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» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » sexual and violent video games set aside, do you think this is different? (Page 1)

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Author Topic: sexual and violent video games set aside, do you think this is different?
Sancselfieme
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I know what many free speech advocates will say about video games today, especially the violent, sexual ones, but there is a type of video game, IMO, that goes beyond violent into borderline "evil." What I am talking about are video games that depict nuclear attacks as legitimate courses of actions, especially more than one. Since it has been somewhat proven through psychological study that these games do somewhat de-sensitize children to violence and sex, etc., is it worth free-speech to have a generation growing up that takes the nuclear bomb less seriously and might actually think of using it unprovoked or to attack?


In light of Bush creating two new nuclear weapons, developing the missile defense shield which is absolutely ineffective thanks to Russia's new PAWS, and increasing tensions with North Korea and Iran, we must be mindful of how the next generation will treat the ultimate weapon, one that can more easily destroy mankind with fewer warheads as each year goes by.

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FiredrakeRAGE
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You've got to be kidding. I'll just assume this is a troll [Smile]

--Firedrake

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Pete at Home
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I'd rather see videogames that trivialize the danger of nukes than of guns or bad driving.

Correct me if I'm wrong -- I can't find any study that actually proves this, but it seems to me that Kids these days are less likely to get their hands on a nuke, than on a car or a gun.

Is that just my neighborhood?

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Sancselfieme
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But the population is what votes, they give their "mandates" to candidates through the ballot box, and while gun deaths can number many, nuclear deaths would number infinitely more. Firedrake, I am not saying they should be necessarily banned, but I do have cause for valid concern. It's disturbing that you assume I am merely trolling.
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LoverOfJoy
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The video game addicts are probably among the least likely to vote and much more likely to have problems with cars and guns.
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Pete at Home
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Agreed. And I am not sure how a nuke would be able to show enough in your face carnage to appeal to them.

As for the two new nukes -- are these tactical nukes, like bunker-busters? What's wrong about using those to nail some terrorist WMD stash? You're talking a big net saving of life.

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Adam Lassek
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quote:
The video game addicts are probably among the least likely to vote and much more likely to have problems with cars and guns.
Holy Generalizations, Batman! [Eek!]

Remember most gamers are adult males, not teenagers.

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aupton15
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Holy Generalizations, Batman!

Oh, I'm laughing!

Generally I think the consensus is right here. IF you were going to censor the content of video games, gun and vehicle related violence would be the first to go. If you've actually played any video games recently, you'd know that this isn't the case. As for the nuke situation, I don't think the people making those decisions are going to be impacted by the video games they play, and I don't think they're going to be influenced by the people who vote for them. If anyone ran for office on the platform of using nukes, they wouldn't get elected. So even if the gaming populace did vote based on their feelings about video games, I don't think they're going to find a candidate who is "pro nuke".

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Haggis
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The "Civilization" series of games by Sid Meier has nuclear weapons in them. In the game a nuclear attack is a "legitimate course of action", and they can be used as many times as you want, just as soon as you develop the technology. I would hardly characterize these games as "evil". Besides, video games these days do a good job of rating themselves to make the consumer aware of their content.
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Sancselfieme
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You think ratings matter? Most of the M-rated games I have seen have their biggest audience as those under 18. Stores either do not enforce the ratings system or adults simply buy the games for children, after all, they're harmless games right? Like I said, the reason I even began to think of this is that I think this is one aspect of the violent game concern that has been overlooked, not that guns and other forms of violent aren't bad, I don't think there has been nearly enough concern and restrain regarding this. As to people seperating reality from games, why has that not happened with other avenues of deviance? I also don't buy the argument that most "gamers" are adult males, I would say there are probably far more adolescent males than adult males.
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Adam Lassek
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quote:
Most of the M-rated games I have seen have their biggest audience as those under 18.
Valid point, but premature criticism. The Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association has
pledged to create tougher standards by December
to forbid the sale of mature games to children.

Unfortunately, many of those who decry violence in video games are shooting themselves in the foot.

