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Post Info TOPIC: Violent videogames- an ethical dilemma?


Mookish Deity Most High

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Violent videogames- an ethical dilemma?


I've always taken the somewhat unpopular stance that there is something a bit fucked up about very violent videogames. I have no problem with people who are old enough to play the game doing so, and I'm not one of those who would say everyone who plays COD is a mass murderer, but I find there to be something quite disturbing when listening to these people whilst playing, often making violent comments that they certainly wouldn't do usually. I think there's something a bit strange in that the new COD game is better because you can "really feel the recoil"- making a shoot-em-up that feels increasingly like shooting a real person is a strange aim to have. I don't have a blanket hatred of all such games, but some of these seem to be "you kill this person because they are the enemy" with little other reason, everything is very realistic and it's just gratuitous violence I don't care for at the expense of plot.

But recently I became aware that in games where characters use a gun that is a real life gun, an AK47 for example, the game manufacturers must pay licensing fees to the manufacturer of the gun and often collaborate with them to make the gun extra realistic. This means that anyone buying games like these is covertly supporting the gun industry. With this in mind, is it a complex ethical choice to purchase violent videogames? Are some okay and others not? Where do you draw the line?



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Mookish Deity Most High

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Hmm. Well I can say this much - normally, I play games that involve magic and beating up feral animal-like creatures - some of which don't even involve killing the said, but rather send them elsewhere for a while.

Then I bought the new Tomb Raider, which is incredibly real and violent. It involves lots of killing of other people, and some of it is pretty brutal, for the sake of survival. (Mild plot spoiler ahead.)

Spoiler


So yeah, I was rather uncomfortable playing it. I actually haven't finished it yet, because I've found myself trapped in a room packed full of mangled bodies, and I just don't feel up to another futile escape attempt ATM! I've kind of deviated, but the only video games I've played with guns (never  thought of licensing before!) were survival games (zombies etc), which is more about the horror and the challenge of escape than the gratiutious violence as you so eloquently put it - but let's face it, MOST video games contain some element of that, and as long as it remains a fantasy, I think it's okay.



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Mookish Deity Most High

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I'm not going to spoiler this, because if I had to spoiler it I feel the whole thread would have to be in spoilers. However, TW: War, gun violence, verbal abuse

I'm very much of the mind that age certificates on games are on there for a reason, and kids should most definitely not be playing CoD. They're too young to really understand the themes of the games and I think it will distort their view on things.

I also disagree with games that seem to trivialize war (modern wars especially, because let's be honest, war is not a fun filled thing like these games sell it as). War's an awful thing, people die, lives are destroyed and these games are disrespectful to those affected by war. The fact that these games actually profit the gun industry in my opinion does make it worse as well, because not only is it trivialising war, gun violence etc. It actually funds it.

Spoilering this to avoid giving plot away and also because it's very violent and disturbing.

Spoiler


I have problems with the attitudes on there as well. There must be exceptions, but shoot 'em up games such as CoD and the like are well known for the bad attitude that players have towards one another, and it seems as though nothing is ever done about the abusive behaviour that happens on these games. The serious lack of respect makes me rather upset to be honest, and I think it causes people to lose respect for people in real life as well.

There is more I want to say, but some games are much much worse than others, and CoD is definitely very questionable morally, but I kind of want to see what other people have to say before I carry on...



-- Edited by Redshoes on Thursday 11th of April 2013 08:03:10 PM

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Mookish Deity Most High

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For me, violent games are worse than violent films. This is for ,any reasons. In a film, it's not really 'you' doing it. It's a character, often with their own fucked up morals and reasons for acting this way. In a film, you're not really 'doing' anything. You're not learning how to put together a weapon or use it. In games, however, you learn more. Tudor knows a freakish amount about guns from playing CoD. And in a film, it's more plot driven. There's still a lot of senseless deaths, but the same kind of sequence in a film will involve a character shooting one bad guy guarding a room, and maybe hitting a couple of civilians in crossfire (but this is hinted at with a second or two of footage, and it doesn't focus on it). In a game, in order to give the player more to do and to draw it out, the same sequence will involve fighting through a few waves of bad guys and a boss fight. There aren't generally too many civilians, and if it's not in the plot to do so/part of a difficulty rating you generally can't kill them. And what happens to the bodies in games half the time? They just vanish.

