Video gamer challenges the National Institute on Media and the Family.

David Polus has, like me, been playing video games for over 20 years and he’s gotten a bit concerned with the annual report cards on the video game industry that are released yearly by the National Institute on Media and the Family. Senator Joseph Lieberman and Congresswomen Betty McCollum regularly use these report cards when they decry the supposedly horrible impact that video games have on children. David noticed that there were a number of double standards and spurious arguments being put forth by the NIMF in their reports so he took the time to sit down and write them an email where he asks them to clarify these issues:

Firstly, I notice on your website that you have a petition to “Tell Take 2 Interactive Software: Killing Cops Isn’t Entertainment” specifically regarding their “Grand Theft Auto” game/series. This brings up my first concern. Back in 2002, the NIMF gave the video game industry an overall grade of F, mainly for violence against women by showing video clips of “Grand Theft Auto” where the person that was playing the game when the footage was taped is attacking the female characters in the game (and conveniently skipping over and not attacking any of the male characters in the game). This was used to justify the F grade the industry received (and your group had a petition going that you claimed would be sent to the same company telling them not to create video games with violence against women, just as you do now, but this time for violence against police officers). Skip over to 2005, and you now portray this “misogynistic” game/series as a cop-killing game/series. Why did it take you 3 years to come out and tell us that this series features police officers that the player can (choose to/choose not to) attack? The entire series features violence against police officers, including the same 2002 version that “earned” the video game industry an F grade for violence against women, yet the NIMF made absolutely no mention about violence against police officers until now. To me, this seems like a scam. Plan A was to portray “Grand Theft Auto” as a misogynistic game, and if Plan A fails, go to Plan B. Plan B is to portray the game as a cop-killing game. Plan A failed because though there are female characters in the game, there are also male characters in the game as well that the player can choose to attack with a baseball bat or gun or whatever, so portraying the game as a misogynistic game is rather foolish. Even Senator Joseph Lieberman has made himself look silly echoing what the NIMF has stated, by claiming that “Grand Theft Auto” is violent and dangerous towards women and girls, and the industry shouldn’t create games like that if they want boys to grow up and respect women and girls. He never mentioned that the game can be considered violent and dangerous towards men, towards police officers, towards pedestrians, towards motorists, etc so I wonder where he is getting this misguided information from? Hmmm. I can’t wait to see what he will say once your group tries to now convince him that this misogynistic game/series is really a cop-killing game/series instead. (Let me make a “psychic” prediction by predicting your group will give the video game industry an overall grade of F later this year for violence against police)

Speaking of the report card grades, I would like to bring up my next concerns, which are related to the 2004 report card the NIMF released, starting at the top with your claims that parents are getting double messages. You state “Reviewers across the country are hailing this game as one of the greatest ever. Reviewers are lauding the game for its technical qualities while barely mentioning the game’s immoral story line. ‘A game with everything but morals,’ is the equivalent of a four star restaurant review praising the eatery’s ambience and service but then adding as an afterthought the fact that the food is laced with salmonella.” Dr. Walsh has repeatedly stated that adults should have full and free access to this game and any other game, while children shouldn’t. The reviewers that this report refers to are mainly (if not, all) adults anyway, so this report card shouldn’t have a problem with adults hailing the game as one of the greatest, since no matter what the reviewers state, that doesn’t reduce the value of the M 17+ rating that the game carries, which helps parents decide whether their children should play the game or not. Also, comparing the game to a restaurant serving food laced with salmonella is rather ridiculous when you take into consideration that Dr. Walsh says adults should play the game if they want to (would he say that it is ok for restaurants to serve salmonella to adults if they want to, as long as the restaurants aren’t serving salmonella to children?) Plus, you don’t have to go beyond literature to find “immoral story lines.” I doubt the NIMF would say that a Shakespeare’s play with an immoral story line is comparable to a restaurant serving salmonella. [Read the rest here.]

David puts together an impressive counter-argument to the claims put forth by the NIMF and it deserves to be read and picked up on by the news media, but it probably won’t. So far the NIMF has yet to respond to the letter, but perhaps if enough people blog about it they’ll have no choice other than to address it.

35 thoughts on “Video gamer challenges the National Institute on Media and the Family.

