentiate between fiction and reality sure seems to be a popular trend these days!

Amir Sharar
profile image
@Micheal Ball: I do think you have a valid point, but we must (as an industry, as well as individuals) realize and accept that many parents are buying these games for their children, many of which are at an age where they are influenced by what they experience.

I've worked years in videogame retail part time even as a programmer, and I see something very wrong with 7-9 year olds getting a game like CoD bought for them by their parents because "their friends parents buy it for them" too, no matter how persistent I am in clarifying what sort of violence and behavior their children will see in that game.

This is why I agree with your point as well as Mark's. As I grew older I didn't let media affect me the same way it did when I was younger. It's not only that distinction between fantasy and reality that's important, but also the need to mimic or emulate disappears. I don't mean to focus on children either. An F1 fan, in his teens, might drive his car recklessly in real life. As that person grows older, he would smarten up. A guy in his 20s could be influenced by "The Fast and The Furious" and get into street racing...so it's not like 9 year olds are at risk of being the most impressionable. But yes, when people wisen up, they will be able to distinguish fantasy and reality, as you say.

TC Weidner
profile image
very thoughtful article. I just hope as a culture we can move away from guns and gun violence as a major source of our entertainment. We have to be better than that.

Michael Joseph
profile image
This is an interesting take on the issue.

But what if playing in a virtual world provides a therapeutic release for those who are feeling disenfranchised by the real world?

Even if that were true, it wouldn't solve the underlying problems.

I do agree guns & violence in media (including games) talk is a red herring though. I think its less about guns and portrayed violence and more about the perpetuation of ideologies and stereotypes about race, sex, gender roles, relationships, individualism, beauty and body image, success, capitalism, values, the things we glorify (ignorance, over indulgeance, irrationality, irresponsibility), etc. Media of the indoctrinated, by the indoctrinated and for the indoctrinated.

Making it just about guns/violence is the strawman that everyone can stand around and beat with sticks while the real comprehensive discussion (that nobody wants to have anyway) is allowed to sneak away. Gun violence in games/media discussion diverts people down a dead-end path... diverts people who try to take a step in the right direction of not putting all the blame and responsibility on a "crazy/disturbed" individual and who are looking for possible societal causes, factors or influences.

Nathan Destler
profile image
Your middle paragraph is pretty much the most important part of this entire discussion. You notice how all these mass murderers we keep hearing about are men? Why do you think that is? Because men are inherently killers? That seems unlikely. No, it's probably because society, through all forms of media, tells us that men solve problems by killing things. Games are just as guilty of this as any other medium, and contribute just as much (and probably no more) to the problem.

I will say that the idea of games as therapeutic release doesn't appear to hold up in the psychological literature. Of course, very little about games actually holds up in the literature once you start to look closely.

[User Banned]
profile image
This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Devin Wilson
profile image
"It’s not that violent games make us more violent (though they have been shown in various studies to make us more aggressive), it’s that they often foster a message of solving problems through unilateral power."

Thank you.

It's not that violent video games turn people into killers... it doesn't have to be that extreme for them to be unhealthy.

Justin LeGrande
profile image
Good point; even in many story-based games, the primary goal is "fight this or that". The most important point to establish about violence in these types of games is differentiating between problems as beings and problems as ideas. Aggressive problem-solving with ideas is usually healthy; with living beings, such as people, not necessarily.

Simone Tanzi
profile image
I would never understand this kind of arguments... really..
In a country with such an easy access to lethal weapons how can anyone blame videogames for mass shootings?
In this particular case we are talking about a mentally disturbed boy with access to at least 4 different fire weapons legally bought.
There is anyone in his sane mind that could think that having the same person with all those guns but no access to video games would have produced a safe environment?
Or that the same guy with access to videogames but no access to gun would have been able to perform such a massacre?
Videogames are sold worldwide, most of the countries in the world receive the same exact message from the videogame industry, but those kind of episodes doesn't happen in all those countries.
I really feel stupid just to make such an obvious point but doesn't this proves that the cause of the problem is gun laws and not videogames?

k s
profile image
I'm not sure stricter gun laws are really the answer, rather as the US president said better access to mental health (which I was very pleased to hear) is what is needed. This kid had problems that were not caught and he was thus not helped. Stricter gun laws would reduce the severity of future incidents like this but I think spotting and helping those who may do something like this is more productive.

That and I feel the people should be able to use force on the government when they let their corruption get the better of all of us.

[User Banned]
profile image
This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

[User Banned]
profile image
This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Doug Binks
profile image
@Mark @ Joshua - it should be noted that the Swiss may have guns, but they don't have bullets. Switzerland also has more gun deaths per person than the UK, and all the data I've seen shows a fairly clear link between number of guns versus deaths from guns.

[User Banned]
profile image
This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Justin LeGrande
profile image
However, when you consider the corruption of the US government in the form of the Keystone XL pipeline, and the public's current use of force to stop it, they are typically nonviolent acts. They really can't use weapons without steep retribution; their retribution for nonlethal methods is already high enough. (i.e. $60,000 bail for camping inside an incomplete pipe, or $30,000 bail for camping on an uncleared tree) Even the police officer commander on the case has admitted that they're just following orders to protect corporate interests.