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Kilthmal
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I agree. We can't have children being traumatized by violence porn like this image. Also, as the human race advances we need to get rid of filth inciting even more destructive acts.
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Haggis
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quote:
You think ratings matter? Most of the M-rated games I have seen have their biggest audience as those under 18.
I think that the rating system is an essential tool for the parents who choose to be involved in the lives of their children. I am not saying that the rating system is a panacea for keeping kids away from violent video games. Yes, some parents don't do their homework and yes, some stores sell these games to minors. I play some games that I would never let a child come within ten city blocks of playing. A rating system is not perfect, but I do find it preferable to the banning of games based on content alone.

As to the issue of M rated games and who plays them, is this your opinion based on anecdotal evidence, or is there statistical data to back up this claim?

quote:
I also don't buy the argument that most "gamers" are adult males, I would say there are probably far more adolescent males than adult males.

http://www.economist.com/business/displayStory.cfm?story_id=1189352
quote:
According to a survey carried out by the Interactive Digital Software Association, 60% of Americans play games, either on consoles, handheld devices or PCs. Of those gamers, 61% are adults; 43% are women; and the average age is 28.
http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m4021/is_2002_May_1/ai_88679445
quote:
Computer gaming isn't what it used to be. Not long ago, the typical players were scruffy teenage boys shooting at TV screens in their basements. But with the online gaming explosion of recent years, gamers have become a more sophisticated lot, and are now more representative of the general population. More women are participating, and older people as well, many of them professionals. According to Nielsen//NetRatings, 41 percent of people who frequent online game sites like GameSpot, Candystand and Pogo are women, and 43 percent are ages 25 to 49....
More significantly, about 35 percent of players on those sites earn $50,000 to $100,000 annually, while 16.2 percent take home more than $100,000.

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6072813/
quote:
Video game players are getting older. Over 64 percent of Sony PlayStation 2 owners are over the age of 18, according to Sony. 
By the way, how many games have a nuclear exchange as part of gameplay? I can only think of a few: The Civ series, NukeWar and B-1 Bomber (waay back on the Commodore 64), and Missile Command (although the purpose was to stop nukes, not launch them).
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Kilthmal
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In Missile Command I'm pretty sure you are lobbing nukes to kill other nukes. Starcraft also has nukes. Fallout has as its premise a post-nuclear world, so it sort of has nukes. Command and Conquer: Generals has nukes AND suicide bombers.

Kilthmal

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Adam Lassek
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Wait, soooo let me get this straight. By playing CnC Generals, I will become pro-nuke? I'm not getting the point of this thread.
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Politius
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i agree with Pete, i just did a search on yahoo! and every one of the sites that tells me that kids are desensitized says= ...Studies show" but can't give me a name, date or official who carried out or supervised the study.
IMO, I don't think you can PROVE in ANY WAY that video games desensitize kids. s

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Zyne
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Personally, I have more of an issue with video games that depict violence on a person-to-person level. Massive weapons give death beyond the comprehension of most of us, especially kids. But games where you kill the hooker, or even kill the bad guy, play out situations that are or will be within the experience of the player. It seems to me that any carryover into real life would be in the latter.
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stayne
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Funny how the moralists generally forget that games have always made light of serious things. Or does anyone here think it's 'good' to bankrupt people, ala Monopoly? Murder, ala Clue? Conquest ala Chess? Killing sailors and sinking ships ala Battleship? Swordfighting and killing ala D&D? Let's not even speak of the level of violence and mayhem in the average comic book!

In the past, there was considerably more violence in children's entertainment than now. Do none of the adults here remember the childhood games with toy guns, or even BB and pellet guns? Cops and robbers, cowboys and indians? Elmer Fudd blasting Daffy with a shotgun? So homecome now that we're getting rid of those things is violence _more_ of a problem?

Games are not the problem. They never have been. They are a _solution_ to the problem. Games give children the opportunity, through play, to work out aggression in a safe environment. They are safe channels for minds that naturally turn to agression, while those minds grow and learn better means of conflict resolution.

