Clash of the Titans VIII: Violent Video Games

March 27, 2007, 11:00 am; posted by
Filed under Debate, Djere, Steve  | No Comments

In this corner, defending violent video games, is Djere!

And in this corner, attacking violent video games, is Steve!

I’ve been stomping n00bs like Steve for years now. They’re all the same — whiny, liberal, gun-controlling, solitaire players who want to limit our choice in video games.

I submit there is only one option: violence.

Much like there can be no salvation without complete submission to the pope, in the same way Hot Topic couldn’t exist without teeming throngs of unwashed emo kids, and just like you can’t dominate an Enemy Territory server without being prepared to pistol-whip each and every member of the opposing clan — there can be no gaming without violence.

But you know this already. Did you ask, the first time you tried to rescue the princess, why it was that Bowser had to die? Or did you roll up your sleeves, loosen up your thumbs, and do what desperately needed doing? You didn’t sit him down with the UN Security Council, allow him to retain most of the land he had invaded, impose heavy economic sanctions on the Mushroom Kingdom, then provide the Li’l Goombas and Bullet Bills with airlifted food drops?

Did you?


You didn’t.

You waited for him to throw his hammers, and then — and only then — while he was triumphantly jumping in the air, you dashed underneath him, released the lever that supported his brick bridge, and then watched him flail and fall, screaming all the way, into a terrible grave of red-hot, unforgiving lava.

How about when those ghosts came chasing after Pac-Man? You didn’t cower in fear, right?

No! You chomped your way over to the power pellets and you digested the ectoplasm out of those spectral fiends, then you followed it up with a nice cherry for dessert.

And when Dig Dug started pumping those monsters full of whatever bizarre radiation he pumped into them, you didn’t cringe! No, you did your best to beat the high score!

If we weren’t decrying violent games, we’d be decrying violent TV; if not TV, then violent literature. If we follow the trail back far enough, pwned fools like Steve would be trying to outlaw the very history of our nation and our world — even the Bible.

Humans are violent creatures, and in moderation, venting that violent urge allows for healthy expression of our natural instinct to fight.

There are only two types of non-violent video games — the card game and the simulator. And if it comes to the point where the only social interaction you maintain throughout your week is among your Sims, not only do you need a few friends, but there’s probably a whole lot more wrong with you than with the average Medal of Honor player.

I proudly support pixel-on-pixel violence.

Now where did I leave that Tanooki suit?

What you see and do changes you.

I have a bit of an addictive personality. When I start playing a game, like gin rummy, I play it a lot. Once I play it enough, maybe a day or two, I see it when I go to sleep. The more time I spend on it, the more I train my mind, and the better I get. What I choose to experience sticks in my brain.

But as I drift off to sleep tonight, debating which club to discard, I’ll pause to wonder what’s sending others off to dreamland.

According to the New Scientist, those who play violent video games show diminished brain response to images of real-life violence. Other researchers scanned the brains of kids who played a violent video game and found increases in emotional arousal and a corresponding brain activity decrease in areas of self-control, inhibition and attention. And an APA-published study found students in the study who played a violent video game behaved more aggressively than those who played a non-violent game.

“Violent video games provide a forum for learning and practicing aggressive solutions to conflict situations,” said Dr. Craig Anderson. “In the short run, playing a violent video game appears to affect aggression by priming aggressive thoughts.”

What you see and do changes you.

I could parrot back scores of studies, but I don’t need to. You understand on a fundamental level — what we experience changes how we think and look at the world. Movies, TV shows, video games — all are growing more violent. It’s obvious that those who consume them will change, especially when the most impressionable experience the increase via an intensely personal method.

Please be very sure you understand my point. I blame video games for nothing and I don’t wish to see them banned or regulated. They are only a reflection of our desensitization to all types of sin. I also know correlation does not imply causation, so exposure to violence — even repeated, continual exposure to gratuitous violence — does not guarantee any behavior. Thank God. But high levels of violent video game exposure among youth have been linked to delinquency, fighting at school, and violent criminal behavior. Why encourage that?

Meanwhile, the industry quotes hilarious statistics (the mean age of video game players or buyers couldn’t be more meaningless) and funds its own studies, which (surprise!) fail to see the link to violence, but helpfully point out benefits of violent video games, like “identity construction,” improved reaction time, and “fantasy validation.” Who needs well-behaved, self-controlled kids when the alternative is rejecting inhibition and validating every blood-drenched fantasy? Put the computer in their room and they might never again interrupt your “me” time with pesky ‘conversation!’

Out of the heart come evil thoughts and murder, Christ said; it’s what’s in the heart makes a man unclean. And how’s it get in there? “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also . . . If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.” (Matthew 6:19-24)

What you see and do changes you.

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