The US government specifically avoids unprovoked armed conflict with it's own citizens- rather, nonviolent conflict is more likely. So, guns and explosives are ineffective tools to leverage against government corruption, especially in this case.

k s
profile image
I personally don't play games like CoD, Battlefield, GTA, etc because they don't offer me escapism, they are completely based on real places and real tools. The lack of escapism in these games I find troubling as they make it harder for someone with psychosis (or an under developed brain) to distinguish fantasy and reality.

I've noticed over the years as our medium has become more mainstream it has become less escapism and more esport/simulator which I'm not a fan of. I don't care for many shooters but the ones I do like (Halo and Boarderlands) are pretty damn fanciful and one would have to really loose touch with reality to equate their behavior being okay in these games with being okay in the real world.

What I'm saying is for games to remain a safe entertainment medium they should stick to the realms of fantasy and not try and mimic the real world too much.

Lewis Wakeford
profile image
I don't think solving problems through unilateral power is something that comes from video games. Most young children will use violence to solve an issue if they think they can win the fight, it's part of our primitive nature that not all of us grow out of.

I could maybe agree with what you are saying if evidence supported it, but it doesn't. Gun violence is disproportionately an American issue, while video games are sold world wide.

Keith Thomson
profile image
I'm pretty sure a big part of it for several of these recent events has been the Fame culture that we're in now. People want to be well known, and one way for them to do it is some idiotic event like this. We should let these people disappear into obscurity and never repeat their names again as part of the move to prevent more of them.

Curtiss Murphy
profile image
^^^ This!!! Public massacre's are less about games, and more about making sure a cold, blind, world is made aware of your pain. Committing EVIL atrocities so someone will take notice.

Alan Rimkeit
profile image
A total lack of real mental health services support in America. Nuff said. That is all I have to say. Ruminate on that for a while.

Torben Jorba
profile image
Thats one part of the problem. But not the first.

The west has lots of legal problems "forcing" people who are on the verge to have an "episode" to commit to the right hospitals. If you look across all "incidents" you see clearly, that is nearly impossible to distinguish between "a loner who just want to be left alone" to someone who, suddenly likes "hardcore horror, gore and blood splatter", to someone who starts fetish-izing about guns and making the world "understand" his point of view.

Where do you draw the line? Just call the police and they take him/her to someone who can "check"? That doesn't work. Many times, especially in Europe, the parents simply refuse to believe that their child is already off or close to the deep end. They try to fix their problems with money, with better attention etc. But fact is: they would have needed medication, a "time off" from reality and their thinking-loops.

In the current US-Case, the reports tell the guy was a loner for a long time and his mother decided to home school him because of his many issues with other children. How in the world could someone call "special social services" and tell them to look at the guy when the mother would simply block it because she doesn't want the 'trouble'?

Thats the *big* issue here. Society needs away to force someone into a psychological check, regardless of "status".

Emppu Nurminen
profile image
It's bit sad, how in one of my favorite TED Talks, Demise of Guys, brings nicely up all the factors that has something to do about the problems of guys in this day and age. Guess, what plays in it an important part of that talk? Consumption of violent video games along side pornography.
While looking at statistics, no, video games don't cause the killings, but they can completely well contribute them as well as severing the problems related to take such drastic action. That's kind of the creepy thing that people should be able to coin out without getting into the knee-jerking and butt-hurt discussion with people who are too irrational to talk about it.

John Trauger
profile image
We're at BEST a contributing cause, IMO an order of magnitude behind the 24-hour news cycle and its never-sated hunger for something to plaster on the screen to keep eyeballs plastered on the screen combined with the desire of some extremely disturbed individuals way out on the extremes who feel the need to empower themselves by any means necessary.

We humans like drama. And lethal force builds powerful tension and resolution. That's basic storytelling. Playing to the power-fantasies associated with guns doesn't make us an unindited co-conspirator. Nor does it mean we have to put our creativity in some cute-cuddly inoffensive box.

By all means stretch the medium. By all means look for modes of storytelling above cops and robbers. Give your players something to think about. But don't take options off the table just because they look bad by association.

Babak Kaveh
profile image
There has been a slew of articles about this topic lately, all claiming that if our shooters were more realistic, with more actions prior to shooting, and more gore, and begging from the victim, all the crazies would suddenly put down their guns and stop shooting babies. To say the least - this is ridiculous. Just look at someone like Chris Kyle (author of “American Sniper”) the US sniper with the most confirmed kills (150). To him, killing is a matter of conditioning and skill – after killing multiple “savages” – as he calls his victims – he can sleep like a baby. When he kills, he is in the real world – he feels every breeze, every bullet being chambered, every gurgle of blood from his victim, it doesn’t get much more realistic than that – he doesn’t care. He has modified his views to make killing easy for himself: to him Iraqi freedom fighters are savages that are trying to hurt innocent American and deserve to die.

I don’t think realism will do anything but further desensitize us - we will find ways to justify it to ourselves. I also don’t think that games are the cause of desensitization – common culture is. I have fun carjacking in GTA, and yet the thought of doing the same had never occurred to me before reading about some guy fantasizing about it – not even as a fantasy – that is because I didn’t grow up in an environment where such thoughts and actions were presented to me as a way to achieve any goal. On the other hand, there are child soldiers in some areas, who see killing as the only way to have a meaningful life. It is not the games, or guns, of TV violence, etc. that generate violent people – it is underlying reason for that violence that does. If the culture you grow up in teaches you that in order to get rich you need to use other people as stepping stones, that’s what you will do. If it teaches you that you can get away with theft and enjoy the results, that what you will do, and the same goes for killing, and murder and war.

