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Starlyte

Playing fair: Gamers and violence

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Nearly 5,000 people, most of them young men or teenaged males, spent last weekend in Dallas killing one another in the bloodiest fashion possible.

Aside from the occasional caffeine overdose, however, every one of the participants walked away without a scratch. A few even returned home with tens of thousands of dollars in prize money.

The event was QuakeCon, an annual gathering of computer gamers sponsored by id Software, the company behind "Doom," "Quake" and "Return to Castle Wolfenstein." And it also offered a fine example of why so much of the current fuss over video-game violence is just as wrongheaded as it was two decades back, when former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop began complaining about "Space Invaders" and "Missile Command."

The trouble is that computer and video-game critics have never paid enough attention to gamers themselves, the people who are supposedly sitting glassy-eyed in front of their screens, soaking up harmful lessons taught by irresponsible, profit-hungry game companies. In an increasingly censorious legislative environment, where many lawmakers want to ban or restrict sales of violent games, this lack of understanding is worth pointing out.

What critics consistently miss is that gaming is very much a social and community activity. This is true every time two fifth-graders rush home from school to play "Zelda" together. But on a broader scale, gaming's socializing effects are even more evident at an event like QuakeCon or at any of the hundreds of smaller LAN (local area network) parties that spring up in suburban garages and rented hotel rooms around the world every weekend.

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That's one of the most constructive video game articles I've read in some time, starlyte. thumbsup.gif

And congrats to John Borland, for his open mind.

Over here in blighty our media is slowly accepting that not all gamers are kids or fruitbats.

But in the States you have the unenviable problem of the easy access to firearms, meaning some outside the gaming community fear the loner+gun+Quake=massacre scenario.

Still, when the US team get Olympic gold for Unreal Tournament, attitudes might start to change. wink2.gif

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maybe im just a gaming dork but my response to this article is DUH! of course, video games dont make you violent. if you can't separate cartoon from reality, there is a deeper issue there to begin with.

i remember when i was a kid, Dungeons and Dragons was the evil and satanic game. when i told people i played D&D they acted like i was some sort of psychopath waiting to lunge out of the shadows with a wooden sword. the thing is that people fear what they don't understand. if they actually played D&D or Quake or Doom, they would have a basis to understand. D&D is just a group of nerds sitting around some papers and dice! most of these people who blame video games are the people who don't play them so it seems like a perfectly reasonable assumption that they cause violence- i mean, they look violent. so what? football is violent but no one treats football players like they will tackle someone when they aren't playing football? its nonsense.

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maybe im just a gaming dork but my response to this article is DUH! of course, video games dont make you violent. if you can't separate cartoon from reality, there is a deeper issue there to begin with.

i remember when i was a kid, Dungeons and Dragons was the evil and satanic game. when i told people i played D&D they acted like i was some sort of psychopath waiting to lunge out of the shadows with a wooden sword. the thing is that people fear what they don't understand. if they actually played D&D or Quake or Doom, they would have a basis to understand. D&D is just a group of nerds sitting around some papers and dice! most of these people who blame video games are the people who don't play them so it seems like a perfectly reasonable assumption that they cause violence- i mean, they look violent. so what? football is violent but no one treats football players like they will tackle someone when they aren't playing football? its nonsense.

Ive heard about the D&D suicides. one person shot himself because he lost to his brother. Oh well, thats the 1980's for ya!

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Bizarro, the point of the article is how we gamers are seen by non-gamers.

Gaming became acceptable in the UK with the arrival of PlayStation, and to an extent, the odd GTA outcry notwithstanding, non-gamers now get it's just a bit of fun.

In the States, however, there are still those with influence who blame video games for society's evils, ignoring the social aspects of gaming the article points out.

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really? wow. thanks for clarifying that one for me blink.gif

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Not a problem. disgust.gif

I make a special effort for gaming dorks. wink2.gif

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yup,these people just tend to mix the whole crazy fantasy stuff into reality.gamers like us,we don't do this stuff. rolleyes.gif i play Vice City like nobody's business and i don't just go out,take my car and ram a motorcyclist or go boom-boom around everyone.it's all up to the individual.if he's insane (or got the guts) then he'll do it.if he's got the brains,he'll just keep it in the game.

(i don't dare to bet i'm not gonna be one of them in the next 10 years though...... laugh.gif )

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I wrote a critical essay on this very subject for my advanced higher english in 6th year...

Keeping it short and sweet, the only way video games can possibly result in people actually being voilent is if they have some kind of mental problem in the first place. The average person does not play resident evil, and decide it would be cool to run around town with a gun, blowing the heads of slow moving, shuffling people, who might just be zombies.

Video game violence is a myth...there's no reason to assosiate video games with violent behavour, any more than there is to think that a certain song on the radio might be so annoying, it causes a psycotic individual to snap, and go on a killing spree. Though it's true that violent images can desensatise people over time, that's only through long and repeated exposure, far more direct to the individual than a video game.

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If someone suggested to me that because I occasionally play violent video games I have therefore become a violent person, I would have no option but to karate chop that person in the windpipe and then kick them squarely in the groin. Then jump on their recumbent body. Twice.

That was a joke. I don't know karate.

In all seriousness, I agree with you, Seraphina. The whole concept of violent computer games begetting violent actions is extremely demeaning to the vast majority of the game-playing population. As a concept it was very probably dreamt up by some very clever but nontheless very out-of-touch and very reactionary people.

I have no doubt that some lunatics do some appalling things because of what they've seen on their computer screen, but lunatics do things because their football team lost, or because their wife overcooked the chicken, or because they've just been to see Terminator, or because God told them to do appalling things.

This whole concept of violent games brainwashing people into being violent themselves is very stale and very tiresome and very condescending.

As Cufflink said, it's nice to see something written by somebody with a reasonable opinion.

It was a good article starlyte.

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