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Do You Feel More Aggressive After Playing Grand Theft Auto V?

This is a legitimate question.

It's not meant to poke fun at the haters, naysayers and skeptics. Sure, many of them are clueless about interactive entertainment, but that's not the purpose of this article. Those people don't need any extra assistance to look foolish, trust me on that.

No, I'm just wondering if you feel different after playing a game like Grand Theft Auto V. Some believe the hectic, violent nature of such games makes people more aggressive, even if it's a subconscious thing. There's no doubt that I believe such claims as it pertains to children; kids are like sponges, and they'll soak up anything and everything. They also tend to mirror what they see, as they're still learning and developing. This is why I honestly believe that giving GTAV to an 8-year-old qualifies as child abuse. Same goes for those idiot parents who let their kids see something like "Saw" at the age of 10.

However, I'm referring to fully developed, grown, mature (hopefully) adults. If you consider yourself to be in that category, do you notice any change in behavior after playing GTAV? Or if not a direct change of behavior, an alteration to your thought processes? Even if you don't resort to violence to solve a conflict of some kind, for instance, maybe the thought crosses your mind a little faster than before. Something like that. Desensitization is also a very real phenomenon, so maybe you find yourself caring less about terrible tragedies and murders that you see on the news. All of this is likely very possible; I'm just wondering if anybody has noticed it.

For my part, I notice no change. Maybe it's just because I've been playing games for so long, and I've always equated them with relaxation in my mind. They're stress relievers more than anything else and when I'm done, I feel better. They can be used to get out some pent-up frustration, I suppose, and I've wanted to throw a controller or two in my time. But in any form of competition, occasional frustration is inevitable. That being said, I sense no less consideration for the sanctity of human life. In fact, I find myself going the opposite way: After a GTAV session, I'm probably more likely to hold doors for people, more likely to say "please" and "thank you," more likely to pick up something someone has dropped.

Maybe it's just because after all that sin and vice, my brain seeks niceness. But I get that not everyone works this way. ;)

Tags: grand theft auto v, gtav, video game violence, violence in games

9/20/2013 9:48:40 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (34 posts)

Knightzane
Friday, September 20, 2013 @ 10:08:36 PM
Reply

I can honestly say, no. When I play a game, I make sure to immerse myself into it. When I'm playing as Michael I make sure I do what I would do. Granted, I do kind of feel like I want to stop playing but I'm absorbed into Los Santos right now. There's no escape till that last mission. GTAV is so good. And the only violence I feel is to the FIB lol

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Akuma07
Friday, September 20, 2013 @ 10:34:02 PM
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I don't know about aggressive, but I feel pretty proud of the guys bike I just stole.

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MrAnonymity
Friday, September 20, 2013 @ 10:50:32 PM
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Nope - no more aggressive than I normally am. Some of the missions antagonize me, sure, but it doesn't turn me into a rage monster. Besides, if I am having a hard time with a heist or whatever, I can go do some yoga to calm down.

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Kratoskillall09
Friday, September 20, 2013 @ 11:24:38 PM
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Games no matter how violent have always had a calming effect on me. When I have a bad day I tend to play GTA or God of War. Letting anger out through a video game feels much better. I rarely get mad at anything because of that. In general I'm calm,cool and collected. It actually takes quite a bit to get me really angry. It's thanks to games like GTA. Strange thing is when I have really bad days I tend to play games like Flower, SoTC or Heavy Rain just so I can sit back and relax and not think for a while. Video games are my form of meditation. If I explain to non-gamers they really don't understand. Escaping to another world even for just a couple hours can do wonders for you. That's exactly what I tell them.

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shaydey77
Monday, September 23, 2013 @ 1:03:14 PM

That was a great paragraph and exactly the way I feel too.

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Xombito
Friday, September 20, 2013 @ 11:25:25 PM
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*Throws controller* WHAT KIND OF QUESTION IS THAT!!! I haven't noticed anything! Grrrr. ;)

Last edited by Xombito on 9/20/2013 11:25:40 PM

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BigT_1980
Friday, September 20, 2013 @ 11:33:50 PM
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I tend to mellow out when playing any video game,unless it is unfairly cheap with its AI. If the game has really crappy AI I just stop playing it. But in general, when I am playing a video game violent or causal, I feel calmer than when I started.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 12:01:30 AM
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Don't have the game but I've noticed that when playing similar games, afterward I become more good-natured and downright goofy and playful with other human beings for a short period of time. After all of that wacky testosterone-fueled broohaha I feel like acting a fool myself to get some laughs out of people.

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ulsterscot
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 12:10:38 AM
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I find I'm drinking more

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Banky A
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 1:28:05 AM
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I find that my life begins to shatter into pieces.

