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The Media

Maybe Video Games Don't Make Kids Kill 319

diagnosis writes "MSNBC has an article on Lieutenant Colonel Grossman, an overzealous Army guy, and his new book. The book attempts to blame things like Colombine on games like Doom ("Death simulators"); the article refutes most of Grossman's claims and actually deals with the subject reasonably. I think that, given the coverage negative, reactionary material available on the subject gets, MSNBC's more reasonable view deserves at least as much notice."
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Maybe Video Games Don't Make Kids Kill

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  • I've been using this trick today to keep other people from the typical "first post!" gloating. Now it's out in the open for any moron to see. Thanks!

  • by warmcat ( 3545 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @12:38AM (#1469673)
    Q3A is the only game I have on my machine (after I finally tired of Q2 earlier in the year), and if you look at it with an open mind it really is a simulator of death, gore, bloodsmears, injury, damage and aggression.

    If it has any effect on the players, though, it is in the form of catharsis; look at the chat that goes on between people playing. And compare it to most American movies: there is a similar level of explosions/intestines per hour, and nobody raises an eyebrow.

  • by Joram ( 124992 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @12:51AM (#1469675) Homepage
    seeking to blame outside influinces such a TV, and video games, or whatever for violent behavor. I beleive that this violence is not the cause of video games, or TV, or movies, or the internet, or space aliens.... i believe that there is something fundamentally WRONG with these kids, and they have easy access to fire arms. if given the choice between taking a copy of Quake, or taking a gun out of a kid's hands. i would choose the gun every time. btw... this is my first post on slanshdot, ever... it is also almost 5 am in hte morning and i have been awake for 34 hours, so sorry if this doesn't make much sense
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 11, 1999 @12:57AM (#1469676)
    If Q3 et al, is a death simulator, its just as much a life simulator ( respawning ). Every good Christian recognizes in the FPS a celebration of the miracle of Resurrection. ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 11, 1999 @01:10AM (#1469677)
    Correlation != causation

    saying "violent kids play more quake" doesn't show any connection between them. It's like saying that lung cancer causes cigarette smoking. In fact, the opposite is true.

    -Dave Turner, AC of convinience
  • by BJH ( 11355 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @01:13AM (#1469678)
    This debate has been going on for a long time - TV was a big offender in the 70s and early 80s, movies got a lot more violent in the 80s and caught their share of flak, and from the end of the 80s it's been common for people to point the finger at videogames/computer games. It still doesn't change the fact that there has never been any hard evidence for a relationship between fantasy violence and real violence.

    Personally speaking, I believe that there is a link; but it takes two to tango, and you need someone who is already on a hair-trigger for them to be stimulated enough by a game to injure or kill someone else.
  • People kill people!
    Same for games. I play shoot-em-up games a lot. I enjoy them. I don't have any particularly violent tendencies.
    The article is long winded and i am winded from reading it :) but i'll make my point simple and clear:

    The availability of firearms (and ammunition) in the US is the main reason for the high shooting rates in the country. All the games do is increase people's accuracy and decrease their surprise at the effects of the weapons that they are using.

    All in my own humble opinion and exhausted stupor.
  • I still can't believe that anyone in their right mind would think that there's any connection to video games and violence. Video game review T. Liam McDonald had some interesting words about this subject, and he mentions the shootings at Columbine, and also mentions Carl Grossman. I think it's a very good article, and that he makes some very good points.


    ZD-Net also put up a story on the subject: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2399 619,00.html?chkpt=zdnnstop

    Will this ever go away?

  • The whole reason the video game/easy access to gun spacegoat is so popular is for a couple reasons:
    (1) 95% of the general public does not play these games (Doom, Quake, etc.) so because of this, it's easy to say "oh, yeah, it's Doom" even though the only description they have of it is someone who has also obviously never played it, or played it very little.
    (2) I really do think it may be because of bad parenting.. If the child is never taught that murdering or acts of violence are wrong, that is a definite reason (in my opinion) why someone would be more likely to do it..

