Back Talk: Connection between video games, criminal acts cause debate

Violence in video games inspires criminal behavior

by: JONATHAN BROOKSHIRE/Feature Editor

There is nothing else in the world that is more influential than entertainment.

Movies have viewers leaving the theater feeling invincible. Music has listeners singing along, and violent video games lead to violence.

Imagine playing the new game, “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.” Guns, knives, new equipment to murder with, and war are what the game is based upon. War is the best example of violence. And what do kids want to do after they play a couple rounds of a team death match? They want to reenact how they managed to get the last kill by holding up a finger and acting like they are in the game, shooting their sibling or friend in the head with their imaginary bullets.

Maybe adults and teens are better behaved when playing violent games. They should know better that what is in a video game is just a game. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

In August 2005, the court case “Strickland v. Sony” focused on whether video games, more specifically, “Grand Theft Auto,” played a role in the 2003 shooting of two police officers and a 911 dispatcher.

In 2003, Devin Moore was being detained in an Alabama jail for allegedly stealing a car. When he was in the jail, he attained an officer’s pistol and killed two officers and a dispatcher before running from the scene.

The multi-million dollar court case made headline news, and even got a “60 Minutes” TV special.

So how do video games influence people to be violent?  Entertainment is very influential, and like a form of mind control. Just like music has people singing the lyrics from songs, video games can change and control the actions and behaviors of people as well.

Video games are meant to be an escape from reality. However, many of the video games out today are pushing the boundaries of how “real” a game can actually get. Games such as “Grand Theft Auto” put the player in an urban city with depictions of actual companies, cars, landmarks, and other things. “Call of Duty” places the player in the shoes of a soldier on the front line of battle, combined with gruesome graphics and a bevy of weapons.

Sometimes, the reality of the game can be blurred, and the players believe they can do what they can with their thumbs in real life.

Maybe people take the games too seriously and go too far. Taking lives because they thought it would be fun, or a muse and a rush, is the problem with the influence of violent games in its most dramatic form. However, games are meant to be – in a sense – “mind-controlling” in the first place.

Just like many educational games that teach children how to count, learn shapes and colors, add and subtract, the violent games also stick with the player and is stored in a part of the player’s brain. When a similar event presents itself in reality, that part of the brain – just like with educational games – comes into play and recognizes the video game. The behaviors and actions in the game tend to reveal and transcend into the real world, making the player of the game violent.

Violent games do make for violent actions.

Video_game_controller_icon_designed_by_Maico_Amorim copy

Violent acts have no connection to video games

by: RILEY GOLDEN/Staff Writer 

People like to connect dots between violence and video games.

I firmly believe that these dots are nonexistent. Take it from someone who has been playing all kinds of video games throughout his whole life. I have never committed an outrageous, violent attack on anyone. That being said, I think it’s prudent to follow video game rating guidelines, to a certain extent.

Young children are much more susceptible to acting out things they see in movies or video games because of where they are in their learning and behavior at development. So, to an extent, violence in young children could be linked to the playing of violent Teen or Mature-rated games. But that’s not to say, in general, that video games equal violence. When I was around the ages 8 to 10, I liked to play a fighting game, and if I ever yelled or got into a fight with my sister, my dad would point his finger at that game, and eventually he stopped letting me play it for a couple years. Now, at the age of 19, I have played games ranging from chainsaw-ing aliens in half “Gears of War” to playing through a terrorist attack on an airport “Modern Warfare 2,” and I can guarantee you that I have not done either of these things in real life.

But people don’t just come up with ideas all willy nilly. There’s a reason these ideas are out there. Some people just cannot mentally handle video games. I’ve heard of someone playing too much “Grand Theft Auto” and then going out in the real world and acting as if he were in the game. Is someone who is mentally healthy and in the right state of mind going to do this? No way!

It’s almost like the age-old argument about guns killing people. If you put a gun in a psycho’s hand, he’s probably going to use it like a psycho. But a gun in the hand of a mentally healthy, trained person is going to be used only necessarily. The actions of one psychotic person are not an outright example of the whole populous.

Aside from video games leading to violence, people also like to say that, if anything, video games desensitize players to violence. Not true. I can chainsaw a million aliens to death, or shoot up the same airport (in a video game) a thousand times. But that does not mean that I am desensitized to violence, and that I would be unfazed watching the cartel remove someone’s head or watching a school being shot up. This is cartoon and fictitious violence. Even though it likes to look as real as possible, it is, in fact, not real. But some people will allow this line to be blurred. Maybe 3 percent of the world, if that, will have this problem.

Video games do not lead to violence 100 percent of the time, and to state that anything does is foolish and ignorant.

 

Author: Plainsman Press Staff

The student newspaper of South Plains College.

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