So what exactly comprises this “culture” that gives rise to violence? Parents, discord in the family, friends, social groups, disappointments, religion, entertainment and media, age group, past history, politics, laws, unwritten laws, etc. etc. Sometimes, just hearing the bang of a gun going off, and the awesome power in firing a bullet can leave a lasting joyful memory that could resurface later in a moment of anger. There are so many parameters, and their effects on each other are so non-linear and complex that separating one (e.g. games) is completely meaningless.

So is there nothing we game developers can do?

There is – but it’s mostly not in the way you make your games. It is in the way you behave as a member of your society, condemning violence, standing up for justice, removing guns and other tools of mass-violence from your surroundings and from you society. Teaching your children about the pain of those who are killed and hurt, bombed, and massacred. Teaching them morals, by practicing them. Abstaining from greed, violent language, theft, abuse… Statistics show that violence all over the world has been decreasing for many millennia, but that is not something this generation can be proud of – we are the only generation in history that has access to news about every single life destroyed on this planet almost instantly – our responsibility is a thousand times greater than our forefathers. So what do we do? We spend millions if not billions of hours lobbing angry birds at pigs! – we don’t teach morals, because we have few left – and we don’t have the time to care if we were ever taught how to live a just – good life – and that includes me, and you.

[User Banned]
profile image
This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Jay Bedeau
profile image
Well said. I don't think that the industry is taking itself seriously on these issues and in the wake of this tragedy it is IMPERATIVE that we voice our concerns. Not as defenders of our profits and franchises but AS DECENT HUMAN BEINGS and MEMBERS OF SOCIETY.

- end rant.

Marcus Pettersson
profile image
Bowling for Columbine. Watch it. Blaming this tragedy on anything but the failure of mental health care and the stigmata associated with mental health issues is obnoxious, ignorant and perverse.

Marcus Pettersson
profile image
(Of course I meant "social stigma", not stigmata)

Marcus Pettersson
profile image
http://www.statensmedierad.se/Publikationer/Produkter/Report-on-v
iolent-computer-games-and-aggression-/

[User Banned]
profile image
This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Babak Kaveh
profile image
I have see Bowling for Columbine - it is a documentary that attempts to reveal a certain problem and does so well, it is not an all-encompassing meta-study of reasons for extreme gun violence, and does not claim to be. Before calling people with different opinions I suggest you read a few books and more studies. Some good ones are: "Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty" and "Anger, Madness, and the Daimonic: The Psychological Genesis of Violence"

I also read the study you linked to multiple times, and fail to see how you got the conclusion that a failing healthcare system has caused this. Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik had access to a free and pretty good Norwegian healthcare system (I have lived in Norway), but he never asked for any help with mental issues - so a failure of the healthcare system cannot explain his actions.

The study itself states:

"There is an extensive amount of research that demonstrates a statistical relationship between VCG and aggression. Much of this measured aggression related only to mental processes and not to violent behaviour. In addition, there was no evidence for VCG causing aggressive behaviour.
A large part of the research on VCG and aggression suffers from serious methodological deficiencies and provides insufficient data to be able to prove or disprove a causal relationship."

and

"1.VCG cause violent behaviour. This assertion is common in the existing research, but is grounded in serious methodological deficiencies and cannot therefore be considered proven.
2. VCG causes violent behaviour among people with particular personal characteristics. This hypothesis is altogether too poorly researched to be able to be expressed with certainty. Studies that investigated people with psychological problems gain results that can be interpreted as support for both this hypothesis and hypotheses 3 and 4.
3. Aggressive people look for VCG to play. Here, causality is reversed: personal aggression is seen as a cause and the preferences for VCG as the effect. Support for this hypothesis is extensive in the existing research."

Point 3 actually supports my reasoning.

Please note that many people here are interested in doing anything in their power, be it dropping a comment, or affecting the design of games, etc. to stop such violence to happen again. Calling them obnoxious, ignorant and perverse is not the way to further their ambition, or yours and does not help the discussion.

Torben Jorba
profile image
@Babak

Its less the "access" to mental health help, its more the way how a third person could force someone into an psychological check. And why.

The police wouldn't have enough to warrant anything to force Breivik into any hospital. His extreme mumblings and ideas would have been protected by free speech laws. Where to "draw the line" is the most complex question in a free society.

In the US case, the boy was a loner for a long time. He supposedly had issues even talking to other people. Something that *should* have caused - at least - a yearly psychological review. Children want to be accepted, want to be part of a larger group.

But can you force the review? Against the parents wishes? Is the denial of such a review reason to expel you from school? The mother home schooled him later, which seems to solved nothing in this case. It probably fostered his condition.

I can't see how *anybody* could have reacted in this process and by which law. You would need to crank up the jurisdiction for "mind related health services" by 200% to get every crazy off the streets just because "you have a suspicion".

Laura Stewart
profile image
No, read "Columbine" by Dave Cullen. The most startling thing is that they planned to blow up their school "Oklahoma-style" but the bombs failed. They never meant for it to be a mass shooting.

Marcus Pettersson
profile image
@Babak: I realize my reply is a bit on the tardy side, but I've been away from Gamasutra for quite a while.

