View Full Version : Do video games really turn normal people in raving killers?

18-08-05, 10:20
In the last few years video games, both of PC and for console, have changed drastically. No, I am not talking about the latest graphics and visuals, in which case I would have said evolved. Well, they did evolve, because if they didnít, then we would still be playing Pac-Man, but the evolution is not in as much scrutiny as the changes that the industry has gone through.
Video games are not just for children anymore. The average age of a video game player is now 29 years old. This number can only increase. Perhaps this is the reason why more and more Mature rated titles are out every year. Mature games with adult content have been in the market for a long time now, but they are not mainstream video games, and they cannot be bought everywhere. But the ĎMí rated games in question are big budget titles, with renown developers lending their skills to the game
Or maybe another reason for the release of more and more ĎMí rated games could be because of the merging of video game and cinema. The gap between video games and movies is closer than ever. And that has not been such a good prospect on all counts, for the video game industry certainly. While some developers have strived to make video games more realistic visually, and for the characters to look more life-like, and the environment to more immersive to provide a cinematic experience. Some developers have taken this a step further by including graphic violence and sexual innuendo in video games.
A fine example of such a game is Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. This game has raised a lot of concern among the many sections of the society, even without the release of the ĎHot-Coffeeí mod. But after the release of the mod, the religious members were offended, the politicians had a field day criticizing the game and accusing the game for being responsible for all criminal activity, parents were horrified, and grand parentsÖwell one of them went to court.
Now, one cannot debate if it right on the part of the developers to make such games. In fact, such a debate would lead nowhere. After all, one has the right to express, and games are arguably a form of expression.
Video games are not innocent forms of entertainment anymore. While there have always been people who were against video games for some reason or another, they were still innocent, in the sense that they were not supposed to have a negative impact on children, other than the fact that they spend too much time in front of the TV or a computer.
But now, thatís not the only worry for parents anymore. After having read various reports in papers about how a man became a serial killer after playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for a long time, and about the ĎHot-Coffeeí mod, they are more concerned about the content of the games than ever before.
But before going overboard about how the content has changed for the worse, let just take a moment to look at the matter a little more objectively.
Sure enough video games are not just childís play anymore, at least not all of them. But then, thatís the reason why the ESRB (Entertain Software Rating Board) even exists. So that consumers can make a responsible decision about the games they would purchase.
There really is no excuse if the ESRB rating is overlooked before making a purchase. Thatís precisely what happened when this 85-year-old grandmother decided to buy GTA: San Andreas, a Mature Rated (+17 years) game, for her grandson, who is only 14 years old.
After having committed this mistake, she went a step further by suing the developers for falsely distributing games with sexual content to unsuspecting customers.
This controversy started with the release of the ĎHot-Coffeeí mod for GTA: San Andreas. But before they accuse the publisher for developing an obscene game, one has to understand what a Mod is.
A Mod is a modification of certain sections of the game, be it characters, levels or weapons (in certain games). Gamers themselves by and large develop these Mods. A popular example of a Mod is Counter Strike for Half-Life. There are several mods available for several games all over the Internet.
And almost no games were spared from having mods with lewd content. The popular Nude Raider comes to mind, and the patch for the game, Drakan Order of Flame, which would render Rynn naked. And itís not very hard to find naked bots both for Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 Arena. But the makers of the game do not develop these. The gamers did it for their own delight. The source codes for most of the games are available online, the source code for Quake can be easily found. Which explains the abundance for Mods and arenas for the game, and its immense popularity.
So, if a gamer decides to develop a mod for GTA: San Andreas, which would unlock sex scenes in the game, then should the developers be blamed for it?
That does seem a bit unfair. After all, the gamers chose to develop it and play it, so if anyone has to be blamed, then itís the gamers. Which too is a little unfair, because itís not really against the law, and one could argue that in a free world they can chose to do whatever they want, and create any mod to their liking as long as no copyright laws are compromised. But as long as we are playing the blame game, lets at least blame the right people. There should be no reason why the politicians should be offended. After all, the gamers out of their own free will decided to develop the mod and play it. No one was compelled against his or her will to play it. So what exactly was the problem? Maybe people are too judgmental, or maybe they just canít mind their own business.
Just that there is just a little more to this than what meets the eye. The politicians step in because they have to win the opinion of the public. The religious people can never be satisfied with anything that goes on in this world, and for them freedom is a very trivial term, and sex is a crime worthy of the chair. The parents have a reason to be concerned, but not overly, all they have to do it keep a watch on the kids. The grandma, well, she decided to make some money in the process. Now thatís about all there is to it.
And about games turning people into murders, thatís plain silly.
There has been a case recently about a man who, after playing GTA: San Andreas for hours went on a rampage and killed a few police officers in the process, and said he would have killed a few had he not been apprehended. And also went on record saying that the reason he decided to commit this atrocity is because he was inspired by the game.
There has been a similar horrendous act of violence in UK, when a man, strangled a child from crying because he didnít want to be disturbed while he was playing True Crimes Streets of LA.
This is a very disturbing development. There is no doubt about that. The matter should be very seriously dealt with. But this does not mean blaming the game for the irresponsible actions of a crazed person(s).
Firstly, while the games did glorify violence, it certainly doesnít mean that the gamers should be influenced by it. Next of all, itís not a secret that these games contain excessive amount of violence. So if a weak-minded person played the game and became influenced by it, its only because they choose to be, and not because they were compelled.
For that matter, when we are dealing with such people, anything and everything could be a liability. Anything from video games, to murder mysteries can influence them, and only because they chose to be.
So is it correct to blame a video game for the actions of a person? I think not. Most normal people jut play the game and forget about it. In fact so do most passionate gamers. People who play games for 10 hours a day when they have time to do so, still manage to lead a normal life, because for them itís a passion, nothing more, nothing less.
But for a fanatic, who is relatively sensitive can be affected. It need not be video games alone.
So if someone decides to emulate the actions of a video game character to harm others in real life, then the person and only the person is responsible for it. Not the video game.
I rest my argument.

