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Old 01-10-2013, 08:05 PM   #1
Threshold
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The current hot topic of violence in video games.

I am going to hit you with a bunch of links to sorta start things off. I think the links set the stage better than anything I could write:

Opinion: Meeting with VP Biden is a mistake for the game industry

Counter-argument to the above:

An Open Letter to Gamasutra's Kris Graft: You're Dead Wrong

And a general article about violence in video games:

Let's Talk About Violent Video Games

Reading all of those is not necessary, but there is some good information there and some good questions are raised.

What role do you think the video game industry can have in the current "gun debate." Should we, as an industry, be involved? And if so, what type of stance should we take?
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:05 PM   #2
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Re: The current hot topic of violence in video games.

This is a really good read. It is from the ESA (Entertainment Software Association), which is one of the bigger video game advocacy groups.

Entertainment Software Association: Essential Facts about Games and Violence

There are two things that I was very pleasantly surprised by.
  1. Percentage of time parents are present when a game is purchased or rented: 90%

  2. Percentage of parents who monitor the content of the games their children play: 91%

I would have guessed about 30% for the first and about 10% for the second. So that is FAR better than my expectation.

One of my favorite stats:

Violent crime decreased dramatically from 1998 to 2011 (approximately 20%) while video game sales soared (more than tripling in sales from $4.8b to $16.6b)

Also, most games aren't even violent:

56% of video games made are either Rated E or E10+ (For Everyone or Everyone 10+).
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:37 PM   #3
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Re: The current hot topic of violence in video games.

When tragedy strikes people want something or someone to blame. For the past 20 years video games have been one of the biggest scapegoats in violent crimes while the big and small screen always seem to get a pass.

Video games are an easy target because they are seen as expensive toys for kids, and for a long time no self-respecting person over 30 would touch them. I remember as a kid my mother would deliberately look in the opposite direction of the TV screen whenever I wanted to show her something I thought looked cool, and I know I'm not the only one who grew up in the 90s like that. Meanwhile, television, which has been a part of American culture since the 40s, gets a pass because the Boomers and Xers grew up with TV, and maybe the Atari 2600. "Criminal Minds" is probably the most violent and disturbing show I know of on TV and yet I don't see the anti-game coalition campaigning to get that removed.

If you look at all of the mass murderers of recent years, they were all people who had more problems going on than too many hours of playing Doom in a dark room. Doom doesn't tell people to go murder people in a school. One of the few things Obama has said about anything that I agree with is that people should be able to access mental healthcare at least as easily as they can purchase guns.

The other thing I should mention--stepping away from gaming to gun control for a moment--is that the people who are shooting up schools and movie theaters are not the ones who are responsible gun owners. My state had a massive tragedy when 20 young students and 6 staff members were murdered by someone who had taken someone else's guns and illegally acquired some other weapons. The anti-gun coalition is only out for political reasons; the Republican tide is low and the NRA is one of the biggest lobbies siding with that party, and in a blue state like Connecticut most people would love nothing more than to see the Republicans brought down even further.
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Old 01-11-2013, 03:57 AM   #4
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Re: The current hot topic of violence in video games.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Threshold View Post
[*]Percentage of time parents are present when a game is purchased or rented: 90%

While every parent I've seen buying a game for their child is usually there to write a check, this is a bit comforting. Growing up in a house hold where my mom didn't care if I was running over prostitutes in Grand Theft Auto, I just automatically assume that all mom's are as cool as that - but there are some pretty 'strict' parents out there, I've come to realize. This statistic, in the least, might be good to use.
[*]Percentage of parents who monitor the content of the games their children play: 91%[/list]
I can't think of a single way to get an accurate survey of this.

Violent crime decreased dramatically from 1998 to 2011 (approximately 20%) while video game sales soared (more than tripling in sales from $4.8b to $16.6b)

Invalid correlation - there are a plethora of other factors contributing to both less violent crime and more video game sales.

56% of video games made are either Rated E or E10+ (For Everyone or Everyone 10+)

E-E+ games are easier to make, and easily marketable because they are, for the most part, outside the cutthroat gaming industry. Too many other correlations to make it valid for this issue.
Sorry Threshold =P I just got done reading a book about how to manipulate statistics, and it's got me to the point where I disregard them almost entirely when done by anybody but scientists in a closed, controlled environment. Anyways, on topic; I really, really agree with Casey Lynch's article in the second link of the OP. The gaming industry needs to have a voice in these arguments, and it needs to defend itself. I doubt it will stop us from being a scapegoat - but if we don't try to explain the issue, nothing will change.