To the point I was making, of which you only adressed half:

The study I linked basically says "people don't get violent from (violent) games" and also "violent people [also] play (violent) games". My point about bringing up Bowling for Columbine was to illustrate that blaming anything but the social constructs around the people so tragically enveloped in their own miserable, violent world-view is blatant lobbyism and politicking, rather than an attempt to put the spotlight on the actual problem.

The second part of my statement was also extremely important to the first part; in actuality, that is the real point I'm making: there is a social stigma associated with mental health issues, which prevents the caring (if they are there at all) folks around these violent people from alerting the mental healthcare system about these potential perpetrators. Instead of applying a pragmatic approach and logical reasoning, they continue to misguidedly dote on these obviously mentally affected, violent people, in the hopes that they will "get over it".

Mental healtchare should be de-demonized and the social stigmata removed, before we even think about blaming anything but the social constructs and the narrow-mindedness of irresponsible parents, teachers, friends and similar.

Breivik is a very special case (I'm Swedish, and as such, I've taken an interest in the case), as he was in fact - according to several expert psychological analysts not affected by the political circumstances of the case, i.e. not on the board of psychologists that evaluated him at the court's behest - not mentally ill. He was ideologically convinced that his actions were justifiable, so in that manner he was no more pathologically insane than any other brainwashed terrorists. His actions were insane - and I obviously loathe him, his actions and what he stands for - but that's just rhetoric.

To your last point, I have not called anyone anything. I just find it obnoxious, ignorant and perverse to blame (one of) the shortcomings of our western society on digital fiction.

Michael Pianta
profile image
Samuel L Jackson recently nailed it: "I don't think it's about more gun control... I grew up in the South with guns everywhere and we never shot anyone. This [shooting] is about people who aren't taught the value of life."

Well, I also grew up (and still live) in the South, and I can say that people do shoot each other here, but no more than anywhere else in America really. He is absolutely right in the main - all through out popular entertainment, video games certainly included, life is not treated as valuable. Look at how far games have come - all the technology - and what have we done with it? Have we poured our energy into creating worlds filled with life or have we focused on making sure brains splatter on walls in the most convincing manner possible? Be honest now! A few notable exceptions aside, it's mostly been the latter. Personally, I believe the more "realistic" games become the more problematic this is. I never believed Doom could seriously desensitize anyone to real violence, because it's so obviously a cartoon, but I'm not so sure about the games that are made today, games which are very lifelike in every way except the most important one.

Anyway, apart from that, still games often reflect and contribute back to a cynical and nihilistic pop culture that has little regard for life, and I personally have felt that that's a problem since well before this incident.

Michael Pianta
profile image
Well, surely a person can be right about one thing and wrong about another?

[User Banned]
profile image
This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Taekwan Kim
profile image
Hi everyone, thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I just wanted to clarify and say that I don't believe in any way that games are a _causative_ factor in these terrible tragedies. As many of you have mentioned, there are far more pressing societal concerns that actually are.

My reason for writing this was to try and argue the point that, as often as we are espousing the power of games, when it is convenient for us we also tend to minimize it. Again, my goal with this post was not to support self-censorship or the policing of content, but merely to urge that developers not underestimate the potency of the psychological processes involved in gameplay.

Babak Kaveh
profile image
That's understood Taekwan, we are all still trying to understand if we can do anything as devs, and what that would be. Comments and differences of opinions in articles of this nature, despite causing lots of misunderstandings, are valuable in forcing us to see how other people attempt to deal with these issues. I love this sort of article because it fosters a lot of discussion.

Luis Blondet
profile image
There is something horrifically wrong with how society has been outraged by the Sandy Hook massacre and how collectively apathetic it has been about the multiple infant massacres that happen when a Predator drone slaughters innocent children with a Hellfire missile just to get one guy that maybe, kinda, sort-of, could've been a "terrorist".

Taekwan Kim
profile image
Any such loss of life is tragic. Not that you are saying this, but I don't think we should differentiate in either case. And, I believe many of us do indeed care when we are made aware or confronted, as we have been with this massacre.

Justin LeGrande
profile image
Agreed, collectively, we should be calling off and denouncing the drones and family assassinations. It would be hypocritical to do otherwise, at this point.

Adel Amro
profile image
Or maybe the boy was just messed up in the head! What, can't someone be just crazy no more?

[User Banned]
profile image
This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

GameViewPoint Developer
profile image
It's a classic catch 22 situation all over, does people playing violent games cause those same people to be violent, or are people who are more likely to be violent playing violent games.

What I do know as someone who plays COD multiplayer a fair amount (an hour or 2 each day) is that people vocally at least get very angry and very abusive over the mic, to the point where they threaten violence.

It would be interesting what effect monitoring would have on the COD lobbies, as you get the sense that a lot of the talk that goes on is just as important to the players as actually playing is.

Megan Swaine
profile image
Thank you.

The why and the how things like this happen are complicated. We can't pin it to, or absolve, any one thing.

The more realistic video games become, the more we have to re-frame our perspective on them, simply BECAUSE they are interactive.

Jarod Smiley
profile image
Just like guns, it's not the tool in question. Instead of asking "Do videogames cause A or B effect" I think the better question is, "why do the most violent games sell the most?" It's what our culture wants, and it's where the money is atm...

I don't blame videogames, or books, Television programs, the internet or even guns, because a market is usually the reason most of these things get produced and become popular. I'm not saying everyone has to bring out higher standards of morals and we all join hands, but man, these shootings and this obsession with violence is something internal. And Call of Duty sells is just an outward manifestation of a desire for violence.