Can also be found at My Blog (http://chandu-83.blogspot.com/)
and The Village of Tokakeriby (http://p074.ezboard.com/fthevillageoftokakeribyfrm47.showMessage?topicID=1 35.topic)

18-08-05, 11:06
Dont have time to read all that so im just going to say if the game is realy bloody and groosome, and you play it too much, mabey.

18-08-05, 11:23
A decent read, I reckon whoever wrote this has pretty much hit the nail on the head.

18-08-05, 11:46
Games have absolutely nothing to do with increasing any crime. Infact they decrease it.

[ 18. August 2005, 12:48: Message edited by: Draco ]

18-08-05, 12:37
You wrote it chandu83? It's good, well written and pretty thoughful. I didn't know of some of those horror stories. :(

You know what I think?

People should not be empty buckets to take everything in the game as role modelling for real life, but unfortunateluy some people do. The question is, what can we do about it?

I think most of the "blaming the game" scene is being used as an excuse so people are not being held responsible for their own actions.

That parent that strangled the child so he could play his game would probably do it in any other occasion the child was bothering him and he thought that instead of making a child a priority and doing his job as a parent, the child should leave him alone. This has to do with what he thinks about children and what he thinks his rights as a parent are, not to what the game told him to do.

There was a horrid case more than a decade ago, where two children (but old enough to know what right and wrong is, unless they grew up locked in a basement) killed a toddler in the most cruel manner. A movie was blamed (back then games weren't real enough for the blame I guess) and soon these kids came of age they were released from their special prison and a million was spent to give them new identities and new lives!

We are living a culture where the individual is being made less and less responsible. I've seen several cases of parents that sue companies or the doctors for their children dying when it was their fault they were neglectful. I mean, a child gets a pin in her throat and the doctor who tried to save her is sued? :rolleyes:

There's also the mentall illness scene creeping in. A person can't hold a job or commits a crime, it's due to an illness in the brain they can't help.

To me it's not an illness, it's lack of knowledge, lack of moral, lack of personal responsability. But people don't want to hear that, do they, they want society to care for them.

That said, I also think everything in our culture does influence people to a degree. We cannot deny that.

People do use fiction as inspiration for their life philosophy. People admire fictional characters and wish they could be like then. You see many people mentioning how a certain hero of a certain movie inspired them to take a certain path in life. I read a story where this guy who was very neglected and abused in his childhood inspired himself in a cowboy character from a TV series movie for his moral foundation. He hanged on to that and kept himself sane. Some kids that are obviously being neglected and abused, or they would have some morals, perhaps are being inspired by the wrong stuff.

But when good people in real life are there for kids, they enjoy games as games. They enjoy Lara falls to death in game but will not think "I know, I'll try it on my sister to hear the noise it makes". http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/yikes.gif

Anyway, I wish parents/ carers would stop trusting the entertainment industry to do their job for them! I never give anything to my kid without watching it or playing with it first, even if it's tagged for babies and I go through it with him the first time and we discuss stuff that he doesn't understand, the rights and wrongs, etc. I always make sure he can tell reality from real life, I never let him believe the telletubbies were more than big guys in suits.

