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Old 08-06-2008, 05:13 PM   #1
TimEdwards
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Default Games: Good and/or Evil?

Well after a bit of reading I've decided to bring my thoughts and discussion into here where we might all be biased, but smart. There is some required reading and then I'll offer my opinions on both and would like to see some discussion as to your own thoughts and opinions on this topic!

Reading 1
Thailand Halts Sales of Grand Theft Auto After Murder
Reading 2
Video Game Helps Young Cancer Patients Take Meds


Now after reading both articles, do I think games are evil or good? Neither. I think games are neutral as they are not created with ill intent in mind, however they can inspire uncreative criminals or "crazys" in focusing their acts. One thing that continues to bug me to this day is how people keep blaming things on their upbringing, games, media, studies and the such.

There is one key fact that a lot of people forget. People make choices. I grew up in a trailer park, was bullied, ended up with the wrong group of friends and made choices all through those times to get past it. I've been playing games literally since the day I came home from the hospital and watching crazy movies since I was seven. I cannot comprehend how people can actually get away with things like "I did it because it was like that in this game."

What about before video games? People were still committing crimes, rapes, etc, etc. They just blamed it on other things. Yes, this is interactive. So what? The game does not possess you and carry you into the street in murderous rampages, and unless you are being physically controlled by the game, you should be held accountable for your actions. As it stands right now the world is blaming everything else other than the person who committed the crime. Oh, he was beaten? Pass. Oh, he was poor? Pass. Oh, he played GTA? Pass. Truth of the matter stands that people make choices and some people are evil. Some people have no regard for human life, no conscience and no compassion or common sense.

George Bush should literally say "I played too much Risk as a child, I thought it was the same in real life." That is probably the only thing that would make sense. But people should be held accountable, games are not the murder trainer everyone seems to consider them as. Just because I can aim in Call of Duty, does not mean I could walk outside and be as amazing of a sniper. This guy's defense is rediculous and it should be viewed as such. He has motive, why would you want to rob a cabbie anyway? He wanted money, not achievement points. He committed a crime, and is now backpedalling trying to avoid the death penalty. I've yet to see someone say "I thought I could save him, I played Trauma Center." or "I thought he was a Ninja." or "I thought she was a zombie." Nope, doesn't happen.

Criminals are not smart, but they do have the basic instinct to try and save themselves in anyway they can after they've started digging their own grave. It's a basic defense mechanism. I actually bet the guy doesn't even own GTA4.

Just my .02 cents worth.

Edit: I also realize I seem like I am defending GTA4, when in fact I think it to be the least creative game of the past decade as well as I forgot to mention the Cancer kids helping game. I'm hoping someone will focus more on that instead of my blather.
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Old 08-06-2008, 09:37 PM   #2
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I think that it depends on both the game and the person playing it. Personally I don't like GTA at all, because it has no morals whatsoever and takes up the perspective of a criminal whose goal is to be... criminal. What kind of morals would that teach a person? Some would probably argue that it wouldn't affect them and they just want to try the game, but subliminally, wouldn't that leave a small message in their minds that it would be fun to do that in real life? Depending on a person's capability to control themselves they can either react to this subliminal message by subduing it or, if they have little control over themselves, end up like the kid who killed that cab driver. I would think that we need to develop games that are both entertaining and still keep the "good" and "evil" perspectives in check.

I've grown up with video games and I won't deny that a good game can get one immersed. Like Warcraft for instance, one of my favorite games. I've gotten so immersed to the game that I know more about the history and lore of Azeroth than my own country's history. XD There's always the kid in me that somehow wishes that I could have a taste of what its like to be in there. The way some of the good games present themselves you tend to carry a remnant of the suspension of disbelief into reality itself.

Now putting myself in the that kid that murdered that cab drivers shoes, I probably would've had some sort of urge to do that myself had I been immersed in GTA. Knowing my limits and, as a Christian by the grace of God, I chose to refuse to play a game without any morals and a distorted perception of good and evil. By doing so I do not endanger myself of being subject to even a small amount of unnecessary violence and end up doing what that kid did.