Are we gonna ask individuals and companies to stop producing things that make money? I think that's really the bulk of responsibility media/entertainment creators should take. This is a cultural problem, developers have little to do with it, nor can they help much when it comes to videogames.

Pieterjan Spoelders
profile image
Everyone's responsible for his or her own actions.

In my (humble) opinion the recent school shooting is just another case of teenager angst gone wrong and the system and their social environment failing some of those kids. If you add in that the kid was already emotionally detached/ had a condition and ready access to guns it's not too hard to imagine how all this happened.

It has nothing to do with games whatsoever.

JORGE PADUA
profile image
Excellent article, though I must say I strongly disagree in many ways with it. So please let me state my understandings (forgiveme if I get your point wrong at any moment and be kind to clarify I will gladly accept your comments) and although my comments may seem Utopia to some extent, please consider that I prefer to aim to Utopia than to simply ignore it because it isn't “possible”. I understand that you expose a concern towards games being developed for the sake of gameplay (and adding violence) without considering the cost or consequences of actions (that derive to negative situations in real life), in this case violent or negative actions. Also, I get the statement that, weapons are often used as the means of “being better”, reward, evolution or any kind of positive feedback. Being that the case, I agree that there should be mechanisms or some kind of feedback that determines how the decision of performing a barbaric act of some nature in a game, should generate side effects in a negative way that clearly illustrates the "incorrectness" of the action. Which means that the player gets properly “notified” and affected in an equivalency to his acts showing the repercussion of his acts and creating the appropriate atmosphere for this highlighting collateral damage. I can’t think of anything more Utopic than that but I totally approve it, something like introducing Moral systems or even instill Values to the context of a Game… so ambitious that it simply strengthens the fact that games are meant to deliver experiences often not found in any other medium and in a more effective way. Based on the current statement in the article: “Indeed, there is essentially an implicit contract that the player will eventually get what he wants if he puts enough effort into a game.” This is absolutely true, and while our games commonly use weapon-based mechanics as positive feedback in virtual worlds is not necessarily our game’s purpose.
As I may concur with these statements, I point out something… this could be a great solution, given the fact that players aren’t expecting to feel the experience of holding a strong weapon because of a need to feel powerful. In that case it is the player’s will to confront the game in pursuit of better weapons and that is driven by the player’s motivation of playing the game. This is sometimes the situation and it shouldn’t be assumed that the player will become a serial killer. Maybe a good solution would be to create different mechanics that empower the player to achieve goals and become more powerful by not using weapons even where weapons represent a choice but their use has significant repercussion. Although many games already implement mechanisms to show different outcomes based on player actions (“good” or “bad”) in many cases they only deliver different kinds of feedback that not necessarily leads to a negative outcome. This may be a strong topic of discussion considering that no possible feedback, can be considered wrong or bad if the player is actually seeking that outcome. More importantly since the basis of using a weapon in a game does not interfere with the life of other than a non existent virtual being. This creates an interesting situation where the player will be hardly exposed to the same feeling as in real life … what if it was mandatory for a game that uses weapons to implement a Moral System where the game will have tendency meters to determine how many weapons are being used. Then the game would have a mechanism to suppress or punish not only the executioner but other players in order that it has a greater Collateral Damage and the rest of the players or NPCs can do something about it. Something similar to MMOs that identify player Killers and offer larger bounty’s for their defeat. I could point many flaws on a system like this one but I’m not trying to perfectly define the structure of this environment. The point is that maybe a game should be created in order to deliver this as an essential experience your actions count and have side effect and violence is not beneficial. So until now I’ve expressed my agreement with many of the statements found in the article. Now for the rest of it I find it extremely sad, that what triggered the awareness on this matter, or the reason of this article’s existence is related to an event that can’t and shouldn’t be associated with any kind of violence in video games present in a videogame. Why? Because it is simply irresponsible and there is no way to prove it. It is true as I stated before, that I can consider that many games use weapons as a mean of controlling feedback towards progress and we should shift or consider creating new richer contexts for this situations than just a mere sensation of wielding power. But, that doesn’t, and should never be, considered deterministic in this context, since game development should always be considered a form of expression. Doing so would prove wrong the statements that led to the protection of videogames by the first amendment. Which leads me to the following, I am a game designer from Venezuela and I work as a game design consultant here and in other countries. In Venezuela a law was approved unanimously to Prohibit the use, commercialization and development of Warlike or War related Videogames and toys. This Law was created based on the protection of Children and Adolescent’s Diffuse Rights. The result of this Law’s implementation has been completely negative to the industry’s development, to the point where the industry is practically non-existent in terms of development where there were once emerging studios, and the commercialization is based on contraband and is often threatened by authorities power abuse and extortion. The prohibition of these games in my country was in part justified by studies, reports and statements that reported acts where Violence was associated to videogame use in any way. Also by presenting videogames in their most brutal way, by showcasing games like GOW, COD, MK and others without mentioning they are Rated Mature or any other. But these facts or investigations, never came from game developers themselves. Developers have never connected their games with violence because I believe no one creates a game to propitiate any act of violent nature and if we do it will never be before anybody else does it. This association (of videogames with violent conduct) that I personally consider inappropriate and irresponsible may help legitimate those facts or statements that we have always fought against in the first place. Giving power to those ignorant of the industry’s regulation or detractors. This brings me to point out the following: The Discussion of this Law in my country, led us (a group of organized individuals) to the creation of a Foundation the pursues the protection of Videogame users, and developers. We founded this institution in order to create awareness to the public of the content in games, and since the law’s approval we have focused in creating mechanisms that help our population understand the meaning of the ESRB rating as well as CERO, PEGI etc, by educating them. This is the case since these are the main territories where games that come to my country are imported. We’ve created courses and activities to teach parents and retailers and create awareness regarding the content of videogames and to incentivize parents to educate their children by helping them understand that videogames are a work of fiction in virtual worlds that should never be considered a simulation of real actions o derive to Role Modeling patterns. Our work is hard, complex and even more difficult to address in Third World conditions, given that, there is no industry behind us or supporting us, and the education in our country is precarious, making it even harder than you could imagine due to negative social, economic and political factors. Nevertheless none of the above have weakened our will to make things right. As a fact, I would like to state that our position towards these barbaric situations or actions is that we criticize them to full extent and we consider the responsibility is in wrong education, social and economical situations. When a Child is educated in a environment surrounded by improper value instill and not respecting content regulation (either by omission or ignorance), factors like: the Value of life, respect for others, etc. are also affected by Child abuse, House Violence, Weapon access etc. these are the real identified catalyzers that lead to violent eruptions or misinterpretation of videogame content. Not to mention that just by probability Mental Health can also be related to these situations. In my country we have this Law and more people are killed here than in Iraq (and we are not at war) and our game playing population is less than 1 million, where our whole population barely touches 30 million http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/23/world/americas/23venez.html?pag
ewanted=all&_r=0 . So do the math to see if COD or whatever, is somehow responsible for the atrocity of the Connecticut incident or maybe something like this: http://gawker.com/5968818/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother Again thanks for your opinion but I suggest things are better analyzed before pointing at something or creating awareness on a subject simply motivated by the atrocity some sick person did. It is our duty as game developers and citizens to investigate and evaluate things before acting, instead of merely letting our emotion towards a tragedy drive our powerful and influential Knowledge, and to cite the article, with great power comes great responsibility and this doesn’t necessary apply to the use of weapons on a game but in our credibility as a known or emergent game developer that can be used as a respectful source in the future.