  1. This comment isn’t really for the actuall post but a response to a comment received @ blubloodunlimited… Thank you so much for your response. As for the three monitors I guess I have been known to be good at multitasking because since I upgraded to the three my progress on any number of tasks has definitely gone up. I have already made the neccessary appointments and thank you for your support and suggestion as I think you are very accurate in that I consume a lot of caffine, I mean a lot!!! Although caffine has the reverse affect on me and calms instead of stimulates or maybe both, I dunno….Thanks again les….
    blu~

  2. That would be a typical response to caffeine if you’re ADD. It tends to calm me as well.

    For folks wondering what’s going on, I responded to an entry on Blu’s blog about his possibly being ADD.

  3. Isn’t it ironic that what amounts to a moral crusader group has the acronym NIMF.  Nymph? HAHAHA!  What a bunch of ultra-maroons.

  4. To quote Lucas from Ctrl + Alt + Delete – “Blame video games for violence? What are you, a fucking retard?”

    The swill that these kinds of groups push out is the same everywhere. Some 20 – 30 years ago the same argument was being beaten around about music; I’m sure everyone has seen Frank Zappa’s legendary debate.

  5. As usual, I will state my counter-point here: increasingly realistic environments (death screams and death animations included) with free choice of action (including the option killing innocents) without any consequences (it IS only a game after all) WILL cause certain behaviours/fantasies to be reinforced.

    Envision the following, which is technologically feasible right now (though only for a good programmer) and will get more and more easy during the future:

    Some lone guy who, for whatever reason, hates the world and especially the people around him uses modern games engines to build himself a replica of his school grounds. Populates it a lot of ‘people’ (computer models) from his own school (customizing their appearance – heck how long will it be until he could just scan in the yearbook and add the faces to the models?).

    Then goes on a rampage with a virtual shotgun (just like the one his daddy has in the basement locker, to which he knows where the key is).

    He plays this over and over again – every time he’s being slighted at school, laughed at by the cheerleaders, jostled by the jocks, given bad grades, whatever. Its his favorite form of release, seeing all his enemies die screaming deaths right in the place of his torment.

    Now tell me: Such a person, is he more likely to eventually go on this killing spree than someone who only fantasizes about it in his head? Y/n?

    I don’t blame games for violence itself – but as I described, I think they can very well de-sensitize a person, reduce the kill-inhibitions that prevent us from freaking out and going amok whenever we get really angered.

    I think you guys are making it too easy by simply stating there’s no connection.

  6. I think you guys are making it too easy by simply stating there’s no connection.

    ingolfson, I don’t know if there’s a connection or not, but (meines Wissens nach) no study has been done with correct controls to prove or disprove such a connection.  Some kids who have run amok (like the one in Germany a couple of years ago) were players of violent games, but as several people pointed out, it could well be that playing violent games is symptomatic, not necessarily causal, of antisocial behavior. It might also be argued that such games are cathartic and actually prevent crime.

    The trouble is, the only way to know for sure the effect of playing such games, would be to study two large populations of kids, matched for the usual factors, with one group who is allowed to play and the other not.  Merely selecting kids who already play for one group and ones who don’t play for the other will bias the study, because of the (likely in my opinion) possibility of personality differences already present between two such groups.  No such study has been done as far as I know.

    That said, I would be willing to bet that the effect of violent games is complex, depending on the age, personality, and social situation of the players.  I personally play a ridiculously violent game regularly (Quake III online) and haven’t bumped off any old ladies in years.  But one reason I like Q3 is that the violence is over the top and thus not really believable.

  7. I think you guys are making it too easy by simply stating there’s no connection.

    I agree, although my opinion is that it seems to require that there is very little to no counter influences, no telling them that isn’t what the real world is like.  If a kid is getting a lot of bullying at school, no, it is not right for him/her to go postal, but the bullying is wrong, too. 

    I see negative media influencing the bad motives already there.  I don’t necessarily see them as the root cause, unless you grow up immersed in that media, and no one is teaching you different.

  8. The issue in the entry I’m addressing, though, isn’t so much about whether or not there is a connection as much as it’s about the arguments and tactics being used by the NIMH in presenting their case. Still, let’s address the idea that there is a connection.

    I’ve seen a number of studies that indicate that people who play violent video games show elevated aggressive tendencies after doing so. Then again, the same is true of people who watch violent movies.  I’ve seen studies that show it’s a carthetic outlet. What I haven’t seen are studies that indicate that playing violent video games will make you more violent or act out those violent tenancies.

