Are video games too violent?

 I was playing Modern Warfare 3 the other day in the presence of my girlfriend’s Dad. The violence of the online world was something very shocking to him, so much so, that I had to stop playing. It made me start thinking – what would people who have never seen a Call of Duty game in action think of it? I have been playing violent video games since the legendary Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64. Never have I ever thought to take my gaming persona into the real world. At the same time, I love playing these games because they allow me to do something I could never do in real life – kill someone. Now I’m not saying that I want to kill someone – I’m merely stating that it’s human interest to be fascinated in things unknown to us, like death, war, superhero powers, playing in the NBA, surviving a zombie apocalypse, saving Princess Zelda and being Solid Snake. This is why people love video games, they allow a normal person to do things they never could. However, over the years, the majority of gamers have invested their time in violent titles such as Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty and Battlefield. This blog will concentrate on two main aspects; if these games too violent and if these games are socially destructing to the person playing.

Violence

“F**k you edpenn!”

I am not a violent person, like all of my friends, like 95% of the people I meet online when playing Call of Duty or Battlefield. I won’t go and steal a car after playing Grand Theft Auto. Parents and people who have no knowledge of these games find it hard to form an opinion when all they see is 30 seconds of playtime. Their view? Why is my son smiling and laughing as he is shooting someone in the face? What have I done wrong as a parent?!
Nothing. The bottom line is that you have to already be severely messed up to take this games literally. Any normal person would not kill their mother after playing Grand Theft Auto (true story). It isn’t the violence in the games that brings about this sort of behaviour, it is the sheer insanity that already existed in the person. Also, any violent game today has a ‘mature rating’ similar to movies. With Call of Duty I believe it is 16. So if a kid is playing Cod- you can bet his parents bought it for him since he just enjoys video games and was a good boy in December. If an old teenager or adult is playing – then there is nothing to fear.
Just as with all paths of life, there will be dicks. Dicks that ruin your experiences and make the stereotype ever more easy to accept (are telling me your work place is full of genuine, down to earth people?!). This is no different in the online world. There will be people who constantly yell obscenities at you whilst you play, shouting they will find and kill you after you just said “hello” in a ‘posh’ accent. Believe me, after playing online games for 5 years now, I’ve met my fair share of these morons.

If you are worried that your son/daughter is one of these people, or that you yourself are one of these people – you should first judge what the person is like in other situations. I, along with all of my friends, sometimes get angry when we play violent video games, it’s human nature. When we aren’t playing the game, we don’t walk around acting rude to people, swearing as soon as something goes wrong or acting violently towards anyone. That is because we, like 90% of people playing are normal, level headed people with other things going on in our life.

Socially destructive

During my last two years of high school, I played Call of Duty almost every single night after school. I played into the early hours of the morning each weekend. I have no issue in saying – not much has changed since then.
In one year alone during the Modern Warfare 2 era, I figured out that on of my friends had spent 1 out of every 8 minutes playing MW2 (after you take away time spent at school and time sleeping). In 12 months he amassed over 1 month of playtime. Yes, it’s insane. But, like my friend, both of us led perfectly normal lives. We both attend great universities now. We both played a lot of school sport together and hung out with our friends a lot. I started playing in a ukulele orchestra. I went skateboarding with my brother a lot. I spent time with my family. I did all my school work.
Ask my father what he thinks of video games, he’ll probably roll his eyes and walk away from you. He probably thought I was wasting my life when I played my playstation. Honestly, I can understand why he did.
However, he had no idea of the memories that were made between me and all my friends when we played each night. The reactions I developed, how quickly I could make decisions in all aspects of life, the long lasting friendships that were made over a microphone.
For me, video games has become more than a casual hobby. I have a youtube channel and I blog regularly about all things gaming related. For my friends, they still play online with me now even though we have gone our separate ways to higher education. What has stayed the same? The fact that we are all progressing in life towards a bright future and the fact that we are growing into mature young adults. We still talk tactics when we play Cod and Battlefield, but we also talk about what we will do with our lives, why our degree’s are difficult and personal issues that we just want someone to listen to.
However, just as there are people making violent video games seem ‘violent’, there are people who also make video games appear to be socially destructive. Yes, there are people who do nothing but play video games and yes, that is unhealthy. As long as you have other things going on in your life then there is nothing to worry about. That ultimately is down to parenting and what interests your child has. If he/she is only interested in video games, then who’s fault is that?
If anything, this blog and how it covers video games, music, the environment and basketball should prove to my father that I am a well rounded adult (it definitely won’t though).

Video games are something that didn’t really exist in our parents generation. Just like modern technology (iPhones, the apple store, online shopping) it will be something that they struggle to understand.
However I must state that video games are a huge part of who I am and they have played a huge role in developing me into the person I am today. So next time, try not to be as judgemental.

Video games helped me get through depression, they helped me generate a large circle of very close friends, they helped to develop an incredible passion and they helped me to enjoy my life.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Theshanman on July 10, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    Love it

    Reply

  2. Posted by tomjhoran on July 10, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    After getting your thumbs up I thought I’d return the favour. By talking about games in the context of the rest of your life, it makes them sound nearly beneficial. Well done.

    Reply

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