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Apokalupsis
November 17th, 2003, 10:30 AM
From an interview I did with [FOD]Zealous:

1.) What is your full name? (For the sake of siting source)
{hidden to protect the innocent} :)

2.) Lt. Col. Grossman, an army officer specializing in "Killology", says that video games are "murder simulators" that practically train kids to be immune to all types of violence (Source). How do you respond to his accusations?

Lt Col. Grossman has a valid point in games such as "Postal" and perhaps others like it, where you are the criminal killing innocent people or mugging them. These video games are far and few between however.

Also, it should be noted, that the graphic violence in movies far surpasses that of video games. I wonder what sort of studies Grossman has conducted on the movie industry?

3.) Do you think parents are fully aware of the ESRB rating system? Should they be aware?

I don't believe most parents are aware of the rating system. I would imagine that most who even know it exists, are not aware of how it works. Yes, I believe that all parents should know what these ratings mean. I believe it is a useful tool that can be used by parents to monitor their children. There is nothing available that will be perfect, but what is available, should be understood and used.

4.) Some studies seem to show that aggresiveness, anger, and deliquency are results of video game addiction. Do any of these studies contain merit?

I am familiar with some of those studies. I've publicly refuted a couple of them and showed how they misused data to reach their biased conclusions: http://www.ez-company.net/forums/showthread.php?postid=91613#post91613

Also, the more popular video games should be looked at through the years, not the uncommon ones. Shooting games have been around for decades. Crimes from handguns didn't increase until late 80's, came back down a few years later, and are at the lows we had in the early 70's. Yet, video games have become more graphic.
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/guns.htm

Look, any sort of addiction can lead to negative social behaviors. Singling out video games doesn't sound very reasonable when addiction to almost anything can be harmful. It's not video games that should be attacked, its "addiction" (in anything).

Why not ban all alcohol? People who are addicted are self-destructive. Why not ban guns? People use guns to hurt others. Why not ban all pain killers? People who use them can often use them just to "feel good" because they are addicted. Why not ban certain foods (like fast food)? People who are addicted to it are unhealthy. Ban movies because some kids emulate the violence they see on screen. Ban all music because some kids enact some of the violence they hear through songs.
See a pattern? These things, like video games are not bad in and of themselves. But when someone abuses something, negative results will occur. To ban all of something, because 1) a little bit of it is bad or abused, and/or because 2) some people who are not capable of maturely distinguishing between reality and fantasy...is rather absurd. Let's ban all religion because some people do negative things in God's name.

That point aside, something that you don't hear much about are the positive results that may occur. http://www.msnbc.com/news/919010.asp

5.) Some sources claim that video games teach kids "how to kill", giving them expert markmenship with handguns before they even pick one up. Do you think any such claims are true? Why?

I'm unfamiliar with those studies. However, the only games that could possibly even be considered for this type of study, would be that of video game shooter where the player has to hold a game gun. There is no possible way to become a "marksman" by holding a game controller. I also question the study because a game gun and an actual gun are quite different.

Weight, grip, recoil, load times, trigger weight, etc...all are completely different on a game gun than an actual weapon. I've yet to see any actual and objective study that has been conducted by reputable researchers. As pointed out in the above link, many researchers use scrupulous means to come to the result they wanted to.

6.) Studies have shown that about 70% of E rated games contain violence in some fashion or another. Is this significant?

No. All violence is not equal. To state that x amount of games contain "some form of violence" is like suggesting that Disney is a violent movie producing company because after all, there's some form of violence in almost every Disney animated film.

Our children's bedtime stories have violence (3 Little Pigs for example), cartoons for kids have always had violence (good guys vs bad guys...even Mickey Mouse cartoons). Hanna Barbara and Warner Bros' cartoons are now guilty of "being violent". It's absurd. Let's claim sports are guilty of violent as well. Football players tackle each other, kids watch football, see the violence, and will as a result tackle innocent children and hurt them. No one ever claims such nonsense because it's an illogical argument. But it's "hip" or "pc" to attack video games.

I wonder why no one complained about video games when they first started in the 70's? They were just as violent. While today's games are more technically advanced, the premise is still the same. Good guys vs bad guys.

However, it is true that there are some games that you are to be the bad guy and hurt innocent people. I don't condone such activity or game. I believe it to be wrong. This type of violence is quite graphic, and includes shooting, stabbing, mugging, etc... innocent people (women, children, bystanders, etc...). There are various levels of violence. This is one that goes beyond that line of acceptablity IMO.

7.) Do you believe the media is accurately portraying video games? If not, why do you think the media is in-accurately portraying video? Is it intentional or ignorance?

