Since video games first hit the scene many people, especially parents have been concerned with the impact violent video games may have on children. Although, the gamer community tends to heavily disagree, concerning statements are constantly being made about the violence in video games. Violent videos games, profoundly first person shooter games, may cause people to become more violent. In The Joy of Virtual Violence authors Cara Ellison and Brendan Keogh explain that “violence has always been a core mechanic in video games, leading to an endless debate on whether or not violent video games encourage violent behavior in real life.” Currently, there has been no research to draw a direct correlation between these violent games and violent crimes or behavior. After doing some research my belief is that even though their is no proven relationship between violent video games and violent behavior, the “gamer” or “player” is still experiencing some negative effects.
As of December 2015 stats show that the call of duty (COD) franchise has made over 11 billion dollars. According to Money Nation Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, which was released on November 6th 2015, sold almost 15 million copies in its first six weeks(). It is with out a doubt that COD franchise has reached a large audience of people. Despite what research proves their are several stories of people acting negatively after exposure to the video game. In April of 2012 CNN released a story about a Norway mass killer testifying in the court of law that he played video games as a way to train for his shooting spree. Anders Behring killed 77 people in july of 2011. During his trail Behring claimed he played COD: Modern Warfare 2 in order to train for his terrorist attack (). Although, gamers can argue that Behring’s mental health could have been a role in his violent actions. He was still negatively affected by his participation in playing the first person shooter game.
In addition, video games have a high correlation with military skills. Scholars explain that “there is little doubt that video games represent an efficient medium for the transfer of knowledge and skill.” Proving that gamers are picking up habits and repetition with the amount of time they spend playing games. “When performing as expected by the video game scenario or script, players are rewarded symbolically with a bonus, a medal, or improved equipment etc..”…”Such rewards, combined hormones produced by the brain, provide a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment for actions performed and skilled learned.” This theory can support Behring’s allegation that COD trained him for his violent attack.
Believe it or not since the beginning of the game industry war has been a major concept for video games. It started with World War II being the setting for video games using actually scenarios(). Today studies show that, “US military personnel and potential recruits play video games at a higher rate than the general population.” Video games have been proven to improve other skills such as reflex and mathematics. Video games been so imbedded in the military that they have became the most powerful recruitment tool. Armed forces and video game developers team up to make recruitment games more thrilling and realistic. They use real footage from warzones to make battlefield training video games as well. The issue is as development continues the military is becoming less humane and more video game like. Today military personnel now have the power to kill real people at a distance with the use of a joystick. Just like in video games its no consequence for killing others. Researchers bring up questions like “how will this generation of fighters value the right to life?” “Will killing be more a attractive option than capture?” and “Will the standards for intelligence-gathering justify a killing slip?” Regardless of what people believe the answers to these questions are these are all negative effects of violent video games.
Overtime Psychologist have studied a model referred to as the “General Aggression Model (GAM).” This theory is the belief that violent video games increases a person’s aggressive tendencies. This model states that “through the process of social learning whereby the gamer develops mental scripts to interpret social situations before they occur.” I find this theory interesting because of the emotion and aggression I personally see while watching people play violent video games. If you are unfamiliar with the online gaming community it can be a very hostile aggressive environment. Especially in online games like Grand Theft Auto (GTA).
In the embedded video above you hear the anger and aggression of a online gamer. He states multiple time that he knows its just a game but that statement did not help with control his aggression. He uses explicit language, including racist, homophobic and racist slurs. All negative effects him and other gamers face from participating in this violent game.
He also speaks on trolling in the embedded video. Trolling is when someone purposely kills or destroys another persons character or property in and online multiplayer environment. From this video and many others found on the internet trolling effects people very negativity. It causes people to lose it emotionally. And Although, GTA is M-rated meaning the content is generally made for people 17 and up. There are several trolling videos online with very young boy using inappropriate and aggressive language.
Believe it or not GTA V achieved the Guinness World Records for the most prominent of the best selling videogame in 24 hours. In June 2015 the violent game sold more than 11.21 million games in the first 24 hours. GTA V made over $1 billion after just 3 days of being on sale (). This means people of all ages was receiving the violent game weather is was purchased their self or received as a gift.
To do some research of my own I decided to play both COD and GTA for a couple of days. I actually went back and played COD: Modern Warfare 2 No Russian mission to see what effects it had on me. If you are unfamiliar with that mission their is an embedded via of the mission below. After about 5 minutes of playing the mission I found myself really disturbed. It was to my surprise that my guy friend who considers himself a gamer was just as equally disturbed. I thought because I am a girl and a little more sensitive that the mission was just bothering me. However, my friend stated “He felt the mission was an unnecessary part of the game and the developers went to far. There was nothing entertaining about shooting up an airport. It’s a little to close to home.” In the embed video from YouTube the player also made similar comments like “Omg.”
When playing GTA V I was more comfortable with the violence. emotionally I didn’t feel as affected by it. I found the game more fun and exciting playing this. I do feel my aggression level was a little higher. I showed bad sportsmanship when my character died. My friend and I enjoyed playing GTA V. We spent way more time playing it and felt the negative effects weren’t as serious.
After reading up on the effects of violence in video games an doing some playing violent video games on my own I believe their are negative effects of playing them. These negative effects don’t necessarily mean going out and physically harming a person. These effects can be range from person to persona and game to game. Some of the effects are emotionally, some mental, some physical. I believe that people should acknowledge that there are negative effects that stem from violent video games and with more time and research and video game development the effects may grow.
Clarke, B., Rouffaer, C., & Sénéchaud, F. (2012). Beyond the Call of Duty: why shouldn’t video game players face the same dilemmas as real soldiers?. International Review Of The Red Cross, 94(886), 711-737.
Cunningham, S., Engelstatter, B., & Ward, M. R. (2016). Violent Video Games and Violent Crime. Southern Economic Journal, 82(4), 1247-1265. doi:10.1002/soej.12139
Ellison, C., & Keogh, B. (n.d.). The Joy of Virtual Violence. New York: Seven Stories Press.
Gerencer, T. (2015). How Much Money Has Every Call of Duty Game Made? Retrieved October 31, 2016, from http://moneynation.com/how-much-money-has-every-call-of-duty-game-made/
Ramsay, D. (2015). Brutal games: Call of Duty and the cultural narrative of World War II. Cinema Journal, (2), 94.
Sutter, J. (n.d.). Norway mass-shooting trial reopens debate on violent video games. Retrieved October 31, 2016, from http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/19/tech/gaming-gadgets/games-violence-norway-react/index.html
ZhugeEX, ·. (2016). Sales of Grand Theft Auto products have generated $2.3 billion for Take Two since GTA5 launch | ZhugeEX Blog. Retrieved October 31, 2016, from https://zhugeex.com/2016/01/sales-of-grand-theft-auto-products-have-generated-2-3-billion-since-gta5-launch/