Video Game Violence: Therapeutic Outlet or Perpetuating Violence?

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The video game world is full of wonders, fantasy worlds, and even real life scenarios that we see on television. There are games based off of television shows, popular movies, and even comic book universes. In David Perry’s speech and presentation, “Are Video Games Better Than Life?” he brought up a lot of points about gaming both from its humble beginnings to where we are today. However, he made it clear that the discussion was to be about the video game world. Are video games better than reality? This is a hard question with various and diverse answers. It is something that people from just about all walks of life have an opinion about. Through the use of a media presentation, he showed the diverse evolution of games; how since 2008, they started to become more realistic despite the fantasy storylines and worlds. Even in our world, video games have found a way to make things more realistic from the comfort of your home and television. Video games such as, NBA 2K8, The Matrix, Half Life, and Need for Speed: Underground show that reality is merging steadily with the video game universe. It was also a relevant factor that he showed the effect of more realistic games and their evolution on an actual person. It was stunning to see this person, Michael Highland, talk about how he went from an outgoing, energetic child to an almost reclusive person addicted to video games. Still, where does that lead the question of what the effects of video game violence? Is it a therapeutic outlet that gamers use to vent daily frustrations or is it something detrimental that is warping the minds of our youth to commit violent crimes?
This is an issue that can be taken from different perspectives. In Lance Ulanoff’s article in PC Magazine, Violent Video Games: Our responsibility, Not the Courts, he talks about his experiences with the issue of video games and their violence with respect to the behaviors of his 15 year old son and the laws in California forbidding the sales of Mature rated games to minors in 2010. “These games aren’t “promoting” anything. They’re simply allowing. The most popular games, like Grand Theft Auto IV offer what’s called “free play”. The ability to go where you want and do what you want in the gaming environment. The bigger the virtual world, the more exciting this can be. There are no signs, however, that tell you to punch or shoot someone” (Ulanoff). While Highland talked about how playing video games enough will “make you believe” you can actually do what you are doing inside the game, it goes hand in hand with something that Jones said in his article, Violent Media is Good for Kids. “Suddenly, I had a fantasy self to carry my stifled rage and buried desire for power. I had a fantasy self who was a self: unafraid of his desires and the world’s disapproval, unhesitating and effective in action” (Jones 195). This realization of games being our way of releasing our worries and anger onto the world being the...

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