    It's much easier to blame violence on something people have never heard of than to think that maybe the nuclear family of America is breaking down.. Scapegoats are the perfect remedy for pesky reality.

  • by webslacker ( 15723 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @01:27AM (#1469683)
    Mario Bros. was the reason why I played around my local sewer.
    QBert was why I broke my arm trying to hang from the ceiling.
    Frogger was something I thought would be fun to play on the freeway
    Gauntlet told me that drinking ale would increase my health.
    Ninja Warriors taught me that in the military, only white soldiers are allowed to have guns, and black soldiers are only issued knives.

    Anyone else out there been negatively influenced by a game?
  • by esperandus ( 97729 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @01:27AM (#1469684) Homepage
    Sorry about thelack of sleep. Finals?

    It is the accpeted opinion of (most) of the scientific community that tht brain structure (and behavior) of any individual is a product of his genetic makeup and the interactions of the environmnet to which he/she has been exposed upon that genotype. Regardless of the degree which you think television and video games actually influence a person's psychology, it seems reasonable to assert that such large parts of our social evrionment (check the stats concerning averaqe # hours spent playing TV/games in US; we see somtething like 8000 murders before we turn ten) are bound to have an effect on the way a person thinks and acts.

    Past studies have attempted to dicover whether or not a causal relationship exists between actual physical violence and such vicarious participation/observation--that is *all other things being equal*, whether children with frequent exposure to violent content are more likely to be violent than children which are not exposed to violent content on a regular basis. Nobody is trying to 'blame' their behavior exclusively on their environment in order to escape accountability for their actions (although I hold a determinsitic viewpoint concerning human behavior, implying that we are not morally 'responsible' for our behavior since we had no choice in it, I still maintain that accountabiulity must be preserved in order to safeguard social order until we can better figure out how the brain works [shrug]).

    Given the opportunity, anyone would take away the firearms from the children you mentioned. However, the issue is whether the children who do posses firearms are more likely to use them if they are exposed to violence on a regular basis. I believe it is too difficult to tell at the moment--although I tend to see such exercises as a cathartic activity, individuals certianly become desensitized to the idea of violence and its common manifestations (entrails, death-rattles, screams, etc). It is most certainly conceiveable that such exposure does have a destructive impact upon an impressionable child's behavior and life.

    My point? Be more careful before you make such huge assertions. The jury is still out on this one, and is likely to be so for some time yet. As for me, I will at least think twice before recommending 'death simulators' to any children I am even partially responsible for--the danger is too great, and my intuition tells me that something is dangerous about exposing children to too much violence too soon.

    hope you get some sleep and feel better.


  • by NearlyHeadless ( 110901 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @01:30AM (#1469685)
    Salon [salon.com] also published a skeptical article [salon.com] on Grossman back in May, when Littleton was in the news.
  • Ninja Warriors taught me that in the military, only white soldiers are allowed to have guns, and black soldiers are only issued knives.

    Joke all you want, but you have to wonder about how much subtle things like this really effect you. Seemingly innocuous things are often more sinister, and sometimes have quasi-hidden agendas (like disney or George Lucas). The subconscious is a strange place; who knows what really goes on in there (I know its weird. I just woke up from a dream in which I was a claymation man with three fingers and no neck running through a swamp full of giant malevolent animated tupperware).

    Ive always wondered why advertisers spend so much money on similar saturation-bombing techniques that we dont really conscioulsy notice if they are completely ineffective...

  • Xenophobe taught me to be afraid of foreigners ;)
  • by Coldraven ( 99514 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @01:38AM (#1469688)
    Looking back to the early 80's, when home computers were beyone the budgets of a lot of people, a lot of kids I went to school would amuse themselves pretty much in the same manner as previous generations had before them; setting anthills on fire, smashing windows, and carving pinstripes along the sides of cars with a can opener.

    In all of these instances, few of the parents felt *their* child had any problem; if anything, it was "a phase everyone goes through, they'll grow out of it", etc. And through such denial and resignation, a small number of people do turn out to be okay, but the rest are pretty much neglected through such action.