I am a firm believer that video games don't cause violence. I can kill my courtesans for my money back all day and snort virtual whosit-whatsits, but that doesn't make me a bad person. Playing Call of Duty doesn't have me wanting to take an AK-47 to somebody's brains - because I know the consequences will be significantly less fun than playing Call of Duty.

And that's what it comes down to. That mental facility to distinguish between right and wrong, and the consequences of your actions. Even Grand Theft Auto usually has you come out as a good guy at the end. Everybody wants to be the good guy, and games cater to this. I don't know how they got it so twisted, really, I don't.
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Old 01-11-2013, 11:43 AM   #5
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Re: The current hot topic of violence in video games.

The nanny state nuts who want to regulate everything from video games to trans fats genuinely believe that the general populace is too stupid to take care of itself. Deep down inside, they know that 99% of people are normal and have no problem tying their shoes or making intelligent decisions about smoking, food, and hobbies, fully conscious of the pros and cons of their decisions (or at least capable of learning them and conscious of their decision not to).

But the over-regulating nuts aren't focused on the 99% of us who are normal. They're focused on the criminals, the addicts, and the mentally ill. They want to turn the world into a padded room, where even the tiny, tiny, tiny percentage of people who are psychologically unhealthy enough to actually become desensitized to gun violence by over-exposure to violent video games then go crazy and shoot people (ignoring the huge illogical leap between cause and effect) can wander the world, safe from themselves, forever thankful that the people in charge have regulated things so that the worst and dumbest and most damaged of us never have to worry about taking care of themselves. Forget the rest of us. We're too stupid to understand.
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Old 01-11-2013, 01:10 PM   #6
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Re: The current hot topic of violence in video games.

Quote:
Sorry Threshold =P I just got done reading a book about how to manipulate statistics, and it's got me to the point where I disregard them almost entirely when done by anybody but scientists in a closed, controlled environment. Anyways, on topic; I really, really agree with Casey Lynch's article in the second link of the OP. The gaming industry needs to have a voice in these arguments, and it needs to defend itself. I doubt it will stop us from being a scapegoat - but if we don't try to explain the issue, nothing will change.
That reminds me of the Benjamin Disraeli quote,
"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

On topic (i think)
This is not some collective, the game industry reflecting society as a whole is
composed of individuals. Individuals have to make their own decisions,
especially on issues regarding their personal (and perhaps fundamental)
rights. This is one of the burdens "WE" as individual members of a free nation
are faced with. Do not relinquish this burden!

Insane rant
Personally, I believe sick individuals murder not guns, games, knives or bare
knuckles. That said, I will always choose the options that maximize my
personal liberty, based on my own convictions; not those of some politician or
CEO. Assuming a choice is available.
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:24 PM   #7
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Re: The current hot topic of violence in video games.

This is basically an open letter to VP Biden from the IGDA (International Game Developers Association).

It really hits the mark as well:

IGDA Offers Counsel to Biden Task Force on Gun Violence

This part I thought was particularly interesting, and I bet it will resonate with a lot of folks here:

Quote:
The U.S. government did irreparable damage to the comic book industry in the 1950s by using faulty research to falsely blame juvenile delinquency and illiteracy on comic books. The comic book industry never recovered in sales to this day. Censoring violent comic books did not reduce juvenile delinquency or increase literacy, it decimated the production of one of the few kinds of literature that at-risk youths read for pleasure. Censoring video games could have similar unintended consequences that we cannot currently foresee. Ironically, comic books are now used as part of the solution to illiteracy, even by the government. It may seem counter-intuitive, but video games, even violent video games, could be part of the solution here, as well.
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Old 01-12-2013, 07:07 AM   #8
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Re: The current hot topic of violence in video games.

If they are serious about addressing our nations "problem with violence" a
good place to start would be ending wars of aggression based on false
pretenses.

I seems some of the games they are so concerned about [Call of Doody, etc.],
imitate (and glorify) REAL violence sponsored by governments. How many
violent games place you in the role of some special military or law
enforcement unit? How much of that violence glorifies acts committed under
the precept of some officially sanctioned (or lawful) duty?

If we have a "problem with violence", i'm not so sure our government is the
best role model or it's representatives the people to turn to for answers.

Lets engage the VP in a discussion about bombs and drones. Lets address the
most violent weapons on earth, the ones capable of quickly destroying whole
populations, then we'll work our way down to guns and video games.
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Old 01-12-2013, 07:23 AM   #9
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Re: The current hot topic of violence in video games.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Threshold View Post
This is basically an open letter to VP Biden from the IGDA (International Game Developers Association).

