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Can Enhanced Authenticity Be A Dangerous Progression?

This story really got me thinking.

Not so much about the inherent difficulties for gamers when their interactive hobby continues to resemble virtual reality more and more with every passing year. That's what Medal of Honor executive producer Greg Goodrich was talking about, but it led me to the interesting question: can more realistic violence create serious problems? Most will quickly say that violent games have ratings and that movies have been putting horrific stuff on the big screen for decades. But at the same time, we have to acknowledge that gaming is an interactive hobby, and the belief that we're actually "doing something" is more potent with more realism and authenticity. As we continue to advance in this area, might it be dangerous, even for well-adjusted adults? Essentially, if you really think about it, some of the more over-the-top action games could be accurately considered to be "killing simulators" in the not-so-distant future. I'm not in favor of censorship here but I've always been a firm believer that you can always go too far.

Personally, I think I'd start to feel a little uneasy when we get to the point where killing someone really does look too much like killing a real human. Take last year's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, for instance: just about everyone I know, Arnold included, felt - at the very least - uneasy during that airport scene. This proves something to me. I just saw it and I didn't really find it enjoyable; in fact, I didn't want to watch any more of it. Looking five, ten, fifteen years down the road, I'm starting to wonder if I'll even be able to play those games that make me feel this way. But perhaps the question is, will it have a marked psychological impact? Gamers often frown at studies but I really think this is one bit of research thought ought to be conducted.

P.S. The pic here is an example of "cartoon-y violence" from Bayonetta.  This obviously isn't the type of violence I speak of, but it's a solid picture, no?

4/14/2010 9:09:59 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (156 posts)

Dridion
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 9:34:38 PM
Reply

Sorry if this is off subject but I was just wondering when the NPD sales figure for the month of March post. I can't wait to see them just because it was a gigantic month for Sony. Again sorry and thanks :p.

Last edited by Dridion on 4/14/2010 9:35:07 PM

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kevinater321
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 9:39:30 PM
Reply

I agree completely. You can always go too far and in this case you may be right. I don't want to be tearing somebody's head off with the move controller.

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Scarecrow
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 9:43:06 PM
Reply

So far it's been good

But the more real things get, the more gruesome it could be. Fine for most genres, except for shooters. Unless they handle it "properly."

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piratedrunk
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 9:47:51 PM
Reply

I think I would be left feeling fairly disturbed by an ultra-realistic virtual murdering.

When the victim is someone who is obviously a terrible person themselves it makes it easier but if it is without any sense of provocation I think it would be taking it too far to make it feel anything close to real.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 10:00:52 PM
Reply

I'm not good to ask because I can handle anything, a straight up killing simulator would be like christmas morning for me. I loved the way you could blast heads off in slo-mo in Fallout 3. (Remember how they studied crash victims as research?)

But maybe that says something though, because I'm completely non-violent, and against violence in real life situations unless there is no other option.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 4/14/2010 10:01:47 PM

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rogers71
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 10:07:18 PM

I am right there with you World. I had a blast when I fired up the first Manhunt on PS2. All the different ways you could execute someone was insane. I had no problem separating reality from game though.

I would agree with Ben on his point about gaming 10 or 15 years down the road. If they released a manhunt in 1080P and you were executing someone with ultra realistic graphics, it could do a number to someone whose psyche is already tweaked. It is definitely a fine line and one I am sure will be crossed. Start your psychology class now Ben. We may need you in the near future.

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VicTheMighty
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 10:16:46 PM

true true.

And yeah there is nothing wrong with it beeing too realistic. You know the point is that you won't be trying to rip your buddies head off outta curiosity since anyway you already know what it looks like thanks to a game :D :D :D lol

Last edited by VicTheMighty on 4/14/2010 10:17:48 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 10:48:51 PM

I think there will be a Manhunt 3 and it will rock because I'd love to table saw somebody in graphics akin to Rockstar's best.

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Jawknee
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 10:03:24 PM
Reply

The only stuff that bothers me is stuff like Man Hunt and movies like Saw or those torture movies(can't remember the names of them), stuff that's violent for the sake of being violent. No context.

GoW at least has context. Ancient Greece was bloody and brutal. To dumb it down just wouldn't be accurate. Man Hunt creators should be ashamed of them selves.

The MW2 airport scene was kinda weird, but it had context. So i didn't squirm over it.

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rogers71
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 10:10:19 PM

Manhunt had context. Granted it was vague. You were put into a situation where you were being hunted and had to kill or you would be killed. Not really any different than say 'Hard Target'. The Jean Claude Van Damme movie from the early '90s.

As for Saw, that is definitely violence and gore just for the sake of violence and gore.

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Jawknee
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 10:12:56 PM

Didn't seem to have enough to warranty the amount of violence. Not in the same sense as GoW. Man Hunt isn't really all that different then Saw imo. As far as the amount of context is concerned.

Last edited by Jawknee on 4/14/2010 10:18:12 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 10:53:57 PM

You are thinking of Hostel, but I have no problem with gore for gore's sake. It's innocent fun, like the Friday the 13th movies I watched as a kid. Haven't killed a real human to date :)

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Jawknee
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 10:57:34 PM

Yea but that stuff when we were kids was so over the top and lame that we new it was fake. I don't believe it will make anyone kill anyone, it just seems to take away some of that innocence and desensitizes us.

Last edited by Jawknee on 4/14/2010 11:01:35 PM

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SvenMD
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 8:53:07 AM

If you guys haven't seen untraceable, I would recommend watching it. Not as gory or horror though. About a killer who broadcasts his victims over the internet and the more people that tune in, the faster they die.....really interesting concept.

Would you watch?

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Akuma07
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 9:21:39 AM

The MW2 scene, although i havnt seen it yet, its just a scene from a game.

A scene from a game will NEVER make me uneasy, because no matter how real it is, i will ALWAYS be able to distinguish between reality and virtual reality.

End of story.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 2:35:58 PM

Seen it Sven, Diane Lane is a milf.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 4/15/2010 2:36:16 PM

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rogers71
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 3:30:02 PM

Oooooh. Diane Lane.....she is smokin'. Everytime I see her in a movie, I always think of her in Unfaithful. oooooooh.....gotta go now.

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CaptRon
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 10:09:44 PM
Reply

I say bring it on... If you can't handle it don't play it. Just as with everything else, can't take the heat stay out of the kitchen. BTW the Jawknee, Manhunt was supposed to disturb you that was the whole point..

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Jawknee
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 10:15:07 PM

That's my point. It was violence for the sake of violence. It's necessary.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 10:56:08 PM

You mean unnecessary. But all things that comprise entertainment are necessary for those who are entertained by it. If it has an audience, then what is the trouble?

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Jawknee
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 11:01:03 PM

Making some one laugh or cry or angry with art mediums as a form of entertainment is fine, but if some one is entertained at the idea of murdering or mutilating some one in a highly detailed gratuitous manner for the sake of seeing a bloody shocking mess, that's whats unnecessary and that's what i believe can be troublesome.

I mean really, where do we draw the line?

Last edited by Jawknee on 4/14/2010 11:05:51 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 11:08:28 PM

I suppose the line is different for everyone. That's why it can't be drawn be those outside ourselves. It SHOULD be drawn for children, but as adults there are far worse things in this world than enjoying a slasher flick, gory game, or what have you.

More people have been maimed or killed in the name of censorship than by the lack of it.

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Jawknee
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 11:30:33 PM

We are free so by all means. Indulge. lol

I don't think anyone should be censored, we just need boundaries. For children...haha

Last edited by Jawknee on 4/14/2010 11:31:42 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 12:49:51 AM

LV is gonna have a heart attack up in here when he shows up.

