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Transportation Games

Video Games Linked To Reckless Driving 337

An anonymous reader writes "'A new study suggests video games that involve reckless driving may play out in real life. Researchers say their data should not be taken lightly since car accidents are the number one cause of death for teenagers.' Just a case of video games being used as a convenient scapegoat, or could there be some truth to this?"
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Video Games Linked To Reckless Driving

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  • I found the opposite (Score:5, Interesting)

    by localman57 ( 1340533 ) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @11:46AM (#32579222)
    About 10 years ago I got really into the game "Midtown Madness" which features races where you race free-form through downtown Chicago picking your own route to hit a number of checkpoints. The game requires you to read traffic patterns, lights, etc far in advance. After playing the game, I found that I was doing the same thing in real traffic. My brain had been trained to observe and anticipate as if I were driving through city traffic at 80MPH rather than 35. I became much more aware of what was happening on cross streets, and in lanes other than mine. It faded back to normal, though, as I moved on to other games.

    I do wonder, however, if being able to crash a car repeatedly with no real consequences has an impact on your subconcious risk-assesment of various manuvers.
  • Spy Hunter (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Stargoat ( 658863 ) <> on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @11:49AM (#32579280) Journal

    People have been claiming this since Spy Hunter came out. It was bunk then and it is bunk now. It's not video games that make you drive fast, it's the Peter Gunn theme.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:4, Interesting)

    by smitty777 ( 1612557 ) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @12:19PM (#32579676) Journal

    I've done a little bit of research on the transfer of training from video simulations to real life. Research has shown that not everything transfers to real life, but what does transfer is procedural knowledge. If you're practicing on a flight simulator, you will learn the correct order to pull out the carb heat, drop the RPMs, lower flaps and gear. But it's a pretty rich environment up there, and there is no substitute for feeling the bumps of turbulence and engine vibration.

    I've also done some practicing on an RC simulator, and it's a great way to learn without wrecking your kite. Different mental model, as you don't have the "first person" perspective of being in the plane, though.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hardburn ( 141468 ) <hardburn&wumpus-cave,net> on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @12:22PM (#32579724)

    Does playing some mostly realistic racing game help you drive in everyday life

    There are certain maneuvers it can help you with that apply to regular road driving.

    When cars go into either understeer or oversteer, the natural reaction of most people is to slam on the brakes. This is fine for understeer but only makes oversteer worse. The correct reaction there is to countersteer a bit and apply more throttle. It's not enough to know technically how to do it--you have to be able to do it reflexively when you weren't expecting it to happen. A good sim racing game can train you to do that.

    (Not surprisingly, manufacturers tend to setup cars from the factory in ways that tend to make it understeer, such as putting on oversized tires in back.)

  • Race Drivin' (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MattW ( 97290 ) <> on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @12:26PM (#32579780) Homepage

    When I was 15, Race Drivin' (the sequel to Hard Drivin') was out; it was a sit-down racing simulator with amazingly realistic wheel feedback/physics. Unlike basically every other game I've played, the car you were driving behaved much like a real car. (ie, you could fish tail, and if you steered with the slide you could recover)

    The first time I ever accidentally fishtailed my car in real life, I instinctively steered with the slide and recovered. I've heard that people without training tend to turn against the slide and exacerbate the problem. I have always thought that without my really extensive Race Drivin' playing, I wouldn't have reacted that way. (And when I say extensive, I mean it - I got to the point where I could gain time on laps and once played for an entire hour and stood up with the "remaining time" at the cap.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @12:27PM (#32579782)

    People talk about having positive role models for children. This is because we, as humans, look towards those we admire and emulate them. Race car drivers, whether real, in a video game, on a movie screen are "cool" in a lot of people's eyes. What they do is cool. Their lives are cool. We envy the thrills for which they get paid.

    I remember several years ago I had some sneak preview tickets for The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Let me just say that I waited 30 minutes after the end of that movie before everyone who had just seen it had finished peeling out of the parking lot and speeding away recklessly. And these were normal people, from a wide range of age groups. Maybe the young ARE more impressionable, but that doesn't allow one to place the blame solely on the medium. Any example of alternate behavior lends itself to emulation. Whether that takes the form of a "copycat" killer or holding the door open for someone isn't necessarily the result of exposure, but merely the impulsiveness and decision-making skills of the one exposed. Whether you agree or disagree on the merits, this is why we have ratings systems for video games. And for film. To limit the exposure from those whose decision-making skills haven't completely matured, albeit deciding who is limited in an arbitrary manner.

    This isn't meant to advance a viewpoint one way or the other - it's merely an observation.

  • Re:Bunch of idiots (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @12:36PM (#32579934) Journal

    There have been a number of studies on how video games can improve skills. For instance, surgeons [] who play video games are better at laparoscopic surgery than those that don't.

  • Re:Bunch of idiots (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 2obvious4u ( 871996 ) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @01:13PM (#32580548)
    Here is some information for you:

    Top Gear vs Gran Turismo [] - Possibly the most awesome thing ever posted to /. if I do say so myself.

    wiki reference []

    I've seen this done by other gaming mags before with similar results. If someone has those links that would be awesome as well.

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!