Taekwan Kim
profile image
I feel I need to talk about what I believe are successful approaches to addressing this problem from a design perspective (this blog post was meant to be descriptive, not prescriptive).

Beyond providing the requisite feedback to allow a player to understand how one is impacting the gameworld, I don’t think it’s necessarily effective to force a player’s hand towards a certain “correct” behavior by bludgeoning with a permanent record/score-keeping of “wrongs” or through arbitrary results. ‘Every time you press a button, a kitten drowns’ doesn’t really work. Such design has a tendency to detach the player from their decisions (because it’s not a choice made of one’s own accord), and push the player towards purely mechanical, impersonal loss-cutting.

The most lasting experiences in games are often the result of the player conforming to their own, personally created set of rules within the game’s existing ones. I don’t think it’s any different here. It seems to me that it’s much more effective to appeal to the player’s own sense of self and morality, and to give the player the freedom to make those choices. This links to the “chaotic variations of reality are missing in gameplay” comment in that that exact system allows us to ask, if you are in control, why are you making these decisions? Just what kind of world are you forming—what kind of person makes these decisions?

I think we are in agreement on that point; as you noted, it is useful to allow the player the choice to utilize less destructive strategies alongside wholly destructive ones. But again, my only point of contention would be that punishing the player for free choices is not the way to go—they no longer become free. We need both: the decision to destroy needs to make as much mechanical sense (have mechanical incentive) as the decision not to do so (and vice versa, of course). This allows us to create an environment that is much more conducive to introspective questioning.

Clearly, not all games can do this (it’s simply not structurally possible). But many, many games already do.


As to your other comments, again I don’t believe that games are a causative factor in gun violence, and I don’t believe that censoring games is going to solve any of the real, underlying problems. I had hoped I had been clear on that in the post itself by noting that these massacres are perpetrated by already troubled individuals with existing problems, and I’m sorry that I was not explicit enough on that. Perhaps it was inopportune of me to write this when I did, or to share this publicly, but this was the process of understanding that honestly occurred for me after this latest tragedy. Again, I believe it is unlikely this had anything to do with games (as I noted in the post), it was simply that this is the thought process that I underwent as a result of it. And once more, my hope was merely to further serious consideration for the experience of gameplay.

I believe that we actually agree on much more than I was able to effectively communicate in the post.

Chris OKeefe
profile image
People who are predisposed to violent behavior (and indeed, psychopathic behavior) are going to be drawn to drawn to media that provides an outlet for those predispositions.

I've never denied the connection between violence and games - I just think that people are buying into a causal fallacy when they say that violence is the result of a person playing a game. You are starting from the wrong position. A person predisposed to violent, psychopathic behavior is more likely to seek out games (and movies) that satisfy those urges. The instinct to draw a connection between violence and game violence isn't wrong, it's merely attributing causal power where there is none. There is no significant research that suggests that games lead to violent behavior any more than sports do (and indeed, sports events regularly result in violence in the form of riots and property damage in the millions). Nobody suggests that sports are the cause of the violence - it is simply that certain kinds of people with certain predispositions are attracted to the sport, congregate in one space (during a match), and react to the results of the match in similar ways (and feed off each other per the rules of social psychology).

