2008 is going to be a year for awesome game releases. Will the media spin video games in a negative view more this year?
In today’s world two things are true. You are getting PWNED or you give the PWNAGE. So we asked our registered users how they felt about the video game industry getting blamed for people’s actions and the aftermath that ensues in some cases. Let’s face it no one’s blamed Frogger for jay walking. Let’s not even get me started on Pitfall. I have yet to see this game get blamed for vine swinging. Video games, as a whole, are a source of entertainment. To some they enlighten and to others it is an escape from the boredom.
Video games have been getting a bad rap in the news and media for years, but more so as of recent. However, for every negative story there are dozens of positive stories that are never to be reported. The media tends to focus on the negative and the alleged sensationalist impact of gaming on society. Obviously, we all know the real truth not shown on Fox News games can inspire violence in certain individuals just as it can create happiness and tranquility in others.
*Someone finally blames the Bible: “Bible vs Video Games“
I remember the days when music was blamed for all the evils in the world. For some, it was reading this or that book. I recently asked some elderly men what society blamed violence on when they were young. They all agreed that when some individuals got their first car the thrill of racing was too overwhelming. They said many would crash, causing people to blame the auto companies for making a car able to go so fast.
Because video games have reached mainstream attention, it is convenient for people to be able to blame their troubles on them. Like the media, many among us are quick to lay blame on external influences in our society rather than looking at ourselves as the source for our own trouble.
A circus of media and Internet publications will swarm down on the video game industry if a single deranged individual points their violent tendencies toward a recently played game. If a person feels the urge to hurt another individual, chances are they’ve already made that decision far before they’ve played the next Grand Theft Auto. We don’t live in a perfect society and we can’t stop our TV, Music and Movies from displaying acts of extreme violence. Many people feel the need to blame something or someone for their own negative actions, rather than taking responsibility for them.
I asked other random gamers on three unique Internet forums to point out positive influences in video games and weighed those against known negative influences. These are their responses:
Hades: “One of the big positives of video games is that they are great resources for teaching at a young age as well as in general. Humans tend to learn faster when they can associate the information with something enjoyable. Taking entertainment and sneaking in an actual teaching structure to it seems to have worked very well, Leap Frog Games for one. Not to mention that some of the favorite games and technology that we civilians use where once training tools for military and police. Counter Strike and SOCOM were once used solely to train tactics in a safe environment. The can teach while being interactive.
Then you have the health capabilities of games as well. The obvious is the Wii with its interaction methods designed to get you moving and exercising a bit more. But there are also games out there designed for Mental Health and rehabilitation. Think of a game that is designed to immerse the user into a phobia to help get over them in a safe environment. They have some that are designed for this already but it could continue. Then there is the manual dexterity that is used to control a game. Not to much effort needs to be placed out there to control a game, but it could get users moving arms and joints that have been injured and need some very basic motions. I know I would rather swing a Wii Mote playing a game than lifting 5 lbs weights for an hour to get a similar reaction.
Then there are the social aspects you can look into with video games as well. In today’s age, it is just as easy to meet friends and possible mates (Romantic Friends) online as it is in the flesh. But people seem to open up more when having a good time and there is less of an awkwardness when discussing or participating in something you both enjoy. It is a great first step to know that there is some common ground from the start. If you look at some of the history of online gaming, or even just gaming parties, there are always new friends sprouting up as well as documented real world marriages from them as well. Just another forum to find people you might never have know to exist.
On top of all that, most of the advancements in much of today’s technology spur up from to sources, Porn and Video games. Computer processors and GPUs advanced because of the demand for bigger and better games, and porn. Because we want better games, newer tech is made to keep up and entertain. There have been many things that have been in the works just because the technology that came out with the Wii Mote and Sixaxis controllers. So I would say that is another positive things from video games as well.
Then of course there is the basics that they were all designed for from all the way back to Pong, Entertainment. Be it just a quick way to kill a few hours or actually playing through an interactive movie, they were made to entertain, plain and simple. That is the real big positive from them all as well”
Marcos: “I know of a few positives about video games. Video games can help you focus. Some games nowadays require complex skills and hone hand-eye coordination. So to speak, playing a video game requires more than just opposable thumbs. Video games give the challenge that can entice players to keep playing until they find a solution, thus making the player to become alert and active, and expanding the mind.”
Gorath: “While kids with video game systems are at home being kept occupied playing violent games, they aren’t out actually doing the killing, you know, while other kids raised under bad parenting, or shitty upbringing that have usually never played a game in their life go out and kill out of bad emotions.”
Church: “What’s great about video games is that it can be used as a learning experience. Companies around the world are using video games or simulations to re-create real life events. For example, the World War II first person shooter. Granted there are many of those out there but if it wasn’t for them, the younger generation wouldn’t be so interested in that time frame. Also the army created the game American Army for recruitment at one point; not sure if they still do.
