Violent video games can increase aggression with their players. I believe this statement holds true, but I personally feel that its not just violent games that cause aggression. I honestly say that the actions I took while playing a ‘violent game never influenced me to go commit violent acts. For me it was playing football games, or ‘sporting’ games, better yet E-Rated Games.
In my experience with the gaming world, I have seen more aggression while playing games like Madden Football, NCAA Football, NBA Jam, and these are not violent games. There are no guns, murder, stealing, sex, going on at all. What you have to look at is the word violence. Violence is not limited to guns and murder, which society would consider the ‘norm’. If you look at Sonic the HedgeHog, sonic uses his body to defeat the enemy and is reward with gold coins. Compare this, shooting a zombie in the head for the 100th time, or knocking the helmet off of a receiver, causing him to leave the game. What is more violent? I have played the violent games such as DOOM and Grand Theft Auto and their nothing short of violence in games such as Medal of Honor or Splinter Cell. All games with the same point to defeat the enemy to reach you next goal or next objective. I feel that people are trying to find answers or solutions to the violence that is happening in today’s society. It seems as if it’s a fall back for society, that it provides a solution to an ever-growing violent society.
In the early 90s, action games like Dune and first-person shooters like Wolfenstein emerged. More recent games like Quake, Half-Life, and System Shock are so graphically real and mentally absorbing in their storylines, you don’t just play the games anymore, and you are part of the game. These game worlds have very few laws, if any at all, governing what goes on inside them. It is a dynamic that is limited only by the imagination of the designer and the desire of the game player to be absorbed in the fantasy. No holographic policeman exists in the virtual world to enforce what is right. Gamers are left to do what is right in their own eyes. This freedom to influence our children has many parents concerned.
Two studies published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2000 clearly demonstrate that violent video games do negatively affect the behavior of those who play them. One study demonstrated that graphically violent video games produce an immediate increase in aggressive thoughts and behavior. The other study found that violent game play not only increased aggressive behavior, but also produced a long-term, real life impact on the behavior and relationships of the players.
I feel that violent video games, game consul or PC, can affect the player in the following ways. The first way is with the player identifying with the aggressor. In “first-person” video games, the player assumes the identity of the shooter and sees the world through the character’s eyes. In effect, the game puts the weapon in the hands of the player to heighten the game’s impact as the player kills the enemy. This study found that players became emotionally involved with their character and “enjoyed” killing the bad guys. It is one thing to watch the movie Terminator and stand witness to his destruction, but it’s another thing to actually be the terminator and engage in the same actions as him. Now As a result of identifying with the aggressor the player develops positive attitudes toward the use of violence, a player gets reward with the destructions of the enemies. A personal experience I had with this was with the game Mortal Combat. Every time I killed my opponent, I moved up to the next level and so forth continued to the “top of the mountain” to face the grand master. So I would get excited when I would finish my opponent. Players also develop expectations that others will behave aggressively, a player can assume that others have similar attitudes of aggression and there for a game player can come to the belief that violent solutions are effective and appropriate for solving problems in life. Some people are easily influenced and others are not. In my case I could tell the difference between a game and reality. But not everyone can. There are game players who divulge in some of these games and are so consumed by a game that they start to relate them to reality. "Violent video games provide a forum for learning and practicing aggressive solutions to conflict situations," said Dr. Anderson. "In the short run, playing a violent video game appears to affect aggression by priming aggressive thoughts. Longer-term effects are likely to be longer lasting as well, as the player learns and practices new aggression-related scripts that can become more and more accessible for use when real-life conflict situations arise."
Secondly, the game player actively participates in the violence. Numerous studies have found that playing violent video games is a way to rehearse violent behaviors and makes it easier to bring that behavior into real life. If you practice shooting basketballs thousands of times, you get better at scoring. If you practice killing thousands of times, you get better at that as well. I give you the example of the Columbine shooters. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold had been playing “first-person shooters” for more than a year before that fateful day. When the time came to “play the game” in the real world, they were ready. So as a result of actively participating in the violence, these game players develop a total disregard for societal norms, property rights, and even the general value of other lives. The player see the world as a violent, unsafe place where everyone is out to get you, society is trying to destroy the very life you live and breath. The player learns that aggressive actions against others, such as fighting and shooting, may be appropriate, even necessary in certain cases. Violent video games have an addictive nature, and for an aggressive performance, players receive constant and immediate reinforcement in the form of visual and auditory stimulation during a kill. With special effects such as exploding body parts, blood, gore, and general mayhem it provides an excellent environment for learning aggression. "One study reveals that young men who are habitually aggressive may be especially vulnerable to the aggression-enhancing effects of repeated exposure to violent games," said psychologists Craig A. Anderson, Ph.D., and Karen E. Dill, Ph.D. "The other study reveals that even a brief exposure to violent video games can temporarily increase aggressive behavior in all types of participants."
So as a result of the addictive nature of violent video games I feel that excessive exposure contributes to aggressive personality traits in the player, and further playing can make an already aggressive person even more aggressive. The player becomes more aggressive, changes his outlook on life and socializing, and tends to socialize with others who demonstrate similar attitudes of aggression and finally the player’s socialization with teachers, parents, and non-aggressive peers are likely to degenerate. The more realistic the games are, the stronger the negative impact.