    Given the scenario you describe I’d argue that the individual involved was probably already unstable enough that the influence of video games in his decision making process is questionable. It could just as easily be a movie that would tip the scales—in fact that has happened—one guy who decided to shoot up his school did so after multiple watchings of The Basketball Diaries which lead some folks to consider banning it. Then there’s the case of Charles Manson who claims he was influenced by The Beatle’s song Helter Skelter. When you read up on him, though, it’s hard to argue that he wasn’t already pretty unstable to begin with. That didn’t stop some calls to ban the song because it supposedly influence Manson to murder.

    So, in answer to your question: Such a person, is he more likely to eventually go on this killing spree than someone who only fantasizes about it in his head? Y/n?

    I’d say no. There are plenty of people, kids included, who went on rampages long before video games were available. Some of them just planned it out in their heads, some used other forms of media as a catalyst, just about all of them were unstable to begin with. Can you show me a single case where it’s clear that if the person hadn’t been playing violent video games he wouldn’t have become unstable enough to go on a rampage? Do you really think that in any case the absence of said game would’ve prevented the event from happening?

    My biggest problem with the whole violence-makes-you-a-killer argument is myself. I grew up watching Bugs Bunny cartoons before they were censored to remove scenes of Daffy being shot by Elmer and other such nonsense. I was also there at the beginning of video games and I’ve played some of the worst in terms of violence. Yet I’m probably the last person to go out and start shooting up the neighborhood anytime soon. Yes, after playing a first person shooter I can honestly say that my aggressiveness is heightened a bit, but the same is true after competing against someone in a game as timid as head-to-head Tetris. It’s the competition more so than the violence that makes me aggressive.

    Despite literally thousands of hours of playing these games, however, I don’t have the slightest desire to go out and commit mass murder. So if these games are so corrupting then how do we explain me and others like me? What’s different about me that makes me immune to becoming the monster so many believe these games make you into? Granted I’m an adult now and games have changed considerably, but I grew up with them so you’d think there’d be some impact.

    Which isn’t to say that there aren’t movies and games that I think children, particularly younger children, should be kept away from until their more mature, but I don’t agree with the idea that a steady diet of violent media in and of itself is enough to make someone into a monster.

  9. but I don’t agree with the idea that a steady diet of violent media in and of itself is enough to make someone into a monster.

    I don’t either, Les. I simply find that some of the reactions (especially of the “Blame video games for violence? What are you, a fucking retard?” kind) are simply to much knee-jerk in the other direction.

    Les, I can’t cite opposing case studies, and obviously, Zilch, I can’t provide long-term studies. What I aim to hint at, is that the increasing REALISM is (going to) increasing the problem, such as it exists.

    No I don’t think a song with violent lyrics or playing a few rounds of Half-Life 2 with human opponents (censored here in Germany!) is going to turn someone homicidal.

    But don’t we tech fans all consider the ‘immersion’ value of games to be on a constant increase? Don’t we all EXPECT full 3D environments in c couple years, or if not, in 10-20 years at the latest – real 3D, not in a monitor, but in either a neural interface or with at least a sort of 3D goggles that makes all the pretty pics of modern game engines pale in realism?

    Now playing violent games in such realistic surroundings – yes I believe that they will tip this or that kid over the line who would not act out his violent fantasies if all he ever played was Tetris – or Quake III.

    Obviously we should not blame the ‘tool’ as much as the cause. But we should not ignore it either. Or we end up with the ‘Guns don’t kill people, people kill people’-kind of attitude.

    Then again – writing this last paragraph made me realize that this may be in part a cultural difference. In Germany we already have such limitations on violence in media (but we don’t regulate sexual content nearly as much – a healthier approach than vice versa, if you ask me), and to a certain degree we accept this censorship as given or even sensible.

  10. Then again – writing this last paragraph made me realize that this may be in part a cultural difference. In Germany we already have such limitations on violence in media (but we don’t regulate sexual content nearly as much – a healthier approach than vice versa, if you ask me), and to a certain degree we accept this censorship as given or even sensible.

    Not that it really works. Amazon and Ebay have ensured that uncensored versions are pretty much available to anyone. Well, thats the second reason (after limitation of freedom of speech) why censorship itself will always remain problematic – its rarely that difficult to avoid.

  11. but I don’t agree with the idea that a steady diet of violent media in and of itself is enough to make someone into a monster.

    My guess (and just a guess) is that it would require a child grow up and gain their values from only violent media.  I don’t think it would even then be a sure thing – I figured out I was agnostic on my own growing up in the bible belt, so I can easily see someone being turned off by violence by their own choice.  Maybe the odds of violent media creating a monster by itself are like the odds of getting cancer from saccharin – more than one would care to ingest on average.