I also think some people should not get adult age unless they proved themselves deserving. I mean most criminals are still adults, right?

*Out off my soapbox* :D

18-08-05, 15:54
Originally posted by Draco:
Games have absolutely nothing to do with increasing any crime. Infact they decrease it. That's what i think too.

18-08-05, 16:51
If someone has it in themselves to become a raving killer, all they need is a little push. It can come from a videogame, or a violent movie, or the neighbour's cat. Games and movies do make people somewhat "immune" to violence, but I don't think it's right to say they make people violent.

18-08-05, 17:12
That was a thoughtful and interesting article, chandu83.

The underlying arguement seems to be 'is it the game/book/movie or the person who is ultimately responsible?'

It's the person's responsibility; but riding on that is the responsibility of his or her parents, teachers, friends, family and - ultimately - their entire lifestyle. People who become murderers, rapists and antisocialists are not generally born that way. The most incredible child prodigy can become either a heart-surgeon or a car-thief depending on their upbringing, their social life and associations. It is vital for us to realise the damage neglect, abuse and misunderstanding can inflict on a child - a child which will grow up under their influence.

On the flip side, it is also valid that games' content (it could be ANY media, but games are the subject here) is monitored and distributed accordingly. The people who abuse this (aka the ignorant grandma mentioned) should be held accountable. The stable door has long been swinging idlly on its hinges, but bemoaning 'negative' content when steps have been taken to warn of it before purchase is pointless.

18-08-05, 19:05
These anti-video game arguments are just like the lame "she was wearing a short skirt" argument that used to be used in rape trials. Or where viewing pornography turns people into sexual offenders! All those arguments are invalid.

The vast majority of men are not moved to rape when they see a woman in a short skirt; the vast majority of people who view pornography don't become sexual predators and the vast majority of people who play video games--even the most violent of them--don't become violent themselves. If anything, these are "safe" outlets that help people deal with any tension they might have so that it doesn't boil over into anti-social action.

[ 18. August 2005, 20:06: Message edited by: interstellardave ]

Mona Sax
18-08-05, 19:20
The whole "kids playing violent/offensive videogames" discussion that's going at the moment is pretty ridiculous. Games are rated for a good reason. I for myself want to play adult games just as much as I want to read adult books and as I want to watch adult movies. If those get in the hands of kids, it's their parents' fault, nobody else's.

Just imagine being 50 and still having to play/watch Super Mario or Pokemon.

18-08-05, 19:35
Originally posted by MonA saX:
Just imagine being 50 and still having to play/watch Super Mario or Pokemon. http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/yikes.gif Noooooooooo! Ha, we needed a bit of light relief lol ;) http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/thumb.gif

18-08-05, 19:49
There's nothing wrong with videogames! Of course they don't make people more violent or even killer. Most of the parents and grandparents who complain about many games should take a look at the age rating. If their child or grandson doesn't fit the age rating, then simply don't buy it!! With this simple action, all of these silly scandals would be over

18-08-05, 20:26
Firstly, thank you all for your comments. And yes, I did write the article.

Catlantean, I think your statement is very true. Games, movies do make us somewhat immune to violence. In the sense that we tend to take it a little casually because we keep seeing so much of it. But having said that, I donít think I would maintain the same nonchalance to violence in real life. And I donít think most normal people wouldnít. So what it comes down to is how firmly a personís feet are planted to the ground.

Greenkey2, I completely agree with you. Media content should be monitored and if there is any scope that it is not suitable for sensitive audience then it should be stated. But if the people chose to ignore it, then itís not the responsibility of the media for the outcome. Precisely what happened with the 85 year old grandmother who ignored the rating on the game and bought it for her 14 year old grandson. In such a case, the developers for the game are not responsible for her mistake.

Interstellardave, its very true when you said that video games are a safe outlet. Indeed thatís what they are, and thatís what they should be recognized for.

But when good people in real life are there for kids, they enjoy games as games. They enjoy Lara falls to death in game but will not think "I know, I'll try it on my sister to hear the noise it makes". Ė Gomes, and excellent argument. Stupidity is not an excuse. Its as simple as that.

18-08-05, 20:29
It's better to play a videogame where you can kill things/people than to do it in real life. Don't you all agree?

18-08-05, 23:10
Originally posted by Draco:
Games have absolutely nothing to do with increasing any crime. Infact they decrease it. I agree with Draco. Games (Mature games mostly) can't affect normal people in negative way.

19-08-05, 02:56
Originally posted by Boyraider:
It's better to play a videogame where you can kill things/people than to do it in real life. Don't you all agree? Yes indeed. I agree with you.