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Underdog15
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 12:51:10 PM

I pretty much agree with Jawknee 100%. (Seems we have similar philosophies the more I read his posts)

I also like the direction Ben is taking with his approach to this sort of thing. While I understand things like this aren't going to make people go out and kill people, there is an inherent problem from a psychological point of view if you find yourself desensitized to this sort of content. It would actually be fairly accurate (although shallowly analyzed) to say that if things like MW2's airport scene made you squeemish, you probably have a more-or-less healthy psyche.

As a rule (ignoring the low-percentage of exceptions), humans are wired naturally to rely on other humans and protect one another's way of life. That's why most people, despite their upbringing, have such a problem with death and violence. How often do you hear of soldiers or police needing follow-up counseling after their first kill or extremely violent encounter? Often. Because it isn't natural. In fact, it's natural to raise a child in non-violence, but takes mental breaking points to make or raise them into killers.

The most efficient front line soldiers are desensitized ones, for obvious reasons. I am not indicating that games and movies are going to one day make us all natural killers or make us unmoved by murder, but it is definitely something to seriously mull over, in terms of mental health, if there's any risk for desensitization.

The only thing for me, as a counseling psychologist, that would severely worry me, is that there is plenty of research to support the fact that desensitization can adversely impact any forward progress of an individual (especially youth) that could be at-risk for being suicidal. Obviously, in that case, you are dealing with someone with a very insecure psyche, and interactive violence with extreme realism could easily have a negative impact. That's my only "serious" worry.

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VicTheMighty
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 10:14:17 PM
Reply

Well hey with some luck we will all be super soldiers in a few years ;) lol

Bring on the simulator I say!!!! You never know when those alien b@st@rds are going to fall on us!!!!! lol XD

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Alienange
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 10:16:03 PM
Reply

"WILL it have a marked psychological impact?"

It already has a marked psychological impact. Youtube taught me that.

I personally think games need to stay games. I'm all for better graphics and sound, but at a certain point, realism just doesn't have a place in games. Especially the "violent" type of realism.

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VicTheMighty
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 10:19:31 PM

Party pooper lol.

Man I am still waiting for an NHL game where your actual hockey stick is a samurai sword.

But I get your point. And that is why there is a rating on games.

Mature games should not be sold to children and parents need to be responsible.

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Jawknee
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 10:23:38 PM

"Mature games should not be sold to children and parents need to be responsible. "

Yup.

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Highlander
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 12:30:13 AM

Agreed!

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Tim Speed24
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 7:53:10 AM

Yes...but are parents BEING parents.

I mean when I hear some of the comments in the forums that somebody just let their 5 yr old play MW2....I shake my head.

How many '5 year olds' are being allowed to play GOWIII because Dad is playing it?

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DemonNeno
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 10:30:43 PM
Reply

Good question. My answer would be long and wild, but put shortly...

YES! Realism can screw with people, including adults. If it can make you think twice about it, odds are it's left some sort of an impact on you. Is it any worse than a sad ending? Or getting stuck in traffic? I don't know.

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The CEO
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 10:34:01 PM
Reply

Make em more violent. I go to sleep watching horror movies. Guess I am desensitized. As for the No Russian level in COD:MW 2 I thought it was hilarious how everyone was upset by it. Your character kills other virtual people throughout the whole game so what if No Russian was innocent civilians(video game characters LOL) Maybe I am a sociopath or maybe I know its just a game. Good article anyways.

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Jawknee
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 10:49:31 PM

You in the minority.

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NeoHumpty
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 10:51:30 PM
Reply

They're pixels. Bloody pixels don't bother me any more than horror movies do.

P.S. I love horror movies.

And yes, "No Russian" was a slaughter. Just as much of a slaughter as in Dragon Age when I killed all of those elves for the trophy. They were pixels.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 10:58:14 PM
Reply

I'll ask you all this, if they suddenly legalized the Gladiatorial games from ancient Rome, would the stands not be filled to the brim?

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SvenMD
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 8:58:54 AM

It's like The Running Man and ideas like that. Take criminals or whoever and have them fight... I guarantee you people would watch that. (at least until they got bored)

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LittleBigMidget
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 11:04:44 PM
Reply

I let my 2 year old brother have the controller while playing GOW3. I pressed the buttons for him. He had a huge smile on his face when Helios' head came off.

Last edited by LittleBigMidget on 4/14/2010 11:09:17 PM

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Jawknee
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 11:06:45 PM

Pfthahahahah!

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LittleBigMidget
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 4:25:48 PM

Hey wait a sec, why was I downvoted? Was it because I let my baby brother watch a guy's head get pulled off? I don't see the harm done, I mean, hes TWO. I don't think he'll remember it when hes older.

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LittleBigMidget
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 4:25:51 PM

Hey wait a sec, why was I downvoted? Was it because I let my baby brother watch a guy's head get pulled off? I don't see the harm done, I mean, hes TWO. I don't think he'll remember it when hes older.

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LittleBigMidget
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 4:25:52 PM

Hey wait a sec, why was I downvoted? Was it because I let my baby brother watch a guy's head get pulled off? I don't see the harm done, I mean, hes TWO. I don't think he'll remember it when hes older.

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LittleBigMidget
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 4:25:53 PM

Hey wait a sec, why was I downvoted? Was it because I let my baby brother watch a guy's head get pulled off? I don't see the harm done, I mean, hes TWO. I don't think he'll remember it when hes older.

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LittleBigMidget
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 4:25:54 PM

Hey wait a sec, why was I downvoted? Was it because I let my baby brother watch a guy's head get pulled off? I don't see the harm done, I mean, hes TWO. I don't think he'll remember it when hes older.

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LittleBigMidget
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 4:25:54 PM

Hey wait a sec, why was I downvoted? Was it because I let my baby brother watch a guy's head get pulled off? I don't see the harm done, I mean, hes TWO. I don't think he'll remember it when hes older.

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LittleBigMidget
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 4:25:54 PM

Hey wait a sec, why was I downvoted? Was it because I let my baby brother watch a guy's head get pulled off? I don't see the harm done, I mean, hes TWO. I don't think he'll remember it when hes older.

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LittleBigMidget
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 4:25:54 PM

Hey wait a sec, why was I downvoted? Was it because I let my baby brother watch a guy's head get pulled off? I don't see the harm done, I mean, hes TWO. I don't think he'll remember it when hes older.

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LittleBigMidget
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 4:25:56 PM

Hey wait a sec, why was I downvoted? Was it because I let my baby brother watch a guy's head get pulled off? I don't see the harm done, I mean, hes TWO. I don't think he'll remember it when hes older.

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LittleBigMidget
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 4:25:57 PM

Hey wait a sec, why was I downvoted? Was it because I let my baby brother watch a guy's head get pulled off? I don't see the harm done, I mean, hes TWO. I don't think he'll remember it when hes older.

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LittleBigMidget
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 4:26:03 PM

Hey wait a sec, why was I downvoted? Was it because I let my baby brother watch a guy's head get pulled off? I don't see the harm done, I mean, hes TWO. I don't think he'll remember it when hes older.

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LittleBigMidget
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 4:26:03 PM

Hey wait a sec, why was I downvoted? Was it because I let my baby brother watch a guy's head get pulled off? I don't see the harm done, I mean, hes TWO. I don't think he'll remember it when hes older.

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LittleBigMidget
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 4:26:04 PM

Hey wait a sec, why was I downvoted? Was it because I let my baby brother watch a guy's head get pulled off? I don't see the harm done, I mean, hes TWO. I don't think he'll remember it when hes older.

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LittleBigMidget
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 4:26:04 PM

Hey wait a sec, why was I downvoted? Was it because I let my baby brother watch a guy's head get pulled off? I don't see the harm done, I mean, hes TWO. I don't think he'll remember it when hes older.

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LittleBigMidget
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 4:26:05 PM

Hey wait a sec, why was I downvoted? Was it because I let my baby brother watch a guy's head get pulled off? I don't see the harm done, I mean, hes TWO. I don't think he'll remember it when hes older.