    Ingolfson, as far as realism: paintball.  I’m sure somebody has blamed it for something, but the outcry isn’t as large as the one over video games. 

    We don’t let our 2 yr old watch tv outside of the childrens shows, but I do know that when she’s older, she’ll be exposed to violent media.  We just intend to see that she’ll know the difference between media and real life.  Head in the sand parenting annoyed me since I was a kid (I got blamed for shit b/c I was the male closest to the damage done by a female).

  12. after reading the above posts I have to say I was most disturbed by yours Les – they’ve actually censored Bugs bunny?.Please,PLEASE say it is’nt so!
    This petty,pedantic world of ours is so offtrack and squewiff(?) from reality I can only grind my teeth in disbelief!
    PEOPLE! – IF YOU SHOOT A DUCK, ITS BEAK DOESNT SPIN AROUND!
    These are jokes.
    Then again,maybe i’ve just touched on the problem – they’re all humorless bastards who need to be blatantly ignored.
    These fuckers thrive on attention – lets just giggle in response.

  13. Dude, Bugs Bunny was censored years ago. Way back in the 90’s. I remember watching some and seeing Elmer point his gun at Daffy and the scene suddenly changing to Daffy’s bill on top of his head with a bang sound effect, but the whole bit of animation of Elmer actually shooting Daffy had been removed.

    Truth is that there’s a lot of stuff that’s been censored in the old Loony Tunes library. If you really want to depress yourself then check out the The Censored Cartoons Page for every gritty detail that’s been chopped. It was last updated in November 2003, but it’s pretty detailed.

  14. Actually, having looked over the Censored page myself, I see that BB has been censored quite a bit for much longer than just the 90’s. That was just when they had made cuts that I had started to notice.

  15. Actually, there has been a study done that shows a significant correlation (statistically speaking) of a decrease in the sensitization of teenagers who play violent video games to “real-life” violent scenarios.

    http://www.lionlamb.org/study 2.pdf

  16. There should be a percentile mark (%) between “study” and “2” in that link.

  17. Time and time again I see these arguments tried and retried against the media, and time and time again I’ve come up with the same response to them:

    RAISE YOUR FUCKING KIDS, YOU OVERWORKING, BLAMELESS, YUPPIE PIECES OF SHIT.

    Why is it that no one claims responsibility for their own children anymore?  Everybody’s trying to child-proof the media in all its forms for the sake of the goddamned psyche of every young individual in the country.  I say this: when you have kids, and if you don’t want them to be exposed to the violence in television and movies, GET RID OF THE FUCKING TELEVISION.  If you don’t think your kids are old enough to tell right from wrong, make it a point to keep the media out of it and teach ‘em yourself.

    The whackos who’re shooting up their schools are fuck-ups who were raised by even BIGGER fuck ups in a method that was probably fucked up enough to get ‘em as fucked up as they are today.

    Studies my ASS.  You don’t need fucking studies to determine that shit.  Of COURSE repeated visual exposure to violence leads to desensitization, as ANYTHING that’s applied constantly and persistently will lose its effect.  Ever see a funny commercial played twice in a row?  There’s your foregone conclusion.  Duh.

    In these extreme cases of kids “going postal”, there’s always the factor of their moral upbringing.  Repeated exposure to virtual violence could have lessened their reaction to it, but who’s to say that should override the moral base they were raised in?  These people never had enough of one to begin with.  Most likely, neither did their parents.  Otherwise, they wouldn’t have brought up a fucking murderer.

    Parenting these days kills me.  Absolutely makes me sick.  Everybody’s reading books and watching television and listening to radio talk show psychologists because they don’t know the first fucking thing about raising a kid.  WHY would someone have a kid if they didn’t have the first clue on how pass their morals on to another generation?  I’ll quote Les on this one:

    WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!

    I say, kudos to the video game industry!  Out of everyone, they seem to be the only ones moving into the mainstream with almost no abandon in terms of censorship (i.e. GTA: San Andreas).  And even to appease those who still have their panties in a knot, they have a ratings system so that parents know which ones are explicit, and so storeowners can even PROHIBIT selling them to people with brains that are “too young” for the national standard.

    Ingolfson, if someone is maniacal enough to construct an entire videogame, complete with the faces of ALL the people at their school, just so they can mindlessly blast them apart with a shotgun, they’ve got more problems than just a violent influence from videogames (I agree wholeheartedly with Les on that one).  I recently saw a flash video constructed by the kid who just a while ago shot up his school, then shot himself.  It’s rather amature, shows no people in specific, except a crudely constructed main character mindlessly pegging down innocent bystanders before killing himself.  Should we say that flash media should be censored as well?