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greg238
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 2:22:33 AM
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Lol drinking more funny but no I don't feel more aggressive actually it calms nd relax me

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Gamer46
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 4:22:10 AM
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No, I can honestly say violent video games have never had an effect on me or any of the people I know. I believe if you're an a-hole you're going to be an a-hole, a video game isn't going to make you one and if a kid has the right up bringing he/she can play violent games and still be a fine, upstanding citizen. This whole debate annoys me and it happens EVERY time GTA- or a game with similar amounts of violence- is released, but I've yet to see any concrete proof that a video games makes somebody do something.

Last edited by Gamer46 on 9/21/2013 4:23:32 AM

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Snaaaake
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 4:46:16 AM
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Only thing I'll be feeling after GTA or any other game is either hunger or exhausted.

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Beamboom
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 4:47:24 AM
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To be honest I am not sure I am able to determine if I am or not - but I suspect that I might be.

I do know that I get severely pissed if I get stuck in a game, so there's definitey feelings involved in this.
So do I get a bit more aggressive after a long session with lots of violent problem-solving? I probably do, at least for a shorter period.

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Johnnyu12
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 4:49:59 AM
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I will honestly say yes, I find myself thinking more aggressively since I started playing GTA 5. But by no means will I ever act upon those aggressive thoughts, I'm never going to walk up to a car driving on the freeway and try to open the door and toss the driver out.
It is literally the same psychological effect as going and watching fast and furious and wanting to drive recklessly

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Wrote
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 5:14:37 AM
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Nope, since I'm laughing the whole time at all the subtle jabs at american society thewhole time, and just Trevor as a whole.. Also I'm driving most of the timein the game and its really fun, like an arcadey racing game. So if anything I'm more happier cuz it's so damn fun.

Its a good question though, one that should be asked more.

Last edited by Wrote on 9/21/2013 5:15:26 AM

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Broady
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 6:26:26 AM
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Most games relax me, gta included, the only game where I can sometimes seem more pissed off after playing is FIFA!

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TheRaPtuRe
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 7:34:40 AM
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Well i played 10 hours straight and then beat up 10 random people and shagged a few grannys for good measure.

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frylock25
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 7:41:08 AM
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i have played gta v almost every day since it came out. after playing the game for hours at a time the only thing i usually feel afterwards is tired.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 10:15:04 AM
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The profane people think that when you play these games you must have some kind of genuine blood lust in your heart while you kill the fake people, the fact is most people who aren't sick in the head are thinking and feeling something else entirely.

They are laughing at the absudity or feeling adrenaline toward a goal or focusing on problem solving measures and strategies (this is all provided you aren't disturbed by the fake violence to begin with). Your brain gives you a squirt of seratonin for being successful in the game (even if that is the hilarity of beating a hooker to death), not for the virtual infliction of pain, torture, and death itself. We get the same rewards and feelings from games that don't simulate human on human violence.

Unless you already have problems in your head the game just doesn't connect to the violence center of your brain (in my opinion, I'm no expert). That part of us tends to get activated only in real life anger-inducing scenarios.


I could see how something like the driving might seep into the way you drive for a brief period, since that is mostly a subconscious activity. Will you get into a police chase? No but you might take a few more risks or be slightly more aggressive.

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Strythe
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 11:13:43 AM
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Videogames are my vent. After a round of GTA V I feel nice and relaxed, same as you describe, Ben. Always loved playing some Burnout after a terrible commute.

I think anyone blaming videogames for violence needs to look at how many kids go out and stomp on turtles and eating mushrooms after playing Super Mario.

Really, videogames are just the progression of the entertainment medium. There were books, theatre and music, then radio shows, then movies and television, now videogames. Next step is virtual reality. It'll be interesting to see how a holodeck experience might affect behaviour. A full physical simulation instead of a mostly mental one is bound to have some side effects.

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richterm
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 11:57:28 AM
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If anything, playing games like GTA V calm me down. If I'm having a bad day, the game lets me forget about my real life problems...which are actually shoved to the back of my mind, where my subconscious starts to figure out how to deal with them. I find that after playing, I can "resurface" and often think more clearly about something that was bothering me.

There is something very cathartic about blowing up a bunch of stuff in a fake world as well.

But to be fair, GTA V has some stunningly beautiful moments as well. I've been involved with Scouting with my son for the past 5 years and love to hike, fish and camp. I've been to some of the natural locations in the game that rival real life natural beauty and I find myself feeling almost the same joy as if I've stumbled upon that place in the real world.

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PC_Max
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 12:44:51 PM
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No comment as this issue which is underlying in the article is... getting real old... as I am.

I am on the side that gaming, as one piece of popular culture, does affect us all and differently at various levels. Along with all pop culture. I have caught myself driving aggressively when I play certain kinds of music. Aggressive, well faster than normal. And I admit that can be dangerous.

