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How do you feel about Video game Violence?

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ktz
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Re: How do you feel about Video game Violence?

Post by ktz » December 4th, 2018, 12:15 pm

Eduk wrote:
December 4th, 2018, 10:24 am
Sure, there are plenty of fun games that don't involve killing and war. None of them cracked the top ten in streamer popularity last year.
While I agree that a large and perhaps disproportionate number of the most watched games on twitter are the first person shooters such as Fortnite, PUBG etc you are mischaracterising a number of the remaining games. It is like saying that fantasy novels involve killing and war and therefore they are bad. Or that horror movies involve killing so they are bad. Hearthstone is a card game. It is as offensive as D&D.
Sadly if you look at any of the most popular charts in movies, tv or music you will find disappointment. Again what you have to show is that games are somehow different.
I just think you have to have a bit of nuance.
the availability of graphic-intensive killing simulators
Mario involves 'killing' enemies by jumping on their heads in a war with the evil Bowser. Mario is nothing like actual killing or actual war. PUBG with its 'realism' is nothing like actual killing or actual war. Again if I read the battle at the end of the Hobbit am I prepping myself for armed conflict?
A lot of technological development comes directly out of military sponsorship, and video games are no different. The Atlantic talks about the active role of the military in developing the "military-entertainment complex" here: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/ ... es/280486/ -- I found it interesting that they now use video games in healing roles as well as training roles. But that military connection to industry that Eisenhower warned about may provide a link as to why the technology to simulate killing has advanced so quickly over the past half-century.

On the streamer list, Mario wasn't one of the top ten viewed games, but I agree that it's a stretch to say that stomping on Goombas is akin to murder. Hearthstone is similar though having played it myself I can say that losing a close game due to some BS RNG can generate a lot of ill will and aggression. In the same vein Lol and Dota are probably too artistically stylized to be considered human on human violence. Even Fortnite technically lacks blood or gore. But how can you say PUBG is nothing like actual killing? Granted you can change the color of the blood that comes out, but I think shooting people in the face with handguns, shotguns, and sniper rifles causing a cloud of blood to come out seems to me fairly representative of the human imagination of the act of killing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSwNzK4TgNk

The thing is, I'm not taking a position where I'm terrified that some kid playing a videogame or reading the Hobbit is then going to suddenly head out and actively murder people. Kids that do that probably had some serious issues that were going to be expressed in a negative way regardless of their exposure to violence in media. What I'm more afraid of in the average case is desensitization and moral disengagement, and the average person getting the wrong idea of how bad war and killing and violence actually are. For example, consider the situation like the widespread support for the Iraq War in America. I worry that people subjected to the subconscious glorification of war and violence, especially at a young age, are less likely to have an accurate idea of what actual war entails, and more likely to buy into the whole "Yee-haw let's go kill some A-rabs" message. This is why even in cases without graphic depiction, the trivialization of war and death at scale makes me intuitively uncomfortable. There's studies linking even a physiological desensitization to real world violence to video game exposure. I think everyone should have to watch a documentary like Restrepo before they commit our teenagers to the next movement in the war on terror. Not pleasant stuff.
No previous generation had the ease of access to the visceral and addicting degree of entertainment now available to adolescents. Like many other technological adaptations, we are essentially running an experiment with no control scenario. There may be long-tail effects that we won't know until it is too late.
This is true. Like many other technological advances. Thus far the world has continued to turn. There are myriad examples of the harm of games and myriad examples of the lack of harm of games.
Actually this argument reminds me of another one I heard a while ago. The argument was the football is evil because of hooliganism. Now we all agree there are hooligans. We all agree they are detrimental. But I didn't agree that football created them, there is no causal link.
Not saying that we should ban soccer -- but culture is contagious. I'm sure you would agree that there are plenty of hooligans that would not engage in violent and reckless behavior if there weren't a big mob of other hooligans to back them up. You're right that it is mostly an incidental occurrence to soccer, but soccer encourages tribalistic attitudes of us vs. them that can serve as a rallying point for dehumanization and violence -- and now hooliganism is part of the culture in some areas. I don't think any sport can be said to be pure evil by any means -- plenty of good things can come out of team-based cooperation and achievement as well -- but I can see a potential causal link between football and hooliganism related to the engendering of tribalistic attitudes. In general, my personal view is that playing sports is a great use of time -- watching sports, less so.