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LittleBigMidget
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 4:26:05 PM

Hey wait a sec, why was I downvoted? Was it because I let my baby brother watch a guy's head get pulled off? I don't see the harm done, I mean, hes TWO. I don't think he'll remember it when hes older.

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LittleBigMidget
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 4:26:09 PM

Hey wait a sec, why was I downvoted? Was it because I let my baby brother watch a guy's head get pulled off? I don't see the harm done, I mean, hes TWO. I don't think he'll remember it when hes older.

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LittleBigMidget
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 4:26:10 PM

Hey wait a sec, why was I downvoted? Was it because I let my baby brother watch a guy's head get pulled off? I don't see the harm done, I mean, hes TWO. I don't think he'll remember it when hes older.

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LittleBigMidget
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 4:26:12 PM

Hey wait a sec, why was I downvoted? Was it because I let my baby brother watch a guy's head get pulled off? I don't see the harm done, I mean, hes TWO. I don't think he'll remember it when hes older.

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LittleBigMidget
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 4:26:12 PM

Hey wait a sec, why was I downvoted? Was it because I let my baby brother watch a guy's head get pulled off? I don't see the harm done, I mean, hes TWO. I don't think he'll remember it when hes older.

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LittleBigMidget
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 4:26:12 PM

Hey wait a sec, why was I downvoted? Was it because I let my baby brother watch a guy's head get pulled off? I don't see the harm done, I mean, hes TWO. I don't think he'll remember it when hes older.

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LittleBigMidget
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 4:26:17 PM

Hey wait a sec, why was I downvoted? Was it because I let my baby brother watch a guy's head get pulled off? I don't see the harm done, I mean, hes TWO. I don't think he'll remember it when hes older.

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LittleBigMidget
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 4:26:19 PM

Hey wait a sec, why was I downvoted? Was it because I let my baby brother watch a guy's head get pulled off? I don't see the harm done, I mean, hes TWO. I don't think he'll remember it when hes older.

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SvenMD
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 8:25:13 AM

HA - this has to be the most multi-posts EVAR!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 11:50:09 PM

more people might notice a moving cardboard box too.

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Banky A
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 9:36:38 AM

ffrulez Vinnni... I see you've now had your share of bad manual driving experience for our NZ roads.
Trust me though, GT still has most of the transmission physics right. Who would actually want to stall in a game when racing online? Haha. No kids and no adults hopefully.

Besides, that's what getting a G25, G27 or a Fanatec wheel is for, since they have clutches so you can practice heel-and-toe.. like a pro'.

;D

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SolidFantasy
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 11:23:51 PM
Reply

I'm straight up against censorship. I'm all for anything and everything. Some games and movies really promote desensitization. Not that we should murder anyone anytime soon.
Nobody is doing the kind of things they do on GTA. I always thought those games proved other wise to the VG violence naysayers.

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BikerSaint
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 11:27:05 PM
Reply

Some people's brains are just so frigging miswired, they feel that they have to go out on a killing spree & shoot up malls, schools, places of employment, etc these these days.

Now with that said, I hate most censorship so I'm for realism, & besides I seriously doubt that any of those real killings were caused by playing video games.

No "snuff" video games though, that's where I think every gamer would draw the line in the sand for censorship on that.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 11:57:09 PM

I think Right Wing rhetoric is far more likely to incite real life violence than a game.

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MyWorstNightmar
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 12:18:49 AM

Yeah, those damn tea partiers, wanting to maintain their freedoms and what not.

World, I see masked Tom Cruise is back.

I still miss the hawaiian shirt ninja. Bring him back sooner rather than later! At least that is my girlish fantasy.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 12:21:37 AM

It's a good thing everybody's freedoms are intact then, and stop calling me Tom Cruise I'm not gay and I don't jump on couches ;)

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 4/15/2010 12:28:59 AM

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Jawknee
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 1:19:24 AM

You mean the right wing rhetoric we hear about on from the brilliance of Chris Mathews and lefty media?

it was right wingers calling bush those nasty names! Damn you wingnuts!

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Highlander
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 11:45:48 PM
Reply

Nice article Ben. You've mentioned some research on violent entertainment before. I would like to see some research into this topic as well. Technology is at the point where realistic images and models can be manipulated in real time. I'm not comfortable with the idea of games accurately depicting death and injury in a context that is free from consequences for the actions of the player.

Personally I think that we are too close to the uncanny valley on violence already. Any closer to that situation where the game resembles an enhanced authenticity, "more real than real" so to speak, and I think we will cross a line we don't need to cross.

For me a game is a game as long as it's clearly a game. If a first or third person action game is so realistic that when an enemy is beheaded you can pick our anatomically correct arteries, spinal column, esophagus and other details of the bloody stump, then it's gone too far. It's ceased to be a 'game'. When someone is disemboweled and their insides fall out precisely as they really would because the physics are so real and the modeling of the enemy body is so real that the results of being disemboweled can be accurately modeled in real time, then again, we have gone too far.

In a first person action game, a shooter for example, when shooting enemies they fall and die in a realistic manner with photo-realistic detail, then once again I think we have have crossed from game to something else.

The scene you mention feeling uncomfortable about, that's the kind of thing that people will argue should be there because it's artistic, it makes you think. Well, perhaps, but is Call of Duty really a game that's laden with social commentary, or is it an action game?

BIker, you said no "snuff" games. OK, but we're at the point where a video game that was rendered in 480p could present photo-realistic deaths of characters and enemies. Remembering that the experience of the gamer is what matters, how is it different that the gamer experiences a photo-realistic simulation of a deal instead of a real one when they can't honestly tell the difference?

If a game can be realistic enough that it's possible to be unsure of whether the scene depicted or not is real, aren't w getting to the point where a virtual snuff game could be made? Have we already got there and we're just desensitized to it and ignore it?

I think that violent entertainment is more dangerous socially speaking than sexual entertainment. I think that the interactive nature of video games makes them potentially more dangerous because you are acting out the fantasy. We live in an increasingly violent society. Have video games simply reflected the increasing violence, or have they re-enforced it in the more vulnerable minds of the young? I'm not blaming video games for it, but could they be a contributing factor? Possibly.

Perhaps it's time to concentrate on the art of games and not the realism?

Last edited by Highlander on 4/14/2010 11:49:16 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 11:54:36 PM

You bring up an interesting point, is it okay for me to slice up a human being and watch their guts spill out? You say no. But when I am clearly disemboweling a mythical creature such as a Centuar in GOWIII is THAT okay just because it isn't a real being?

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 4/14/2010 11:55:08 PM

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Highlander
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 12:07:11 AM

It's a good question isn't it?

I think that the distinction is that the centaur is clearly unreal, but a realistically modeled human enemy would be more difficult to separate from real. However, it's still an interesting question.

Perhaps we should be asking ourselves the question "Just because we can, should we?"

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 12:22:19 AM

"Just because we can, should we?" The Jurassic Park movies would argue that no, we shouldn't :)

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BikerSaint
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 1:26:00 AM

Highlander,
There's some very thought provoking questions here.
Just beacause on one side I don't like any censorship, but on the other hand I wouldn't want to see video game violence become too damned real either.


OH BTW, I left you a article to check out in yesterday's "PSP/Touchscreen Functionality" thread.

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Highlander
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 1:35:04 AM

Thanks, I'll go check. I've been keeping a low profile, my time has been limited the last few days....


...Interesting. That would be a great controller to have around in case a controller for any of your game systems broke - you'd have an instant replacement. Nice.

Last edited by Highlander on 4/15/2010 1:37:51 AM

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booze925
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 11:55:27 PM
Reply

has anybody noticed how youtube is no longer available on the ps3 web browser?

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RadioHeader
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 5:28:55 AM

Yes. And I feel like I could kill somebody.

