Posted on August 14, 2007,

BBC Suggests Gamers Deny Violent Video Games' Subtle Influences

violent_media.jpgYou know you felt like walking up to that guy in the Porsche, opening his car door and throwing him out. You wanted to take his car and ride, hard and fast, through that sidewalk full of people.

Okay dramatic, I know, but I’ll admit I have heard a number of people begrudgingly mention a fantasy like this one from playing Grand Theft Auto. Well, fantasy is not quite the right word to use. Momentary impulse might be more like it.

A recent BBC opinion piece picked up on this idea, that the subtle influences of video games, especially violent ones, are something that gamers keep to themselves. And the article suggests that unfortunately, this may be keeping necessary discussion about the issue from surfacing.

“Gamers don’t want to give ammunition to those looking to start a witch-hunt,” Margaret Robinson, a video game writer and consultant, wrote in the piece. “Games are under such sustained, and unfounded, attack because of the violence that they portray – still dramatically less gruesome that what is commonplace in film and TV – that there is something of a code of silence.”

A code of silence? Perhaps, but maybe it’s more of a general disagreement. I think gamers know that yes, games can suggest impulses that may not be helpful for society, just as music might make you feel a certain way, or a television show might push you toward more dramatic emotions. Why people believe that video games are more real than film or television is beyond me, simply because I believe they are able to portray a reality more close to what one might experience in real life than video games.

Films and stories, music and lyrics, I think these serve exactly the same function which the BBC article suggests. The point is that once again, we don’t need to ask ourselves about how video games make us behave, or misbehave. This idea that video games are the sole cause of anything is a fallacy. People have the ability to think rationally and decide logically, pushing emotion away from action in order to follow the laws on which we have agreed.

Our time would be better spent trying to make a less fearful, more healthy, content society than trying to suggest anything about a medium which one might argue is hardly dissimilar from the rest in how it makes us feel or suggestions it might have for our behavior. Have we given any thought to why our governments, and believe me, have your choice, focus on using violence as a means to an end? If we ceased to respond to terrorist violence with more violence, could Counter-Strike exist?


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1 Comment on BBC Suggests Gamers Deny Violent Video Games' Subtle Influences


On August 14, 2007 at 6:50 am

Certainly prevents counter-arguments.
Gamers: “No, we don’t deny anything”

More research $ wasted on things we already know or could easily surmise.