Anyway, putting aside Alias's fair point about it being symptomatic of broader cultural issues in society, right now I pretty much view exposure to violence in videogames as analogous to drinking soft drinks, and the role that hyperpalatable HFCS calories play in the childhood obesity epidemic. A little bit probably isn't going to bother anyone unless they have a medical condition, and it's not really a reasonable response to endorse a government ban on all soft drinks. However, setting restrictions on advertising soft drinks to children and encouraging parents to limit overexposure sound like reasonable initiatives to me. And it's not just video games -- I'm also bothered by the fact that so many popular YA novels are dystopian exercises where the main character has to murder their way to revolutionary freedom, e.g. Hunger Games, Maze Runner or Divergent.

For a long time, the harms of smoking were not well understood, and it's my private hypothesis that similar harms from highly addictive lizard brain entertainment at scale are not yet well understood. Not everyone who smokes dies of lung cancer, after all, even when the link is statistically significant. I think there could be acceptable initiatives, like those similar to cigarettes, alcohol, and carbon emissions -- maybe there could be a "violence tax" to discourage publishers from churning out non-stop highly lucrative murder simulators. But at present this remains a cultural discussion rather than political or scientific one, and so the choice of what kind of society we want to be will remain scaled out across millions of individual choices each day.

In general, perhaps there is a broader question to consider which is this: do we as a society have a duty or means to stop people, especially young children, when they want to do something that might be bad for society in the long run? Not every child has the benefit of good parenting, after all. Is the sacrifice of violent entertainment too much to ask of a society? Should we wait until the tipping point data comes out?
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ktz
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Re: How do you feel about Video game Violence?

Post by ktz » December 4th, 2018, 12:19 pm

Alias wrote:
December 4th, 2018, 11:48 am
Of course, the subjects are not all adolescents: more and more adults spend more and more time gaming, even to the point of addiction.
That's not to say they all play violent games, or learn violent methods - after all, there is also a surge in on-line gambling, for example, and interactive games that supply lonely people with a virtual community. It's quite probable that many of the players use games as an escape, or to channel their frustration: as a substitute for lashing out at real people. One might question how long such a displacement activity will suffice before the subject craves actualization, but there are no reliable stats.
I'm just expressing a sadness in the way we as a society choose to encourage our kids to spend their time and follow their basest desires, through advertising etc.
The business of America is business. Addictive substances are the most lucrative products.
The most effective way to keep a market growing is to gradually increase the dosage of whatever - sugar, salt, fat, alcohol, nicotine, morphine, adrenaline, testosterone, dopamine - to keep the customer needing more. The economy keeps needing more revenue, while producing less tangible goods, so it's got to depend on sports, entertainments, self-decoration and money-changing: if you took violent video games off the market, the US economy might actually collapse.

When the interests of business and government coincide, and most of the people either don't notice or don't mind, no real change can take place; no token gestures will make any difference at all.
Alias, I think you are like if Chomsky and Chris Hedges had a depressingly correct baby.
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Re: How do you feel about Video game Violence?

