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  •  There's a complex feedback loop involved (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, MrBigDaddy, FloraLine

    wherein every single dysfunctional element in society amplifies every other dysfunctional element in society.  

    Desensitization to violent imagery, acquired through media of all forms (violence in movies, violence on tv, violence in music, violence in video games)  is one of those elements.  

    Simply spending hours upon hours of each waking day  engaged in consuming media while detached from interactive contact with other people is an element.

    What is the cause and what is the effect?  Which is the chicken and which is the egg?  I don't claim to know.
     

    •  See my above post. (11+ / 0-)

      Games are very ineffective at desensitization in any meaningful sense. Anyone who games for long becomes constantly quite aware of the fact that they can shut the game off at any time. The games which have broken this most successfully are renowned for being interactive narratives, like Shadow of the Colossus, or horror survival games, which don't so much glorify gore as they try to give you nightmares about it.

      •  'desensitization studies' search in my browser (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MrBigDaddy, Steve Canella, FloraLine, akmk

        results may not agree with your opinion.  I'm not sure, it's way beyond my area of expertise (or experience.)

        Numerous studies have shown that exposure to media violence increases aggression, though the mechanisms of this effect have remained elusive. One theory posits that repeated exposure to media violence desensitizes viewers to real world violence, increasing aggression by blunting aversive reactions to violence and removing normal inhibitions against aggression.
        http://www.sciencedirect.com/...
        It is believed that repeated exposure to real-life and to entertainment violence may alter cognitive, affective, and behavioral processes, possibly leading to desensitization. The goal of the present study was to determine if there are relationships between real-life and media violence exposure and desensitization as reflected in related characteristics. One hundred fifty fourth and fifth graders completed measures of real-life violence exposure, media violence exposure, empathy, and attitudes towards violence. Regression analyses indicated that only exposure to video game violence was associated with (lower) empathy. Both video game and movie violence exposure were associated with stronger proviolence attitudes. The active nature of playing video games, intense engagement, and the tendency to be translated into fantasy play may explain negative impact, though causality was not investigated in the present design.
        http://www.sciencedirect.com/...
        Those were the first two results, not a pick-and-choose.

        So I don't know.  But I'd be interested to see anybody argue anywhere that the constant bombardment of violent imagery, ceaseless for the last many decades, makes us better individuals or a better society.  

        •  As I said, those studies emphasize short-term (6+ / 0-)

          effects. I have yet to see anyone try anything like a long-term study.

          •  we're living the long-term study & it ain't pretty (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MrBigDaddy, akmk

            everything negative is contributing.   How much do violent video games contribute?  I don't know, but they do contribute.

            •  This is just silly. (14+ / 0-)

              Here, take a look at this.

              This graph covers the years since violent video games became popular (Doom was published in 1994, IIRC). See how the rate has soared?

              Whoops, it hasn't. It dropped sharply and then stabilized.

              If you can't show a real-world effect, don't be surprised if your claims for some vague and mystic malignant force emanating from games is laughed to scorn. I suspect it's just that you dislike games yourself and are hunting for an excuse to impose your standards on others.

              "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

              by sagesource on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 10:27:34 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  No. They don't. The chicken came first (12+ / 0-)

              ...in this case. If violent video games were any kind of factor, then Japan would be soaked in blood. Correlation is not causation.

              The problem with going with your gut as opposed to your head is that the former is so often full of shit. - Randy Chestnut

              by lotusmaglite on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 11:06:32 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  none, zero, not at all, nobody, never, nowhere? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MrBigDaddy, akmk

                My comments have been very open-ended in suggesting a complex and poorly understood feedback loop between a violent society and violent imagery.

                On the other hand, responses to my comments seem to argue that there is absolutely zero correlation whatsoever and never has been.

                I stand behind my nuanced comments as being more likely closer to reality than the absolutist replies they have received.

                •  Correlation, yes. Causation, no. (10+ / 0-)

                  If someone is bent to the snapping point by a video game, they had problems before they ever touched one.

                  This is not an absolutist reply but one that is derived from available evidence and the consensus on the effects of video games.

                  The claim to nuance and some kind of special open-mindedness is probably why you're also being accused of believing in pseudoscience; these are classic arguments made by believers in woo: "What, you can't admit the possibility that no ever in the history of the world was healed by a crystal?"

                  No. Because it's bunk, and the evidence says it's bunk. Just like the evil-video-game woo.

                  The problem with going with your gut as opposed to your head is that the former is so often full of shit. - Randy Chestnut

                  by lotusmaglite on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 11:32:49 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Correction: (6+ / 0-)

                    The woo-believer argument should have read:

                    "What, you can't admit the possibility that somebody, somewhere in the history of the world was healed by a crystal, even once?"

                    The problem with going with your gut as opposed to your head is that the former is so often full of shit. - Randy Chestnut

                    by lotusmaglite on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 11:41:10 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  If someone could decide that "Helter Skelter" was (4+ / 0-)

                    The Beatles secret code to launch a race war....