Accurate in its reporting about the effects of video games? If so, then no. They often cite bogus studies mentioned above in that link. They don't care about the facts, or how the study conducted its research. But they'll report it as absolute fact because it's the "in thing" now to attack video games.

Instead of concentrating on the mental development (or lack thereof) of kids and how these same kids are susceptible to almost any form of influence and will easily succumb to abuse, they attack what it is they were addicted to. Well, what happens when the symptom is removed (video games), but the cause is still existent (easily influenced, parents not being parents, susceptible to addiction, etc...)? They will find something else to abuse or be addicted to. The media and special interest groups will attack the new "flavor of the month", and the cycle repeats.

8.) As a creator of an online gaming community (www.ez-company.net)and an adult, why do YOU play video games?

I've loved games ever since I was very young. I played text based games on my computer before monitors were invented. We used printers only believe it or not. Even when monitors came out, they displayed only a few colors, so graphics were very limited.

But I love the challenge. I love the roleplay. For the past few years, I love the idea of integrating challenge and roleplay with teamplay and live interaction with other players. Online games have revolutionized the gaming industry.

As far as specific games, I prefer realism. I don't get excited about lasers, plasma cannons, etc... I want a game to be as realistic as possible. Day of Defeat is a WW2 based game that pits allied squad members against axis squad members. They fight for control of a town or to destroy/protect an objective for a given period of time.

Also, I enjoy seeing the latest technology. Graphic technology advances 2-fold every 16-20 months. Many games that are graphically advanced attempt to be as realistic as possible. It's amazing what is available today. The slightest details are attempted to be recreated (shadows, textures, sounds, etc...). And when you can immerse yourself into another world like this, and play with people from around the world in this new world, it can be quite exciting.

This doesn't mean that it can replace the real world. This doesn't mean that it is better. In fact, while I do promote video games, I wish kids played less than they do. I don't hear about kids playing "guns", cops and robbers, baseball, football, riding bikes, etc... as we used to when I was young. Some of my best memories come from the interaction I had with my childhood friends. I think this interaction is necessary for healthy development. But, it's not video games to be blamed, it's that addiction we have been talking about.

I believe there should be more parental supervision. Like a parent monitoring and limiting Television watching, the same should be done with game playing IMO.

Kids need to get out more, exercise, have fun with friends in PERSON, explore their creativity.

In this instance, I suppose video games have hurt society. The good thing is though, that not all kids are addicted or abuse their available time by playing endless hours of video games. I don't know the percentages, I couldn't quote a source.

I simply feel that addiction in anything is wrong...but that "anything" should not be held accountable...the child and/or parent should be. Video games are not "drugs" to be outlawed...it is entertainment (like TV) to be monitored and limited.

Swedish
November 28th, 2003, 12:25 PM
Very nice. :)

Xalpharis
February 14th, 2004, 03:45 AM
When I was a small child, I enjoyed playing Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter. When I was a young adolescent, I played Goldeneye and Doom. Today, I play Medal of Honor: Frontline and Return to Castle Wolfenstein. I am not a violent person, nor was I during my childhood. I never wanted to hurt people, and I was raised around guns. I never even considered the thought of using a gun against another person. My parents never monitored what games I played, or even told me which games I could or could not play. Yet I never stalked through my high school or workplace with a assault rifle. Everyone has been called "fag" and picked on in school. Does that entitle the media and critics to blame Doom for school shootings? Whatever happened to the term "severely disturbed individual"? Even if kids didn't have violent video games, they would just look for other outlets to release their disturbed behavior, whether it be violent crimes, or strangling neighborhood cats. Blaming video games for violence is not only misinforming, but unethical.

INSANITY
February 14th, 2004, 04:04 AM
well once a couple years ago i lived in Rhode Island and because of the school i went to i could only watch or play video games on weekend, and i could acually see the difference in my behavior than it usualy was. the same for when i was visiting my grandparents they said i couldnt watch and violent TV and i could feel the diference, i was much more polite and peaceful. i think it is true that video games and TV have some affect over your behaviors.

Babaganoosh
February 18th, 2004, 09:53 PM
This type of violence is quite graphic, and includes shooting, stabbing, mugging, etc... innocent people (women, children, bystanders, etc...).

I've yet to play a game where you can stab/shoot children, but that would be kind of funny.

I'm gonna shank you good Billy!

mrs_innocent
February 20th, 2004, 10:51 PM
Blaming video games for violence is not only misinforming, but unethical.