Post by Eduk » December 4th, 2018, 12:56 pm

A lot of technological development comes directly out of military sponsorship, and video games are no different. The Atlantic talks about the active role of the military in developing the "military-entertainment complex" here:
I make computer games for a living. The military has negligible impact. For example I can hire an ex soldier to do the mocap for my game but that won't make my game realistic. Much in the same way that you see experts hired onto movie sets and then ignored in favour of story.
But how can you say PUBG is nothing like actual killing? Granted you can change the color of the blood that comes out, but I think shooting people in the face with handguns, shotguns, and sniper rifles causing a cloud of blood to come out seems to me fairly representative of the human imagination of the act of killing
Sitting at my desk aiming with my mouse while moving with WASD and using LMB to kill other people doing the same thing is nothing like real life killing. It's much closer to Mario than it is to real life. For example I cannot play an MMA game and then engage in some real life MMA with anything other than disastrous results (for me).
What I'm more afraid of in the average case is desensitization and moral disengagement, and the average person getting the wrong idea of how bad war and killing and violence actually are.
This is real but I'm not sure who to blame. If you are out of touch with reality so much that video games have this effect on you then who is to blame? Surely the underlying causes of how someone can be so out of touch with reality are what need to be looked at and not the result? For example the most popular music and the most popular tv is mind numbingly poor. Is it the art which is numbing the mind or the numb minds which are consuming the art? Or both of course.
I've already agreed that quality control is a real issue. It's just that this is an issue with the whole of life, not just computer games. And you aren't going to tackle this problem by making better games.
I'm sure you would agree that there are plenty of hooligans that would not engage in violent and reckless behavior if there weren't a big mob of other hooligans to back them up.
Absolutely. But my point is if not football then cricket, if not cricket then rugby, if not rugby then something else.
but soccer encourages tribalistic attitudes of us vs. them
No no, we are tribal so we follow soccer tribally. Soccer absolutely does not encourage anything (other than perhaps fitness and team work).
my personal view is that playing sports is a great use of time -- watching sports, less so.
I would rather play than watch. But sometimes you can't do one but you can do the other. I play fantasy football, which I find enjoyable and thus far has caused me to beat up zero people.
In general, perhaps there is a broader question to consider which is this: do we as a society have a duty or means to stop people, especially young children, when they want to do something that might be bad for society in the long run? Not every child has the benefit of good parenting, after all. Is the sacrifice of violent entertainment too much to ask of a society? Should we wait until the tipping point data comes out?
Well this is just too blanket. Let's go back to the horror movie genre. By definition they are all horrors. But are all horror movies detrimental? Sure some are, but are they all? Likewise with violent games. Are they all detrimental? Sure some are, but all?
The broader question is interesting. If someone wants to smoke twenty cigarettes a day and they are fully informed on the harm then should the government stop them? I don't think the answer is straight forward though.
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Re: How do you feel about Video game Violence?

Post by Alias » December 4th, 2018, 3:13 pm

ktz wrote:
December 4th, 2018, 12:19 pm
Alias, I think you are like if Chomsky and Chris Hedges had a depressingly correct baby.
While most young people are aghast at the mental image of their own conception, this mental image is too ghastly, even for an old person.
Still, my only reservation is not knowing just what you mean by "correct".
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

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Re: How do you feel about Video game Violence?

Post by ktz » December 4th, 2018, 4:22 pm

Alias wrote:
December 4th, 2018, 3:13 pm
ktz wrote:
December 4th, 2018, 12:19 pm
Alias, I think you are like if Chomsky and Chris Hedges had a depressingly correct baby.
While most young people are aghast at the mental image of their own conception, this mental image is too ghastly, even for an old person.
Still, my only reservation is not knowing just what you mean by "correct".
LOL. Hey, I'm sure they were good looking guys in their prime.

By correct I simply mean in the subjective sense -- I agree with your conclusions, depressing though I find them.
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Re: How do you feel about Video game Violence?

Post by ktz » December 4th, 2018, 4:37 pm

@Eduk I think all the points you made are fair and realistic. I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility that my opinions on this topic are somewhat blinded by a potentially unrealistic idealism.

I guess I just have a vision of what the world could look like if we could shift our incentive system of supply and demand to something like, supply and benefit, if that makes sense. Because with things like mindless entertainment, yes it's what people want, and dumb kids will continue to shell out money for gambling on loot boxes so the publishers will still print boatloads of cash, but ultimately it feels to me like a waste of intellectual resources at scale, a mostly inert poison that only shows its worst effects in the edge cases of the population. I guess this is the best system we've got for now -- but can't we dream of doing better?
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Re: How do you feel about Video game Violence?

