[ View the story "Game kill" on Storify] Game kill Does video game aggression lead to real-life violence?
Storified by The Stream · Mon, Nov 26 2012 08:58:26
On its November 13 launch, Call of Duty: Black Ops II was a top
topic on Twitter in 23 countries. Below is a demo of the game from the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3 2012).
WARNING: Video contains graphic content.
Call of Duty Black Ops 2 - Gameplay Demo Walkthrough E3 2012 [HD] (Xbox 360/PS3/PC)ghostrobo
Midnight launches were held at 16,000 stores around the world. Below, one user films the launch at his local video game retailer:
Black Ops 2 Midnight Launch Coverage (Care Package & Hardened Edition)unboxtherapy
Different versions of the game - for PC, X Box 360, and PS3 gaming systems - fill three spots on the global top sellers list,
to game sale tracking site VGChartz. Seven shooting games make the global top ten list.
Critics of violent video games are concerned about a rise in the number of underage kids who are playing these games. They say there is a difference between passively consuming violent media and actively participating in violent scenarios via an avatar.
This Call of Duty: Black Ops II advertisement, which received over 34 million views in less than a month, shows individual players in place of the game's characters and markets the slogan "there's a solider in all of us".
"Surprise" - Official Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Live-Action Trailercallofduty
Studies on the real-life effects of violent shooter games have yielded mixed results. A four-year
released in October by Brock University in Canada
to have found a link between teenagers playing violent video games and behaving aggressively.
This study examined sustained violent video game play and adolescent aggressive behavior across the high school years and directly assessed the socialization (violent video game play predicts aggression over time) versus selection hypotheses (aggression predicts violent video game play over time).PsycNET - Display Record
Sustained violent video game play was significantly related to steeper increases in adolescents' trajectory of aggressive behavior over time. Moreover, greater violent video game play predicted higher levels of aggression over time, after controlling for previous levels of aggression, supporting the socialization hypothesis. In contrast, no support was found for the selection hypothesis.PsycNET - Display Record
But Kotaku columnist,
, raises the following question:
Publicly available materials leave unclear in which direction the link might actually go: do the games cause teenagers to act aggressively, or are teenagers with aggressive dispositions more likely also to play violent games?Latest Study To Look At Violent Video Games Claims They Make Teenagers More Aggressive
Despite conflicting research, the American Psychological Association has
a policy stance
violent video games marketed to youth. Additionally, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry states the following on their website:
Studies of children exposed to violence have shown that they can become: “immune” or numb to the horror of violence, imitate the violence they see, and show more aggressive behavior with greater exposure to violence. Some children accept violence as a way to handle problems. Studies have also shown that the more realistic and repeated the exposure to violence, the greater the impact on children. In addition, children with emotional, behavioral and learning problems may be more influenced by violent images.Children and Video Games: Playing with Violence | American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
In a 2008 project, artist Robbie Cooper
the expressions of young gamers on film.
Video game advocates say that the link between gaming and violent crimes is tenuous at best. Many point to the fact that in America, Britian, and Japan, violent crimes have fallen while video game sales have risen drastically.
Data from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reflects a downward trend in some violent behaviours at US schools in the last sixteen years. No statistically significant change in these behaviours was recorded from 2009-2011.
US Center for Disease Control and PreventionAJstream
Regardless of the supposed link between violent games and violent crimes, some gamers are
for a re-evaluation of the video game industry's handling of violent content. Below, blogger Laurence Nairne writes of the psychological thriller game
I believe the time has come for the exploration of violence to extend beyond the surface into the depths of motives and psychology, with more experiences like Heavy Rain to make the player use that juicy blob of matter behind their eyes.Gamasutra: Laurence Nairne's Blog - The Immaturity of Video Game Violence
Much of the conversation has focused on the forthcoming game The Last of Us, which depicts realistic and graphic violence in a post-apocalyptic survival-based game.
Below is a gameplay teaser of The Last of Us from E3 2012. WARNING: Video contains graphic content and language.
The Last of Us E3 2012 Gameplayplaystation
In July, Wired columnist Andy Robertson interviewed Jacob Minkoff, lead designer of The Last of Us, who insists that the game's "violence is in service of [a] larger narrative and moral goals and emotion".
Last of Us Preview Interview with Jakob MinkoffFamilyGamerTV
In the print version of his interview, Robertson reflects on the tension between character development and violent scenarios in the game.
maturity is not only about handling complex subjects like death and violence and sexuality with respect, but finding space to imagine previously un-thought of ways to move these topics forwards.Can The Last of Us Escape Gaming's Violent Pitfalls? | GeekDad | Wired.com
Here is the biggest potential weakness for The Last of Us. Is the violence really going to be in service of the narrative, or has the narrative defaulted to one where violence is always necessary?Can The Last of Us Escape Gaming's Violent Pitfalls? | GeekDad | Wired.com
Members of The Stream's community responded online:
"Killing" or damaging virtual enemies is an entirely different matter than hurting a real human being. Playing violent video games has not desensitised me in a way that I find it easier to hurt people, as I matured I see violence as an absolute last resort and generally avoid it altogether.Jelle van der Velde
@AJStream Too much exposure to #violent video games have an adverse affect on kids who can't distinguish between what is real & what is not!Neslihan Kurosawa
@Maxine_Anwaar @AJStream But at the end of the day, it's entertainment & ppl grow out of it. No study proves the relation between the two.Shuja Rabbani
@AJStream @shujarabbani @maxine_anwaar my friend and i exclusively play violent games since our childhood. And he's a child care provider.Z∆CH