                    "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

                    by JesseCW on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 12:54:12 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Exactly someone with problems might not ought (0+ / 0-)

                    to become self-absorbed in violent video games.  

                    Can you guys think of no better alternatives?

                    •  yes, emulate the policies of the many nations (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      AaronInSanDiego

                      that don't have this problem.

                      Incidentally, this involves providing universal access to mental health treatment and restricting access to assault weapons. Incidentally, this doesn't involve restricting free speech and artistic expression.

                      •  You could, if you wanted, choose a different art. (0+ / 0-)
                        •  I enjoy many kinds of art (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          detroitmechworks

                          I only play video games when I do my nightly cardio workout. I find most television boring and I get a headache if I try to read while I'm on the bike.

                          FWIW, I also don't really care for shooters. I mostly play sports simulations, strategy games and roleplaying games. In fact, a ban on shooters would probably be beneficial to me as developers would shift their focus and resources onto the less popular genres that I enjoy.

                          But that's not the point. The point is that your assertion is simply based in speculation, not scientific evidence, and as such, it's not worth scrapping the first amendment over. Honestly, we have as much reason to listen to your suggestion as we do to listen to those insisting that prayer in schools would help.

                          And more generally, there are many kinds of artistic expression that I don't care for and believe are actually detrimental to society in a very real and extensive way, but I would defend them just the same.

                        •  one more point (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          detroitmechworks, seancdaug

                          From what I've read, there actually isn't any evidence that the killer was much of a fan of shooting games. I have read that he often played Starcraft, but that's an isometric strategy game where little space ships pew pew lasers at giant space bugs. It's essentially like watching a cartoonish version of Star Wars.

                          The image of the shooter-obsessed teenage mass murderer is simply a hysteria-driven media caricature with no evident basis in reality. It's simply the contemporary equivalent of the board game-obsessed "Satanist" ritual murderer of the 80's and the murderous, pot-crazed Marijuana "addicts" of the 30's.

                          On that note, it's worth mentioning that murder wasn't invented in the 1990's, and the fact that psychopaths tend to engage in copycat crimes (a phenomenon that has been noticeable since the 1960's, at least) likely has more to do with the way the media rewards them with attention and infamy for following specific templates.

          •  The massacre at Newtown took ten minutes. (0+ / 0-)
        •  My gut feeling is that many studies fail to (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kyril, Silvia Nightshade, DruidQueen

          differentiate.  A 5th grader shouldn't be playing a violent FPS, I think we can all agree with that.  But what about a 10th grader?  A 12th grader?  A sophomore in college?  A 30-year-old?  And we need to go beyond "good" v. "bad" - what are the effects, if any?  Desensitization?  An increased urge to commit violence?  Copycat behavior?  Those are all different outcomes.  Are certain people more predisposed to the bad outcomes?  Is it a blanket issue?  Is there a cutoff age when gaming no longer causes some bad outcomes?  Any bad outcomes?  Or do we need to take Halo 4 away from Grandpa?

          Of course, that supposes that bad outcomes can be proven at all, but I accept that some well-conducted studies are out there and need to be addressed.

          On top of that, I would love to see some of the studies take into account self-selection with some of the online communities, a handful of which can be vastly worse than basically all of the others.

          I'm not opposed to more data but often the gathering of more data on this particular issue has been deeply politicized.  It's going to be a difficult issue to get back into again without having to listen to James Dobson shriek helplessly.

          "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

          by auron renouille on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 11:46:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You guys are starting to sound like the folks that (0+ / 0-)

            say "prove to me" that man-made industry has anything to do with global warming.

            Denial is denial and it's revealing the gaming community to be highly reactive and defensive, and in some cases actually aggressive.

            •  What denial? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Stroszek, Ace Nelson, KMc

              Millions of people all over the world play violent video games and watch violent movies. Millions of people all over the world do not shoot up schools.

              Korea and China have major gaming-addiction problems. People in Korea DIE, literally, from gaming too much. What they don't have is mass-shooting problems.

              I'm not sure how much clearer we can make this for you. You can't blanket-blame games and movies for violence inciting crazies, because the evidence just isn't there. Just because it makes your world a little tidier to do or makes you feel a little better does not mean you are correct.

              People who are mentally unstable shouldn't own guns. They shouldn't play violent video games. They shouldn't drink alcohol. They probably shouldn't get into passionate Facebook arguments either. All of those things--guns, games, alcohol, and running your mouth on Facebook--are legal and can lead to bad things. What exactly is your point? The problem appears to be not necessarily the guns (I am a gun control advocate, for the record), or the games, or the movies, of the alcohol, or the jackasses on the Internet. Pretty the big factor here is the mental instability.

              Pretty sure the guy who shot up the church in Tennessee years back, and the guy who shot up the Sikh temple recently, and the guy who shot up Ft. Hood, and the guy who shot up the theater in Aurora, and the guy who shot up Clackamas Town Center last week, pretty sure NONE of those guys were gamers. I know this to be true because anytime a killer is a gamer, the media flips out about it and everyone knows exactly what game said killer was playing right before he went on a rampage (Dynasty Warriors? Really? Did the police not report the dual katanas this asshole in Connecticut was wielding? Why are we making a big deal about Dynasty Warriors? What a freaking joke).

