The question whether video games make users more violent or not has been a topic of widespread discussion is sociological as well as other academic fields of study and practice. The depiction of violence in different forms of media including video games has become a cause for concern and alarm among parents because of the perceived adverse effects that such practice has on the children. Sociologists are researching on the impact that continuous engagement in violent video games has on different persons in society. This paper is an argumentative essay on the effects of violent video games on their consumers. A decision based on the argument of facts will be drawn from this article.
Existence of Violent sports
Extreme sport is something that has been recorded throughout history. From the instance of playing for the gladiators in the Roman Empire to more recent reincarnated versions of the violent sport such as American football, polo, and lacrosse (Discovery, 2012). The evolution of the gaming society to include the virtual world is the one way in which many game producers have managed to remove this effect from the natural physical world to the world where nobody can be hurt, except those in the virtual reality. As such, the evolution of violent sport into the virtual world shows the creativity of the producers in ensuring that people do not get hurt (or killed as in the course of the gladiator sport) but can enjoy the same adrenaline rush that comes with playing violent games. Therefore, the practice of violent video games is, first and foremost, an act of creativity rather than one that should be condemned as one that purely causes adverse effects to the players.
However, when referring to creativity, there have been many instances where the technological innovation can have negative effects. For example, electricity can be useful in that it can cook a mans food. At the same time, the power can cook the man. Therefore, the adverse effects associated with different forms of violence depicted in video games should not be taken for granted. Widespread research has shown that violence in video games has had an adverse effect on the adolescents and children involved. Among Chinese teenagers, the engagement in violent video games online is more aggressive. Moreover, there was a lower state of empathy for similar situations in real-life and a higher tolerance for violent situations (Wei, 2007). Furthermore, there was a relationship between higher exposure to violent games and pro-violent attitudes. As such, the creativity in the development of the violent video games has become the proverbial man-fryer in this case as it advances the adverse effects that are available to the different age groups.
When considering the positive and negative effect of violent video games, we cannot now say that the violent video games are not entirely bad. Every advancement in technology has both its positive and negative effects. The possibility of having a side effect that is not beneficial to the consumer can exist. As such, the existence of road accidents on the roads today cannot mean that vehicles cannot be used anymore. Therefore, it is not enough to say that video games are bad simply because they have an adverse effects as many phenomena in the world have some adverse effect. Moreover, the greater good is that there has been a reduction of physical hurt that is occasioned by engaging in physical violence that was the characteristic of historical violent games.
Violence as a Trend
It is arguable that violence is now a worldwide trend. The instances in which violence occur in the world today is impossible to miss. From terrorist attacks to tribal clashed and police brutality, there has been widespread violence against different groups of people. As such, this has become a point of capitalization by video game creators as they aim to replicate day-to-day situations in a bid to give the customers a fresh experience. The Westgate Mall attacks in Nairobi, the Afghan War among other scenes of interest have become popular in the creation of violent video games. The demand from the clients is that there is a need for the fresh new experience and a captivating. Playing heavy fire among other experiences are things that the clients enjoy and are asking for (Cuellentrop, 2010). Therefore, this becomes a point of enterprise as both the businessman and the clients benefit from the creation of such games.
The flipside of this argument is that the clients are not always aware of what is good for them. This has been shown as one of the most dangerous things that businessmen should know: clients dont know what they want until you can show it to them. This means that their perception is entirely based on your presentation of the object. As such, this means that there is the possibility of showing less violent games to clients and show them to be as interesting as any other and the response would still be the same (Mui, 2011). Therefore, stating that violence is good for business means that the perception of the business men that the better option would be to take the violent path as opposed to other forms of games including mind games and constructive games.
While considering the viable option of having less violent games in the market, there is an assertion and common-phrase which states sex sells. Despite the ability of other forms of media to sell, there is inadvertently more truth to this statement than meets the eye. In most adverts having cars, there is almost always a woman posing very attractively to sway the buyer towards buying it. As such, violence in this games can be said to be the sex in these games as there is a significant contribution that violent video games makes to the industry. Therefore, the violence in the game is just another characteristic of the gaming industry, as the culture is part of the characteristics of a people.