I agree with you when you say that the game does not possess you and carry you out into the street but we can't deny that a game, being external stimuli in a person's life, can have an influence in a person's characteristic and decisions. I do not wish that we remove games forever, because like you said, even before video games people blamed other stuff like movies, TV, and some other things but like the FCC regulates how many times "f***" is said in a TV show game developers should regulate what they should put in video games.

Based on those 2 articles, you can see that the game blamed for the killing was Grand Theft Auto and the game for the cancer treatment was a game that suggested subduing cancer cells through proper treatment was a positive course of action for the cancer patients.
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Old 08-07-2008, 08:54 AM   #3
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I love GTA IV, but I don't think it would be productive to defend it here, because I doubt anyone cares.
I agree with TimEdwards. I don't think video games are good or bad, and I don't think they influence people the way either article suggests.
On the evil side, I'm going to use a bit of a charged metaphor.

Between the two of them, I think the Bible is responsible for more deaths than video games.

Now, I don't actually believe that, because I don't believe the Bible can be held responsible for the stupid things people do, just as I don't believe video games can, or should, be.

Also, to argue statistically: When GTA: SA came out, I read in a newspaper article that 70% of teenagers had played a GTA game. 70% of teenagers haven't committed a violent crime as seen in the game, and violent crime among teenagers has actually dropped. A high-occurrence behavior can not be the casual cause of a low-occurrence behavior. Also pertainate here is the third-person fallacy. "I play violent video games, but some (other, not me) people do become violent after playing them."

Now, if a game can't cause bad behavior, it can't cause good behavior either, so I'm equally annoyed when such is attributed to them. What games can do, in my opinion and all of that, is make people think. People often claim that video gamers are 'plugged-in.' If you are not thinking while playing a game, you are doing something wrong.

Quote:
I agree with you when you say that the game does not possess you and carry you out into the street but we can't deny that a game, being external stimuli in a person's life, can have an influence in a person's characteristic and decisions. I do not wish that we remove games forever, because like you said, even before video games people blamed other stuff like movies, TV, and some other things but like the FCC regulates how many times "f***" is said in a TV show game developers should regulate what they should put in video games.
TV is quite hard, as a parent, to limit a child's exposure. A kid can turn on the TV at any time without their parent knowing, and see something they shouldn't. On the other hand, a kid can't buy a M rated game and play it without parental knowledge. I see no reason for governmental interference.

A while back I read an article, and in it, someone said "Within the next 100 years, a device will be created that will be able to hold every song ever made, and fit in your pocket, and record companies will have to deal with that." It got me to thinking, and it could just as easily have been "Within the next 100 years, a game will be made that is the most realistic depiction of a murder ever, and will be uploaded to the Internet were it will be available to anyone and everyone, and people will just have to deal with that."
It will happen, and I, for one, do not believe it will cause society to collapse into anarchy.
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Old 08-07-2008, 09:21 AM   #4
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I don't really believe, in the grand scheme of things, games are responsible for many of the things they are accused of. I can accept that some people might be affected by games in negative ways and that further study is required. However, the Byron Review illustrated a striking polarity in research conclusions regarding Video Games Violance. Furthermore, research on Video Games Addiction doesn't seem very convincing. The word addicition itself is thrown around alot without due cause too.

In a world where technology such as vehicles, kitchen appliances and legalised drugs cause statistically more visible harm video games, I think such extremes as good or evil are inappriate to the context. Are cars evil? Are roads evil? Are guns evil? Is technology evil?

Also I believe that if games were evil, the effects would be far more drastic than a spare number of murders. How many people have played GTA compared to the number of violent acts associated with it? I believe on researching this, the law of really big numbers will fall into play.

I can accept that any medium can have a certain level of influence over the viewers. Heck, most books and movies have underlying principles and messages. However, I would imagine that the effect is far too minimal to harm a healthy individual. The people who play a violent game and then immediately go outside to murder someone were proberbly not healthy in the first place. That minor influence may have pushed them over the edge. Does that mean we should ban all violent media because a small subset of people may be harmed? I don't believe so.

Of course, using computer games as a scape goat is a social thing that isn't going to go away for a while. Many entertainment mediums have suffered being blamed for everything wrong in the world...its wonderful to see humanity hasn't progressed much since the dark ages when books were burned en mass for being evil.
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Old 08-07-2008, 10:34 AM   #5
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I must say, after playing the Godfather, which borrows heavily from GTA, I do sometimes get the urge to hijack trucks and sell them for drug money.

Of course, I've never done anything of the sort. These urges are never that compelling. And an 18 year old should know better than to act on such urges and curiosities.

And I also must say, if you interrupt me when I have one heart left and I'm trying to bash the brains out of a giant one eyed centipede demon thing to tell me to take the dog out for the 10th time in a row, I am going to yell at you.

Of course, if you waited one second so I could come to a stopping point, I wouldn't have a problem taking my doggie to go pee. And even if I'm pissed, I'm not going to kill you over it.

Games are getting more and more realistic. I cannot say I fully disagree with the notion that playing videogames makes it easier to learn how to use a gun.

But as everyone knows, guns can be found floating on sidewalks surrounded by shiny yellow circles, and are fired by pressing the A button.

Most people who killed other people or themselves already had psychological issues. The guy who killed 9 people in a Minnesota school was on a variety of different anti depressants for a long time. The guy who killed himself playing Everquest had a history of previous suicide attempts, was living alone, and bought the gun A WEEK before he shot himself. The guy who died playing Warcraft nonstop already had an unrelated heart problem. The guy who caused the shooting at Virigina Tech also had a history of suicide attempts and never talked to anyone.

Could we talk about gun control for a minute? How is someone able to get a gun license before they are eligible for a driver's license, are on a ton of meds, have spent time in a mental institution and have a long history of suicide attempts? Heck, you can buy a gun before you're allowed to vote or drink! Since when did voting kill anyone?

But of course, they didn't have licenses. They found their guns hovering inches above the sidewalk surrounded by yellow circles and shot people because the game told them to.
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Old 08-07-2008, 06:24 PM   #6
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First I'd like to thank the people taking part in this discussion, it may get rowdy in here so try and take a moment to breath and gather your thoughts before posting.

As I stated in the beginning, I am not defending GTA, I'm trying to place a point on this whole problem. Will Thailand ban the internet where people can download violent movies and copies of GTA: San Andreas for PC? Highly unlikely. The fact that anyone can believe that a game can actually cause you to think it's ok to rob someone is a lie. People know laws before games. In the game there are consequences just less so than in real life.

This guy made a critical error and now he needs a defense. It's already happened in the US where someone got off clean because "a game made him do it". This whole thing reminds me of the temporary insanity claim where people get minimal time and punishment for capital crimes. I think laws need to be revisited instead of going after game companies. The problem is not the fact that a game put a knife in someone's hand... it's the laws and morality that are failing. Yes, a game can give an uncreative criminal some idea of what to work with, but they are a criminal nonetheless. Murder is murder, and a game can only give you the idea to do such a thing. You then make a judgement call, is it ok to take a life? Would I want such a thing done to me?

People kill for all kinds of reasons: Race, Religion, Difference, Robbery, Anger, Fear, etc, etc... but to think that it is ok and that you are innocent for trying out something in a game that is not welcome in the game, it is still a criminal act, then you are taking a criminal route. You choose to rob the cabbie whether it's for challenge, for money or whatever... you still made that choice and it should all be described as motive. Because you saw it in a game does not make it alright to do it, it's not an excuse, it's motive. The moment you make the choice to do it in real life, you become a criminal. I cannot stress it enough.

As people we make choices, some people make the wrong ones, we punish actual innocent people everyday for crimes they are incriminated for. Why should someone who commited a crime at all, get away with it? If they did it, like being caught with cabbie blood all over your hands, then why should they get off. I think equal rights should not be not only between people who are different, but criminals. If you take a life, you forfeit yours. Commit a crime, you do the time. It's a simple system being bogged down by politics and rights whereas it should be plain and simple. They have the right to a fair trial, but if there is undeniable evidence, why are there hearings? I suppose I am frustrated more so with laws and regulations than anything else. Gun control I won't touch with a 10 foot pole because I am too full of opinions.

