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Video Game Violence Essay

1143 words - 5 pages

It seems like everything coming out about video games is bad. A student tried to kill his fellow classmates, and he was an avid Call of Duty player. A study has been released that proves that playing video games will turn you into a criminal. The many benefits of games and gaming, such as their possible applications to education and their ability to tell more complex stories than other forms of media, are almost universally ignored. I know better, though. Between the lifetime I’ve spent playing and loving video games, and the articles I’ve found, I can tell you that video games do not cause violent behavior or thoughts.
First of all, to assess the opposite claim: video games, especially ...view middle of the document...

In addition, many studies use games that are wildly outdated and mismatched in their studies. One such study used the games Wolfenstein 3D and Myst, both from the early nineties, and in completely genres. Certainly more modern games would be more appropriate for proving whether or not violent games cause violent behavior, and certainly with less of a disconnect between the games than there would be between a shooter and a puzzle game, which Wolfenstein 3D and Myst are respectively.(Kushner)
Furthermore, no one is using video games as any sort of indicator of possible future violent behavior. The blame only comes after a major violent incident. Partially, this is because of how ubiquitous gaming has become. A study in 1996 showed that 98.7 percent of children, regardless of gender, had played video games, with violent games being particularly popular with males (93 percent had played fighting game “Street Fighter II” alone.) That was just in 1996, meaning the number has surely grown since then. With that many people playing video games, it’s almost impossible to find a crime that can’t be blamed on video games with the “They played games, that must be the cause” argument. In truth, the only useful indicator of potential future violence (as reported in a 2007 Secret Service report) was the person in question saying they wish to perform violent acts.(Ferguson)
The next question is, if video games don’t cause violence, then why do they get blamed for violence so often? The easiest answer to that question is that the medium is new. Many forms of art and entertainment have been blamed for society’s ills in the past. Comics, movies, television, rock music, just about every form of media we can think of have been said to cause immoral or unethical behavior, and all of these claims are considered silly by most now. Beyond that, it’s also nice to have a scapegoat for these things. No one likes thinking that there’s no way to tell if someone will become a murderer or thief. Blaming video games for violence means we get an explanation, which is more comforting then it just being random. (Ferguson)
So, what good are video games? First of all, some studies actually show that video games decrease violent thoughts in people, giving people a vent for their frustrations and allowing them to release their aggression in a safe manner.(Wilson) Furthermore, video...

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