Violent Video Games and Movies
Are they increasing real life violence?
The video game industry is a multi-billion-dollar industry, comprising of PC, console and mobile video gaming that creates for users, a virtual playground. Some may consider that certain games may ill-advised in playing, while others think otherwise, owing to the violent nature that most games are commonly known for. The same can be said for movies as well.
The purpose of this paper is to establish an opinion and to prove that opinion through various sources of information gathered through literary formats. The following paragraphs will use evidences in research papers and scholarly references in order to elaborate and understand whether gaming actually does incite violence among its players. Various comparisons will be used and research attempts explained in order to create factual and concise conclusions towards the topic.
The results will indicate, that violence indeed, being a part of video games and movies do not necessarily have an impact on the individual, but depends on the personality and characteristic traits of the individual.
Do Video Games and movies Encourage Violence?
Video games have, since the late 70s and early 80s, been a great source of conspiracy and debate, regarding the content being shown and the kind of activities that are encouraged of the player. Games have always been considered to be a portal to another dimension, offering a sense of entertainment and indulgence; often providing the player with an outlet to enjoy and tune out their reality for a while. Having said that, many argue that there are games that take this ideal too far, especially violent games and movies corrupting the minds of young impressionable individuals (Gunter, 1998). It was argued earlier on during the brief history of video games, that the primary objective that games encouraged was to impose a sense of violence and shoot or kill enemies rather than co-operate or bargain (Gunter, 1998). It was further added that games commonly used to play on “masculine fantasies of control, power and destruction” (Gunter, 1998). Despite the various opinions and factual claims, studies have found otherwise, especially taken since the 80s era of video games.
In the case of movies, it has been established that the causes and effects that violence necessitates, are mostly attributed to wanting to harm or injure someone. Those who are regularly exposed to violent forms of media and video games feel that it is normal behaviour to be aggressive in nature (Nagle, 2009). Although movies are more graphic representatives of violence than in games, it was found that a person’s predisposition to violence determined whether they would react negatively to a violent film, meaning that only those who are aggressive in nature, will show symptoms of being violent after watching an aggressive movie.
Majority of the present day conclusions are based on a considerable sample size of male and female audiences who were tested with violent as well as non-violent games. It was in the midst of the premature era of video game boom that the demand of video game consoles had risen. During those times, video game consoles were only accessible to the higher strata of society, owing to the expensive costs of buying one. While many rich families were able to afford one and have a system at their homes, the poorer families were not as fortunate. Due to this situation, a research was conducted, showing that those who came lower-income backgrounds had more reason to be worried, aggressive than those who came from rich families (Anderson, Gentile, Buckley, 2007). This created a bias amongst the two societal strata wherein the less-fortunate of the two categories leaned more towards aggressive tendencies than the more fortunate, richer category (Anderson, Gentile, Buckley, 2007). Hence it would be wrong to assume that those who had access to a gaming console already posed violent intentions. The violent tendencies are completely thus independent of the fact of ownership of a gaming system and is subjective of the personality/characteristics of the individual.
Based solely on the list of violent attacks occurred and the number of sold in the United States, the two numbers do not correlate, meaning that the more number of games that were sold, lesser violence occurred (Gimpel, 2013). This means that the number of video sold, despite the theme and level of violence included, does not affect the rate at which violent offences take place.
(Correlation in video game sales to rate of violent crimes. Credit: Gimpel, 2013)
Video games in fact offer better cognitive abilities as well as improve hand-eye con-ordination and decision making capabilities of the players (Gunter, 1998). While video games may be a source for violence, the level of influence it has over players is dependent on the propensity of the individual to get violent, as is with movies, music, protests etc. In the case of movies, violence shown does not affect a person in the way that most would expect, since it is dependent on the individual’s orientation (Nagle, 2009) to accepting this violence and finding it feasible to practice it.
Anderson, C., Gentile, D., & Buckley, K. (2007). Violence in Video Games. Oxford University Press.
Gimpel, D. M. (2013). Violence in video games. Minneapolis, MN: Core Library.
Gunter, B. (1998). The effects of video games on children: the myth unmasked. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.
Nagle, J. (2009). Violence in movies, music, and the media. New York: Rosen Pub. Group.