Boosting Mental Abilities
Video games have been known to build the mental capacity of the players involved. This has been because of the complex nature of the games that enables players to engage actively in problem solving activities and thus ensure that they are building their mental capacity in the process. Moreover, video games are beneficial to their consumers as they have been found to be able to alleviate stress, depression and anxiety (Ashley, 2015). Just like video games can have some adverse effects, there are also positive effects as they can engage in the players in other practices apart from those that cause stress to them or feelings of depression. This is because video games have been known to create virtual realities where the player can engage with other characters in these worlds. As such, they are free to do as they please within these environments and thus relieve stress. These realities are created in video games, including violent video games thus giving an advantage of these games.
On the other hand, consideration of the effect of stress is double-edged in that participants in view games can equally be over-engaged in their virtual realities, leading to their losing touch with the real world. The ability of the video game to relieve stress can cause an addiction such as the one similar to that of drug addicts. If one could review the reasons some people engage in video games, they could find that some evade responsibilities or realities of life in order to have some fun in another world. This is similar to the withdrawal that causes drug addicts to engage in drugs and remain high most of the time. Therefore, the effect is similar in a way and occasions the disability of the player.
Again, we cannot say simply because there is the abuse of a good thing then that good thing is entirely bad. Consider the use of marijuana, for example. There are medical uses of the drug for the ease of pain similar to the use of morphine. At the same time, there are people who use the same for recreational purposes and use it in the excesses to cause abuse. As such, it becomes tainted as a bad thing. This is the same effect that has been apportioned to video games; and violent ones in particular. They can serve a very noble purpose of mind building. But their negative portrayal has occasioned the bad name.
Violence as an Integral Part of Societal Formation
Many of the worlds current powers were formed as a result of conflict. Consider the World War 2 that shaped the world as it is today. The conflict that ensured during this period describes the world as it is now. The violence of that time served as an educational tool on the effects of war and violent acts that could cause widespread destruction. These scenes are portrayed in the video games and show the effects of violence on the population. Furthermore, some games show the player as a soldier fighting to maintain the peace or some sort of peace emissary or civilian helper. The player can also see that the casualties of violence in war, for example, are civilians of which lot most of the players are. As such, these games could actually have an educational effect on the people playing them. We can allude to the use of educational games in education in modern education practices today.
With regards to teaching video game players about the effects of certain violent acts, the majority of games do not post any warnings concerning the lessons needing to be learned, or any moral attachment to the lesson. Learners are expected to grasp their lessons from an inference of the facts as presented in the game. Moreover, one cannot claim to be learning from a video game as they are more occupied actually playing the game rather than looking for lessons in the course of playing. In addition, simply because the player is dressed as a soldier in the virtual reality doesnt mean that the disciplines of the soldier in reality are imparted upon the player, such as the need to ensure that civilian casualties are minimized in the case of armed conflict in pursuit of peace. These are some of the things that are overlooked in the games.
While the use of educational games has become widespread in schools today, very few lessons can be inferred from violent games. This could purely be an exercise of recreation that doesnt need to have any lessons attached to it. Whether the person spends their entire time engaging in playing the game or does it for educational purposes is up to the discretion of the user. Therefore, the intention of the user in the course of engaging in game-playing, whether violent or otherwise, is not for the judgement of those who dont engage in it.
In conclusion, there seems to be a deadlock concerning the negative effects of violent games being weighed against the positives. This is because there is an equal weight for the positive as well as for the negative. In my opinion, however, violent video games form a significant part of entertainment for people all over the world. This is similar to people who watch baseball or American football or even ice hockey some of the worlds renowned violent games. As such, wholly condemning the negatives of the game playing is not fair. In my opinion, there an negative effects as are present in different types of sports and games. This is no reason ton wholly put it out.
Ashley, K. (2015). HOW VIDEO GAMES CAN HELP WITH DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY. Retrieved from Geek and Sundry: http://geekandsundry.com/how-video-games-can-help-with-depression-and-anxiety/.
Cuellentrop, C. (2010). War Games. Retrieved from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/12/magazine/12military-t.html?_r=0.
Discovery. (2012). The Extraordinarily Brutal Extreme Sports of Ancient History. Retrieved from discovery.com: http://news.discovery.com/adventure/extreme-sports/extreme-sports-a...
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