That being said, there are, IMO, some games that are unsuited for children, just as there are some movies that are inappropriate. GTA and its clones are not, IMO, appropriate for children. Ditto for Hitman. They have very mature themes, and letting children play them is much the same as letting them watch a violent R rated movie. Parent need to use judgement in this matter.

Moralists, too, should use judgement, however. Calling for bans of GTA is no different than calling for bans on movies. I is absurd to expect adult society to conform so that children may venture anywhere they like. Rather, parents must accept some level of responsibility for what their children are permitted to take part in.

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TCB
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Politius said:
quote:
i just did a search on yahoo! and every one of the sites that tells me that kids are desensitized says= ...Studies show" but can't give me a name, date or official who carried out or supervised the study.
IMO, I don't think you can PROVE in ANY WAY that video games desensitize kids.

You may need a special search engine for that kind of research. I did a quick search on the journal database Web of Science and found an article. You may need a university computer to read it. Here's the reference:

quote:
JB Funk,HB Baldacci, T. Pasold and J. Baumgardner, Violence exposure in real-life, video games, television, movies, and the internet: is there desensitization?, Journal of Adolescence 27 (1): 23-39 Feb. 2004
and here's the abstract:
quote:
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. The samples’ relatively low exposure to real-life violence may have limited the identification of relationships. Although difficult to quantify, desensitization to violence should be further studied using related characteristics as in the present study. Individual differences and causal relationships should also be examined.

I did a quick search and found quite a few articles out there. I don't know what the psychologists' consensus is, though.
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LadyKat
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I agree with you stayne.

A couple rather groggy thoughts:

The world is not a nice place and it isn't getting any nicer. Games are a "kiddie" version of the world. The onus for raising good kids falls squarely on the parents. We have become entirely too much a “pass the buck” society. How can we expect kids to learn how to take responsibility for themselves when they don’t even see their parents taking responsibility for raising them.

Nobody should be allowed to “review” a game that they haven’t played. Critics don’t write about movies that they haven’t seen or books that they haven’t read.

We are a market driven society and there is a rather solid market for these games. This leads to one of two conclusions, either there is nothing wrong with the games or there is something wrong with the society that purchases them. It then becomes much easier to blame the games than to reevaluate ourselves.

All of that said, the question becomes “is there a too far?” I definitely think that “too far” exists but I would rather the line be defined by consumers saying “enough!” than the courts saying “no, no Johnny you can’t do that, it’s bad.”

Laws should not be morality guides. Laws represent the very least that we expect from those around us, not the better or best that we hope for.

Funny thing about most kids that I’ve ever been around, they tend to live up to expectations. If you expect the worst then that’s probably what you’ll get, but if you truly expect good things from them, and they know it, they will do nearly anything to justify your faith in them.

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thegreatgrundle
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Penny Arcade (an extremely funny webcomic written by a couple of gamers), recently gave their opinion on this matter. This pretty much sums up how I feel, too.

There's some harsh language, so if that's not your thing, I'm warning you now.

Comic

Here's the news post with a quick explanation of the comic in the first paragraph.

As for nukes, I've always preferred the satellite-based ion cannon myself. The nukes do surprisingly little damage. So much for the ultimate weapon, eh?

[ December 05, 2004, 02:35 AM: Message edited by: thegreatgrundle ]

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SpencerHR
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I agree with Stayne on the games being a solution for agression. Many times when I was growing up if I was angry at someone, instead of doing something to hurt them, I would go play a violent video game instead. In fact, I've never even heard of anybody becoming violent because of playing violent video games. I think much more likely is kids getting into a violent culture, and certainly one that disrespects women, through inappropriate music. There are a hell of a lot more kids trying to pretend they're P. Diddy or Jay-Z than Gordon Freeman or Master Chief. I think part of the difference is the marketed audiences of these media.