Video games can be used to get away from the everyday norm that people faces everyday and use it as a stress reliever. An example would be massive online multi-player games like World of Warcraft, Everquest, Guild Wars to name a few. Not only do you get away from the everyday norm but you also get to interact with other players around the world.”
I went on to ask the same people, “If the games can yield positive results, do you think games can have a negative impact on a person, such as creating violent tendencies in some?”
Navie: “Like someone else said, video games can and do have an impact on young minds much like other forms of media. They may pick up a fighting game and think it would be a good idea to emulate those moves with a friend or sibling. The greatest deterrent in preventing kids from reenacting the violence they see in the games they play is not ratings, but better parent involvement. It is the responsibility of a parent who allows young kids to play video games to sit and watch them play the first few times, and explain to them that the violence in the game is pretend, and to do such acts in real life could seriously hurt or kill other people. Quite frankly, I was playing GTA from such a young age it was before I knew what drugs were! However, Because I grew up playing games that enabled me to traffic drugs, beat people with a baseball bat, and kill hookers doesn’t mean I commit the act in real life. And as with anything, it has to be in moderation.”
Church: “It does have a negative impact with the media. The media and everyone else likes to think that video games are the cause of most of the youth violence, but really I would put the blame on the parents who go and buys the game without knowing what the content of the games is. Video games are just like everything else, it’s entertainment. It’s meant for pleasure or relieving stress and not to cause someone to have violent behavior. Look at the WWE, sports, even the news. They are all entertainment, yes the news is entertainment as well, and they all show violence all the time but the one thing that the WWE does is put a warning stating for all the young fans “Don’t try this at home. These are train professionals” but yet parents let their little Tommy and Billy reenact what the WWE wrestlers do on TV and blame them when poor little Billy gets hurt. Parents need to sit down with their kids, god forbid that we as humans don’t have the time to anything with our own kids, and talk to them about violence and what it can do to others. Games like Grand Thief Auto, Manhunt and games in that nature are meant to be played in a world that you would never dream of doing in real life. Yet the media blames those kinds of games for being way too violent to have kids to play. Well that’s why the ESRB is around for parents to understand what kind of game is it. Regardless on how popular the games are parents shouldn’t be buying Manhunt for a young 8 year old Bobby that wanted the game cause all his friends has it.”
Hades: “They can and do have a negative impact, but that is like all other forms of media. They can place ideas and thoughts into another person’s head, which is both positive and negative. If someone plays hours of GTA, they are just as likely to go out and kill hookers as they are to just have a good laugh with friends about it. The negative impacts are mainly because a seed is planted in the mind of someone who doesn’t fully grasp the concept behind it. But it is no more likely to have negatives than say film, literature, television or music. I could give a good speech that may trigger someone to go on a killing spree. Hell, it’s how cults and terrorist organizations work in the first place.
That being said, one of the arguments being place out there is that video games have a more negative impact on people than other forms of entertainment simply because the games are interactive. While true, on the outside it is easier to see that Video Games are interactive, but so are all media forms. They are all designed to promote an emotional response to what is seen and heard. This is also interaction between the user and the media format, which pokes a huge hole into that whole argument.
That is just the violence thing, though! Another topic of negatives is the desensitization of people from games with content that is questionable. That and it can also skew a person’s view on the world. Like getting use to seeing scantly clad women used as nothing more than sex objects can lead to someone having the same expectations in real life. Or that if you want something bad enough, you can just kill or steal to get it. Both ideas that could sprout from playing Games, but no different than anything else in the world right now, media wise.
So yes, they can produce negative aspects as well as their positives, but only if allowed to. By that, I mean, using them as the babysitters without the proper guidance necessary for children with impressionable minds or without making sure that people understand what is actually going on in the game. But it is no real difference between the media types. If someone is going to be easily swayed by an idea, then it doesn’t matter what format it comes in.”
Does a video game truly make you violent or does it make a violent person more creative? If a young person is raised on violent games to teach them life lessons in place of correct parental guidance, who really is to blame?
Younger children are highly influenced by things around them, including video games. A responsible parental figure should be against children playing violent video games until they are old enough to understand the realities of violence. This is why the ESRB rating board was invented.
That said, I also believe it is important to vocalize that games do cause happiness, tranquility and a distraction from everyday life when everyone points to games as the root of all evil. It could be said that if a game can promote a positive feeling, then the opposite can also be true. It could also be said that for every game that makes an individual feel happy there is a good chance a game exists which can make an individual become violent.
Final thoughts, With the recent shooting once again Jack Thompson and the NY Post trying to say that video games are the back bone of the shooter’s actions. The funny part in all this, is the media only gives you what they feel is news worthy. Please do me a favor: When you’re playing a video game and you win or achieve a locked mission… go high-five someone. Hug a loved one. Help an old lady across the street. When someone stops you and asks, “Why you are in such a great mood?” tell them that video games make you do nice things. Unfortunately, the media will never cover that story.