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wano
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 8:06:35 PM

still works on youtubeXL. but no comments etc

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 @ 11:56:37 PM
Reply

The biggest problem I see isn't in violence or sex, but in the idea that we very would could be playing a game one day that looks just like a show on TV or Movie. Because, well, that would just suck. I like the overly crisp vistas, various art styles, impossibly shaped women, flashier than reality graphics, etc and so forth that games offer.

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frostface
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 12:12:04 AM
Reply

I think right now because we're at that point where the technology behind the games has advanced enough to make the violence convincing, we'll see more games pushing this boundary between fiction and reality. I think for some not so well adjusted people it could be a problem for sure but I also believe that they're in a minority and would probably be high risk regardless of the source material. For the rest of us I think that we'll get so used to seeing this realistic violence in our games that we'll be desensitized to it much the same way we are with the movies. Not long ago movies would be banned for violence only to be released now to a more accustomed audience (Texas Chainsaw Massacre (original), Clockwork Orange just to name two movies). Even the level of violence in movies these days has risen and even gotten to the point where it's gotten boring to see this 'torture porn' in every horror movie franchise (Saw, Hostal etc...), the best horrors movies coming out now are the ones where less violence and more suspense are presented.
I think games will follow in much this fashion. To see nudity in a game is nothing now much the same as it is in the movies but years ago at the pinacle when the people behind the games/movies where pushing the boundarys on what was common decency of the time, of course there where people who had something to say about it but did everyone who watched these movies where a lady flashed a pair of boobs become perverts? Sure some people did but the rest of us just acted like adults. Then again it's not about being adult, it's about being well adjusted and more to do with your natural surroundings, where you live, the type of life you live and how the everyday trails and tribulations of life affect you as person. This could also attribute to the types of games you enjoy most. Some people play for fun some to escape reality. Some play Rathet and Clanks for fun, some play CoD's because the boss is a pain in the arse in work and it feels nice to shoot up some baddies to vent that stress. Some take it too far and grab a real gun and shoot the boss but just because one or two people take it to the extreme and live that dream, the rest of us are contant to leave it in the fictional world and would never even realistically consider it.

Hi to lot of yis from Thailand btw, was just popping in to say hello!!!

Last edited by frostface on 4/15/2010 12:34:32 AM

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rogers71
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 12:31:08 AM

Ummmmm.....paragraphs and spacing would have been nice there.

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frostface
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 12:37:42 AM

Yep you're right, I'm pretty bad for paragraphing, usually just type a train of thought and it all goes out the window...I'm thumbing you up for bringing it to my attention!!! :)

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Vivi_Gamer
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 4:57:45 AM

Just so everyone here understands A Clockwork Orange was not banned under normal circumstances. Youths did not understatnd the films message about censoring free will and went around replicating acts of violence seen in the beginning of the film. the film was removed from the UK due to the overload of death threats Stanely recieved; so Stanley removed the film himself.

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bigrailer19
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 12:12:46 AM
Reply

I think using the MW2 scene was just a jab at the game! GOW3 was much more brutal and realistic, with the zipper technology and gutting minotaurs, and ripping off helios' head. It was bloody realistic.

So which game was worse? well on a personal level MW2 didnt sit well with others, that scene as you said Ben you wanted it to be over as did I. I tried not even firing my gun but i got to a point where to get past it i had to take on the riot squad eventually.

But as far as how far can violence go I dont think GOW3 was pushing it because its all so fairy tale like. I mean greek mythology is just that a myth. a very brilliant story for the GOW series but we cant relate that to real life situations so both games are on a different level. One is about how we feel personally towards a scene, the other part of it would be how we react to how realistic violence in games has become, due to the graphical capabilities of this generation of consoles.

Its tough to say but im ok with the way things are now, and i had no problems with GOW3 in fact thats what that game was bread on, CHAOS!

Last edited by bigrailer19 on 4/15/2010 12:16:31 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 12:23:57 AM

Sure you can relate MW2 to reality much easier, but it still quite clearly isn't reality.

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bigrailer19
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 9:20:23 AM

o i know lol thats not exactly what i mean... its a game and always will be as a mature gamer i know and understand this. Thats why im ok with violence in video games. I have a ahrd time relating them to real life situations because they always go a step further.

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Underdog15
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 1:44:49 PM

lol... actually, my wife gets mad at me if I play MW2 too much, because she feels it isn't healthy for me to play too much of such a realistic game...

lol

And with her having a minor in psych and me having a major, I can't pretend she's wrong or feign ignorance that she is probably wrong... Afterall, we were in some of those classes together! Know how hard it is to argue with "Remember when Dr. Nydham showed us those various studies about yada yada yada blah blah blah" ??

I'll tell you how hard it is... that is generally the moment I resign to either switching games or turning it off. lol

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bigrailer19
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 12:15:13 AM
Reply

I personally love the realistic nature of these games! its all i ever wanted as a kid was a realistic game. but now that im spoiled with them all i want that fun factor too. Thank goodness for little big planet, and the upcoming modnation racers, to take a step back for a few!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 12:24:31 AM
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Want to see gore for the sake of gore, watch the Japanese movie Guinea Pig 2. THE sickest thing I've ever seen that wasn't real.

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rogers71
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 12:33:50 AM

You should try watching all the Faces of Death videos. Those were definitely for the people that rubberneck at accidents and go to Nascar races for the accidents or Hockey games for the fights.

As for your earlier question about the Roman Gladiators. You wouldn't be able to find tickets to those events if they started that back up.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 12:42:06 AM

Seen the Faces of Death vidz, an interesting study of real death interspersed with fake yet masquerading as all real. They were disturbing when I believe them to all be real (I was relatively young at the time) but still all that did was feed my imagination and from that I spun some wonderful short stories that still make me a bit of cash from time to time.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 12:39:00 AM
Reply

For those who are saying, "it's just pixels," that's exactly my point. What happens when we get to the point when the technology completely fools the eye and "pixels" look almost as "real" as REAL.

It doesn't matter if it's fake. It matters how our brain perceives it. That's part of psychology: sadly, our minds are easily tricked and when it comes to this, it can have an impact. It might be subconscious, but it'll be there.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 12:44:34 AM

The subconscious aspect of your question is by far the most pressing. There are a LOT of people out there who just aren't set up for that kind of thing, adult or not. However, most of them have demons that will come out due to a more personal environmental trigger (getting fired, divorced, losing a child) instead of a game. On the flip side, a game could add to that building madness the same as movies, books, and music have in the past.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 4/15/2010 12:47:48 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 12:47:25 AM
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Ben has me thinking of reading now. It's true, Tim McVeigh and the rest of the survivalist nuts LOVE "The Turner Diaries" and someone WAS killed using a "Hitman's Handbook" but I can't say that any book should be banned because I just don't believe in it. Games should be protected under the first amendment in my opinion. Unfortunately anything that is protected as such has a flip side.

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Dante399
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 12:48:30 AM
Reply

The line is when harm actually gets you. But it won't come out from the TV, unless they do it SO :) that'll be fun.
Those games with such violence should be rated as such and the consumer should be warned before buying them. And plus, violence nowadays is everywhere, movies depict more violent realistic scenes than video games.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 12:50:26 AM

3D torture porn could damage some people :)

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Highlander
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 2:19:28 AM

So, because violence is everywhere we should allow more violence into our entertainment?

That's a pretty scary justification.

