Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thank Heaven's for Mom's Basement

Interesting paper from Cunningham, Engelslatter and Ward about the effects of violent video games on violent crime. What stands out in this authoritative looking study is that rather than increasing crime violent games seem to actually decrease it as reported in Slashdot to cheers from the gaming community.

This is not good news for gamers however. If you actually read the study it strongly supports the argument that violent games increase violent tendencies. It is just that people who spend a lot of time playing games don't have time to go out and commit crimes in the real world. In simplistic terms: Violent video games are breeding a nation of psychopaths but as long as they stay in Mom's basement we will be safe.

As a parent who is also a committed gamer I have quite confused emotions about violence in games.  I do want the world to be a safer place and I shun violence in the real world. Yet my gaming is almost entirely based on violence . Indeed I quickly tire of non violent games like Peggle and World of Goo. I have justified my predilection for violent gaming as a safe way of relaxing and a safe outlet for any innate aggression I may have as a result of my cave man ancestory.

I do find there is a level of gratuitous violence that I am not at all comfortable with. I play games to kill the bad guys and rescue the world. I get no extra pleasure from pixelated representations of torture or mutilation. I do not like games that glorify their violence. I generally avoid playing purely evil characters but I have even more difficulty with characters who portray amoral indifference to violence.

No comments: