40 years of Violence

40 years of Violence

The debate over video game violence correlating with real world violence rolls on.

GTA V - Gameplay, Screen Grab
GTA V - Gameplay, Screen Grab

violence – noun


​actions or words that are ​intended to ​hurt ​people

The debate on Video games causing people to commit acts of violence seem to have surfaced once again. BBC’s Horizon show is airing tonight at 20:00 in the UK and will once again look into the issue which seemed to have initially surfaced in 1976 with ‘Death Race’. 

The argument in it’s purest form, seem to be that gaming can cause a desensitisation to violence and reduction in empathy. So maybe, if that is proven across a full human demographic we will know more.

But the real question to my mind is to what quantifiable levels is a benchmark empathetic response set at? Furthermore, what is the benchmark level of sensitivity to violence. Whilst these challenges still exist within research into Gaming violence leading to Real Violence I think the questioning will still exist for the foreseeable future.

Gaming, like other associated media such as Film, TV, as well as more traditional arts such as writing, music, dance, painting and photography is arguably successful when it can illicit a human emotional response.

Historically many of the aforementioned have been involved in state censorship due to the reactions they caused in people. Be it based on grounds of taste, religion, public unrest etc…

So wrapping up. Yes i’ve smiled as Joffrey Baratheon choked on Game of Thrones. I’ve found a lump in my throat as the murderous Mafiosi, Michael Corleone died in The Godfarther. Definitely, i’ve chucked the odd controller across the room in frustration when playing Skyrim. But those responses are why I enjoy artistic expression. It’s arguably, empathy which draws you into the artist’s/creative’s vision. I simply can’t buy into the argument that heavy media censorship is a positive action in any circumstance.

It’ll be really interesting taking these thoughts with me to EGX on Thursday 24th September. I wonder if the fantastic and continually expanding demographic of game genres would exist if peoples personalities were manipulated by the games they play.

I enjoyed writing this one & would really enjoy hearing your responses! – JP