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Dante399
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 5:52:48 AM

That's a good point Highlander, you made me revise it and now i believe it is not a reason to have realistic violence in games. However, I am talking about myself here -- I personally enjoy violent scenes and gameplay and I consider them as "Action"...it's like a tense strong spice in my dish. Games simulate real life. If i'm playing a war game, I'd want to experience the same thing the soldiers in the battlefield do (except death or torture of course)

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___________
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 2:27:17 AM
Reply

i really can not understand what the big deal with violence is?
why is violence and games the scape goat?
i mean look at some of the sh*t south park gets away with and thats only rated M here which has absolutely no age restrictions what so ever!
family guy at times can be just as bad.
i know there shows, so in a seance there not interactive but so freaking what?

take the episode where cartman freezes himself because he cant wait for the release of the nintendo wii, towards the end theres a fight where multiple heads get blown off with copious blood.
now thats ok for a M rated cartoon show, but have the same thing in L4D2 and its not ok for a MA rated game which has a age rating of 15 appose to no age restriction.

or take another episode of south park, the one where theres a talent show and jimmy cant stop getting a boner, so multiple people give him advice on a solution.
than he ends up sticking it too a hooker.
so a 8 year old boy having sex with a hooker is ok for a M rated TV show which again has no age restrictions what so ever, but removing a few heads in dark sector is not ok for a mA rated game.
which is worse?
underage sex, or a few heads blown off?

and another thing, i really would not mind if at least ratings were consistent but there not.
i mean look at god of war 3, it is the goriest thing i have ever seen, video game, movie or whatever.
i have never seen something more gory than GOW3, thats ok for a MA rating but dark sector, silent hill homecoming, L4D2 are not ok for a MA rating.
GOW3 is 10 times worse than all of those games put together!
i really can not see the logic in that.

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Highlander
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 2:31:50 AM

Um, well, the 2D cardboard/felt cutout characters in South Park are not photo-realistic representations so no matter how much virtual red felt is spilled, it's still a cartoon.

The point is not the cartoon violence, it's the "real" (as in more real than real) violence in the interactive and photo-realistic games that are possible.

Oh, and BTW, South Park is a cartoon. You can't compare South Park - a relatively crudely produced cartoon - against a game that has realistic imagery.

I could go on to discuss more than the simple visual differences, but to be honest, I don't see much point since it's crystal clear you're trying to create a false comparison.

Last edited by Highlander on 4/15/2010 2:34:38 AM

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___________
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 7:46:30 AM

ok, fair enough so how do you explain GOW3 getting passed and dark sector not?

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just2skillf00l
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 2:45:09 AM
Reply

Well, some reviewers thought GOW3 took violence too far. I have to say, it was more brutal than I anticipated. However, GOW3 is a fantasy action adventure and the very fact that it is a fantasy type setting with not exactly the most realistic art style (such as compared to Heavy Rain) separates it from reality.

However, as the industry progresses, games which take on a photo-realistic art style while also containing very violent and graphic events and activities; it is plausible to expect said actions to be taken too far. I believe if Heavy Rain ever meets GOW3 and produces a child, that game will go too far.

Last edited by just2skillf00l on 4/15/2010 2:47:48 AM

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Ergi
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 3:41:12 AM
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Really interesting article and posts. Personally, i have never really felt weird while playing a game because of the amount of realism, granted I haven't played MW2.

Science just solves this whole where do we draw the line problem by using an ethical committee.
This would however give more censorship and more restrictions, which I don't really want but it may be necessary. Otherwise who is gonna draw the line? I'm out of ideas.
I sure don't know when real gets too real for the masses.

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wano
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 8:29:13 PM

come on people, unless we are talking about "Total Recall" then i cant understand how some one can actually get confused. you are holding a control pad sat in front of a screen. When I first watched the start of saving private ryan, i was shocked at the realism but never once thought i was actually at omaha beach in 1944 (or when ever it was). do people really think theres that much difference between realistic games and realistic movies?

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OriginalSin
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 3:48:24 AM
Reply

Okay first of all let me just explain something before I start. I cousin is the head of Trauma in one of the states in my country. She offered me a chance to go with and see and experience what a Trauma doctor is all about.... So I went.

Needless to say is I saw some pretty F***** up sh!t. Bike crashes, stabbings, gun shots...dead and mutilated people...

(Now many might ask why I would do that. Well at a stage I thought of becoming a trauma doctor... I realized then I do not have a stomach for it and I really don't like blood...well not that much blood anyway and luckily for me I wasn't that smart to become one, but still i was curious to see what I gave up on so I went)

Now to the point I would like to make. Sure video games are becoming pretty realistic but the have a LONG way to go before we reach that type of realism. That is a whole different story.

And let's say for argument sake that we do get to that point, in my opinion anyone who'd want to play games that show that type of realism and gore are sick f***** puppies. And even worse are the ones who will make them. Snuff games so to speak (even if made) won't sell well. If they do I have lost all faith in our future and humanity.

Now with 3D gaming literally around the corner it might get tricky to draw a line between too much and not enough. But for now and for the near future at least I think we are okay.

Even thou GOW was super brutal once I switched the game off those images didn't haunt me and stay with me.... when I helped out at the Trauma Center that stuff screwed me over for a long time. That for me is the difference. One is a well done HD graphic based video game with brutal violence the other is real life with ,real blood and real pain and fear...

If they ever get to that level in games I won't want that experience at all and the people who do will leave with their minds a bit more twisted, and they would have problems to begin with. This is a very interesting issue and I would like to see a study being done,hell I will even take part in such a study...

Do games breed inner violence?....maybe not, but somewhere there might be one or two individuals that have a unstable minds not knowingly unlock something that would otherwise not have happened...

One last thought. What about small kids that witness a brutal killing or murder or witness a father committing suicide in front of them... they might suppress those memories for years, until something a game like that or even movies might trigger... Just a thought.

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little dreamer
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 4:37:18 AM
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But sometimes this violent parts of games have an effect on you in an emotional way. For example in mgs3 when snake was being tortured I felt sorry for him. I guess it matters how it's used like manhunt is kinda pointless violence.

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DemonNeno
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 6:22:13 AM
Reply

Alright, a whole night of sleep, I can actually type something up about this! I'm very comfortable with violence in movies. You name it, I've probably watched it. Violence in movies can look very real, but it's different than a video game.

As you mentioned Ben, when your brain is tricked, things do change. When I worked in the EMS system, things get gut wrenching at times. Holding apart a obese mans' surgical incision so the doctor could dab all the fluid out with a piece of gauze really makes you tighten up a little bit! I'm talking about a 450lbs+ man with a incision approx 7" deep just above his hip and inches away from his knee.

I don't get that feeling from a game. People wonder about the graphical realism of a game, but don't realize that many people think by associating themselves to a situation. This is how we get our personalities.

Regardless of how realistic a game is, there are plenty of people who walk away from it feeling "different". It's subtle, but you may recognize it if you think about it long enough.

This is where we face a problem. Something that may cross your mind as a possibility for yourself may land you into a handful of issues. Not only do I think that just the violence of the game is bad if it comes photo realistic and incredibly accurate, but I also see a problem with where some of these story lines drag your mindset.

The problem is, the more we look up to our characters as people of our own society, instead of pixels of a video game, the more the psychological threat becomes relevant.

Realistically, we DO know what we are engaging in. It's what we make out of it that'll change this. It's how we game that'll change this. It's the personal traits that'll either leave you vulnerable or probably not phase you as a whole person.

Those who play games for hours after endless hours, day after day are obviously at the greatest exposure rate and will have the most issues. You can OD on gaming. If it's your job, that's a different story. You're kinda screwed, then... Although I'd love such work! lol

I also think a lot of this character personalization needs to get tamed just a tad. If we can copy our OWN faces into these games, which a few games I know of did and did it well enough, I think that's gone too far. We don't need to associate ourselves at such a personal level that we see ourselves killing and what-not. I personally think that'll trigger some Schizophrenia.

Will it cause people to become Schizo? I highly doubt it, but there are certain things that'll progressively make it worse. I do believe something like this, which such a person can learn to enjoying being, can indeed make a bad situation for someone a lot worse.

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LightShow
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 6:56:26 AM
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one big reason people, from the office professional who wants to take a break, to the anti-social 20 year old who want to live in a different world, is escapism.