    The last thing we need to be doing is restricting another budding form of technology.  Video games aren’t popular because of violence – it’s because they’re fun to play.  GTA isn’t great because it’s violent; it’s because you can do practically anything in it.  You know what would happen if you couldn’t kill random people in that game?  You’d be running around in the virtual world, wondering “Why the fuck can’t I shoot these people with the gun I’m holding?!”  If you omit violence from media, it’s only going to make its absence apparent to everyone who knows its supposed to be happening.  Those who are unfamiliar with violence or the subject of violence (or, most importantly, the CONSEQUENCES of violence) shouldn’t be exposed to callous visual representations of it.  If EVERY idiot on Earth knew that, we wouldn’t be having this debate.

    But the LAST fucking thing I’m going to do is compromise the integrity of MY entertainment (or, for that matter, other people’s life’s work) to compensate for the stupidity of other people.  And you can stick that up the FCC’s ass.

    My, I’m vulgar tonight!

  18. Alex,dont you think real life news and current events desensitizes just as much? – lets rate things and let adults decide.There’ll always be nutters around.

    Les – I think I finished watching Bugs by the 90’s after seeing each one several 100 times each – Very sad to read your bit;conservative basterds will be covering up the statue of David next.
    Then again as posted here,that prick (whose name escapes me) covered up that Justice Ladys boobs,so I guess even arts not safe – And personally I would call those old Looney-tunes toons art.Unique and one-of-a-kind and now soiled by friggin’ “do-gooders”

  19. Les – Thanks for the link;got a “file not found” though.Spewing!
    Joshman3d – Hey swear away man! – tahts the only reason I post here! (Joking Les;love ya work!)

  20. Fumpa, my link or Alex’s link isn’t working? Mine seems to be working fine, but I’ll double check it.

    Alex said…

    Actually, there has been a study done that shows a significant correlation (statistically speaking) of a decrease in the sensitization of teenagers who play violent video games to “real-life

  21. Jeebers,you’re up late Les!
    Your tale is dead-set like holding a mirror up to my experience – by 15 my eyes were shot,so naturally specs followed.For some reason glasses are a magnet for bullies so I copped a bit.
    Dad sent me to Tae-kwon-do lessons and amazingly enough they worked were it counted – confidence.These bullies that hassled me were pretty stereotypical -cowards at heart,who would send thier lackey to bother me.
    Anyway,to nip this story in the bud;the lackey copped a smack in the snozz and ran off crying!
    The bullies laughed – they were oh-so-cool,but I’ve never been hassled since.(I’ve bloomed too – 6 ft5 and all!)
    But to get to my point – I dont nessesarily believe in desensitisation;I still choke up watching a touching moment in the simpsons for christ sake – Then go and love every moment fragging folks in Call of Duty! We’re all different but maybe intellect counts more than enviroment.

  22. Funny how my pointing out that a study does exist (which there was some question to!) apparently equates with me agreeing with the FCC or thinking that yuppie parents shouldn’t have to raise their kids (or that I’m not raising my kids right myself).

    Given that I don’t have kids, obviously #3 is right out the window wink

    Obviously parents should do a better job of parenting. I’m not disputing that. Nor am I disputing the fact that the FCC is comprised of idiots. I’m just pointing out that studies have been done. I’m also pretty sure that there’s a correlation between desensitization to violence and committing violence, even if it’s not on the scale of shooting up the school; kids who have a violent home life are more likely to engage in violence. I don’t think it’s a terribly far stretch to say that a kid who plays hours of GTA is going to think that beating people up is a valid means of conflict-resolution.

    Les, I think your argument for being pro-violent-videogames is flawed. It seems like you’re saying, “well, I’m an anomaly, so is the study flawed?” All the study is saying is that a tendency towards desensitization.

    I mean, if a study came out and said “most university students tend to live within 50km of their university”, would you think I was strange to say, “I live further than that! Is this study flawed?”

    *shrug* Just my two cents.

  23. Oh, and to Frumpa – yes, I think videos of real-life violence can desensitize, which is why I think that parents should watch the news with their kids to explain what happened and why (to the best of their knowledge). The difference between video games and real-life violence, though, is that the latter generally isn’t… hmm, I guess I’d call it ‘glorious’. In video games, you’re often rewarded for being violent, or it’s being used to excite or awe. Usually in the news, violence is viewed with an air of horror or sadness at the tragedy.