My only thing is which people don't seem to get is for most, generalizing here, see nothing wrong in killing "virtual" people. Shooting them in the head to get points or critical kills, grenades, run over them in a car, etc, etc. They can be military, the undead, infected, man, woman, terrorist, civilian. And thats okay. Killing that is in the virtual world.

I wonder what people would think if they could do that to children in the games as well. Don't know if GTA has that or not. Or even rape a woman or man for that matter. I mean, rape is worse than killing a "virtual" person right? Tell me if I am wrong or not. Because if one is okay in games, why not the other? Because most gamers, generalizing again, seeing nothing wrong with killing in games.

Not trying to peeve anyone, just wanting to see if others really see the whole picture here.

I have done my fair share of shooting and killing what one might refer to as "baddies". I don't go out to kill civies in games, even if they allow it. Not my thing. Some may say thats boring. But its a line for me.

Last of Us hinted subtly with the potential rape thing with Ellie. It approached a line for me, but they did right in a moral sense. Even with all the killing of baddies in the game as well as infected civilians it worked overall. It was survival, but they did it right, showing the reasoning behind it, liking it or not. Testing our own morals as to what we might do.

Anyway, some do not take it seriously. Ben in his article is bang on in regards to desensitizing of games. Although news, music, movies, etc. play a role in that as well. Not just games.

Just something to think about. If you do not care but take issue with rape in games. I still think you need to think about it. Your choice. Does not mean stop playing. Just keep things in focus.

Take care, keep playing! And be safe out there! Peace!

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Underdog15
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 12:51:21 PM
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I haven't really watched myself closely in regards to content, if I'm honest.

One thing I will admit, though... if something fundamental about a game is ruining my experience, I get pretty heated. It usually passes in a couple minutes, but I can get a little moody for a minute.

An example of what I mean... Anyone play Knight's Contract? The ATB at higher difficulties is just baffling. Bad design just got so frustrating. lol

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 2:59:51 PM

I kinda wanna play that since I never play at hard difficulty.

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Underdog15
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 4:02:15 PM

It's a nice little gem on the normal and easier difficulties. I enjoyed my first playthrough on normal. It's nowhere near a AAA game or anything, but it was a fun hack n' slash.

I'd recommend it to you for a normal or easy playthrough, for sure. Fun and dark. Has it's own unique feel, too.

I liked it the first time, then raged my way through the hard difficulty until the last boss... where if you miss a QTE after taking out all his HP, you automatically get game over.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 9/21/2013 4:04:02 PM

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DarthNemesis
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 1:09:38 PM
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No, but at age 29 I do feel that i am too old for it's immature antics. I feel that the game is going too much for shock value and foul language. I think that I have out grown the game and it's juvenile nature. Also as a black man I am disturbed at the number of times the "N" word has been used. I feel that the word should have been let out of the game and I can not remember San Andreas using it so much or at all.Beneath the surface it's really just a shallow game.

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souljah92
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 2:08:29 PM

Why you tryna give "N words" a hard time?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 3:02:28 PM

That's understandable I think. Sometimes you want even your ludicrous entertainment to be more thought out than to just jump to the cheap and shallow use of so called shocking language.

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PlatformGamerNZ
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 6:49:11 PM
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yeah i don't know guys i mean it's like you say some fun, relationation, stress relief for me also but when u get a game thats a bit challenging not that i'm not up for a challenge but yes it can be frustrating but i've been brought up well so i really don't see any change in my "fuse" or temper if you will i can't see any change it that from video games.

happy gaming =)

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JROD0823
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 7:53:02 PM
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Games like GTA are a great stress reliever for me.

If I have a stressful college assignment to do, or a douchebag at one of my two jobs rubs me the wrong way, a game like GTA helps to blow steam in a setting where no real people have to come to harm. ;)

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bldudas1
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 9:17:51 PM
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No, but I do feel giddy about the car I was able to customize. :) I love doing that and picking outfits. Yeah.

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PHOENIXZERO
Sunday, September 22, 2013 @ 5:48:14 PM
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Occasional frustration but not aggressive and it's directed at the game.

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NaughtyDog
Monday, September 23, 2013 @ 12:43:24 PM
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I hear you guys on the language of gtaV, it's unecessary here there ok but not continuous is just out if control. Also that's how it is on the streets with the people on how the life they want speak. I turn the volume down and listen to some jams during franklins story, plus his buddy is annoying. For the question more aggressive? Nope not at all just loads of FUN! Only got to play a bit and doing lots of exploring north of the map, can't believe how huge it is! Game time is game time=Fun-relaxing. Life is life-separate game ha and be professional "holds anger in... Just wait ti'll I get home and play gtaV i'mma .... Imagination LoL" great game!

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