Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Games Government Entertainment Politics

The Year in Game Politics 30

Posted by Zonk
from the finger-pointing-and-recriminations dept.
The Next Generation site has a look back at 2007 through a political lens. Manhunt 2, crackdowns on game sales, and endless stories about gaming and aggression seemed to dominate game headlines this year. The article runs down the details on each of these thorny issues: "There is no conclusive evidence that playing violent videogames leads to violent acts. That hasn't stopped researchers from looking for links between videogames and aggression. A study released ... in November tainted [the role of games as teachers] ... A University of Michigan study by psychology professor Rowell Huesmann called violent videogames a public health threat ... And Villanova University in Pennsylvania found that games caused aggression, but not much: 'It's not as if this is a light switch that either videogames do or do not cause aggression...Most people assume it has a really big effect, but what we find from research is it actually has a very tiny effect,' professor Patrick Markey told Next-Gen in April."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Year in Game Politics

Comments Filter:
  • Good science (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PFI_Optix (936301) on Monday December 17, 2007 @02:31PM (#21727878) Journal
    "There is no conclusive evidence that playing violent videogames leads to violent acts. That hasn't stopped researchers from looking for links between videogames and aggression."

    Good. That's what they *should* be doing. I'd hate to see the day when science went back to standing on the findings of others and saying "that's just the way it is" rather than continuing to investigate, experiment, and study.

    They've made some significant links between violent video games and violent *thoughts*, and I'd wager that eventually they will find a direct link between violent games and violent acts. We should not feel threatened by such ideas and summarily dismiss them because we don't like the findings; that will do nothing but encourage those who would let the lowest common denominator make the rules.

    What we as gamers need to do is continue to expect the gaming industry to properly rate and label their products. We should give our business to retailers who make it easy for consumers to understand ratings, and find games of a certain rating. And we should admit that sometimes a minority of people take their gaming experience too far and become violent in real life...just like a minority of people do things based on what they saw or heard in other entertainment media. Just like a minority of people become violent while playing or even passively *watching* a sport.

    The public needs to be reminded that this sort of reaction has accompanied every new medium of entertainment. When people realize that this is nothing new and that some people have a problem with SELF CONTROL, not with video games, then we'll get back to our regularly scheduled programming.

    I wonder if Star Fleet will have to put up with this nonsense when they invent holodecks. "They're training our kids to be murderers" blah blah blah
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PlatyPaul (690601)
      Well put, succinct and lucid.

      The problem, though, lies in very fact that there are people who cannot or will not formulate their opinions on the matter this way. Whether it be the "think of the children" proclaimers or those who believe that video games are blameless, there will be people who will approach the situation with a closed mind. When they have power, decisions will be made accordingly. Trying to remind such people that they should think openly may not work - perhaps it would work better to
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by volpanic (976898)
      I agree with much of what you've said. For one thing, one of the problems in the discussion of the potential link between videogames and violence is the fact that comparisons are usually drawn to passive media (film, tv). Someone will always bring up the fact that games must be worse because you are a participant in the fantasy violence.

      IMO it's far more fitting to make a comparison between videogames and sports - both abstractions of fighting in an us vs. them activity. I don't think there is any way to
    • by Tailsfan (1200615)
      Good point. Sides, I don't even play halo.
    • I think the problem isn't that they are testing for a link between games and aggression, but looking for one.

      Good scientist will avoid biasing the results of the test, but bad politicians and ass-hat lawyers will.

      I work in the industry, and if I saw clear evidence that what I'm doing was causing serious harm I'd stop. But it feels like they are trying to make a huge issue where there isn't one.

    • by rtechie (244489)

      Good. That's what they *should* be doing. ... They've made some significant links between violent video games and violent *thoughts*, and I'd wager that eventually they will find a direct link between violent games and violent acts.

      No, they shouldn't. If you look into it a bit you'll find that most of the "research" about violence and videogames comes from a handful of psych professors and paid researchers that have made proving this nonexistent link into their entire career. To do their they have used techniques even more shady than the average psych researcher. There are no "links". This is simply an artifact of experimenter bias and poor methodology. They THINK it should be true, so they see it in their results. The notion that vi

      • by PFI_Optix (936301)

        No, they shouldn't. If you look into it a bit you'll find that most of the "research" about violence and videogames comes from a handful of psych professors and paid researchers that have made proving this nonexistent link into their entire career. To do their they have used techniques even more shady than the average psych researcher. There are no "links". This is simply an artifact of experimenter bias and poor methodology. They THINK it should be true, so they see it in their results. The notion that vio

        • by rtechie (244489)

          So you summarily dismiss any and all research that demonstrates a link between violent behavior and violent media...what exactly makes you any different from those researchers who see what they want to see in their results?

          You say "any and all" as if there is a lot of ORIGINAL research on this topic. There isn't. Maybe a dozen papers altogether, over the past 40 years, and I've read almost all of those. Just skimming them reveals pretty awesome flaws in methodology which amount to the researchers telling their "subjects" (usually their own students or even their own children) how to answer. I pointed out that ORIGINAL part because virtually all the studies you will read on this topic are NOT original. They're meta-studies th

  • Don Quixote (Score:5, Informative)

    by ChromeAeonium (1026952) on Monday December 17, 2007 @02:34PM (#21727918)
    Whenever I hear about video games being a menace to society, I always think of the book Don Quixote. There's a part in the book where the priest goes through Don Quixote's romantic knight novels, and declares that they are the reason he went loopy and took off to play knight. Hundreds of years later, it's the same story, just a different medium. Just something to think about.
  • years ago it was rock music that was making kids crazy.

    what'll those crazy demagogues come up with next...
  • When the average age of a gamer is somewhere around 30, why are violent games which are obviously marketed towards the adult market being banned?