Finding out that games like that are basically contributing to the weapons industry though... it kind of makes sense, when you think about it, but then you realise that most of the people you know have basically put their money into that kind of industry. All Tudor's flatmates have the latest CoD and most of the older ones. Tudor's brother also has it. Their mother bought them both a copy. It's kind of horrible to think that, indirectly, she's paying for someone to develop a better gun, which will feature in both a later game and in the hands of some killer (either legal or not).

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Professor Mook (mod)

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I have never been a fan of violent games. The main reason is that I don't find shooting or violence particularly interesting in of itself. I agree with Emmi that violence in (a lot of) films seems more purposeful, and it is associated with a particular character or a particular scenario. You can rationalise it a bit more, and disassociate yourself from it. Whereas in video games, even if you are playing AS a character, there's still that element of personal interaction, cause/effect etc etc...

My cousins (aged 8 and 5) have played Call of Duty. On the one hand, they now have really good knowledge of various historical figures and regimes... on the other hand, they are scarily desensitised to violence. My uncle (their father) lets them watch the Saw films too, because he "doesn't believe in lying to children"... So yeah. They are scary kids. My 8-year-old cousin (maybe he is 9 now? Hmm...) just got suspended from school for letting off fireworks (WHICH ARE ILLEGAL IN AUSTRALIA). Neither of these little boys have any sense of perspective when it comes to violence or gore, which is a worry. I have really mixed views to be honest, but they are scary kids in many ways.

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Regular Crew

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I personally cannot understand people who buy their 9 year old children CoD and wonder why they are swearing with every other word. Swearing features quite heavily in war games and movies, so it should not be surprising in the least to parents that their once well spoken little treasure has become a potty mouthed demon.

I play call of duty a lot and have done since modern warfare. I have never shot a real gun, and do not really have the intention of doing so. I also play tomb raider, but have never sharpened a stick and stabbed someone with it(or shot a tiger or a wolf :P). I have played GTA and have never stolen a car and ran people over!

I do not agree with parents buying the game for their children (under the age restriction) at the end of the day there are age restrictions on games for a reason, just as there are for smoking,drinking driving etc.

/rantover

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Mookish Deity Most High

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^ I have discovered that some parents actually believe their kids when they say that games are age-rated based on difficulty!!! Yes, it's an 18 cos it's really hard to complete!!! Obviously these parents should be judged for their total lack of giving a shit!

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High Mookish Shaman

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I've been thinking about this thread a lot since it was first posted, and taking a look at my attitudes towards gaming.

I enjoy gaming, and I do play some violent video games. However I am not a violent person, and generally (actually, never) play games for the combat element. If I play them it's because I want to see how the story line progresses, or because I am besotted with one of the characters.

It's a very interesting topic and I shall ponder more about it. I think perhaps I may stop playing violent or combat games and see whether or no they have been desensitizing me or having a negative impact on my psyche.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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Spikeyfaerie wrote:

^ I have discovered that some parents actually believe their kids when they say that games are age-rated based on difficulty!!! Yes, it's an 18 cos it's really hard to complete!!! Obviously these parents should be judged for their total lack of giving a shit!


