The Video Game Violence Controversy

Violence in Video Games have long been a topic of debate. Many argue that violent video games influence players into being violent in real life. However, are the games really to blame?

Violence in video games has been a topic of debate for a long time. Many people argue against violence in video games, claiming that it has a negative influence on the players – that players will be influenced by the violence within the games into committing violent acts themselves. However, are the video games truly at fault?

Types of Violence in Video Games

Violence in video games come in many forms. First person and third person shooters typically involve the player-controlled character using a variety of weapons (primarily guns) to shoot down enemies. Fighting games like Street Fighter involve the fighters punching and kicking at each other until one of them has his life bar depleted. There are also the less-realistic animated forms of violence involved in games such as Super Smash Brothers and the Super Mario series. There are of course many other types of violence in video games – the ones I mentioned are just a few of the many. Of course, society views each of these types of violence in a different manner. Some are more socially acceptable than others. For example, there probably will not be any parents complaining of their children playing a Legend of Zelda game or a Super Mario game while many may have problems with their children playing games such as Gears of War or Call of Duty. However, there is a specific gaming franchise that has caused a much greater controversy than any other – Grand Theft Auto. The way in which Grand Theft Auto games realistically depict human-to-human violence has made these games particularly controversial.

The Facts

In 2003, two teenagers went on a fatal sniping spree, later claiming that they were trying to mimic scenes from Grand Theft Auto III. In the spree, one person was killed and another was wounded. There have also been cases besides this one in which Grand Theft Auto games may have been a large influence behind acts of violence committed by players.

Is this a problem? Yes. Are the games at fault? I do not believe so.

Analyzing the Problem

It is undeniable that video games, specifically Grand Theft Auto games, have played a big role in influencing people into committing violent acts. However, these cases are extremely rare. The truth is that almost all players will be able to play violent video games without turning violent themselves. The idea that the influencing occurs only in extremely rare cases suggests that the problem lies not in the games, but rather in the natures and characters of the influenced players. Perhaps those influenced player just happened to be of a character and nature that made them so vulnerable to the games influencing their actions in real life. It is difficult to blame the games when most players are able to get the full entertainment out of the games without having the games influence any of their real-life actions. It just happens to be that, on very rare occasions, a player will allow himself to be influenced into acting violently. It is like a side effect of a drug. It happens, but it is very rare. No one will try to bring down the drug company for the very few cases in which it does happen. Likewise, no one should try to bring down a gaming franchise for the very few cases in which a game negatively influences a player’s real-life actions.

The fact remains that almost all video game players are able to enjoy the full entertainment of violent video games with no problems. The games do what they need to do – entertain the players – without having any problems, except for a few very rare cases. In those few very rare cases, the problem is the player, not the game. Players should be aware of what they can handle and what they cannot. In the end, the players themselves should be responsible for their own gaming – and the potential consequences of it.

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