I see it as more of a cop out. I too have played many 'violent' video games in addition to watching countless hours of violent movies, yet I'm 'normal'. I don't run around beating people or even wanting to (okay, maybe I want to every now and then, but only if they really tick me off ;)) What alot of these censorship groups fail to acknowledge is that children are the responsibility of their parents. Of course, it's impractical for anyone to expect a parent to watch their child every second of every day, but the bottom line is what they're getting at home. If a child grows up with no morals instilled, no boundaries, and only the examples they're getting from media, I can see potential. That's when it becomes up to the parent to intervene, IMO. I can see where certain trends might be attributed to famous people and such, but not violence in video games....

ZealousDemon
February 26th, 2004, 05:58 PM
Hey guys, here's the essay I created from the interview. It's a shame Apok never posted it.

It's a good and long read, so get yourself a glass of water and a snack, and have fun.

----------

On December 1, 1997 in Paducah, Kentucky, 14-year-old Michael Carnael killed 3 students and injured 5 others with a .22 pistol. Lt. Col. Grossman, a professor and creator of the field of “killology”, had the following to say. “Michael Carneal... had fired thousands of bullets in the video game 'murder simulator.' This superhuman accuracy, combined with the fact that he 'stood still', firing two-handed, not wavering far to the left or far to the right in his shooting 'field', and firing only one shot at each target, are all behaviors that are completely unnatural to either trained or 'native' shooters, behavior that could only have been learned in a video game... These kinds[s] of video games provide the 'motor reflexes' responsible for over 75% of the firing on the modern battlefield.” Some commentators believe that the Paducah and Littleton tragedies are examples of how video game violence has lead to outbreaks of real world violence (Espejo 7). Other commentators dispute the claims that violent video games are a cause of youth violence, arguing that the vast majority of violent video game enthusiasts do not commit real acts of violence and instead use video games to express their frustration and anger.

A few studies seem to support the opinion of many that violent video games are bad for children. A study by the American Psychological Association shows more delinquency with gameplay and lower grades. It also stated that gameplay increases violent behavior. The National Institute on Media and Family also ran their own study, and their conclusion was that violent video games increases physiological arousal, aggressive thoughts, aggressive emotions, aggressive actions, and decrease pro-social actions. They do however believe that many educational games such as SimCity offer their merits (Video Game Violence). The organization, Children NOW, ran their own study to try and confirm their opinion. Their study said that video games cause isolation, loneliness, obesity, belief in stereotypes (racial and gender), and increased aggressive behavior. They found that 89% of content of top-selling games are violent in nature, half of which is serious. They found that killing always seem justified with rewards. Also, they stated that 79% of the E-rated games contain violent content.

Many people show their concerns that violent video games are a big cause of youth violence. One example of a concerned individual, Janice Kelly, a professor of technology and popular culture, stated, “As soon as you get that gun in your hand and you start to shoot, you don't even think if that's an innocent person or not. And so we become callous after conditioning of playing these games.” Some people have suggested warning labels similar to those on cigarettes that playing violent games can increase aggression.

However, video games are not as bad as these studies and opinions seem to say. In order to understand why, we first need to understand why violence is in many video games.

A video game is an interactive environment that requires struggle towards a goal. If there is no interaction, it's a puzzle. If there is no goal, the players have no reason to choose one option over another. If achieving a goal isn't a struggle, if winning is easy, the game is dull, and winning is no fun. Struggle implies conflict. If there is no conflict, there is no struggle. If there is no struggle, there are no obstacles. If there are no obstacles, there is no work. If there is no work, there is no fun. Violence is an easy way to create conflict.

Violence is and should be a part of a designer's toolkit, but it is neither necessary nor sufficient. For example, the game “Postal”, one often brought up for it's extreme violence, such as killing innocent people without reason, has no struggle in it, and therefore it sold very poorly. Violence used artistically is effective, violence used crudely is vile.

Now that we know why violence is in video games, now we will look at why the violence in these games are not a threat, and why this is even a big of an issue as it is.

We've been through these phases before, folks. Parents are finding the new medium intimidating, and the media latches on to this to get viewers and money. Attacks are based on pure ignorance. Lt. Col. Grossman, mentioned before, stated that these video games are teaching kids expert marksmanship before they even pick up a gun. This claim in completely false. The problem with Grossman's argument really just comes down to the real nature of games, it's doubtful he's ever played these games before. He claims that these games teach you to use just one bullet per person, and aim for the head. Most violent games to not teach you this. In reality, in many of the games he's argued against, there is no damage difference between the head and the body, and also, it can take multiple shots to kill a single enemy, more or less depending on it's health.

