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Games don't kill people, society does

by Rick Powers - August 20, 2003, 8:52 am EDT
Total comments: 13 Source: C|Net Perspectives

C|Net finally figures out what we've been trying to tell people all along ...

C|Net's John Borland is a brilliant, brilliant man. In his editorial covering the happenings at QuakeCon, John manages to figure out what gamers have been screaming at the top of their lungs all along ... that so-called "violent" games do not MAKE gamers violent.

Effectively, it's the adrenaline rush that violent games (or ANY medium) gives you that causes the aggressive behavior, but that for most gamers, other factors such as the social benefits of an event like QuakeCon or even two friends gaming together at a house, mitigate any psychological effects.

Rather than try to rehash it all here, we at PlanetGameCube urge you to go to C|Net and read John's editorial.


Grey NinjaAugust 20, 2003

Still not mainstream enough for my tastes, but as soon as most people find out that Video Games are about as harmful as Rock and Roll, I will be a happy man.

nolimit19August 20, 2003

i am sorry. i am a huge gamer, but this is just one article. by this same argument, guns dont kill people....and people dont kill people.....bullets kill people, and you cant blame the person or the gun. LAME.....its impossible to interact with anything and not be affected by it....but after saying that i dont think video games are bad...necisarily. i do think that music and movies have a more negative affect on our society then video games, but there is no doubt that games like gta have a negative affect on the way people think. i think that most games arent like that though and that if u blame anything, it should be movies and music. and sorry to say it, but if u look at other countries that censor games and movies and all that, u see a direct drop in violence. america is one of the most violent countries hands down. say what u want, but its true. is that caused by video games....realistically....probably at least a little. sure video games can help people bond as the guy says in the article, but so can anything that is done in a group. doing drugs, drinking, taking a drive, or even trick or treating. just because it causes a bond between people doesnt make it good or unique. what the industry needs to do is fund studies on the affects of video games on people, but maybe they are avoiding that for a reasondevil.gif

vuduAugust 20, 2003

elvis is the devil! with his pelvic thrusts and that thing he does with his lip.

and those goddamn beatles, with their electric guitars and their hippie hair. they're ruining our children.

and don't even get me started on the rolling stones. rolling stoners, is more like it.

rock and roll should be banned! long live perry como!

RickPowersRick Powers, Staff AlumnusAugust 20, 2003

nolimit19 just proved that he didn't READ the article.

It clearly states that the games DO affect people, but other factors in their lives mitigate anything that the violent medium might cause.

The studies you're asking for DO exist, but they're so limited in scope as to be useless. Basically, they have kids play violent games, then watch how they interact for, say, an hour or so after the fact. ADRENALINE is up, and that causes the kids to act aggressively. There are almost NO studies on the LONG TERM effects. Not to mention that none of these stories factors the INDIVIDUAL into the picture, which is incredibly important. Does the kid only have one parent? Do they have many friends? Do they excell in school? Do they have after-school activities?

The point the article makes so well is that you can take the most violent game in the world, stick thousands of people playing the game in the same enclosed space, and not a single fight will occur. The simple ... SIMPLE, social interaction mitigates the effects of the violent game entirely. If it's that simple, then you have to realize that kids that play violent games and then resort to violence are missing significant social interaction in their lives, or simply have something wrong with them to begin with.

I listen to gangsta rap, but I've never shot anyone, or even held a real gun. Nor have I felt any desire to.

I watch violent movies, but I've never felt that violence is a way to solve my problems.

I play violent videogames, but I have yet to feel like going out an mimicking those actions in real life.

My parents are divorced, I wasn't a stellar student, and I didn't have a lot of friends. So how screwed up does a kid have to be to have these influences affect them in a negative and lasting way. Obviously, there are some positive influences in my life that are mitigating the negative stimulus. Kids like the ones behind Columbine are reported to have had very little positive stimulus in their lives. It clearly doesn't take much.