It really hits the mark as well:

IGDA Offers Counsel to Biden Task Force on Gun Violence

This part I thought was particularly interesting, and I bet it will resonate with a lot of folks here:

Unfortunately, when did Governemnt, as of late, ever function using 'Common Sence'?

All stretching back to around the Clinton Era, by my reckoning, have been Adjenda Driven. Enviromental Issues, Global Warming, Gun Control, Internet, Weapons of Mass Distruction, ect., ect. Never mind if the facts were wrong, if they believed it to be true in their minds it was true and the Media (especially with Liberal-minded Presidents such as Clinton and currently Obama) tend to help promote this faulty thinking as 'Truth' by inflating the issues significantly with endless repeditive stories on the matter ('If it Bleeds, it Leads' mentality).

And example of such narrowness was reported by author Michel Chriton (The Andromina Strain, Congo, The Great Train Robbery) when he spoke out against Global Warming during a Senate sub committy chaired by senators Clinton and Feinstien who were clearly irritated with him because he 'didn't say what they wanted to hear'. The present Gun Issues also fall into this catagory with both the Media and Gun Control groups 'urging' quick action to ban Assualt Weapons and High Capasity clips, practicly drowning out the facts that the mother of the shooter spent more time with the children of Sandy Hook than with her own mentally troubled son--whom she had arranged to be sent off to an institution to care for him.

I'm afraid that until something really major happens that completely destroies this manufactured view of reality we're stuck with it.


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Old 01-12-2013, 07:25 AM   #10
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Re: The current hot topic of violence in video games.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achon View Post
If they are serious about addressing our nations "problem with violence" a
good place to start would be ending wars of aggression based on false
pretenses.

I seems some of the games they are so concerned about [Call of Doody, etc.],
imitate (and glorify) REAL violence sponsored by governments. How many
violent games place you in the role of some special military or law
enforcement unit? How much of that violence glorifies acts committed under
the precept of some officially sanctioned (or lawful) duty?

If we have a "problem with violence", i'm not so sure our government is the
best role model or it's representatives the people to turn to for answers.

Lets engage the VP in a discussion about bombs and drones. Lets address the
most violent weapons on earth, the ones capable of quickly destroying whole
populations, then we'll work our way down to guns and video games.

Unfortunately, that's not very high on Joe's adjenda.

Neither is his intelligence.

It's Gun Control first. Everything else comes afterward.

Darren Brimhall
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Old 01-14-2013, 10:56 AM   #11
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Re: The current hot topic of violence in video games.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren Brimhall View Post
Unfortunately, that's not very high on Joe's adjenda.

Neither is his intelligence.

It's Gun Control first. Everything else comes afterward.

Darren Brimhall
Politicians aren't "stupid" just because they disagree with some of us. Some might argue that it's very, very smart to manipulate a tragedy and the emotions of the general populace to accomplish something on your agenda. That's really what's gone on here. The old adage, never let a good tragedy go to waste.

You'd be surprised how dumb the general populace can be in many ways. Individually, most people are all right and can get by just fine, but when you put them all together to get the general populace, you have the single dumbest entity in the universe. "OMG! People got killed with guns! Unwillingly! We have to DO something about this! To make sure this thing never happens! This isn't a time for thinking, it's a time to react! I'm supporting politicians that will DO something, so the most important thing the people in charge can do is get out there and let me see them doing stuff to fix this! I trust my government, so I'm sure whatever they say they're doing is going to work, so as long as they're doing something about this, I'm happy."
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Old 02-23-2013, 01:55 PM   #12
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Re: The current hot topic of violence in video games.

For some reason I think Muds may be exempt from the violent video game debate.
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Old 02-23-2013, 06:01 PM   #13
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Re: The current hot topic of violence in video games.

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Originally Posted by Verbannon View Post
For some reason I think Muds may be exempt from the violent video game debate.

It would depend.

Sceans of graphic violence can be grounds for getting a book banned (though the only example I can think of at the time is AMERICAN PSYCHO. However, many other have been banned for graphic sexual nature (HOGG is perhaps the best example of this--just reading the synopis on Wikipedia can be sickening) as well as the usual mindlessness of those doing the banning (as in the case of James Joyce's novel ULYSSES (1922) for obscentity alligations) which was contested in Court (United States vs One Book Called Ulysses--1933) and won in Joyce's favor.


This current leadership of American appears to jump at anything exploitable, just to further their goals and 'appearances' to the Public that they are 'doing something' about the problem. But since MUD's are text and not graphical, we may dodge this bullet--for a time. Until somebody get upset with a scean depicted, and calls their local representative in Congress.

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