    It isn’t an all or nothing debate, guys. I can think that violence is generally negative without resorting to wanting it banned from the airwaves (or consoles).

  24. Okay, so, Alex:

    I wasn’t intending to direct my response towards you, but at 2:00 AM I managed to write an incredibly abrasive reaction to what you presented.  This abrasiveness isn’t meant for you.  Sorry if it seemed that way.

    However, in your response to my point, I found something I openly disagree with:

    I’m also pretty sure that there’s a correlation between desensitization to violence and committing violence, even if it’s not on the scale of shooting up the school; kids who have a violent home life are more likely to engage in violence. I don’t think it’s a terribly far stretch to say that a kid who plays hours of GTA is going to think that beating people up is a valid means of conflict-resolution.

    Well, okay, maybe I don’t entirely disagree, but I want to clarify my standpoint with what you just said.  You begin AND end your point by referring to violence in the media, but then you refer to REAL violence at home.  I would say that, yeah, obviously watching dad beat up mom will make violence less impactful.  But to equate that to violence on a TV screen?  I’m sorry, I think that’s a presumptuous statement.  And as a guy who will spend all DAY playing GTA, I COMPLETELY disagree with your last sentence there.  Of course it’s not a far stretch to say that in some cases, but you’re only right if the kid has no sense of morality that overrides what he’s seeing in the video game.  Obviously, the younger kids are, the more impressionable they are, but kids aren’t even supposed to be PLAYING those fucking games!  If I seem overtly aggressive in my response to you, it’s because you’re representing the opposing viewpoint without keeping the subject in mind.

    Les, I think your argument for being pro-violent-videogames is flawed. It seems like you’re saying, “well, I’m an anomaly, so is the study flawed?

  25. I agree that kids shouldn’t be exposed to visual violence, and if they need to understand world events, it should be in written form (and therefore less visceral).  I don’t WANT my kids to be desensitized to violence; my oldest has gotten very upset even at Disney movies (killing off the parents, for crying out loud), and I think that’s the way it ought to be.

    As Joshman says, I think playing these kinds of video games only create a problem if you have no underlying aversion to real-life violence.  As they say, sociopaths are people who can’t treat other people with empathy—you might even say that they regard other humans exactly the same way they regard characters in video games.  We need to teach our kids to tell the difference—no, to FEEL the difference in their gut. 

    But I would still hope that my kids NEVER enjoy playing graphically violent games.  The more realistic it looks, the more I should hope they’d be repulsed by it.

  26. I’m not saying that a kid playing violent video games and a kid who is abused at home are going to have the same level of desensitization. Both are going to cause desensitization, but in vastly differing amounts.

    No, kids shouldn’t be playing those games, but obviously they are, whether because of fake IDs, older siblings who have the games, and/or parents who just don’t give a rat’s ass. Are we going to pretend they don’t exist?

    I’m not talking about sociopathic tendencies in kids, here. I’m talking about more aggressive conflict-resolution, about kids who will use fists instead of words (as teachers might put it).

    Okay, I’m gonna ignore the last sentence for its grammatical flaws.  But I don’t really think Les was presenting himself as an anomaly – YOU are.  He’s saying that he’s no different from other people being bullied or exposed to violence, yet you single him out as an anomaly simply because he goes against the standard that the experiement you cited has laid down.  THAT’S a flawed arguement, if you ask me.

    Sorry, I forgot a “there’s” after “that” in that sentence. Can you read it now?

    And no, I think I’m correct in saying he’s an anomaly; if most kids have more violent reactions and less empathy towards others after playing violent video games, and he didn’t, that makes him “abnormal”, if only statistically speaking. It’s not a moral judgement. Going against the standard makes you an anomaly.

    GeekMom, I think I’m largely in line with your ideas here. Again, though, there isn’t a straight dichotomy between “docile” and “total fucking sociopath who kills everyone he meets”. Seriously, folks. There’s a continuum of violence, here, and I think it does a disservice to the psychological profession to disregard a study out of hand because it doesn’t prove “violent video games turn kids into sociopaths” just because the FCC is twisting the results that way.

    (Hope that last sentence is readable for you, Josh!)

  27. Violence.. hmm.. where to start?

    I’ve been intending to reply to this one for a bit now.. but usually end up sidetracked by one disaster or another. I guess its all good because now there’s some material to go on.