    You know what, beer is bad for kids. Let's ban that too.

    I played video games all throughout my childhood. Some of them were violent. I turned out fine. The kids who have a tenuous grasp of reality, who snap and shoot up their schools (supposedly) because of a game, probably would have done it anyway. It's not like there's not enough violence in other media
    • by BarneyL (578636)
      If you're taling about Manhunt 2 I would disagree on it being "obviously marketed at adults". Adults tend to buy games based on things like good stories and gameplay, both of which Manhunt lacks. It was always clearly a cynical attempt to target a game at kids who are in that phase where they think that watching pointless extreme violence makes them somehow cool and mature.

      Equally if a brand of beer was clearly being targeted at under age drinkers I'm sure the manufacurer would get into trouble.
    • by njfuzzy (734116)
      We are seeing the same problem with comic books / graphic novels. Most people assume that these products are for kids, so even the large segment of the market that is actually for grown-ups is scrutinized with the assumption that someone is targetting kids with sex, violence, etc. People are going to jail for selling products to adults meant for adults, because some idiot associates the medium with kids.
  • by Pojut (1027544) on Monday December 17, 2007 @04:00PM (#21729578) Homepage
    Just for reference, I'm 23 years old now. I have been playing video games every single day (literally...not a day has gone by that I haven't played for at least ten minutes, even if it's on my cell phone) since my sixth birthday. For a very long time, I have played violent video games...some would say I started playing violent video games at an age when someone that young shouldn't be (in case you were curious, my first violent game (and first game altogether) was NARC on NES.)

    I have played countless hours of video games...gibbing friends, blowing up planes, slashing people apart with swords, and just generally being as destructive as possible. Violent video games have had a profound effect on me...they have desensitized me to violence.

    Now, many people would say that is a bad thing; personally, I find it to be a good thing. I can give you a perfect example: From the ages of 18 to 22, I was a car mechanic. A buddy of mine lost two fingers in a metal radiator fan when the moron inside the car started it up, thinking we had given him the all clear signal (the all clear signal actually came from three bays down...and yes, the bay number was shouted along with the words "clear". The guy in the car was just a moron.) All of my coworkers around me were unable to help him, because they couldn't stand to look at his hand. While my manager was calling 911, I, totally unaffected by the two missing digits and exposed bone, was able to properly wrap it and position my coworker (due to him going into shock) until the ambulance arrived.

    Something similar happened on a four wheeling trip. A guy we were wheeling with was exploring the trail up ahead a little bit (it had rained recently, and he was checking for stability). The guy slipped and fell, breaking his arm on a rock, his bone sticking out of his forearm. Again, unfazed, I was able to help him out and do what was necessary to help get him down off the mountain.

    Many people suddenly panic when something violent and bloody happens, and that's how people get more hurt than they already are. Yes, video games have desensitized me to violence, and as a result I have been able to help people that I otherwise would have been powerless to help.

    Desensitization is NOT a bad thing. It allows you to see past the violence that is occurring and to address the situation with a clear head, calm head. Desensitization is how one of my childhood friends was able to become a very effective EMT...blood and guts simply don't phase her, and she is able to approach the given situation without paying any attention to the gore that may present itself.
    • Desensitization in the sense you mention is something we should strive for. Desensitization in the sense of one's understanding of the morality, or immorality, of violence is something we should avoid. The semantics here muddle the issue somewhat, as there isn't a clear distinction between the two in most discussions. The result is that many people assume the two go hand in hand, when really they do not.
  • A stupid question... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by argStyopa (232550) on Monday December 17, 2007 @04:59PM (#21730718) Journal
    "There is no conclusive evidence that playing violent videogames leads to violent acts."

    I understand the motivation by gamers to press this argument. I've been playing FPS's since Doom1, loved most of them, and as far as I can tell I'm not a homocidal maniac. I've never shot a human, nor do I ever hope/intend to. The 'anti-game' community is simplistic and generally ignorant, so I can understand trying to undermine their every argument.

    But (re the above statement) - really? I mean, if one claims that repeatedly watching (in this case, violent) imagery *doesn't* in any way change behavior and values, doesn't that ipso facto perjure the ENTIRE concept of our $multi-billion$ (trillion?) advertising industries?
    • by Tinyn (1100891)
      Yes. It does. They can stop now and do something useful instead.
    • by Evangelion (2145)

      But (re the above statement) - really? I mean, if one claims that repeatedly watching (in this case, violent) imagery *doesn't* in any way change behavior and values, doesn't that ipso facto perjure the ENTIRE concept of our $multi-billion$ (trillion?) advertising industries?

      The statement means exactly what it says. "There is no conclusive evidence that playing violent videogames leads to violent acts." It doesn't mean that there is no link. It doesn't mean that there is a link and we don't know about

  • Here is a video about this research. http://youtube.com/watch?v=XnWO09q2nnw [youtube.com]
  • So, in the last year there has been even more talk and research into this - and as always the reactionaries on both sides have been screaming their heads off about anything but the real issue: the fact that violence is endemic in America even today, and in fact seems to be on the increase when it comes to the more extreme forms.

    Is it games? Or movies? Or weapons? Or social injustice? Or a combination? The argument you hear all the time is that "it isn't guns that kill people, it's people using the guns" - t
  • Have they done research between sports and aggression?

    I'm not a behavioral scientist (INABS?), but how many stories do you hear about people overturning cars and breaking windows after a Halo game? How many sports figures have violent criminal records? Doesn't it seem like most of the football players in high school have a reputation for being violent jerks (in US at least)?

    If you're going to test behavior, compare a GTA player to a Raider fan. ;)

Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves. -- Lazarus Long

Working...