General Question

shrubbery's avatar

Why do people play violent games?

Asked by shrubbery (10326points) June 16th, 2008

Why does anyone love to pretend to take a gun and go around shooting people? For example video games like Halo, Grand Theft Auto or Battlefield. Why is it better if it’s more realistic? What are your thoughts on this?

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28 Answers

bluemukaki's avatar

It’s human nature. People are quick to point to video games for violence, as soon as there is some massacre everyone goes through and checks to see if they played GTA, but the truth is that people have been killing each other, and watching other people get killed for thousands of years.

Public executions were the public’s get-togethers, and they’ve been replaced by sport and now, by video games.

Is it bad? No, because if I can get my aggression out killing a few pixels then so much the better, I don’t have to go and fight someone or do something stupid like take drugs because I’m angry at something or someone… The point is, people play violent video games because they like playing them. We live for violence. While we pretend that we’re all politically correct etc. people like nothing better than a fight.

TKR's avatar

I would mostly agree with above and also because its fun! I enjoy playing these games because its a fun and interactive thing to do with my friends. Have you ever been on xbox live!? Its a great way to keep up with friends and generally chill out. I don’t think the game content is a massive pull. I would still play these games if you were firing paintballs. However part of it is running about pretending you are one of your childhood heroes! Films make such things “cool” I think as long as your old enuf to play the game and you can differentiate between game and real life its fine. Essentially I play these games for fun and a laugh with friends.

Vincentt's avatar

Perhaps to vent aggression built up over time, without needing to hurt other people?

girlofscience's avatar

Why do people play games that involve fitting blocks together (Tetris) or hitting balls (pinball, pool)? I think the true answer is that the games are fun and challenge our skills in a way that is interesting to us. Violent games just present a challenge to us, and they should be regarded in the same way as any non-violent game.

iwamoto's avatar

well, i play a lot of videogames, but not all are violent, i do like them, i guess for some anger venting, but it has to have a purpose sort to say, for instance, i barely played GTA IV, there’s no chance to really evolve, on the other hand, i really like ninja gaiden II, because you keep on getting new weapons and techniques, you just keep getting better at it, or for instance hitman, where i get the most fun out of killing the targets without alerting anyone

for those interested, these are my games

Lost_World's avatar

I would say its because its something you cant do in real life.

nikipedia's avatar

@bluemukaki: The phenomenon you’re describing is called catharsis by psychologists, and there is more evidence that playing violent video games increases violent behavior than decreases it. Here’s a nice summary, although I can find you some more sciencey articles if you’re interested:

And to answer the original question—I think (most) men must have some capacity for violence that is just completely absent in (most) women. I am totally baffled by violent video games, war, bar fights, wrestling, etc. They do not make one particle of sense to me.

wildflower's avatar

Why do people use punching bags if they’re not training to become boxers?

It’s a way to vent frustration – and act out fantasies. Personally I’d love to be able to shoot target practice and at times I’d like to paste certain faces on the targets…...

El_Cadejo's avatar

@niki im going to have to disagree with you on the whole violent behavior thing. Its bullshit, and nothing more than a scapegoat. Take a look at this its a 4 year goverment funded study conducted at Harvard that states that there is “no data to support the notion that violent video games cause the kids who play them to act out violence in real life, contrary to the vast majority of media outlets that would have the public thinking otherwise.” I had another link a couple weeks ago(lost it sorry) to another study that stated the same and actually showed kids who dont play video games are more likely to be violent because they don’t have these times to vent.

But lets say that all of the above was wrong, and you were right about games making kids violent. The blame should not fall on the video game industry. It is the parents sole responsibility to watch their children and watch what media they are consuming. Stop blaming video games/music/tv/whatever other bs scapegoats just because your a bad parent.Pay attention to your children. End of story.

Zaku's avatar

I think violent games actually have at least two peaceful effects.

One is they give an outlet for aggression and frustration that has no impact on the real world. Games can also be about violence in a way that satisfies other tastes for violence, and sometimes that’s a fascination with the reality of tactical situations, historical situations, and so on.