I think most parents don't even check the age-rated. Kids just have to say all their friends own the game and they'll get it too. All the little boys in my class play COD. It terrifies me to hear them talk about how they gonna use a sniper gun to kill the bad guys. One of my kids has social phobia and a couple of weeks ago his mom told me she was really proud of him because when he plays COD he's talking with people. She said she spends hours watching him play and it makes her very happy. First, how in the world can it makes you happy to see your 10 year old boy shoot people in the head for fun? Second, he's talking on a microphone with people he doesn't know and doesn't see. I don't think it's gonna make his social phobia disapear. Another of my kids plays Resident Evil. He talks about the game all the time, he spends hours every night in front of the tv and wonder why he can't sleep and have nightmares... Oh, and there's this one who said when he's gonna be older he's gonna buy a fast car so he can escape the cops. I could write a book filled with stories like this. Charlie asked: ''Where do you draw the line?'' I say age should be the line. Sadly, society doesn't seem to agree.



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Mookish Deity Most High

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But that doesn't second point I made- even with adults playing the game (I firmly agree they should NEVER be for children), in games like CoD (although I believe not with games like Resident Evil) you are supporting the gun industry. This is fine if you are happy with that, but many people do not know and some people who play it would never be okay with the idea of buying a real gun. Should this be further publicised? Should this even be allowed when fantasy weapons could be used? It's just so strange.


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Mookish Deity Most High

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^This morning I realise I kind of drifted away from your question. I do think the fact that these games use replica of real guns should be more publicised. Sadly, I'm not sure it would change much things. I never played CoD, I refuse to. It's way too realistic and I think it's jus wrong but many people (adult or not) don't care.

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Runic Mook of the North (mod)

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I've been pondering this for a while, and I'm by no means sure about this, but I've tried to break it down into parts to make it easier for myself:

1. Violent games should be for adults only, so for the time being I will ignore the part of the discussion concerning children and violent computergames.

2. I have never played CoD. I have very limited knowledge about it.

3. I live in a country where military service is compulsory for all males, from the 14th of june this year it will also be compulsory for females. Seeing as most adults will spend some time in the army, learning how to use an assault rifle irl, I'm not sure if it is problematic that adults use an assault rifle in a game. A possible counterargument is that the army does a screening of people before they let them in and teach responsible handling of guns. Neither of which are done by game vendors.

4. In principle I'm of the opinion that only things that actually harm others should be illegal for adults to use.

5. Information about a product should be easily accessible to potential buyers, especially important information like "by buying this game, you support the weapon industry" should be clearly marked.

So to conclude: I do not think that such games should be illegal, but it should be marked better. I suspect that the ones who sell these games wouldn't protest to this, as it likely would have much the same effect that the Parental Advisory label had on music: making it more desirable for some people.




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Regular Crew

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ok so they have to pay for the licensing for the brand of weapon they are using.
In racing games they also have to pay a licensing fee for the cars they feature, cartoon characters, drinks, food basically anything with a well known image or name.
Not that far back in time were cigarettes advertised everywhere! Magazines, TV, sponsors of sporting equipment and events etc.
I do see your point but at the same time everything costs these days.
Single player mode in a lot of FPS are based on real life, or very similar situations and are made and loved to be as realistic as possible.
I am not likely to go into a shop and ask if I may purchase a Barrett .50 cal
I play the game to kick back and blow off some steam, an escape from reality. IRL I am terrified of blood.......but can blow someones head off in a video game *lol*

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Runic Mook of the North (mod)

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Heh, now you make it sound like the Kalashnikov is a brand... Which I suppose it is, but I think there is a difference between an object that is made with the purpose of hurting or killing people, i.e. a weapon, and everything else.

I boycott a lot of companies on ethical grounds, as a consumer we have an immense power over the state of the world -and power comes with responsibility. Every purchase one does is a moral choice, and hence information about the things one can choose to buy or choose not to buy is immensely important.

I'm personally not sure whether I'd boycott a game supporting the weapons industry or not, but I'm sure some people would.

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Regular Crew

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Also i do believe that the licensing fee is a one off payment, and not per copy sold.

At the end of the day it is all personal preference, but does make for a good debate ^_^

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