Post by Alias » December 5th, 2018, 12:44 am

Eduk wrote:
December 4th, 2018, 11:56 am
Also some people play computer games because they like to. Furthermore some people read fiction because they like to.
Sure. Just as some people drink because like to and gamble because they like to. And some people - as of today, most people - can control those pleasures rather than be controlled by them. But the people in control are fewer than last year, and the addictive things they like doing are more numerous than last year. The frog don't know he's getting dangerously warm - even when there is a mass shooting every day of the year.
[ Add a video game, where he can translate that fantasy into action, and he's only one thin layer of reality away from enacting the fantasy. ]
Because statistically the murder rate has gone up since the invention of computer games and there is a direct logically causal link?
No, that wasn't the link to which I alluded. I was talking about increased levels of sensory engagement. Reading is intellectual - far removed from physical reality; hearing is a step closer, seeing is another sense engaged - and this one bypasses cognitive processing, goes directly into long-term memory - and finally, virtual participation, where the subject is no longer passive receptor, but an active agent.
It's like saying I am one short step from interdimensional travel because I watched Rick and Morty and then played the video game.
No, it's nothing like that. Interdimensional travel is not in the average person's experience or instinct/skill-set. Aggression is natural to humans, most obviously to young male humans; the impulse to alleviate psychic discomfort through violent action is natural. Civilization is a constant competition between the co-operative to keep these primitive impulses in check and the ambitious to harness them in the service of power.

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Re: How do you feel about Video game Violence?

Post by Eduk » December 5th, 2018, 4:49 am

@ktz well I'm just not as down on video games as you are I think. I like to take things case by case.
For me it is complex. Obviously developers shouldn't create Skinner boxes deliberately in order to maximise profit at others expense. They shouldn't. Of course if they don't they will be out competed by someone who will and they will cease to be developers. Also most of the bad behaviour in games comes through accident. Someone thought a system might be fun and people seemed to enjoy and only later did they learn about Skinner boxes. Most Devs aren't evil geniuses.
Then there is the flip side. People shouldn't be fooled by Skinner boxes. If no one was fooled by such a thing then it wouldn't matter if a dev made one because no one buy their game. To me this is long term and permanent and robust solution. It does however rely on everyone being better.
So now we have to work out what upbringing causes people to be harmed by greedy developers. That causes them to fall for cheap tricks and maximises self harm. This is what I think we should tackle in the world. Not the result but the cause.
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Re: How do you feel about Video game Violence?

Post by Alias » December 5th, 2018, 11:21 am

Eduk wrote:
December 5th, 2018, 4:49 am
...If no one was fooled by such a thing then it wouldn't matter if a dev made one because no one buy their game. To me this is long term and permanent and robust solution. It does however rely on everyone being better.
So now we have to work out what upbringing causes people to be harmed by greedy developers. That causes them to fall for cheap tricks and maximises self harm. This is what I think we should tackle in the world. Not the result but the cause.
That's exactly what I've been saying! You can't solve a systemic problem by hiding one symptom. And, of course, banning or censoring games would only hide the symptom, which would resurface in some other self-harming behaviour.
But upbringing is not an isolated domestic process; it takes place in the society: culture, ethical environment, school, church, entertainment, adult examples and role-models. Even the domestic situation itself is dependent on the economic and social climate. It's all one [semicoherent] structure; you can't fix it by taking out one minor element. And, if the structure - its ethics and values - are acceptable to most citizens, why should that not be reflected in its games?

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Re: How do you feel about Video game Violence?