How many times have you heard about a kid from a disadvantaged upbringing turn his whole life around because someone took an interest? Maybe that's all it takes ...

vroenisAugust 20, 2003

here here!
what we all wanted to say but are too lazy and inartiulate to face-icon-small-wink.gif

KDR_11kAugust 20, 2003

nolimit: America has more murders for a different reason. Let's compare France and Germany: If you take the difference in population into account, both have about the same number of gun murders a year. However, Germany has extremely strict "youth protection" laws in place (local retailer's list, the ages listed are mandatory) while France has much more lax laws on youth protection (I'm not sure there really were much before the EU introduced some this year). Same bodycount, different youth protection laws. Watch Bowling for Columbine, it sounds like you didn't.

nolimit19August 20, 2003

again its great that u arent "affected" by these things....there are many that arent "affected". but when u live in one of the most unsafe countries in the world u have to wonder what causes that. and in the end (i believe)its our freedom to watch, own and do whatever we want. i am not saying its bad or good to have freedoms over safety and wholesomeness. thats the way it is in america though. there is no doubt that if u took all forms of violent media away starting today, that violence would drop drastically. and i do think that a lot of it is the way kids are brought up today. broken homes lead to lack of dicipline, which leads to reckless behavior from the kids. and to me this can all be blamed on hippes. once "free love" became popular divorce rate sky rocketed. but back to the point, i dont understand why the congressmen target video games. gansta rap is way more harmful imo. gangsta rap may not affect the white man in suberbs, but u know that it glorifies being a gangsta to the kids in the gehtto. i think the editorial does make good points, but its just an editorial.

BonzeemerAugust 20, 2003

I always have the urge to kill game developers
after I play some of their crap games.Plus
after I play Wario World I'm always wanting
to steal some really big gold coins.But
that's just me....

Illustrious ChenAugust 20, 2003

Good article. Now if more news people would do a little actually research like this guy.

mouse_clickerAugust 20, 2003

While I agree with the article spot on, I disagree with Rick a little in his comment- SOCIETY is not to blame for school shootings, etc, the individuals who actually KILL are to blame. Whether videogames affected them or not (which they almost certainly did not, as this article so explicitly stated), it's their fault they went out, bought guns, made bombs, and killed their classmates. Society didn't pull the trigger, videogames didn't pull the trigger, the kid pulled the trigger, and he made the line of decisions that led to him pulling the trigger. I believe each individual and that individual alone is responsible for his or her actions. Society may have influenced them, but society did not force them- they are perfectly capable of making their own choice to simply not listen to society. It's as silly as the guy who sued McDonald's because he was fat.

That is, unless what you meant by society is at fault is that society is the one who is placing the blame of "videogames are bad" on the shoulders of the gamers, when in actuality that's not true.

RickPowersRick Powers, Staff AlumnusAugust 20, 2003

Actually, I do mean "society." Society is to blame, not because we failed to protect the children from the evil video games, but because society failed to recognize kids "at risk" and help them. Society failed to give these kids the interaction and outlets that we all need. Every time someone kills, we're all a little worse off, not just for the one killed, but for the person that we could have helped.

mouse_clickerAugust 20, 2003

Well, that's a little bit different, and while I agree with you, that doesn't mean you should the mother of a murdered that it's society's fault her kid's dead. At the ROOT, the person who pulled the trigger had every chance not to and simply ignored them. I agree that our society is set up in that those people are neglected care, though. manunited posted a great quote in a thread of mine on the General board of Marilyn Manson's response when someone asked him what he would tell the Columbine kids:

"I wouldn't say anything, I'd listen to them since obviously no one else did."

However, society comes about by the individual actions of it's people. You can't view society as a living breathing beast with it's own agenda- society is what we make of it. Society is governed by the actions of individuals, not the other way around, and in my opinion blaming society soley for the faults of individuals is just a scapegoat.

Grey NinjaAugust 20, 2003

Mouse Clicker, you are starting to sound like me. Welcome to my grey world.

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