Video Games Cause Violence: The Controversies & Anxieties

Video games have become a new medium for producers and creators to manufacture a storyline or alternate reality, similar to other medium’s such as novels, television and film. Unlike the interaction an individual has with a movie, television show or novel, video games involve a more physical interaction to the medium where a player controls the actions of the character. Due to this ability to control the character and their actions, video games have been at the centre of various studies regarding the player’s interaction with the game and their behaviour in real life.

Either it be content within the games or the resultant behaviour from playing these games, the Call of Duty series as well as the Grand Theft Auto series have been the centre of video game related media concerns. The violent nature of the games have caused an outpour of criticism from those not involved in the “gaming community”.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has come under massive scrutiny over it’s inclusion of the depiction of a massacre carried out in a Russian airport. In 2011, Anders Behring Breivik claims in his manifesto that he used Modern Warfare 2 to perpetuate the Norway Attacks that occurred on July 22nd. This ultimately lead to the removing of the game from Norwegian retail chain Coop Norway’s shelves.

Grand Theft Auto has copped a lot of criticism for its inclusion of drink driving in Grand Theft Auto IV and V, as well a torture scene in Grand Theft Auto V, and over all sexism across the series. There have also been a number of cases in which families have held Grand Theft Auto accountable for the deaths of their loved ones.

In 2005, a lawsuit was brought upon the makers and distributors of the Grand Theft Auto series claiming the games caused a teenager to shoot and kill three members of the Alabama police force. Dylan Moore, 17 at the time, had stolen a police gun and killed three police officers, then fled in a police car. Lawyer Jack Thompson, claimed it was Grand Theft Auto ’ s graphic nature—with his constant playing time—that caused Moore to commit the murders, and Moore’s family agrees. However, on March 2006, the case was dismissed after Thompson attempted to sought damages from Sony, game publisher Take-Two Interactive, Game Stop and Walmart.

Personally, I believe that its the individual or player and their personal upbringing that causes the actions, and that the video game is merely being blamed as the central cause of behavioural changes. In 2011, Maria von Salisch had conducted a study on youth in Germany and found that aggressive children tend to select more violent video games but found no evidence that video games cause aggression in children. I do believe that purchasing violent video games may further violent ideas, but those ideas that were already contained in the player.

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One thought on “Video Games Cause Violence: The Controversies & Anxieties

  1. Pingback: Grand Theft Auto: Sex, Drugs and A Whole Lotta Controversy | theory of a madman

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