Most people I know play games to get away from realism, whether its to play football without getting wore out or to smash robots with a multi-purposed wrench. as games become more real, they will lose their appeal to the majority of gamers, myself included.

Developers might want to listen to their "centrist" population of devoted, yet not hardcore or casual, gamers. the centrists are by far the most populous

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JackC8
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 7:35:41 AM
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I don't know, there's always the .1% of people who are borderline nutjobs who will do something in a game, or see something in a movie, and confuse it with real life. I don't think the 99.9% of people who are (somewhat) normal should have their entertainment taken away or modified because of the .1%. The nutjobs will always - always - find something to make them snap, no matter if you ban everyone from dong everything.

As far as "scientific" studies, whenever people look for a relationship between cause A and effect B, anyone demonstrating effect B has it blamed on cause A, when it could actually be caused by a whole host of other factors. Those things are quite often biased. Usually the people who want to conduct that sort of research have some pre-existing opinions that they're looking to validate with the research, no matter what the research actually shows.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 10:22:22 AM

Jack, researchers are well aware of how studies work and they're not about to fall into such simple traps.

Short-term and long-term studies do indeed exist for a reason.

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Underdog15
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 1:08:07 PM

It really depends on how you do your research when using psychological studies.

The most trustworthy studies are rarely published in any sort of public forum, especially since it costs money to publish anything, period. The ones you hear in the news are either highly relevant or supported financially by someone who could benefit from a bias. True psychological research using the scientific method and a variety of research strategies easily avoid bias.

In any controversial study, you will have studies set up to support both sides, and then a couple organizations will do honest research with the best interests of health care clients. If you know where to look, (Ebsco Host is a great resource for any of you who have access through academic institutions or know someone in a field related to psychology or research. Get help from your school librarian on how to conduct useful research using that tool) you can find honest to goodness research. Often this type of research can be confusing to read to someone not used to analyzing data, but any psychology undergrad could help you out.

Just be careful not to dismiss research that doesn't support facts you want it to support with a predisposition like "researchers are gonna fudge the numbers". The fact remains, as Ben just said, researchers know how to research. If any one person had a nickel for every time a researcher set out to prove something and changed his hypothesis, well... they'd better give a lot to charitable research!!

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DeathOfChaos
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 8:33:41 AM
Reply

I don't know how many people out there are retarded enough to think that it's alright to kill someone just because you can shoot people in the face in GTAIV, but I for one, am smarter than that, lol. People who think that just because there are virtual characters on screen who were actually created in the first place for the sole purpose of being killed by you by controlling another fictional character who's sole purpose was to kill that person anyway is a clean cut reason that it's alright to go out and kill a real live, breathing human being should probably be thrown into a mental institution or shot themselves. If their morals are as low as thinking that if something fake is alright to do in the real world, then they're just a stain on society and would cause nothing but harm to anyone or anything they come across... what the hell is wrong with people these days? Damn...

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 10:21:04 AM

It's not about morals. And it's not as drastic as turning people into killers. It's about the subconscious changes to behavior that we see in children when exposed to violence; i.e., resistance to authority figures, more willing to resolve issues through violence, hyperactivity, etc.

It's a change most people don't recognize in themselves. This is what can be harmful, even to adults.

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DeathOfChaos
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 11:22:13 AM

I'm talking more about the difference between someone being smart and someone being stupid.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 12:32:00 PM

It has nothing to do with intelligence. As someone who holds a degree in psychology, I promise you that.

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Underdog15
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 1:09:08 PM

As someone else with a degree (working towards a masters in counseling psychology) I second that! lol

EDIT: I mean I second what Ben said.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 4/15/2010 1:09:51 PM

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DemonNeno
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 6:49:58 PM

Yeah, it's not like anyone plays games to LEARN how to become a killer. In fact, I wouldn't say games MAKE people killers, either. I certainly can agree with Bens concerns/thoughts.

"Smart" people are generally the weirdest people you'll meet. It seems like they meet some sort of boredom with the general population and float into their very own little worlds. I have a couple friends who are absolute genius' and a blast to hang out with, but their personalities stick out like a sore thumb.

"Smart" and "stupid" mean nothing in regards to your mental state of mind. This is a build of a character formed from what we experience. That experience is what worries people.

I have absolutely no masters' degree in anything. I have ASE certs and an EMT-B license. Dealing with psych patients for years teaches you mental conditions do not mean these people are stupid.

Just to be clear, psych patients are on the deep end of the pool, I'd imagine standing on the shallow side. The rest of that gap between is where anyone in the world can possibly be. Calling people "stupid" well do yourself absolutely nothing to understand. Not that Im offended by what you said, just trying to pitch in my 2 cents about things.

Keep it real! And sane. :D

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DeathOfChaos
Monday, April 19, 2010 @ 12:41:22 PM

Yeah. If someone where to kill someone and blame it on a video game, it would be a false accusation. It would be their own fault for going and killing someone. It's not like a game told you to go and shoot someone in the face with a shot gun. That's like saying Super Mario told you to eat shrooms because it would make you grow double your original size and that stars make you invincible. Just not plausible, lol. And with the smart and stupid remark, I was meaning it more like where there is a spark in your mind that let's you differentiate the cause and effect of helping someone do something and shooting someone. Kind of like with some serial killers, us going into a grocery store and buying milk to us is the same as going into a grocery store and killing the cashier to a serial killer. At least that's how I've heard it explained before, for some cases of serial killers.

Last edited by DeathOfChaos on 4/19/2010 12:46:45 PM

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Arvis
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 8:35:58 AM
Reply

I'll never understand the taste for gore some people have. I guess... I mean, I guess there may be some fascination with the unnatural (like ghosts and UFOs and stuff) but... it's just so gross...

-Arvis

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spiderboi
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 10:07:59 AM
Reply

Yeah its getting to the point of realism where we have controllers that actually do look and feel like dil....

kidding aside, this isn't something we should limit to realism, or games for that matter. A kid holding a toy gun. Isn't that enough for him to wonder "hey what if i tried pulling off the trigger on someone?" this isn't a question of realism. This is a question on the people playing these games. If they can handle them, thats the big ?. So many times some random kid decides to play rambo for real not because of games or media (but it did have some influence), the main reason is that he could not handle it.

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Captain Cod
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 11:24:51 AM
Reply

Well tbh, look at these terrible movies such as the SAW series and Hostile. How about Manhunt? Of course apparently SAW 1 was actually a good movie and Manhunt probably has a decent plot to back it up but alot of it is just mindless violence. Yes, I'll stereotype today.

Even so, people enjoy watching / playing these things yet when they watch a video of e.g...a real Russian excecution where someone gets his head sliced off by a combat knife, they pretty much want to barf out their breakfast. Hypocrisy I tell you.

But the fact is some can still bear this kind of stuff from fictional entertainment because it simply isn't real.

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Highlander
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 12:28:52 PM
Reply

This article and he comments are thought provoking stuff, I have to add to my earlier comment.

Regarding violent video games and realism. Perhaps the majority can bear this stuff without apparent change. However, the more vulnerable members of society may not come through it completely unscathed.

What if the effect on 99.9% of players is to slightly loosen their innate self control of their aggression? Could it be that the cumulative effect of playing violent games loosens the control of more vulnerable people sufficiently that they do become more aggressive? Could it be that the increased aggression leads to violent confrontations? Could it be that in a small number of cases those confrontations lead to deadly violence?

We used to talk about the butterfly effect in various fields. You know the concept that in complex and chaotic systems a small, almost insignificant, change to the initial conditions can lead to drastically different outcomes. Is it really too much to consider that subtle changes in the sub-conscious ability to control aggression and violent behavior of some people might result in more violent confrontations?

