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Violence in Video Games Essay

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Violence in the media is a very complex subject; extracting what actually causes aggression and what is just arbitrary circumstance can be a very sticky process. For instance, as a recreational player of video games, I play what might be considered violent games (mostly an online "shoot 'em up" game called Counter-Strike) in the eyes of someone who perceives what I am doing as "killing" or as violent, but there in lies the problem: I make no association with the death, killing or violence. Yes, I realize that on the screen there are guns and that to someone unfamiliar with the game it might look like mindless killing, but for me, it is truly just a challenge, a very engrossing and difficult one at that (due to the nature of the game I play, online, I am playing other people with real minds trying just as hard as I am to "come out on top"). The object isn't killing, the object is winning, competition and honing your skill, which takes practice, like anything else. Now, admittedly this is a bit tangental, but the point I am making is that it is not the actual video games that are causing these deviant behaviors, but rather outside stimuli cause the ills we are experiencing as a culture. Now, having said that, if the conditions are right, I definitely believe that video games and other types of media violence can at least influence an unstable target, but banning video games or censoring everything is not the correct approach, not given my experience, not based on the friends I have as models (given their video game history) or those whom which I have interacted with in gaming community at large (we've been under attack for some time now from these crusading Christian bible thumpers!).

Video games are an intrical part of a large percentage of males in my generation's lives and to have this outlet reduced to the whim of outsiders who have never enjoyed beating a level or vanquishing an opponent, who see these games as purely degenerative and wasteful, to me is just ridiculous. Look at parenting, look at T.V., look at the politics, look at social unrest, look at economic pressures, hell even look at video games if you really want, but to resign to the notion that some game actually causes these real life tragedies is a simply ludicrous and short-sighted in scope (90% percent of the time). Unfortunately for the quiet throngs of video game practitioners world/n...


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...ic violence in video games in recent years, I thought I would conclude by citing a piece I heard on NPR Radio that reported a study done at University of Rochester, in the magazine Nature (http://discover.npr.org/rundowns/segment.jhtml?wfId=1278017); the study showed considerably heightened visual attention skills amongst "hardcore gamers"(who played what are called "fps" or "first person shooters" in which you carry the first person perspective and can only see your gun/weapon and it's crosshair) and were even able to increase the original control group's (those that hadn't previously played video games) perceptual awareness dramatically in 10 short hours of involved training (learing to play video games). The question that concluded the piece, was one that posited whether non-violent video games could produce the same positive effects without some of the known ills of violent video games. Finally, the question of media violence, and distinguishing between what is harmless entertainment and what the possible negative effects are can include a lot of grey area, but it's important to know the facts and decide for yourself what place video games/media entertainment has in our lives.


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