A Summarization Of Violence In Video Games

2397 words - 10 pages

It’s no secret that violence of any form has been prevalent throughout all forms of entertainment, potentially since storytelling was the main venue. From campfires to theater, novels to comic books, television to video games, and one could say humans are simply attracted to violence. But this reading is not about philosophy (well, there is some in the conclusion), but about a somewhat controversial topic: violence in video games. It seems that violence in other media isn’t as widely talked about. With the interactive nature of these devices, some may assume the effects (especially negative ones) are amplified. Because of their usage by the perpetrators of school shootings, general media often shines a spotlight them. This has also promoted studies regarding the effects of video games, violent or not. The results of these studies are on both sides of the spectrum; games are a direct cause of violence, and games do not instigate violent thoughts and actions. Because of this wide range, the text will contain both sides of the results. The main questions this article answers are: should violent video games be available on the market? If not, should violence be in any form of entertainment?
Before getting into the real meat of this article, the history of the prevalence of violence in entertainment (and video games, of course) as well as how new forms of media are usually misunderstood and/or scapegoated for societal ills must be reviewed. Violence in entertainment has been around since storytelling. Greek poet Homer’s “Odyssey” and “Iliad” contained bloodshed. Romans watched gladiators duel to the death, a sport involving the very real death of people. Most of Shakespeare’s plays had any form of violence move it’s plot (Macbeth and Hamlet anyone?) So violence is indeed prevalent through fictional works and sports throughout recorded history. Perhaps humans are just attracted to violence. This theory has sparked the argument whether violent entertainment builds aggressiveness or people, aggressive or not are simply drawn to violence (1.). Studies discussing that both theories are intertwined seem somewhat uncommon however. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that violence has always been with us. But why is it when film and television came out, violence was a subject of controversy? It is the fact that these mediums are visual, leading the audience to witness the events going on, something plays and books are incapable of. An infamous example is from one of the first silent films: The Great Train Robbery, released in 1903. A bandit in the film points and shoots at the camera, with audiences at the time literally ducking for cover. In Shane, released in 1953, a farmer is shot and lifted off his feet and flung backwards. 1996’s Independence Day destroyed entire cities with the help of CG. Examples such as these enforced the idea of regulation, starting with the Hollywood Production Code formed in 1930. This was revised and replaced in the late 1960’s due...

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