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Neuroscience May Cure Videogames Industry's Obsession With Guns 254

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the stanley-kubrick-presents dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Leading developer Chris Stevens tells Edge magazine that neuroscience researchers will soon find 'non-violent triggers to mimic the rush of pleasure gamers feel when firing guns.' Researchers can now use functional MRI scanners to monitor what is going on in a player's brain and search for more optimistic and non-violent pleasure triggers. 'For decades it's as if developers have been driving a car with no speedometer,' Stevens claims, referring to the reliance on reported emotions rather than empirical measurements in game development. The functional MRI now gives a much more accurate indication of when peaceful triggers light up the brain's pleasure regions, opening up alternative game designs, without crude weaponry. 'I would like to see many more beautiful games like Fez and Limbo,' Stevens says. 'When I was a kid, games were more beautiful and magical and immersed you in fantastical, peaceful and enjoyable landscape.' The functional MRI could make these peaceful titles provably superior — no mean feat in a mass-market games industry currently obsessed with the crude dopamine-triggering effects of simulated weaponry."
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Neuroscience May Cure Videogames Industry's Obsession With Guns

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  • Swords ! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jesrad (716567) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @03:45AM (#40746481) Journal

    I'm reasonably sure they can safely and successfully replace "shooting guns" with "swinging swords" and other bladed weapons. Remote-control explosives, lassos and whips, Force-lightning and gravity-guns would probably also work. I'm unsure about their untold, implicit objective though, but then, science is about testing hypotheses, and not fulfilling fantasies about human nature - now that's what simulation video games are for !

    For decades it's as if developers have been driving a car with no speedometer

    Well of course the game designers wouldn't need external measuring tools, not when their own brain can tell them what they, themselves, enjoy playing. Apparently they found out on their own that the most efficient way for getting "crude dopamine-triggering effects" was "simulated weaponry".

    I'll even go out on a limb and say that the researchers will find "triggering peaceful-triggers" is best done by solving puzzles that are challenging but not out of reach, repeating a timed sequence of memorized or interpreted actions to a sufficiently close match of a model (like, say, jumping through perilously placed platforms) and the sort of things that have spawned entire casual videogame genres.

  • Ignorance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShakaUVM (157947) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @03:49AM (#40746497) Homepage Journal

    I find it quite amusing that their "solution" to violent video games is Limbo.

    They obviously never stepped one foot into that world. If anyone got through that game without being impaled or decapitated at least a dozen times, I would be very impressed.

  • by BlueStrat (756137) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @03:56AM (#40746513)

    My fear would be if it works and could be applied in advertising, political rhetoric, and incorporated into television news and shows.

    Too late.

    It's called "propaganda".

    Strat

  • Re:Swords ! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bmo (77928) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @03:59AM (#40746523)

    Apparently they found out on their own that the most efficient way for getting "crude dopamine-triggering effects" was "simulated weaponry".

    Real weaponry is an efficient way of getting "dopamine triggering effects," thus my obsession as a teen with archery.

    --
    BMO

  • Re:Swords ! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BoogeyOfTheMan (1256002) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @04:07AM (#40746539)

    Reading the summary, (no I didnt RTFA), it seems like they have forgotten that before video games, kids played cops and robbers. And before that, cowboys and indians. And before guns were invented, they played with toy swords. Sure there are other non violent games, ones involving a ball, hide and seek, tag, hopscotch, etc. But for centuries, kids have played violent games. Could it possibly be that humans enjoy a make believe violent fantasy? Nooooo, its the game developers not knowing a better way....

    There are already plenty of games that dont involve guns and/or violence. Music games, puzzle games, sim games, racing games, sports games. Like the poster above me said. We already have what they are trying to do. Its just that the violent ones tend to be more popular

  • where i played hours and hours of 'DOOM' day after day

    i did not turn into a massacring monster. the worst thing on my record is a speeding ticket. i am nonviolent

    in fact, i am for much stricter gun control in the USA. the second amendment was written before semi-automatic firearms existed

    i enjoyed the escapist violence in 'DOOM' because it is just a game, i can tell the difference between real life and a game. everyone can except a few nutjobs

    the point is: violent videogames, movies, books, or any media do not turn certain people into nutjobs. certain people are just already nutjobs, and yes: certain media may set them off

    however: in a world where all media is unicorns and flowers, the barking dog next door or the roommate's weird style of laughter or the burning red eyes of the toaster oven would set them off instead. meaning they are going to be set off, one way or another, no matter what media exists

    so let us enjoy our first person shooters and batman movies. these media might set off nutjobs... nutjobs who would be set off anyways in any media environment regardless

    to get quite pointed here about how silly it is to focus on media: if you are concerned about some media creating violent people, then the bible and the koran are the very first things you want to destroy, as those two books have served as the inspiration for the murder of millions. the contents of those two books are very violent, and suggest that an almighty invisible power has absolute authority to command you to obey its violent teachings. great, that's just what you need to tell a crazy person

  • by tehcyder (746570) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @04:36AM (#40746647) Journal

    You can't take the gun out of games, but you can make the gun non-violent. Take Portals for example. It's an extremely fulfilling game with a gun, that doesn't kill anyone.