You might say that if you were to ban sports events, you would not see this violence, but what you would likely see is isolated incidents of violence that, due to their separation from the sports event, don't draw up the same relationship to their interest. In the case of games the same thing is happening to large degree; people who are predisposed to certain behaviors are drawn to violent games. Unfortunately the connection is easy to draw, as violent games often resemble the violent acts themselves.

It is hard for some people to believe that a human being could resort to horrific violence without some manner of influence, but the fact is that given a large enough population, eventually you are going to see someone snap. How they snap can vary, and there might be some argument for games influencing the *kind* of violence that we see, if not necessarily the quantity of incidents. The idea that a person capable of shooting up a school full of children might have lived a peaceful life if not for violent video games is ascribing powers to games that borders on the mystical; I would call it exceedingly likely that this troubled young man would have done something horrible with or without games, and with or without guns.

It's worth considering that games cause more incidents of gun violence, but not more incidents of actual violence. In other words, familiarity leads to guns as a choice of outlet when a violent incident occurs. Violent incidents occur regularly; New York recently had its first day with no violent crimes reported in *decades.* We just don't hear about them. Unfortunately, guns are an extremely efficient means of achieving violence and the results can be horrific when they are in the hands of psychotic, unstable individuals.

The argument then would be that 'training' the mind to favor guns (in the prevalence of FPS games in American culture) and then providing an environment where guns are easily (very easily) accessible, might be a recipe for disaster. You are providing a population with the means and the incentive to use guns in this manner.

My personal response is that you cannot prevent troubled, mentally unstable people from living in society; they will gain access to all manner of media and that media will likely err toward the violent. I think that removing (or at least limiting) the tools of violence will limit the inevitable violence.

The thought that we can prevent people from having violent outbursts is attractive but unrealistic. Games are not going to change that. Let's simply approach the subject of gun control with maturity and responsibility.

Justin LeGrande
profile image
Studies conducted for projects such as "Grand Theft Childhood" have shown that computer games are highly unlikely to cause fits of violent behavior. Rather, computer games are a medium through which the problems in other parts of the individual's life or genetic condition are made visible. Computer games provide a mirror, not an agenda, of behavioral interpretations.

The perpetrator in this case was similar in genetic conditions to those of the Columbine shootings, and the Washington D.C. snipers. In contrast, though, he was identified with an autism spectrum disorder, Asperger's syndrome. They didn't all have a genetic disorder, but they did all have some deeper issues than getting excited over playing a round of Doom.

I have Asperger's syndrome too. However, my favorite type of games have always been RPG's and titles with a deeply ingrained sense of morality. With a few exceptions, such as Perfect Dark, I generally despise the FPS genre. In my case, that is a reflection of the great supports I have received in my life.

For this person, on the other hand, his father is a moneyed General Electric executive who didn't seem to stay in touch with his children from an ex-marriage, and his mother was a gun nut who kept an easily loaded semi-automatic rifle unlocked. I doubt he got good support from them, or he was neglected, if he was provided such an easy opportunity to buy several 30 round cartridges for a specific semi-automatic firearm on a whim, then proceeding to go on a rampage.

If anything, this is a case moreso against the facilitators of these actions, such as the National Rifle Association, the US government's generally lax gun laws, and the US mainstream media's heavily industrialized and superficial cultural conditioning, rather than any secondary tools involved, such as computer games.

Don't forget that there is a reporting on mainstream national news media almost every day, if not every day, about yet another shooting, violent outburst, or other negative act, without conducting or displaying any poignant investigation or critical narrative of their own. The US is filled with manufactured fear.

[User Banned]
profile image
This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

k s
profile image
@Justin LeGrande

I don't think his having Asperger's Syndrome was a major factor, as you pointed out his father neglected him and his mother was a gun nut. Children with bad parents are much more likely to commit violent crime then children with good parents.

As someone else with Asperger's syndrome (my father and an older brother as well) we are not prone to violence (though I have another brother who does not have Asperger's and is violent).

I think environmental influences are a much bigger determiner of one's potential for violence. Now there is some degree of genetic influence in this as well. There is a gene called "the warrior" gene that with the right environmental pressures can make someone into a psychopathic killer but with a nurturing environment they do not turnout like that.

Bisse Mayrakoira
profile image
Justin,
there has been a great deal of contradictory information out there. I don't think it's currently reasonable to speculate the killer's mother kept her weapons irresponsibly. Her adult son lived in the same house. She could even have kept them behind a keycode only known to her, and he would still have been able to gain access by threatening violence.

Also, you are out of line calling her a "gun nut" and drawing a line from that to bad parenting. All we know for sure is she owned a handful of guns. So do I. So do many other people. Owning guns doesn't make one a bad parent. Even being a "gun nut", whatever that means, would not necessarily mean one is a bad parent.

"If he was provided such an easy opportunity to buy several 30 round cartridges" makes no sense at all. The gun part in question is a "magazine". Chances are Mrs. Lanza already owned several magazines; people rarely have just one magazine for firearms they own. Magazines are not regulated, so anyone can walk down to the store and buy a stack of magazines for maybe $20 each. Are you saying Mrs. Lanza should have kept her adult son locked in a holding cell in her basement, or what?