Another is when they are done realistically, they can actually give players the experience of violence in a negative way. Most games aren’t like this, but some are, and it only takes a bit of experience with the awfulness of violence to show why one would not want to be violent in real life. That is, games that let you know characters as humans with personalities and stories, and then when and if you involve them in violence, there’s a good chance they’ll get killed or maimed and there’s not much you can do to ensure that won’t happen, it can make a big impression.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@zaku gta for instance. Fuckin hell i dont want a six star wanted level in real life. On a lesser note still using GTA IV, drunk driving. This game allows you to do it. After seeing in it this game and how impossibly hard it is (you literally crash into every single thing possible no matter how hard your trying to drive straight), i cant imagine why anyone would walk away from the experience saying, yea that looks like a good idea lets go do that. If anything it just makes me not want to do it even more.

sadia's avatar

because car jacking someone after going to a strip bar is frowned upon nowadays

Trustinglife's avatar

I’ve been thinking about this discussion since this question was asked. I was just listening to some audio from David Deida. He was talking about how the masculine finds its purpose: through austere experiences that bring the man in touch with death.

That’s what video games do. In a harmless way, we get to rub shoulders with death.
Personally, I have avoided shooter video games, because they scare the shit out of me. But after having heard David Deida talk about this today, I’m feeling more drawn to them. It makes sense why so many teenage boys would be attracted to this – it’s the time when tribes would send the teenagers out into the wilderness to do challenges like bring back a tiger’s tooth. Or go on a walkabout in the Australian outback. There was a chance of not coming back. A brush with death. Like video games.

Zaku's avatar

I remember before my friends and I got into really interesting games which included lots of violence, we would sometimes play some violent games in the neighborhood… we stopped, and I don’t know how much to attribute that to realizing we didn’t really want anyone to get hurt, and how much was to games offering more fun, interesting and harmless ways to play that sort of thing out, but I am sure that the games were much more of a harmless outlet, and a way to get interested in how things work, history, and many academic subjects, than they were any way causing violent behavior.

I.e., We were way more violent before we got into games, and are all now pretty much extreme pacifists in real life (non-wussy pacifists who know all about tactics… ;-) ), though we may continue to wreak imaginary havoc.

nikipedia's avatar

@uberbatman: I went back and read some of their original papers and a 29 page excerpt from their book. I do not think the article you linked accurately summarizes their findings. It seems to do precisely what these researchers set out to avoid—arrive at a conclusion about video games because of a preexisting agenda.

It seems that the strongest argument set forth by Kutner and Olson is that no conclusive evidence exists one way or the other.

Also please let me point out that your post was the first to mention blame or responsibility. Anyway, I commend you for using research to back up your post. Well done.

TKR's avatar

Through reading this post its interesting that it highlights the differing opinions of people who actually play computer games and those who do not! It has always annoyed me how the media jumps on the violent videogame bandwagon when something bad happens in society. Then put out stories which are clearly written by people who have never played! One of the funniest stories I read was about all the “sex” in mass effect. Google it, but I’m sure the media had to send out a few appolgies on that one! Can be frustrating sometimes when people don’t know what there talkin about.

El_Cadejo's avatar

TKR ITS LIKE A VIRTUAL SEX GAME THAT IS DEGRADING TO WOMAN!!! lols i almost died of laughter when those news reports were coming out.The best part was when they were interviewing the one lady who said a lot of it.

“Have you ever actually played this game?”
“no, but i heard about it”


TKR's avatar

@uberbatman hahaha I know!!! It was funny but is totally a good example of people just going off on one! Happens with the violence stuff aswell! Playing Hitman will turn u into a trained killer btw!! LOL

El_Cadejo's avatar

Hey well the kids that did columbine trained with Doom after all lol.

Zaku's avatar

If only they spent more time playing games, they might not have gone on a rampage in reality.

captaindh00m's avatar

violence is hilarious?

TKR's avatar

like I said above its interesting to see the difference between who plays and who doesn’t!

bluemukaki's avatar

What’s the name of that senator or something who is always telling people what violent games murderers etc. played?
He’s a douche-bag.

iwamoto's avatar

jack thompson ? or that other weasel ?

El_Cadejo's avatar

lol Jack Thompson worlds biggest tool.

shrubbery's avatar

Listen to this at about 7:47 =P

El_Cadejo's avatar

lol i love demetri martin

Arabic75's avatar

That because its a way to release the anger and the stresses that carried from the reality, that serves as an outlet to undesirable emotions but same time it urges to implement this psychological strain in the reality.

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