    The reason why players enjoy game have gun that kill other characters so much might stem from the fact that we as a society know that in real life they kill. Therefor we turn to shooter games to play the hero, and save the people from the evil terrorist, and not harm a soul in real life doing it.

    Try all you want but the fact of the matter is, guns are part of the gaming culture and an even bigger part in story telling. That is untill something more harmful and destructive comes along.

    Guns are inextricably linked with First Person Shooter games, for am extremely obvious reason.

    Your error lies in assuming that the only game genre is FPS.

  • by skine (1524819) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @05:08AM (#40746747)

    "When I was a kid, games were more beautiful and magical and immersed you in fantastical, peaceful and enjoyable landscape."

    When exactly did Chris Stevens grow up?

    Obviously, it wasn't in the Atari era, where half of all games were space shooters.

    Obviously, he didn't grow up in the 8-bit or 16-bit era, where every game involved you killing everything within sight - either with guns, or swords that have the ability to shoot.

    Obviously, he didn't grow up in the 64-bit era, where first person shooters became the biggest selling games.

    Obviously, he didn't grow up in the modern era, where a good shooter sells a console.

    So, obviously, Mr. Stevens either never grew up, or he didn't grow up with video games.

  • by trout007 (975317) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @05:28AM (#40746813)

    We recently bought an Xbox 360. I downloaded some demos and one was Bulletstorm. I was playing it and my 10 year old son was watching. My 7 year old walks in, watches for 3 seconds, and says "I don't think this game is appropriate for kids". Just then I finished the level and the guy in the game said something where he drops the f-bomb. My daughter walks out saying "Yeah, definitely not appropriate". I said "yeah I think you are right.

  • Re:Lame (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FTWinston (1332785) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @05:43AM (#40746893) Homepage

    Those that are about that, unless they're SF or fantasy-based, should strive to have the most realistic experience as digitally possible but there is no substitute for the firing range.

    Surely they'd be better off striving to have the most enjoyable experience possible? Especially if you say that they'd still be "no substitute." A sniper game that involves hiding in the one place for 2 days straight, for instance, may be realistic, but why would anyone want to play it? Give me TF2 any day.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @05:54AM (#40746943)

    That'd be why Bulletstorm is MA15+, or were you implying that all games must be suitable for kids?

  • Re:Ignorance (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @06:29AM (#40747081)

    they want to solve "guns" not "violence".

  • Re:Swords ! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jesus_666 (702802) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @06:34AM (#40747085)

    There are already plenty of games that dont involve guns and/or violence. Music games, puzzle games, sim games, racing games, sports games. Like the poster above me said. We already have what they are trying to do. Its just that the violent ones tend to be more popular

    Don't lie. Dance Dance Revolution doesn't exist and neither does Need for Speed. And Tetris was just a lie to make the Soviet Union appear harmless. All games involve shooting guns as their only gameplay element.

    And before video games came out children were always well-behaved, played wholesome contact-free team sports and got their rushes of pleasure discussing classical literature and working out how to best advance society once they would be old enough to do so. Then computers appeared and it was non-stop Doom.

  • Re:Lame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @08:16AM (#40747627) Journal

    I think this whole effort is incredibly misguided. Video games used to be peaceful, like Custard's Last Stand or T.E. or that Super Favio Brothers thing where you stomped the shit out of some turtles and walking mushrooms, or alternately set fire to them.

    Violence is a fact of life. There is no power to protect; this is a thing I discovered long ago but have been agonizing over to the point of crying trying to understand... somebody spelled it out for me (it was in a book), I finally swallowed it but it was a big pill to swallow. Part of enlightenment is sitting around holding onto truths you've discovered years ago and trying to find the flaw in them, I guess. Unfortunately there is no flaw: there is no power to protect.

    Power allows you to destroy, in its simplest and easiest form; more subtle, difficult applications of power allow you to create, and creation is just the careful application of destruction and preservation. People will seek to protect their own interests by force, by taking things that don't belong to them; they will seek to maintain dominance and strength by force of will--by instilling fear, with destruction. The only thing that protects you is the power to destroy: your entire police force functions on the principle that would-be criminals understand they will find you and they will beat and kill you if you resist.

    Folks think it's so god damn 'virtuous' to refuse violence. It's insane. You want virtue? Stop being a coward. When you see someone being dragged off to be raped or murdered, go over there and stop their attacker--whether it comes to threats or beating someone's head in with a steel pipe. If you knew the whole damn world would suddenly come to kill you if you rape a bitch, you're probably not going to do it unless you're suicidal; yet sane, rational people will complain about all the violence in the world and then willfully strip themselves of their defenses, and espouse the virtue of having everyone who could possibly stand in to protect them do the same. Lunacy. A lot of good people are gonna get hurt. This is a side-effect of that: violence bad, we should hide it, pull it out of entertainment, teach people to all play nice.

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990

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