    NIMF is an organization that provides skewed data to the misinformed. If you look at thier game ratings there is no set ‘standard’ for thier rating system and often times visitors that cant find a sexual refrence in the material (after hours upon hours of play) are treated to the ‘fact that there is sexual content’ in a game or what have you.

    As for kids and violence. I grew up exposed to “violence” routinely. I learned to stalk kill and vicerate prey very early on. I can’t think of a single time that I have ever been repulsed by blood in any form – even my own. In fact, I think I’m quite tasty. I also grew up fighting – alot. Weather it was on the fly, by appointment or out of necessity I was always there. Dont get me wrong, I got my ass handed to me on many occasions. I distinctly remember older cousins, uncles and even my father ‘toughening us up’ as we were growing up. All because of a simple philosophy: “The world isnt going to cut you any slack, what makes you think I will?” They never did cut us any slack, and we eventually began to fully grasp the value of the end result which was a thick skin and a rediculous amount of confidence. Confidence that relays itself into all tasks of everyday life not just personal interaction.  Now granted I could go around bashing heads in but that doesnt really get you to far. Besides all that does is make whiny bitches cry more. I have encountered more adults (probably on the order of 30:1) that are completely incapable of making the simplest decisions for themselves. I sure wasn’t toughened up to tolerate those that continually need babied. Now granted you would think I would have maintained a career in the military but I discovered no kinship there. The overall weakness of the whiny bitches that were there was eneough to make me sick. It was awful naieve of me to think that the military was tough. The lack of trigger time and overtime spent babysitting and talking about shit toward the end was eneough for me to collect my honorable and begin to chase the almighty dollar elsewhere. Besides, I just couldnt begin to justify the loss of many for the benifit of few. Granted, war is good buisness but without a worthy cause or a decent paycheck I just couldn’t picture myself defending these whiny bitches anymore just so they can reproduce and make thier retarted families even bigger then whine and cry some more.
    Tough, hard working adults that can wipe thier won ass without permission would be a nice change. We wouldnt be wasting billions talking about feelings and security. If youre worried about your kids growing up ‘right’ worry about them growing up to be known as Johnny the pussy and Billy the bitch. 
    My pussy hurts too But you dont hear me cry about it. Godamn I hate office work.

    [So yes, desensitization does occur, but who says its all bad? ]

  28. I don’t have time to address all of the points raised at the moment, but I wanted to touch on this bit:

    Les, I think your argument for being pro-violent-videogames is flawed. It seems like you’re saying, “well, I’m an anomaly, so is the study flawed?

  29. You know, I KNEW I was gonna get bashed for bringing up the grammar thing…

    No, kids shouldn’t be playing those games, but obviously they are, whether because of fake IDs, older siblings who have the games, and/or parents who just don’t give a rat’s ass. Are we going to pretend they don’t exist?

    Are we to mold our society to fit the dumb fucks you just mentioned?  Was this country formed so a bunch of idiotic assholes who don’t give a rat’s ass about anything can standardize our culture universally so nothing is “offensive”?  Do I plan to pretend they don’t exist?  Hell fucking yes I am.  Because the last thing I’m going to do is compensate for someone who’s too fucking stupid for their own good.

    And THANK YOU Les for clarifying my point.  That’s entirely what I meant to say to Alex, yet couldn’t articulate it whatsoever.

    Qoayn?  Ya kinda scare me, kid.  I’m not arguing that exposure to violence is a good thing – I’m saying it’s a good thing to be able to tell from right and wrong.

    And Geekmom, you’re absolutely right.  I totally agree that it has to be a gut feeling there.  Took the unspoken words right out of my MIND.  Which kinda scares me a little bit too… gulp

  30. Josh –

    I dont believe myself to be divoid of flaws nor to I believe myself to be unable to conceptualize right and wrong (and apply it, though sometimes forced). Surely someone would find me to be a great ‘case’ to study.

    I guess I had nothing to offer other than an example of what too much ‘violence’ does to an individual, granted I am well read on many technical levels and dont find myself to be completely retarded or suffer from a dillusional concept of reality. The end result is hyper-simulation requirement that is often hard to meet.  I still find it hard to focus and stay organized in mundane environments, but somehow can take on tasks and complete them with joy and ease in one of total chaos.  I sleep better too during those times for some odd reason. Folks that work directly with me or have served in team capacities  
    state “I’m sure glad your on my side.”  I take it as a compliment.

    As a kid I enjoyed many of the games that were non-violent like pacman, pitfall, mario bros, millipede and what have you. If given the opportunity I would play most of them again.

