Thursday, January 26, 2006

Violence Begets Violence

It's true. Violence does beget violence. But I don't mean that the way you might think.

Violent games do not beget violent kids. That's just a fact. Violent kids tend to play violent games. But some people who would have it be the other way try to skew facts to make it look like the games are the problem.

I read a "study" by a group of dimwits who were trying to prove that violent games make kids violent. They created a no doubt very boring game where players have to drive around a city where pedestrians are walking along the sidewalks. They found that when hitting pedestrians increases score, the players hit the pedestrians more often. When hitting people decreases score, the testers hit them less often. The leaders use this to show that violent games make kids violent.

Here's where the fallacy begins: the players weren't trying to hit pedestrians. They were trying to win the game, and if hitting pedestrians wins, they'll try to hit them. If hitting them makes you lose, you'd naturally try not to hit them. It's just common sense.

The real test is this: did those players leave the testing facility, get in their cars and rampage up and down sidewalks in a bloodlust, trying to hit as many pedestraians as they could? Not if they were sober (but who knows what kooks the lunatics that set up this study dug up).

In my opinion, violence in games can actually help decrease violence in the real world. When kids get angry, what better way to vent than killing helpless victims in Grand Theft Auto? Or dispatching of enemy agents in Splinter Cell? Would these crazies who set up these phony "tests" like these kids to grab their dads' guns and go kill their enemies at school, or take 'em on online in an MMORPG?

Sure, killing cops isn't good. Neither is killing innocents or American soldiers. But please! Why are titles like True Crime or Ghost Recon so terrible? And what about Spiderman? You're the hero, for goodness sake!

And what about violent movies? What do these people think about them? They must cause just as much (if not more) violence in people as a whole than video games (which are participated in by a smaller, albeit more devoted group of people). Oh, we have a rating system for movies; oh wait, there's one for video games too.

It seems like a silly debate to me.

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