Here’s a linkover to my previous blog post from six months ago on the subject. To those who read that one, consider this part 2. To provide a bit of context to the topic title, read this article on Gamespot. Finally, here is the original tweet from Ms. Couric that many gamers have already started replying to.
I want to begin by saying what almost everyone who’s answered so far has said: Given how you (Katie) presented your opinion piece on violent video games, it’s hard for normal gamers to take your tweet at face value. You pick someone who wanted their 15 minutes of fame and assume all who play violent video games either do or eventually will fit his criteria. I know his name but given what he did I will not bring any more attention to his name.
As an aside, anyone who claims violent media they chose to partake of on a daily basis for hours on end was the inspiration–or in the case of video games the training ground–for committing an act of violence is both a liar and a loser. They are a liar for many of the reasons already said via Tweet but most importantly, they didn’t need the “inspiration” the violent media provided. They are a losers for not taking ownership for committing the violent act. They didn’t have a problem committing the act itself so why make excuses when you get the attention you were looking for?
In answer to the main question “Can violent video games contribute to violent behavior?”, the answer is both yes and no. Like everything else it depends on the person. The ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) has gone above and beyond to educate consumers to ensure they are well aware of what they might find in every video game they purchase. Game purchased from Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft’s respective online stores also receive an ESRB rating. It’s even more than what the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) does for movies! Why? Because of news media and political pressure. Ever since Columbine, gamers who play violent video games have lived with a stigma. That stigma is the unjust and unwarranted assumption by the general public that due to the type of games they play, a “sudden change in behavior” should be viewed as the precursor to an iminent act of violence. There is also the baseless assumnption those who fit the criteria of a sociopath play violent video games. Again, untrue.
I am of the belief those with violent tendancies should avoid violent media of all kinds. Children under thirteen and children with certain psychological disorders such as ADHD should not be exposed to violent entertainment unsupervised. For just about everyone, their first encounter with violent media is the same as someone smoking their very first cigarette. Once they get accustomed to it they are less apprensive to it even though they know it’s not the healthiest thing to spend alot of time on. The main difference is of course there is no physical dependence in regards to video games whereas there is in cigarettes.
Moving on to young adults, there is a competativeness when it comes to playing FPS (First-Person Shooter) games like Call of Duty online. It has nothing to do with the violence itself: It’s proving yourself against the rest of the world. It’s really not much different from playing Bingo in a room with 200 other people. Whereas in a Bingo tournament there’s usually a cash or item prize, in most online matches it’s just bragging rights. Both also play to what I said in my previous blog on the subject: Humans by nature like to compete with each other regardless of the venue or medium. That’s how you see how far you’ve gone and how much further you need to go.
Instead of trying to justify your opinion piece Katie, try talking to gamers. A few sites I can recommend you start asking around on are Gamefaqs, MMO-Champion, Fantasy Anime, Court Records and Serenes Forest. I am also willing to make myself available if you’d like to continue this discussion further.