Laws in our society exist to prevent extremes of behavior. We wouldn't all drive at 100MPH if there were no limit, but some would ad at that speed any error is fatal and could be fatal for others, so we have a law to prevent speeding. We have all sorts of laws that moderate our behavior in society. Sometimes it's not laws but simple rules, such as rules about the content of movies.

If there is a chance that extreme violence and realism in action games could contribute to more violence, then isn't it better for society as a whole if the extreme violence in games is held in check?

See for me the logical end of the argument that says "no censorship" is that games simply become more depraved. Where do we draw the line? If there is no censorship, what if a game is created (well in truth, as deplorable as it is, such a 'game' already exists) where the player - in full HD first person glory - commits a rape? The no censorship argument says we shouldn't do anything, it's just pixels, it's just 'art', or it's just a game. Is it just a game now?

Is it?

I don't think so.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 12:33:53 PM

I couldn't possibly agree more. Absolutely could not have said it better myself.

There is indeed a line where art can and will become dangerous, and I think people need to understand that.

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Underdog15
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 1:35:11 PM

Certainly even the argument claiming that video games as 'art' should not be censored because it's 'art' is flawed. Ever since art (specifically, the theater) began, censorship has been an issue. People have eternally argued for both sides, and most would agree now that if these boundaries were not pushed, we would not have the artistic freedom of expression we have today.

However, there is a fundamental difference between the societal reasoning of history and now in present day during this video game 'no censorship' philosophy. And that difference is this: In the past, the argument for artistic change has been due to things like personal expression and hurt or political commentary. The difference now is that we just want a new way to be entertained. Certainly art has always been entertaining, but NEVER for the sole purpose of entertainment. At least not in terms of forward progression or artistic freedom. There was ALWAYS a motivating factor to promote change to BETTER the human condition. Definitely not the case in this situation, especially in terms of the rape scene Highlander is referring to or the violence Ben predicts in this article.

The concept that "games" (if you can call it a game) exist with such perverse motives is a commentary in itself to the desensitization we experience today, as well as to our inability to recognize or appreciate what is truly artistic.

This should not even be an argument of whether or not someone could handle it. How many people truly even possess the ability to completely block out any form of influence from the things you subject yourself to? Shouldn't we all know by now that "What goes in, must come out"?

It might not make you a killer, but I'm a firm believer that in essence...

"You are what you eat!"

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coverton341
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 1:42:38 PM
Reply

I have read through the comments and there are a ton of good points in here and there are a ton of people that are defending the fact that these are clearly games and pixels and we would all be screwed up already to not be able to tell the difference between games and reality, which is true.

What I think is more to the point and what I take from this and Ben stated it earlier in the comments is what happens when the line between game and reality gets to the blur point. What happens when technology takes us to a point where we cannot differentiate to whether the character is live action or graphic design.

I will go on record right now as saying that as well adjusted as I like to think I am and as well as I can separate my entertainment from reality if and when we get to that point, dismembering a person will have an effect on my psyche and I feel that is a given for just about everyone regardless of what you want to think.

There was a video from a Bosnian or other Eastern European country leaked to the internet that was evidence in a string of serial killings. I came across this video by happen-stance and watched it. I kept telling myself it wasn't real because I just couldn't process what I was watching. I eventually had to dig up the truth about the video and found out that I had indeed just watched an honest to (insert whatever here) snuff film. It didn't sit well with me then and it still doesn't now. It had a profound psychological effect and now when I see yellow bags I cringe and my gut gets tight. That is after a 10 minute video that I was not interacting with in the least.

This makes me very concerned about the effects of watching and interacting with a game that can last anywhere from 5 to 50 hours and have that game be so realistic it is impossible to differentiate between life and pixel. Especially when that game is depicting killing other human beings be it for an artistic point or be it out of shear gratuity. I have no idea if it would make me personally neurotic about more things than yellow shopping bags or if it would desensitise me to the point where if a person was disembowelled in front of me would I care. Either option doesn't sit well with me because I like the fact that I can use a shovel and not become squeamish and I feel it is healthy that if I witnessed a person die I would have a strong emotional reaction instead of a flat affect.

I will argue against censorship until I am blue in the face but I think we as a society should at least have higher standards and drive the industry away from such things and like someone said towards a more artistic approach to games.

Again taking from someone else, games should remain games, life should remain life, let's move a step back from needing to have games mimic life and have them strive to touch our imaginations instead.

Done ranting sorry for the novella.

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Highlander
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 3:10:46 PM

Excellent comment.

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Grown_Gamer
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 1:48:52 PM
Reply

I'm still not quite sure what the argument is here. So a game can have as much gore and violence as it wants so long as it doesn't LOOK too real? Isn't photo-realism what we have been waiting for as gamers?

I don't think that any developer should hold themselves back for fear of crossing some line that may or may not exist. If a game has a great story and just so happens to be violent, should the developer then scale down the graphics and gameplay for those who can't handle it mentally?

There will always be impressionable types out there who will be easily influenced by various forms of media, but they don't represent the majority, therefore guidelines and ratings shouldn't be based around those individuals.

As an adult that has never been in trouble with the law, and someone who opposes violence except for self-defense purposes, I feel like I have the right to play video games that contain realistic violence, and I shouldn't have to come under any kind of scrutiny or feel as though I am flawed morally for doing so.

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Underdog15
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 2:00:45 PM

But even in what you wrote, it became apparent that you feel the need for the violence to have a purpose. A meaningful purpose.

"If a game has a great story and just so happens to be violent, should the developer then scale down the graphics and gameplay for those who can't handle it mentally?"
EDIT: You raise a good point with the "great story-happens to be violent" bit. This edit is just to make clear that I liked what you said here, which is why I quoted.

Certainly we open up a very good argument if there's purpose. In art, it is never frowned upon to talk about something dark in the human psyche if there's a purpose. Some of the best modern plays, for example, center around sever hurt in one or more character's lives. Canadian playwright Judith Thompson does this wonderfully and potently, I might add.

Would you not even slightly be opposed to senseless violence for the sake of being violent being accompanied by more real than real graphical detail? I still stand by the fact that any realistic violence can have an adverse effect on anybody of any background or psychological security.

Have people become so naive that something that glorifies violence is somehow artistic? It's one thing to admit and portray the reality of violence as something that happens in real life, but the direction games are going in today glorify the violence in a way that entertains instead of one that disdains.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 4/15/2010 2:03:22 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 2:50:38 PM

Underdog, you and I also share the same set of beliefs, it seems.

I too don't buy into the concept that "everything" can be considered art, or that gratuitous violence can be considered art. I use as an example director Quentin Tarantino: now, I'm not saying he isn't an extremely talented and artistic individual, but it seems to me he is only capable of making a point - or rather, in some cases, attempting to make a point - through insane violence and in general, twisted situations. I'm wondering if he's capable of communicating his thoughts in any other manner.

There are lines to cross and regardless of ability and the inherent quality of the product in question - movie or game - I do believe we can go past the point of artistry and enter in the realm of dangerous pictures and ideas that can worm their way into even the most intelligent, well-adjusted minds.

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Highlander
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 3:23:31 PM

@Underdog,

I'm reminded of the baying crowds that used to pack the Colosseum. They watched ever increasing levels of violence and violation, cheering and glorifying in the brutality. I don't think we doubt whether Roman society was damaged by the bread and circuses that accompanied the fall of Rome. Why do we doubt the danger of similar excess today?

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Arvis
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 3:40:40 PM

@ Highlander,

Because everybody everywhere truly believes that their world/country/sovereign state will be around forever. Sure, all the great empires of yore that controlled most of the world all ended eventually, but not theirs. Right?

If only moderation and balance were valued at all... *sigh*

-Arvis

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Highlander
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 12:32:59 AM

Indeed Arvis, indeed.

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Grown_Gamer
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 2:13:26 PM
Reply

Just so there's no confusion,

If a game has gratuitous violence with no real plot or storyline to back it up, I'm not interested. But I would hate to see a great game scaled back for fear of being "too realistic". I just think people should be more turned off by gratuity than by realism.