Anyway, continue the discussion and remember to try and keep calm. We're all passionate about games here, but people here do have their own opinions which should be respected and carefully treaded around. It's easy to lose touch of your tone in the text and really offend someone. Just a warning, if I'm offended by a post even if it's not to me, I'll let you know to edit it! But please keep it up!

Thanks for sharing everyone!
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Old 08-07-2008, 06:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrir View Post
The people who play a violent game and then immediately go outside to murder someone were proberbly not healthy in the first place.
The people who play a violent game and then immediately go outside to murder someone don't exist. Find me one case in which this has happened.

Quote:
The guy who killed 9 people in a Minnesota school was on a variety of different anti depressants for a long time.
And wasn't a gamer.
Quote:
The guy who caused the shooting at Virigina Tech also had a history of suicide attempts and never talked to anyone.
And also disliked video games so much he wouldn't be in the same room as one being played.

Might I suggest www.gamepolitics.com? You seem to be full of misconceptions about video game violence.


What I like to bring up in these discussions is hunting. I dislike hunting, but it does make a point. Hunters don't have a statistically higher murder rate than the normal population. If actually committing violent acts in a 'controlled' environment doesn't cause you to commit violent acts in society, then I don't see how video games could.
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Old 08-07-2008, 11:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronnoc10 View Post
The people who play a violent game and then immediately go outside to murder someone don't exist. Find me one case in which this has happened.
That is actually true, there is no conclusive proof of any game having caused a murder.

However, I wouldn't immediately dismiss the notion of an already unstable individual becoming more violent after playing a violent video game that would normally have no effect to 99.9% of the population. As I mentioned, this is an area for further research.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ronnoc10 View Post
Might I suggest www.gamepolitics.com? You seem to be full of misconceptions about video game violence.
That is an interesting link, however I think you're quoting someone else
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Old 08-08-2008, 05:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
However, I wouldn't immediately dismiss the notion of an already unstable individual becoming more violent after playing a violent video game that would normally have no effect to 99.9% of the population. As I mentioned, this is an area for further research.
We can't deny that it has an effect, but then it's more of a case-to-case basis. Like Adrir said, an already unstable individual may be moved to be more violent after having played a violent game.

Quote:
TV is quite hard, as a parent, to limit a child's exposure. A kid can turn on the TV at any time without their parent knowing, and see something they shouldn't. On the other hand, a kid can't buy a M rated game and play it without parental knowledge. I see no reason for governmental interference.
Oh yeah.. I forgot about that... Its coz here in my country I don't think the distribution of games are controlled in any way. I see 8 year olds playing Vice City and I know the effects it has on them. But I won't go into that and the negative effects piracy has brought into my country.

Quote:
The people who play a violent game and then immediately go outside to murder someone don't exist. Find me one case in which this has happened.
Well the guy in Thailand seems a good example.

Hehe... Well I'd have to agree that we can't put all the blame in video games. I can find a number of things that deserve equal blame and the TV is one of them that has way more violence than any other form of entertainment. Humans find violence everywhere. I mean, they find that in the very news that's supposed to warn them about the consequences of violence. There's a funny strip in CAD about it. *too lazy to find the link*. XD
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Old 08-08-2008, 05:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronnoc10 View Post
The people who play a violent game and then immediately go outside to murder someone don't exist. Find me one case in which this has happened.


And wasn't a gamer.

And also disliked video games so much he wouldn't be in the same room as one being played.

Might I suggest www.gamepolitics.com? You seem to be full of misconceptions about video game violence.


What I like to bring up in these discussions is hunting. I dislike hunting, but it does make a point. Hunters don't have a statistically higher murder rate than the normal population. If actually committing violent acts in a 'controlled' environment doesn't cause you to commit violent acts in society, then I don't see how video games could.
I think I remember Counter Strike getting blamed for that one. But my memories get muddled I suppose. My bad. Thanks for the link
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Last edited by EvilLlama : 08-08-2008 at 05:48 PM.
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