The Impact of Violence in Video Games
Violence in the computer games is an actual and essential problem for the public. There is an ambiguous opinion on this matter. Is it possible to consider it as a positive factor or as a negative? How does the virtual violence influence the player, and does it influence in general? This paper will analyze the situation which has developed up to the present time and will answer these questions. The people who discuss this problem are divided into two groups. The first one believes that virtual violence affects people negatively and it should be forbidden, which means it is bad. Others have the opposite opinion; bloody computer games are a safe alternative to a real violence that means it is good. There is also the third category of people, but they do not argue about anything – they just play.
Violence often takes place in video games which makes the main objective of games to cause pain or murder. Murders and firing into people have always been present in video games. For example, it is possible to consider such games as “Wonder Boy” or “Space Invaders”. These games are among the first games where violence was found. In these games various monsters and other beings are to be killed, and the main character of these games is to be able to operate various arrows, swords, etc. Is there any violence in these games? It undoubtedly exists. However, the degree of violence in the earlier developed games was much less than in the modern games and, as a result, there was less psychological pressure on the players. Such games as “Mortal Combat”, “Doom”, “Wolf stein” are the first games that contained graphically represented details of death, blood, etc. which had a destructive impact on the players’ thinking, provoking aggressive emotions and inadequate behavior. One of the psychologists noticed that, “young people, who were inclined to aggression by their nature, could be extremely vulnerable in relation to the aggression which was present in video games” (Sherry 14).
The researches showed that violence in the video games has more impact on the women than on the men (Gentile, Saleem and Anderson 54). Generally, girls face violence much less frequently and have less experience with cruel video games, and therefore their reaction to aggressive games may appear much stronger than the boys’ reaction. It is known that boys and girls react differently on video games. The players’ age plays much smaller role in cruel video games because the impact of such games is identical on both adults and young players. The distinction is that violence in video games less often influences the older people and it is less shown in their subsequent aggressive behavior (Dill K. and Dill J. 36).
The heads torn off the body, eyes beaten out from shell burst and many other things – all these things can be seen by the gamers again and again while playing one of such games. All the images have been issued and painted very well according to the latest art level. All these images look colorful and realistic. This saturated visual information with prevailing red color is perceived by the player’s brain while playing and this information does not “depart from the head farther” – it remains in the brain and accumulates there (Whitehead). Why does it remain in the head? Because our brain remembers everything what is the brightest and most extraordinary, things, which happen not every day. Deaths and murders, especially occurred through a partition, body breakdown, rupture of a body, etc., are impossible to be called ordinary events in any way, and this occurs not every day, too.
The trouble is that a person cannot order anything to his/her consciousness, here he/she is powerless; he/she does not notice what is happening inside him/her exactly not through a consciousness prism but purely objectively. This is intentionally exaggerated explanation of the influence games have on people. In a word, games do not pass without a trace. They give emotions, experience, feelings to other players. The constructed huge city in SimCity (a city simulator) and overcome competitors tests bring pleasure of the achievements, and the player becomes though a little but more competent and more skilled economically. However, what does the player of Quake feel after having played for five or six hours? The player does not feel anything but fatigue in the fingers and stupid bestial and low pleasure that “all the reptiles were presoaked, and the last was crushed by a press!” (Gentile, Saleem, and Anderson 57).
Despite of this, the results of various researches concerning the impact of video games have always been inconsistent. In spite of the fact that cruel video games represent danger to the society, the violence, presented in such games, is far not the only reason of it. There are also other factors, which promote intellectual and emotional deviations of the players. These factors include the parental neglect, unsafe environment, intimidation, etc. All these factors may become the reason of wrong development of the players and provoke aggressive behavior.
However, there is also an opposite opinion on this problem. Any normal person understands that it is a game. He/she understands the convention of events as in real violence no convention is present. In the real life the person can easily die of “the caused harm” (Whitehead). In case with computer, it is possible to judge “the infliction of harm” only in abstract forms of violence; for example, blood, human dying sounds, immovability of the murdered, and so on. Logically it is not clear whether destruction of the opponent’s forces is harmful or not. As could be seen, this opponent sends the player his pets to be torn to pieces, and he derives pleasure from it. Otherwise, he would allow the player to pass the game from the beginning to the end without any shot, giving him an opportunity to find easily all the keys from all the doors and to watch the final prompt – the film. However, the matter is that sense of the game consists not in the final prompt. It consists of the process of reaching the goal by people whatever abstract it was. Only having undergone extreme difficulties and having reached the end of the game, the person reaches a summit with pride.
Real violence means causing harm to someone real. In case with games, it deals with causing harm to something, as all computer enemies are mostly imagined or virtual. The players see the image of the enemy and, owing to their life experience or by means of logic, they understand that this is their enemy. Then they watch the behavior of this enemy, start to fight with him, win and feel satisfaction. Or there is another variant – the players start to fight, lose and it serves them a stimulus for further continuation of the game. Eventually, when they kill the hated enemy, they derive even more pleasure from revenging for all the offenses.
At last, there is the third counterargument: the effect of violence. The result of a real violence is, as a rule, death, mutilation, spiritual wounds as well as pain, rage and hatred, which generates, in its turn, even more violence. The result of virtual violence is not any of the listed. The enemy that was just killed by the player, revives very quickly again, and it is necessary to begin a new game. The virtual death is not fatal, and that is its radical difference from the real death. This difference erases the facts to consider the given type of death to be the evil. The player does not experience the rage to the enemies and treats them purely utilitarianly, the same as, for example, the hunter (it means the hunter, living by hunting, instead of killing for the sake of entertainment) treats the victims.
By now more than 1000 researches, carried out by the leading institutes and experts in the field of psychiatry, had collected conclusive proves that the cause and effect of the relationship between violence on the screen and aggressive behavior of a certain group of children exists (Dill K. and Dill J. 34). The conclusion of the doctors’ community that was received as a result of more than 30-year scientific search affirms that watching the scenes of violence can lead to the development of aggressive feelings, reactions and behavior in children (Sherry 16). Moreover, the long watching of cruel scenes may be the reason that a person becomes insensible in relation to the violence in real life (Whitehead). Two systems for video and computer games were created to reduce negative impact (Gentile, Saleen and Anderson 57). These systems subdivide all the games depending on the level of violence, perversity of speech, the degree of heroes’ nakedness, the use of drugs, presented in them. It helps the parents to define what games are suitable for their children. In spite of the fact that many resolutions on the video games were issued, a lot of time will still be required to make them operate.