Also, all violent video game gamers are doing is blowing up pixels, bitmaps, software subroutines. What gamers are doing makes them less likely to be a threat. They're satisfying antisocial impulses, existent in human nature, in socially acceptable ways. Dave Cullen, a reporter from salon.com, did a report about video games and found out that the Columbine shooters lust for violence came from training with real firearms, not video games. Many of the studies connecting violent games with real violence also use younger children. While it's been shown that 5-year-olds will chop each other up after playing a karate game, young children are highly impressionable by just about any stimulus.

Also, many other studies conflict with those connecting video games with violence. 10-year-old gamers who preferred a lot of violence scored higher on depression tests, not violence tests, meaning they were withdrawn, not aggressive. One study shows that violent games make children more assertive in their life, but not violent. So violent games may actually be helping.

In the media frenzy following Columbine, many tried to understand why the shooters did what they did, and video games came up, and seem to connected. There was a huge flurry of cultural issues being worked on in Congress afterwards, and video games were a target. The Federal Trade Commission was sent to make a report at the “culprits” in the media responsible for youth violence. The report ended up calling for greater media regulation. Surgeon General David Satcher was next to make a report. If his report had been negative, the industry's defense would have been killed. The LA Times said they received a leaked draft of the report and it stated the report told that video games “play an important and casual role” in the violence. The report ended up saying the connection was very weak in reality. Only when kids were younger than 10 was the connection even mildly strong. After the report was released, the report got relatively no attention from the media. Had the report been negative, it would have been all over the news. Even the weakest reports against video games have garnered headlines.

Even though these games are not as threatening as the media says, parents should still be aware. Industry surveys find that 85% of those under 18 have their parent's permission to buy video games. That suggests parents either don't know enough about games or don't care. Parents are usually not aware of the games kids are playing.

The ESRB rating system for video games should be used by parents to determine whether or not their child is mature enough to play a certain video game, however, most parents don't use it. According to a poll by the Federal Trade Commission, 45% of the parents who know of the rating system don't even use it. The rating system is very good, and according to other polls, the ESRB ratings are actually even more conservative in ratings than public opinion. Parents should use these ratings, as data suggests that kids are much less at risk for violent behavior and delinquency if they play staring playing violent games much later, during adolescence.

I had the chance to e-mail 33-year-old (name removed to protect the innocent), founder of the online gaming community “EZ-Company”.When I asked him about a some of Grossman's claims, such as video games desensitizing kids to violence and teaching gun marksmanship, he had a few things to say. “Video Games such as 'Postal' may desensitize kids to violence, but such games are far and few between...The only games that could possibly [teach expert marksmanship] would be that of a video game shooter where the players has to hold a game gun. There is no possible way to become a 'marksmen' by holding a game controller. I also question [Grossman] because a game gun and an actual gun are quite different.” I told him about how Children NOW had claimed that 79% of E-rated games contain violence, and asked how he felt about that. He had this to say. “All violence is not equal. To state that x amount of games contain 'some format of violence' is like suggesting that Disney is a violent movie producing company, because, after all, there's some form of violence in almost every Disney animated film.” I asked him about parents and the rating system. “[These ratings] are a useful tool that can be used by parents to monitor their children. I don't believe parents are aware of the rating system. I would imagine that most who even know it exists, are not aware of how it works.” I then asked him why, he as an adult, enjoyed playing video games. He said, “...I love the challenge. I love the roleplay. For the past few years, I love the idea of integrating challenge and roleplay with teamplay and live interaction with other players.”

Now that we have dismissed the myth that video games create violent behavior, is it quite possible that games are actually good for you? I believe it is. Why are games good for you? They provide a unique learning environment. They provide an interactive complex entity that is accessible at low cost and zero risk. Let's look at chess for a moment. In truth, there is no intrinsic difference between chess and a video game. Parents would praise anybody addicted to chess and proclaim what a genius they were, yet it's just the opposite with video games. If you look at all the evidence real closely, it really boils down to one thing. Kids like video games. Parents have a tendency to believe that if a kid likes something, it's bad for them. While it can be true with many things such as food, it is certainly not the case with video games.

INSANITY
February 27th, 2004, 12:07 PM
its somewhat hard to compare chess to a violent video game. in chess you capture peices, thats just moving your peice to the place of the other peice and taking that other peice off the board. chess is also mentally stimulating, if you dont use your head while playing chess you dont get anywhere. while in a violent video game you acually see in great detail the killing of the other "piece". also in a lot of violent video games theres no strategy, you usually run around shooting or killing things.

ZealousDemon
February 27th, 2004, 12:56 PM
also in a lot of violent video games theres no strategy, you usually run around shooting or killing things.