Jeff Stanco
profile image
Ignoring irrelevant biases, what this boils down to is really "Free Will vs Determinism" or even a "Nature vs Nuture" type of argument. The reason why these arguments have been around awhile is because we really cannot definitively answer/solve/'win' them. Unless one can definitively prove 1st Amendment rights do more harm then good we really shouldn't rescind all said rights. Not trying to assume equal weight for each Amendment but it's reasonable to assume we should take as much care with the 2nd amendment. Since forcing a type of religion or even forcing religion at all on a society is counterintuitive I feel one should discuss societal issues within the confines of philosophy. History, though representative of past mistakes and triumphs has only a small contributive value to said arguments because the opportunities and challenges of today are so different from even 100 years ago. How we advance technologically, and apply that to bettering society is the where these questions belong. When one's groups 'rights' are at risk by an attempt to secure another 'groups' rights, or in this case their very existence, it's better to weigh the merits with the least inflammatory emphasis on even morality. In the US anyway. Stick to the foundations this country was based on, and use technology to both protect and not overuse to protect. Video Games don't seem to be to be the first place a society would go to better manage these rights and responsibilities.

Laura Stewart
profile image
I agree that video games do give people a sense of agency, but I profoundly disagree that there's enough or any causal link between content and mass shootings (or murder in general).

Take Ruwanda, 1994. Radio broadcasts were principally and most often the only form of extra-community organization to getting the majority of the population to go out and hack to death some 800,000 people in 100. Radio broadcasts and television (not fantasy depictions, but real leaders identifying real minorities to be massacred) also played a key role in the ethnic slaughter in the former Yuogoslavia. Here you have two clear examples of what content can prompt people to do.

To say that video games, due to agency, could cause more violence than television or radio... Where do we see that? Agency being some compounding factor to content, you would need all the players of GTA in one city to rise up, take it over, defeat the national guard, randomly shoot half the people to death, within a few days or weeks of a game release. You just don't see that happening. Of course, you don't have the content in games saying, go wipe out this minority in real life, that should be said.

If the agency of video games could potentially convince gamers to engage in real life firefights, does gambling and drinking and cheating on your in-game spouse(s) also convince people to gamble, drink, and engage in polygamy? If agency itself is the problem, what's the difference between Dishonored and the murder-suicide of Angry Birds?

Jay Bedeau
profile image
Very much disagree about the content of video games doing that there is more than a little political agenda contained within the top-selling shooters of today.

Laura Stewart
profile image
Jay: Do you mean you think the political content of FPS make it more likely their depictions of violence will cause real life events, or less likely?

Panagiotis Kouvelis
profile image
Violence is within us, its a part of our instincts and how we apply it depends on how we see the world, the fact that someone that we consider mentally disturbed sees things differently is something that psychology should look into, and the fact that this person had access to weapons is something that society and the legal system should look into. For me everything else its just opinions ignoring this core fact.

Regarding the children murders involved in this specific case, a Hiroshima bomb killed far more and I don't see anybody criticizing companies that make models of bomber aircrafts about this.

Its not the medium (games, books, music,movies), its the source, and the source its our instincts.

Also as a last remark, even if you don't give access to weaponry someone can do the same and worse damage with poison, self-made weapons, tools, his own hands and tooth, etc... Not understanding the true nature of violence is like trying to convince ourselves that we are a highly evolved species, if that was true we would have no other violence as well, domestic, national (wars), economical, work (boss vs worker), etc.

jin choung
profile image
"Also as a last remark, even if you don't give access to weaponry someone can do the same and worse damage with poison, self-made weapons, tools, his own hands and tooth, etc.."

But they don't do they? Firearms are a genuine, statistically significant problem in modern society - when was the last time you've heard of someone robbing a store with their teeth?

By you're rationale, might as well legalize the ownership of nukes right? Cuz it's not the weapons themselves that are the issue?

We illegalize nukes for civilians because there is no reason for a civilian to have that much lethality at his disposal.

We've drawn a line. But is not 20 kids in 10 minutes lethal enough?

Tellingly on the same day as sandy hook, children were assaulted by a madman in China as well. The Chinese madman used a knife.

Tellingly:

Children dead in America: 20
Children dead in China: 0

Human nature is what it is and what it will be. We can be great, we can be terrible Fucks.

In America, we've decided that we're shits enough not to be trusted with WMDs... But we're safe enough with guns.

That is alas, provably wrong. And you need only look at the homicide numbers between the USA vs unarmed countries to see the truth of that.

jin choung
profile image
Where this falls short however is in comparing gun violence across countries that have plenty of video games buy no guns.

:p

The issue is and will always be giving the power to end life at the pull off a trigger to purple who are dumb, irresponsible, ignorant, mercurial, hateful, imbalanced and generally improvident.

If 'great power demands great responsibility', we're right fucked indeed.

But having said that, games do have a responsibility.

Consider geezer mcgunnut from the NRA failed to mention call of duty, medal of honor or other games that use modern real world weapons in the hands of heroic characters.

Why would you guess that would be? Why, in blaming games does he mention 5 and 10 year old games that don't feature real guns?

Could it be that in today's world where hunting is becoming less of a draw, these military games are creating a customer base for the gun industry?

Follow the money.

We need to ask not about the games he mentioned but which he did NOT. that is where our responsibility lies.

After all, was it not EA that wanted to have cross promotion with real gun companies for MOH?

[User Banned]
profile image
This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Sebastion Williams
profile image
Spree killings are littered with bullet casings, not video game boxes.


none
 
Comment: