Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Two Books on Games & Violence

This post ended up going a bit awry. I read two books on video game violence to pit them against one another, but ultimately Grand Theft Childhood didn't really attack the position that games make you aggressive but rather took it back to inconclusive. I already knew that, anyone who half-way thought about the research claiming there was a connection knew that. Even old judges who have never played a game in their life and highly dislike them will acknowledge that it does not meet the burden of proof.

Both books instead engage in an elaborate looking in on video game culture without really engaging with it themselves. Researchers are "shocked" to discover that kids don't actually take what they're doing in the game seriously. People tend to use video games as an escape, which can be a sign of depression or problems at school. There still isn't much distinction between different genres in either book, nor do they bother to study much of anything besides the same generic topics that have been studied to death dozens of times. The reason I like to post studies on things like the effect games have on dreams or female avatars is that at least they're looking at something new. Until you can plug a chip into my brain to monitor my emotions, you're never going to prove games make you aggressive conclusively.

Which, by the way, is going to cause a helluva lot more trouble than any of these people seem to recognize. If a video game makes you violent, what about football? Debate team? Chess? Why is simulated combat any different from inhibited combat if it's all just adrenaline and training the brain to react violently?

At this point, I am one of these children maligned by years of games. And there are plenty more just like me.

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