That's really very false. If there was no strategy in most of the violent games, people would all be at about the same level in games. Play CS, DoD, UT (especially the non-DM gametypes such as Capture the Flag), and then tell me there is no strategy in video games.

agricola
March 4th, 2004, 12:41 PM
That's really very false. If there was no strategy in most of the violent games, people would all be at about the same level in games. Play CS, DoD, UT (especially the non-DM gametypes such as Capture the Flag), and then tell me there is no strategy in video games.


AGRICOLA: there is strategy in some video games. like on eof my favorites is hitman 2. you can go through the game like a psychopath and murder everyone in your sight, but then you get ****ty ratings. the best part of this game is that you can strategically walk through this game and you only have to kill the targets. you can create diversions, and change clothes, and move through the levels while walking alongside the enemies, and you get awesome ratings and win cool weapons if you attain hitman status.

but on the other hand, take the james bond game, nightfire. its pathetic. the only strategy in this game is how many bullets to save for the rest of the level. you kill anything that moves basically. in some levels there is innocent civilians that you cannot kill, but still. you can walk into a room reallize that there is a lot of enemies in there, back out and sit beside the door and open up into them as they take turns walking out of the room. strategy??? not likely.

Swedish
March 4th, 2004, 03:12 PM
Zealous, spanking good essay. So good, that I might have to plaguraize it. :D

Now, if only my parent's could be convinced that playing DoD won't result me into turning into a MP40-wielding Nazi gunning down innocent teenagers...

Anywien
September 24th, 2004, 05:37 PM
well once a couple years ago i lived in Rhode Island and because of the school i went to i could only watch or play video games on weekend, and i could acually see the difference in my behavior than it usualy was. the same for when i was visiting my grandparents they said i couldnt watch and violent TV and i could feel the diference, i was much more polite and peaceful. i think it is true that video games and TV have some affect over your behaviors.
IMO, if violent video games and movies effect your behaviour, there's probably a problem with the way you handle your emotions. No offense intended, of course.
I have been playing violent video games ever since I was about six, and people are constantly telling me how well behaved and polite I am. I've been watching violent movies ever since I can remember, and again, I've never had any problems with those either. I believe that it's not necessarily the content of the game which causes the problems, but rather the attitude of the person playing. Personally, I'm sick of people blaming violent video games for violence displayed by people.
If a teenager goes out and shoots a bunch of people, chances are there was something very wrong with him or her in the first place, and regardless of whether or not they played violent video games, they would probably have done it sooner or later anyway. IMO, the problem lies within the person playing the game, not the game itself. The game isn't telling you to go out and kill people, it's just a recreational activity. Your reaction to the game is your own responsibility, not the responsibility of the people who made the game.

Fyshhed
September 24th, 2004, 05:58 PM
I believe it has been psychologically proven that Video Games do not have adverse effects on people, in fact, it helps stimulate reflex responses and abstract/strategic thinking.

I also believe it has been psychologically proven that those facts are false.
Psychology is so vague it's fun ;)

Pibs
September 25th, 2004, 07:52 AM
Human beings are naturally predators, we have in-built desires to run around killing, gaining loot and whupping the butt of our enemy.

These games pander to a demand, they do not create the demand.

No-one for example has produced a game about watching paint dry, because no-one would buy it. People WILL buy games where they get to spray a room with an Uzi, drive like a maniac, lob grenades into confined spaces and drop bombs on people.

It's fun. It appeals to our base instinct.

We have other base instincts, like eating, having sex, sleeping..

Who is more grumpy, someone well rested, or someone tired?

Which is more dangerous, a well fed lion, or a hungry one?

Who is more likely to rape, someone happily married or a miserable loner with no sex life?

We know in countries with loose laws on pornography that their sex crime rate is low, we know well fed lions are unlikely to seek an aggressive encounter, we know both bears with sore heads and tired people can be snappy.

Which is more dangerous, a young kid with unfufilled base desires, or the same kid well fed with simulated action?

The games pander to a need, they fufill that need, thus removing the deeper, more sinister need to actually create the scenarios.

In the short-term aftermath, you may well experience a blend of game with reality - play a racing game shortly before driving and you may drive a little faster, let the engine breath a little before changing up and perhaps brake that little bit later for the bends - for about 10 minutes perhaps, then you settle back into reality. Long term, you're simply releasing frustration at traffic jams, speed limits etc.

Modern life is almost too easy, too safe, without the stimulation and excitement we're built for. Video games, like the movies before, the story telling before movies and the dancing before story telling and the upbeat music before dancing, are simply a good way to let off steam without scalding anyone.

You COULD just punch heck out of a pillow, but that gets stale fast.



P.