That being said, I think both "problems" (if you consider violent video games a problem) are a symptom of the real problem, which is a lack of personal and especially parental responsibility. Good parents wouldn't let their kids play violent video games if the kids couldn't distinguish fantasy from reality. It's really unfortunate that in our society, we look for scapegoats like video games, while the real causes of our problems, like decaying family and failing to raise our children properly, go neglected.

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FiredrakeRAGE
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Sancselfieme -

It took me a moment to enunciate the reasons I felt you had to be trolling. Then it came to me – you’re talking about repealing the First Amendment for the dumbest reason I’ve ever heard! You're talking about trading up the First Amendment for an attempt to instill in youth the exact things that parents should already be imparting to them. I hate to pull a ‘slippery slope’ argument, however, I believe it does apply in this case. Where would it end? No war movies? No female roles at all (to discourage lewd behavior)?

More to the point, who should decide? The majority? Who will protect the speech of those who are in the minority?

This is one reason we're a Constitutional Republic, and not a Democracy.

If a majority of the population feels that having food in video games affects obesity, they still would not have the right to ask the government to ban video game producers from producing those works. They could, of course, express themselves by refusing to purchase the products (or purchase for their kids...).

I would add, as a sub note, that the Bill of Rights was created with the clause that the rights articulated by the Bill of Rights were 'declaratory and restrictive clauses' required to form the new government. While the Constitution allows amendments, I believe these ‘declaratory and restrictive clauses’ are sacrosanct, pending the dissolution of the Union.

Speech is protected – but through interpretation of the First Amendment, speech which incites to criminal action is not protected. The right to bear arms is protected – but through interpretation of the Second Amendment, licensing is required. Occasionally the Judicial branch makes choices that are possibly more restrictive than they should be. The required moderate makeup of the Court, the public outcry, and the requirement that the Judicial branch merely interpret the Constitution acts as a stop on this power. The Judicial branch and the ability to amend the Constitution allow for change throughout the lifetime of our great nation.

What you speak of is not change, but the wholesale removal of rights from every citizen of the United States. I find it astounding that with a cry of ‘Won’t somebody think of the Children’, you’re suggesting that we shred the Constitution, and bury the first Amendment.

--Firedrake

Edit: Changed 'restricted' to 'restrictive'.

[ December 05, 2004, 02:38 AM: Message edited by: FiredrakeRAGE ]

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The Drake
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When I was a kid, the movie WarGames came out, and there was a program modeled after it. I forget what kind of computer it was on - maybe Apple? This was mid-80s. 1-bit color - green.

The game was called Global Thermonuclear War, and you could launch SLBMs, ICBMs, dispatch bombers, and casualty lists would come in as the enemy's missiles struck major metropolitan areas.

I have yet to order a nuclear attack. I was no less horrified than everyone else when it looked like Pakistan and India could wind up using them on each other.

There's really only one thing that differentiates the Nuclear weapon - radiation. War is terrible, but wargames don't lead to war. If anything, they teach you valuable lessons about how many troops even the winner winds up losing.

Games like GTA are more troublesome, because the consequences are not present and the environment is coming closer to reality in other respects. We're going to be facing some decisions as the game medium grows up, about how to keep kids safe from game content that is intended for adults.

Banning content is an unacceptable solution.

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RickyB
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I think detonating a nuke in a game is a safely non realistic outlet for aggression. I think that by the time those kids grow up, they learn to distinguish between what's possible or advbisable in a game and in real life.

Games that feature urban violence are more difficult, because they are closer to reality for many. A stupid kid can't get his hand on a nuke. He can get his hand in many inner cities on a handgun.

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Sancselfieme
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FireDrake, that is exactly NOT what I am saying. It is clear that you are the one trolling since you wish to attempt to reconfigure my position as one of absolutes that set up nicely for the straw man you crush.
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Gaoics79
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"But games where you kill the hooker, or even kill the bad guy, play out situations that are or will be within the experience of the player. It seems to me that any carryover into real life would be in the latter."

Wait a minute... Are you saying it's wrong to murder hookers? I knew you were a radical feminist, but jeez.

