Poll: How Much Longer Will Video Games Be Blamed For Violent Behavior?

September 19, 2013 - Andrew Eisen

Okay, this is beyond absurd.  Why are video games still being blamed for violent behavior?

It's not like video games are a new medium; they've been around for decades.  It's not like it's a niche activity either; playing video games is a very common and normal part of most people's lives.  And it's not like there's any evidence to support the idea that playing video games cause people to act violently so why, for the love the Linux penguin, are video games still suffering that stigma?

What do you think, readers?  How much longer are video games going to be blamed for violent behavior?  Vote in the poll and let us know.  When you're done, share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section or send us an email at SuperPACpodcast@gmail.com.  EZK and I will discuss this topic and reveal the results on the next podcast.

Now if you'll excuse me, I must go whine some more about GTA V not being on the Wii U.

"vote label" © Tribalium / Shutterstock. All rights reserved, used with permission.

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen


Comments

Re: Poll: How Much Longer Will Video Games Be Blamed For ...

I also voted five years.  It seems that the argument gets less and less traction and less and less people believe it than the last time.  At this point, I think the news outlets are just repeating it hoping that just doing so will make it true.  But really, they're increasingly looking out of step with the rest of the general public, who have since come to accept video games as being up there with music, books and movies.

Re: Poll: How Much Longer Will Video Games Be Blamed For ...

Good grief... I've said this so many times. If you point out violent games you also have to point out violent books/movies/etc.

Personally I have become more incensed/agitated over a book than I ever have over a game of any kind. Books light the mind on fire like nothing else in my opinion. 

Examples: Salingers - Catcher in the Rye | Dante - Inferno

Hell I got even more pissed reading Ayn Rand.... 

Re: Poll: How Much Longer Will Video Games Be Blamed For ...

Television wants video games to die.

The big heads of these TV stations and movie studios hate having to compete with the video game industry. When GTA IV came out, the producers of the first Iron Man movie were afraid of getting a deep cut in their profit for the movie due to it releasing near the same time as GTA IV.

Hell, you see stereotypes in video games all the time on TV. Shows like Big Bang Theory and similar shows always show gamers as virgin, basement dwellers to keep informing the audience on what a gamer looks like.

News media keeps playing the "video games are dangerous" card in hopes in that parents will keep their kids from playing them. They want those kids watching them so that they will still have an audience as years go by. 

Let's be honest, many of us probably don't watch TV as much anymore. The only thing I'm watching on TV is Legend of Korra now, but I usually watch it online through the Nick website. I also watch other shows strictly through Netflix and Hulu Plus. I also watch a bunch of original stuff on Youtube like Game Grumps.

The TV studios know that they are in danger of being booted out by better forms of media and they are pulling all the crap they can to stay alive.

Re: Poll: How Much Longer Will Video Games Be Blamed For ...

Today's version of capitalism. Don't innovate, certainly don't compete, just eliminate.

Re: Poll: How Much Longer Will Video Games Be Blamed For ...

I don't know.  I watch a lot of TV and somehow still find time to play games.  Among the shows I follow are The Walking Dead, Sons of Anarchy, Once Upon a Time, Supernatural, That Metal Show, Arrow, American Horror Story, Game of Thrones, True Blood, Switched at Birth, Warehouse 13, Defiance, Falling Skies, Doctor Who, Family Guy, The Big Bang Theory, Beware the Batman, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Avengers Assemble, Ultimate Spider-Man, and Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.  And this season I plan on getting into Sleepy Hollow, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The 100 and The Tomorrow People.  Yet I'm also in my first playthrough of Mass Effect 3 and playing some shorter games on Facebook.  Somehow I find the time.

Re: Poll: How Much Longer Will Video Games Be Blamed For ...

By that logic, Microsoft and Sony aren't competing either, because some people have both consoles.  The fact that you spend some time on TV and some on games doesn't really change the fact that they are competing for your (and everyone else's) time.  You just have more of it allotted to those things than some people do.

Re: Poll: How Much Longer Will Video Games Be Blamed For ...

Nothing yet has come along to replace it as the latest bugaboo.

Let's not forget that the moral panic over comic books that started over 60 years ago is still thriving, and the one that focused on books in general in medieval times still exists in the form of nutcases wanting to ban certain books from libraries. These things don't even wane until fear of some other more scary form of entertainment replaces the current fear. I'm not sure these moral panics ever die out completely. The most we can hope for is that they die down to the point at which everyone laughs at those who still harbor the fear, as happened with books, radio and TV.

Re: Poll: How Much Longer Will Video Games Be Blamed For ...

Well, only really core adherents take the comic book thing seriously anymore.  It's usually used more of an example of how absurd moral panics can be.  But your point is well taken.  They probably never entirely go way, but can diminish to a minor ember.  We can hope for that in the future with video games. 