    Granted, with a sheltered upbringing and the lack of real world knowledge I think folks are setting thier children up for failure.  There has to be a balance and If your kids aren’t that bright maybe the level of exposure should be less.

    I honestly think I am slowing/calming down quite a bit. To the point where I can actually get somthing out of organized education and focus on things I want to persue rather than what I have fallen into to pay the bills.

    Dont cry for me argentina. I think turned out better than most.

  31. “As a kid I enjoyed many of the games that were non-violent like pacman, pitfall, mario bros, millipede and what have you. If given the opportunity I would play most of them again.”

    The road to hell is paved with violent games like Mario and Pacman!

    Just thought a little humor would lighten the situation.  I’ve got many thoughts on the issue of video game violence, and many things have already been said which I agree with. 

    But back to the original point:  The NIMF (an acronym I still find hilarious) IS full of shit, and I would bet my education fund that not a damn one of them has ever played one of the games that they bash so frequently.

    On second though, scratch that.  I don’t want to bet my education fund, I need it!  I don’t want to work as a janitor at a golf course forever!

  32. Yeah, I need my education fund too or I’d join you on that bet wink

    JoshMan: Wasn’t bashing you on the grammar thing; probably should have put a smiley in. I was actually acknowledging that my last sentence there wasn’t exactly comprehensible. smile

    Not saying you should mold your life/enjoyment to idiot fucks… but you also can’t ignore them, or they do things like take over your government. ;P

  33. Joseph Liberman needs to be given a pink slip and a tongue clamp, because no one who honestly thinks straight, gives two fucks what he has to say about video games, mostly cause all he does is bash them!  Betty Mccollum can join him as they both sail off in their “perfect-little-world” boat, straight to hell!

    I believe i speak for the gaming community when I say that we all have shitty days, and when you get to have some release blowing up some stuff on GTA, you feel better!  It’s stress release!  So many times I played Vice City after a crummy day in high schooland felt better after causing city-wide mayhem. 

    Banning these games is a foolish action, and will only lead to an increase in school shootings, which while I believe that some of them deserved it, its still loss of innocent life that shouldn’t have to happen.  You take away stress relief, you get a build up of stress and ka-boom! no more sane subject number one.  Its the same thing as taking away cigarettes from a smoker for extended periods of time, it drives them up a wall.

    I for one, love my M-rated games, and Joe Loserman can retrieve them from my dead, bleeding body, but if he really insists on removing our stress reliving forms of entertainment for multipule generations to get angry over, and for people, just like the kids at columbine, to have one less outlet for the stress that haunts their lives, and finally responsible for the deaths of innocents acorss the united states, then he can go right ahead and kick the hope of humanity in the nuts one more time, right next to our chimp friend, bush.

    Thats my stance of video games and violence, and I hope Rockstar, Take two, and everyone else out there outlives that senile fool.

  34. I see that BB has been censored quite a bit for much longer than just the 90’s. That was just when they had made cuts that I had started to notice.

    The old cartoons have been censored for several different reasons.  One of the major reasons that the old cartoons “need” to be censored is that they were not intended for children.  With a few exceptions, almost all of the TV programs that have shown animated cartoons for the past 30 or more years aimed the programs at children.  The old cartoons were aimed at a mixed or adult audience.  Most of the old cartoons were intended to be shown before the feature in movie theaters.  Other old cartoons were prime time network TV programs.  “The Flintstones” was aimed at an adult audience and was sponsored by Winston cigarettes.  Up until Pebbles was born in 1963, Barney, Fred, and Wilma smoked Winstons.

  35. A judge has ruled that the state of Illinois will have to pay a $510,528.64 in attorney’s fees to the Entertainment Software Association, Video Software Dealers Association and Illinois Retail Merchants Association.  This is just one of the monetary costs to the taxpayers of the State of Illinois whose elected representatives passed two unconstitutional laws; the Violent Video Games Law and the Sexually Explicit Video Games Law, both of which were struck down in December of 2005. 

    In the trial that struck down the laws, Judge Matthew S. Kennelly said:

    If controlling access to allegedly ‘dangerous’ speech is important in promoting the positive psychological development of children, in our society that role is properly accorded to parents and families, not the State.

    Stupid laws are expensive. In addition to the half-million dollars for the plaintiff’s attorneys fees, the taxpayers of the state of Illinois also paid for the legal costs in attempting to defend these unconstitutional laws.  American taxpayers paid for the courts involved in the trial.

    Link: http://www.videogamevoters.org/PRIllinoisWin/

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