As for nukes in games, I remember in a game of Civ II, the Japanese made a sneak attack with bombers and cruise missiles on my navy, which I had conveniently stationed in a harbor, which I responded to by nuking Nagasaski. So you see, games don't influence real life, they just imitate it [Smile]

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Everard
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"I did a quick search and found quite a few articles out there. I don't know what the psychologists' consensus is, though."

There are dozens of studies that all find the same results... playing violent video games leads to "desenitization." Basically, lower empathy. A disconnect between fantasy violence, and real violence. So far, I haven't run across any that indicate that playing violent video games doesn't correlate with that disconnect.

For kids who don't disconnect, I do think violent video games can be an outlet. Unfortunately, the overall trend is that violent video games make kids less likely to empathize, and empathy is the prime emotional response that keeps us from killing people.

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FiredrakeRAGE
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Sancselfieme said:
"is it worth free-speech to have a generation growing up that takes the nuclear bomb less seriously"

Sanc - How are you not specifically advocating scuttling the First Amendment in order to make a (imo negligable) social change?

--Firedrake

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FiredrakeRAGE
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Everard -

I'm unsure of what form the 'disconnect' takes. How do they measure it?

I ask because if you target shoot, or hunt, you'll probably be more likely to have the capacity to kill someone. Reason being that you've thought about killing as a potential of a firearm at least once. However, while you might have the capacity to pull the trigger, does that make you more likely to do so in a situation where violence is not warranted?

--Firedrake

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Pete at Home
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quote:
The "Civilization" series of games by Sid Meier has nuclear weapons in them. In the game a nuclear attack is a "legitimate course of action", and they can be used as many times as you want, just as soon as you develop the technology. I would hardly characterize these games as "evil". Besides, video games these days do a good job of rating themselves to make the consumer aware of their content.
Unless I did something totally wrong while playing that game, it seems it was a very bad game move to actually use a nuke against an enemy. Hurt your scores, and made the whole world hate you, regardless of the provocation (unless you were nuked first)

Sanc, I think this is what you said that triggered 1st amendment fears:

quote:
But the population is what votes, they give their "mandates" to candidates through the ballot box, and while gun deaths can number many, nuclear deaths would number infinitely more.
When you're talking about restricting communications that encourage violence, some folks (though not all) feel more comfortable about the 1st amendment issues involved. But when you're objecting to communications on the basis that they affect the way we vote ... I think the dominant principle in this country is that the cure to bad speech is more good speech, not to discourage bad speech. Get more games like Civ out there that show that 1st strike nuking is basically a short-cut straight to hell.
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FiredrakeRAGE
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...As opposed to 'Rise of Nations', where nuclear weapons are good area denial weapons. Even there, however, nuclear weapons do have severe consequences - economic, diplomatic, and pollution based.

Rise of Nations is a great game.

--Firedrake

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Gaoics79
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"Unless I did something totally wrong while playing that game, it seems it was a very bad game move to actually use a nuke against an enemy. Hurt your scores, and made the whole world hate you, regardless of the provocation (unless you were nuked first)"

I never used nukes in civilization when I was playing seriously. The environemental consequences were too severe.

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Ikemook
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"I never used nukes in civilization when I was playing seriously. The environemental consequences were too severe."

Hehe, I did. Once. I had some rather nasty environmental problems...

And half of my 6 opponents declared war on me...

It was a short game, after that.

--David

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The Drake
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The problem with the "many studies" that have been cited concerning video game violence, is that they show correlation - but not cause. This is a problem common to many studies in the field of psychology.

Do violent kids who skip school, prefer to stay home playing violent video games? Or does exposure to violent video games lead kids into violent behaviour and delinquency?

Here is one study:

http://www.apa.org/journals/psp/psp784772.html

In it, the authors talk about the Columbine shooting, and the customization those boys made to the video game Doom that bore resemblance to their later tragic actions. To me, this hardly carries much weight. If they hadn't had the video game, they might have expressed precursors by paintings or other means.


quote:

In Study 2 we randomly assigned participants to play either a violent or a nonviolent video game; the two games were matched (by means of pretesting) on several key dimensions. Subsequently, these participants played a competitive reaction time game in which they could punish their opponent by delivering a noxious blast of white noise. This constituted our laboratory measure of aggression.