Last edited by Grown_Gamer on 4/15/2010 2:19:45 PM

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Underdog15
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 2:18:54 PM

No worries. That was the impression I got from what you wrote. You definitely connected the need for a story and meaning. You make a good point, I think. I don't think any of us want developers to scale down their visuals. Most probably just want them to exercise some tact how they portray what they develop.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 4/15/2010 2:20:12 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 2:42:26 PM
Reply

I wish games made me more aggressive in real life. It would be a real boon. I've never thrown a guy into a tree before :)

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 4/15/2010 3:04:41 PM

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rogers71
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 3:35:59 PM

World, I am thinking that you might benefit from a sitdown session with Ben. Let Ben delve into some of that deep seeded hostility you are harboring. lol

Just kidding.....I think?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 3:42:29 PM

lol, I'd rather channel it into kicking his ass in some game. Besides, Ben is the tree-thrower not me ;)

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 4/15/2010 3:45:24 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 9:23:29 PM

The games made me do it!!!

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Arvis
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 3:38:47 PM
Reply

Mad, mad respect for Highlander, Ben, Coverton, and Underdog. Mad respect.

-Arvis

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coverton341
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 5:25:19 PM

Thanks Arvis, and you are dead on with the comment about thinking one's country will last forever.

Seldom do men learn from the sources that have the most to offer. I mean history isn't there for us to learn from the mistakes of old is it...

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Underdog15
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 11:04:52 AM

Wow, thanks Arvis. And I agree with Coverton saying you're dead on. How often do you hear in history class some comment about how often history repeats itself? Makes you roll your eyes a bit!

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dirdiggler
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 5:42:46 PM
Reply

I say the more blood an guts the better, its a video game for christ sakes now your talkin like 1 of them religious freaks saying you can't do the airport in mw2 its a game nothing wrong with mowing down people in an airport it's for the better of the world.

Last edited by dirdiggler on 4/15/2010 5:44:10 PM

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Underdog15
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 9:12:11 AM

So someone with a moral objection to grotesque, glorified violence or perhaps even someone with a belief in a religion that could potentially define the very fabric of their personality somehow makes them a 'freak' not to be respected?

You sound like one of the many kids I immediately mute when playing MW2 for shouting ignorant insults at people like the N-word or telling me about your love affair with my middle-aged mother...

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 6:22:50 PM
Reply

The Manhunt games were great, thin but fun story, lots of stealth, I hope we do see another one and it's real as as real gets this gen.

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JMO_INDY
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 7:02:51 PM

I as well loved the Manhunt games, I remember having to go to a friend's house in order to play them along with GTA when I was younger now a days my mom doesn't care what game I play. Now don't mistake that for bad parenting, just she understands I'm almost 16 now and I'm mature enough and have been for about 5 years to handle violence. I do see the Manhunt games more of a middle finger to uptight middle class suburban America. What I mean is this, it's kind of telling the uptight ones to chill out and sit back and enjoy some carnage once in a while, it's all fun. I don't exactly know how I feel about tearing someone's spine out with a ice claw using the Move controls, could be fun, could be disturbing. I've never really been affected by excessive blood or violence. The only entertainment medium that has messed with me on a psychological level is the movies Silent Hill and The Mist. They got to me on a human level like just empathy really, and did leave me with haunting images seared into my mind to this day. I've never experienced this with a game or a piece of literature. So I do wonder if we are to see more realistically violent games, the only way I see these games with too much trouble would be the ones with killing other humans. Zombies, monsters, etc. shouldn't be a problem as were all used to this by now. Quick thought: L4D2 with Move Controls! and that I for one did not have an issue with the MW2 Airport Scene, the game as whole however >_>

Last edited by JMO_INDY on 4/15/2010 7:10:11 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 7:20:40 PM

I'm like you, the violence and gore has little to no affect on me because psychologically I know it isn't real no matter how it looks. But yeah, certain movies have weaseled haunting moments into my head. Books too, if you read the likes of H.P. Lovecraft and other pulp writers of the early 20th century. There have been some genuinely creepy moments in games but that only makes me enjoy them more.

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JMO_INDY
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 7:36:50 PM

Well I've never really considered myself a connoisseur of fine literature, but I might have to see what you're talking about here. You put it perfectly, It has no effect because in the end it's all fake characters in games and literature, however with movies also being fake the use of real people in those situations has whats gotten to me the most.

Last edited by JMO_INDY on 4/15/2010 7:38:20 PM

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Highlander
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 12:32:24 AM

@JMO

You know what, the Romans didn't think they were affected by the goings on at the Colosseum either. It's like the 'boiling frog' story.

If you were to drop a frog into boiling water, it would most certainly jump out immediately, but if you were to drop it into tepid water and heat it gently, bu the time it realized it was boiling hot, it would be too late, and frog soup would be ready to serve.

You can't always perceive the change in yourself, you may not feel the temperature increase until it's so hot you are unable to do anything about it.

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JMO_INDY
Sunday, April 18, 2010 @ 10:13:54 PM

Your comparison really holds no water as you're comparing a video game with my point I made earlier fake people. The Colosseum was full of actual bloodshed right in front of there own eyes, real flesh being torn from real bone seen in real life, does not compare to a virtual killing in the slightest.

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dirdiggler
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 7:56:46 AM
Reply

Well if video games make me a mass murderer then so be it, let the killing begin.

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Highlander
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 10:59:17 AM

Way to add to the discussion...

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Underdog15
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 11:07:37 AM

@Dirdiggler

Please see aforementioned comment about muting kids in MW2, as it seems to apply to you as well... it's only 8 or 9 comments up....

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dirdiggler
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 1:34:11 PM
Reply

Acutally i mute everyone on mw2 myself don't even have a headset pointless.. Here's a simple resolution to ppl's problem with it getting to real or can't handle it, DON'T PLAY IT. u callin me a kid is funny also..

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Underdog15
Friday, April 16, 2010 @ 3:11:01 PM

I'm not sure "don't play it" is a viable solution, and it seems to me that sort of reasoning suggests you're only an enabler to those who would be more at risk. (Ben studied Psych. He knows what an enabler is!)

I think the point Highlander was trying to make towards your comment says it all. Basically, there are a ton of quality comments just prior to your post supporting numerous angles, then you come in with a very shortsighted and almost ignorant comment. It can be frustrating to those of us who have invested time in the discussion making quality observations only to have someone skip it all and add their fraction of what could be worth two cents with a comment that neither provokes thought nor offers a realistic point of view to consider.

In terms of this most recent post, a couple of things bug me that, on a normal occurrence, I would typically ignore.

First off, having a headset in a game like that is not pointless. Being a part of a clan or group of friends who are familiar with game styles and maps make good use of their communication abilities. By all means, add my PSN Underdog15 and play with my friends and I. We don't have high K/D and win ratios for nothing. I find it frustrating to play with people who don't communicate, hence why I only play MW2 if some of my RL or PSN friends are playing it.

Second, your comment on "if you don't like it, don't play it" philosophy has been addressed already by a few people who have made some intelligent observations (again... that's why it's frustrating for you to come in guns a-blazing without looking... like your MW2 strategy perhaps?). None of us want to re-write or paraphrase what we have already written. To fully grasp the truth behind the lack of understanding you're portraying, I recommend you read a bit, if it doesn't take you too long to do so.

Thirdly, I didn't call you a kid. I merely compared your comments to the ones you typically hear from the immature folks playing shooters online. If you want to get technical, I was merely comparing your words through the use of a simile. My quote said "You sound like...", and was not even originally directed towards you. So... I referred you to a simile that was used to describe someone else, which makes you a bit upset because you assumed that a child MUST be how I view you.

Well... in actuality... that is quite funny.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 4/16/2010 3:20:33 PM

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