Re: Poll: How Much Longer Will Video Games Be Blamed For ...

Hell, roughly two years ago I read a story about someone who had a rather nasty reaction to the stuff in some holy water a priest threw on them.

The reason for it was the person was carrying a stack of Dungeons and Dragons books.

Re: Poll: How Much Longer Will Video Games Be Blamed For ...

I voted "in five years", but honestly, it can't come soon enough.

The tabloid trash mainstream news media lives by the motto "if it bleeds, it leads," and with the 24/7 news cycle, they've continually shown that they care more about Nielsen ratings, webpage views, newspaper sales, and being first in breaking big news than making sure it's all accurate.

Also, part of the problem has been that while the video game industry groups like the ESA and EMA have been quick to defend everybody's constitutional rights against politicians like Leland Yee in the court system, going undefeated in the process including a victory in the US Supreme Court, they've done very little to combat the anti-game propaganda that comes from the news media(mainly Fox News, but all the various news channels are guilty of it) and pro-censorship groups like the Parent Trash Cult and Common Nonsense Media. That job's been left up to us, the gamers, and to researchers like Christopher Ferguson, Prof. Henry Jenkins, and Dr. Cheryl Olsen.

Of course, that leads to another problem: The gamers' voices are barely heard on the tabloid trash news channels, if at all(in part because Fox News, CNN, msnbc, etc., doesn't have the guts to give equal time to the people that actually play the games). Sure, we can vent on here, various forums, and on social media outlets, but it's preaching to the choir.

Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Pelicans. Solidarity for the Saints = No retreat, no surrender. 2013 = Saints' revenge on the NFL. Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always.

Re: Poll: How Much Longer Will Video Games Be Blamed For ...

I think it has more to do with picking your battles. The news media can say what they like, but the law clearly has not been on their side, plus, it seems that they would rather not take the chance with how some talking heads treat the opposing side.

Re: Poll: How Much Longer Will Video Games Be Blamed For ...

Video games are only the easy target because they're currently the most popular thing to be doing. It's "all the rage with the kids"!

It was only a decade ago that we were blaming music and before that it was film. It could be 5 or 10 years before someone finds something new to blame, but when that new form of entertainment comes out you better be damn sure someone will blame it.

It's easier to shift the blame than to actually solve the problem.

Re: Poll: How Much Longer Will Video Games Be Blamed For ...

And before that it was radio, and before that it was novels.

 

Re: Poll: How Much Longer Will Video Games Be Blamed For ...

I think 'shift' is the key concept here.

Video games will keep getting the focus until something else gets it.   It is hard to guess when or what that might be since there is nothing immediately and obviously on the horizon, it will take a new (and thus scary) disruptive element to get the attention off games.

Within the US I doubt we will ever break this pattern.  We are a passionate people, and we are diverse, with multiple incompatible political beliefs.   Blame tends to pop up when we need a socially acceptable outlet for other deeper social fears.  As long as we have social change and our demographics are in flux, people are going to feel uneasy about their social dominance, fear that their way of life and what they value might be destroyed... we will have panics that will get the focus of that fear.

Re: Poll: How Much Longer Will Video Games Be Blamed For ...

Wasn't the shooter a Navy Reservist? I can assume that he was given some firearms training. With actual guns, not virtual guns. So why don't we blame the Navy for "training" the shooter?

If we are going to blame video games for "training" the shooter, we should be consistent.

Re: Poll: How Much Longer Will Video Games Be Blamed For ...

Well, there's already been some derp about "video games made him do it!!", but yeah. There's no way they can claim that Call of Duty or something trained him how to use a shotgun. 

Re: Poll: How Much Longer Will Video Games Be Blamed For ...

They're trying that route anyways no less.

Much like how the mayor of NY and the sheriff are claiming he used an AR15 so they can have reason to keep the  (illegal) S.A.F.E act, despite the FBI (Whom are actually doing the investigation) said it was  shotgun and a handgun.

Worse, since the major news outlets already said both of these things, you have the less informed already swarmed to see both banned anyways.

Re: Poll: How Much Longer Will Video Games Be Blamed For ...

Yeah, multiple groups are both on the offensive and defensive right now, trying to attach things either to their cause or to someone else's, often both at the same time.

It really looks like in this case, there really is not much to really link it to.  Not games, not guns, not our culture, and not even the mental health system.  Just an unstable person and a workplace conflict that went dramatically bad.

Hrm... maybe we can use this to bolster the culture of telecommuting?

Re: Poll: How Much Longer Will Video Games Be Blamed For ...

Well, none of the other 'moral panics' have really ever stopped being blamed for whatever's convenient, so nobody should hold their breath over this stopping for video games.

 
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