I am not qualified to evaluate a psychological study, it is out of my field. I do have to question this methodology on the following grounds: If you are playing a game against an opponent, and you have a way to distract them, it seems like using it would make you a better player.

Second, like most of these "studies" they are performed on undergraduate psychology students. I've always had a problem with that methodology. Especially when subjective questions are part of the experiment.

Whatever the situation, it's pretty clear that guidelines should be used when children are involved - just like movies and television.

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EvanWeeks
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Personally, I would rather my kids play CnC Generals and nuke China than play the Hitman series, which depicts cold-blooded, stealthy, up-close-and-personal extermination of human life.
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aupton15
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Evan...it's only up close and personal if you don't learn how to use the sniper rifle...then it only looks up close and personal.

Actually, this is probably the best game to use if you want to make an argument about desensitization. To play this game well requires forethought and planning, and the depictions of killings seem pretty real. I think this would cause more desensitization than a depiction of a nuclear attack. As much as it pains me, this issue still has to be left to the parents, even the ones who are doing a truly terrible job. The best way to deal with this is to get the information out to parents in a way that they are influenced to keep these things from their children. Don't try to present them with facts so they can make their own decision. Do what politicians do! Influence them to make the decision you want them to.

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ATW
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Everyone seems to think there is an epidemic of video game violence in this country. But what about the video games targeting our most vulnerable minority group: violence against undead-Americans?

Not only is re-killing undead-Americans the point of many games, the player is rewarded with finding ever-bigger and more powerful weapons with which to re-kill them more efficiently.

Don't think this isn't tied in to economic and political power.

Merely by dying, the newly reclassified undead-American loses all property rights: his house, bank account, tranportation, credit cards, etc. If he doesn't work for the DMV, its likely that he'll lose his job.

Without funds, he's forced to move to a slum for undead-americans known as a "graveyard". Often his place to un-live is little better than a hole in the ground. Those lucky enough to have a small building of their own rarely have electricity or running water.

What is almost as bad are the so-called normal people in public insulting undead-americans by saying that they stink. Any wonder they stink considering their facilities? Go for a few months without a shower yourself and see how people react to you.

(Note many of the re-killing sprees of the video games take place in graveyards.)

Little economic power but how about political power? Perhaps their plight is even worse.

No money means no campaign contributions which automatically puts them at a disadvantage.

Very few denizens of the graveyards are registered to vote. Even in places like Chicago where they're registered in large numbers, they almost never manage to elect one of their own to office.

If video games are allowed to continue simulating killing sprees of undead-Americans, what's next? Obviously its going to be other small minority groups who have no economic or political clout with which to protect themselves such as Slim Whitman fans and people who admire William Shatner's acting skills.

But you don't have to be part of the problem. You can be part of the solution by joining UNDEAD: Unify Now to Defend and Emancipate the American Dead.

To join UNDEAD or to help financially, call 1-800-4UNDEAD.

Or for information on how you can become an undead-American yourself, call our suicide hotline at 1-800-DEAD-NOW

[ December 06, 2004, 09:30 AM: Message edited by: ATW ]

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Everard
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"The problem with the "many studies" that have been cited concerning video game violence, is that they show correlation - but not cause. This is a problem common to many studies in the field of psychology."

I agree that in many cases this is true. I'm thinking of one, and if I can find it I'll post it, that showed less empathy after playing violent video games for an hour, then prior to playing the video games.

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Politius
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Just asking: does anyone remember the days when our parents were wacked for listening to rock n' roll, which our grandparents said produced violence? Remember when our grandparents where wacked by our great-grandparents for listening to jazz? Now link that to movies: remember when violent movies were picked on? Yes, video games are undergoing the same thing. It will only be a matter of time before violent videogames will be accepted into our society as a form of entertainment.
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