            •  and you clearly are someone who doesn't know (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AaronInSanDiego

              the difference between rational and extreme skepticism.

              I know you think you've got a clever ad hominem argument going here, but your "reasoning" here could apply to anyone who denies anything. Do people who deny that UFOs exist sound like people who deny "global warming?" Apparently, after all, they demand proof as well and, more importantly, "denial is denial."

              As for people being "highly reactive and defensive"... yeah, classic troll tactic there. People here get irritated with right-wing talking points too. I guess that's similarly "revealing" and means the GOP is right?

              •  I'm learning that gamers really like their games (0+ / 0-)

                above all other values, just like folks who like their guns like their guns above all other values.

                Neither are necessary to a good and rich life.  Neither are necessary to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

                Both, often, in combination infringe on the rights of others to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

                •  you have yet to provide evidence (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  seancdaug

                  that the existence and availability of any video game (to adults - remember that games with graphic violence cannot be legally sold to children) infringes on the rights of others. With global warming, we have evidence - a lot of it. And with guns, they are the actual instruments used to commit violence. You haven't shown either in the case of video games.

                  "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

                  by AaronInSanDiego on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 11:38:55 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  You continue to assert things without proof. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  seancdaug

                  But again, there are lots of things that aren't necessary to a good and rich life that, on many occasions, cause harm to people.

                  People don't need their own cars. People don't need beer and wine. People don't need dogs. People don't need the internet.

                  And, unlike video games, these are things that have all been proven to play a direct role in "infringing" on the rights of others.

                  So which do we ban first? But evidently, that conversation is limited solely to things you don't personally enjoy. Of course, that's how authoritarian personalities usually operate.

                  Quick question: did you support Bush's efforts to destroy our privacy rights? After all, those awful rights were getting in the way of protecting our "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness" from terrorists.

        •  well.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DruidQueen

          "What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?"

          - High Fidelity, Nick Hornsby

          If only Michael Phelps hadn't smoked that pot...imagine what he could have accomplished with motivation and good lung capacity.

          by papa monzano on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:52:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Here's an interesting question (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AaronInSanDiego

          Is desensitization to the sight of violence even a bad thing?  People want to make the assumption that being desensitized to the sight of violence makes them more likely to commit acts of violence but if video games do desensitize people to the sight of violence but don't make them more likely to commit acts of violence then that likely isn't the case.

          Not being shocked into inaction by the sight of violence but instead being able to remain rational seems like an advantage to me.

          "It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said." "The War Prayer" by Mark Twain

          by Quanta on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:30:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  You are scrambling for an excuse to blame games. (12+ / 0-)

      Come back when you have some evidence. Remember, that evidence has to explain why the exact same media has such a different effect in every other country than the US.

      Good luck.

      "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

      by sagesource on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 10:22:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  just going to point out (12+ / 0-)
      Simply spending hours upon hours of each waking day  engaged in consuming media while detached from interactive contact with other people is an element.
      This statement, in the context of the incredibly popular online games, is simply not true. Call of Duty, Counterstrike,  TF2, WoW etc, all involve teamwork and talking to other people. They're not popular because they isolate people, they're popular because they give friends something fun to do together.
    •  Multiplicative effects (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Steve Canella, akmk, DruidQueen

      It does seem to me that there isn't one cause - as you point out there the feedback loop is complex. Games are not a root cause here. Canada has much the same options for consuming media (games included) and has very similar per capita gun ownership - yet far less mass shootings. I do not claim to know either - but I am pretty sure an investigation by congress will be less than illuminating if they have already decided on a cause...

    •  why does society have to be the cause (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DruidQueen

      Why can't it simply be an issue of innate neurological illness facilitated by free access to automatic weapons?

      Could it be, perhaps, because explanations based in the hard sciences don't give uninformed people as comfortable a basis for pseudoscientific speculation as pop psychology?

      •  Perhaps innate nuerological illness plus isolation (0+ / 0-)

        plus absorption in violent video games involving assault weapons plus ready access to such assault weapons add up to a bad formula and everyone needs to change something?

        •  "perhaps" could cover everything (0+ / 0-)

          "Perhaps" we should ban comic books, rock & roll, high fructose corn syrup, anti-depressants, rap, atheism, Shakespeare, The Lord of the Rings, gay marriage and every other scapegoat that people have speculated might be a cause of shootings.

          Or perhaps, we should stick to what we know, as a fact, actually contributed and simply try to emulate the dozens of rock music/comic/atheist/video game-laden countries that aren't routinely being terrorized by psychopaths with legally purchased automatic weapons.

          •  The slippery slope argument is based in fear not (0+ / 0-)

            in trying to do the right thing.

            •  it's not a slippery slope argument (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ace Nelson

              It's an argument by analogy. I'm not saying a ban on video games will necessarily lead to a ban on atheism, I'm just pointing out that the argument to ban video games applies equally to a multitude of other things.

              Now, review your fallacies and try again.

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