Post by Eduk » December 5th, 2018, 12:04 pm

That's exactly what I've been saying! You can't solve a systemic problem by hiding one symptom. And, of course, banning or censoring games would only hide the symptom, which would resurface in some other self-harming behaviour.
I agree you can't solve a systemic problem by hiding symptoms. I think where I disagreed with you was what was and wasn't a symptom :)
But upbringing is not an isolated domestic process
I also agree. I think the domestic situation is the top of the list though (most of the time).
Even the domestic situation itself is dependent on the economic and social climate.
Absolutely. It's all circular. If you disadvantage your children through your own poor choices then your child is naturally disadvantaged, which is passed on to their children. It's a vicious circle. Of course there are exceptions.
And, if the structure - its ethics and values - are acceptable to most citizens, why should that not be reflected in its games?
I think our only real disagreement is which games are bad and how bad are they.
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Re: How do you feel about Video game Violence?

Post by Alias » December 5th, 2018, 2:01 pm

Eduk wrote:
December 5th, 2018, 12:04 pm
I agree you can't solve a systemic problem by hiding symptoms. I think where I disagreed with you was what was and wasn't a symptom :)
I do believe domestic violence is a symptom, just as prisoner abuse is a symptom and sexual assault is a symptom and school bullying is a symptom. Violence in various forms and degrees is so pervasive that no single facet of it can be isolated from the continuum.
I think the domestic situation is the top of the list though (most of the time).
It's not so much a list as a network. You can't isolate the nuclear family from the rest of society, its culture, economy, status structure, mores and protocols, its demands and expectations.
It's all circular. If you disadvantage your children through your own poor choices then your child is naturally disadvantaged, which is passed on to their children. It's a vicious circle. Of course there are exceptions.
I see. You do not consider societal disadvantage to the whole family - or class or neighbourhood or ethnicity - as a factor.
Yes, there, we do disagree, since the "poor choices" of the parents and grandparents were also motivated and limited by their environment.
I think our only real disagreement is which games are bad and how bad are they.
I don't think any games are bad in their social context, so long as they help youth develop the attitude and skill-set required for them to become successful in adulthood.

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Re: How do you feel about Video game Violence?

Post by Eduk » December 5th, 2018, 2:17 pm

I see. You do not consider societal disadvantage to the whole family - or class or neighbourhood or ethnicity - as a factor.
No I do consider those factors. Sorry that wasn't clear.
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Re: How do you feel about Video game Violence?

Post by Alias » December 5th, 2018, 4:14 pm

Eduk wrote:
December 5th, 2018, 2:17 pm
[disadvantage of... class or neighbourhood or ethnicity - ]
No I do consider those factors. Sorry that wasn't clear.
Then I must have jumped to an unwarranted conclusion. Sorry. It's an automatic reaction to certain words and phrases that one so often hears, these days: a blaming of people's misfortunes on "poor parenting" or "bad life choices" - as if the poor had perversely decided to fail, rather than bootstrap-climb to executive positions.

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Re: How do you feel about Video game Violence?

Post by Pages » December 19th, 2018, 3:25 am

Steve3007 wrote:
November 20th, 2018, 1:03 pm
I've had this philosophical discussion about violence in video games with my own kids. They assure me that if they shoot somebody in the face in a video game it doesn't make them more likely to do it in real life. They claim that the violence is sufficiently alien and far removed from their own real lives that it's no worse than watching a mouse drop an anvil onto the head of a cat, or a coyote run off the edge of a cliff, hover monetarily in the air and then, when he realises that he is unsupported, plunge to what would in real life be a terrifying death.

They won the argument and I now let them shoot people in the face in video games. Am I a bad parent?
Haha... Your kids are smart
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Re: How do you feel about Video game Violence?

Post by Pages » December 19th, 2018, 3:44 am

I think video game violence is totally fine for every sane user. There could be rare cases when violent games fuels a violent act in real life but, (just as others have pointed out) in the same way a movie would, or a song or a speech.
The brain is very complex to be deceived by something that "trivial" in most cases.
The people who were trying to make this world worse are not taking the day off. Why should I?

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