    Compound this with many adults wanting to take a break from watching their own offspring and it's easy to see how print and broadcast media, along with the web and simulation/roleplaying games have been villainized over the years.
  • And of course the vast majority of serious gamers aren't violent in real life(DUH....).

    I dunno about you, but if this guy got his hands on a recording of the err...words that come out of my mouth when I play quake, he might think otherwise.

  • by Q*bert ( 2134 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @01:42AM (#1469690)
    "Stop teaching our kids to kill! Resign your post at West Point." ;)

    Vovida, OS VoIP
    Beer recipe: free! #Source
    Cold pints: $2 #Product

  • Yet another moron blindly jumping onto the "videogames are evil" bandwagon. I personally have to wonder how many of these moral and upright citizens have even played a modern video game. Hmmm, lets see...if I shoot a person in Quake they disintegrate into a pile of chunky giblets, if I shoot a person in real like they fall to the ground and scream a lot. Blasting my enemies in Quake requires me to move my mouse over 9 square inches of my mouse pad, firing a real gun accurately requires a hell of a lot more skill. The point of the mayhem in games like Quake and MK is to prove yourself superior to your opponents fighting skills ans enjoy yourself, the point of shooting people is to kill. So I have to ask...where are all of these similarities that people keep talking about?

    You can't find any because there aren't any. Video games are just that...games! They are an enjoyable test of skill, not some "train me to be a warrior" digital boot camp. I have been playing so-called violent video games for nearly a decade now and I've never once thought about actually shooting a person. The moralists who keep imposing their views and insisting that we're breeding a generation of killers are overlooking the HUGE psychological leap that has to take place in order to make a normal person switch from shooting pixels to shooting people. The only people likely to make that leap are those whos mental conditions weren't exactly normal in the first place, and society cannot allow itself to be regulated to the point where it's "safe" for it's least stable citizens to lead a normal life.

    So out comes that evil word: Accountability. I know it's been said a million times, and will probably be repeated a million more, but people need to start being accountable for their own actions. Parents need to take long, objective, and honest looks at their children before allowing them to play these types of games. If your kid has already been diagnosed with a behavioral disorder DON'T LET THEM PLAY THESE GAMES! It's that simple! If your kid is on medication or seeing a counselor/psychologist for behavioral problems, and that kid goes and shoots 5 people after playing an hour of Quake, it's the parents fault, not the software manufacturers. Parents are the only people who are really qualified to judge their childs day to day mental health and decide if they can handle seeing onscreen violence. If they make a bad choice, or worse yet, choose not to get involved in the choices of their childrens video games at all, then they alone are exclusively responsible for it's consequences. I take reponsibility for my kids. My 5 year old daughter isn't allowed to sit in my home office while I'm playing Quake, she isn't allowed to watch violent movies, and the most disturbing on screen image she's been exposed to is Team Rocket in the Pokemon cartoon. It really takes very little effort for parents to monitor what their children are doing as long as they're willing.

    I dunno, this argument reminds me of the parents that took their suicidal son to Yosemite a number of years back, and then tried suing the National Park Service after he jumped off a cliff (claiming that there should have been guards and handrails for chrissake). Children learn by watching their parents, and if parents aren't willing to take responsibility for their children, you can't honestly expect them to grow into responsible adults.

    Btw, it was kinda nice to see an MSNBC author research his facts before posting though. Most reporters would just slap up a quicky article claiming that "another credible source" has released new "findings" confirming video game violence. Objective reporting on the Web...I'm impressed!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 11, 1999 @01:42AM (#1469692)
    Armies train people to kill!

    Interesting that you can get a whole bunch of people to kill another whole bunch of people who they don't know at all, when under different circumstances they would "hold the door open" for each other, or even share food with each other.

    Shows a certain not so good side of people.

    We were born with an ability to kill abstractly
  • One more time just for those who did nit get it the first few times... Life does not imitate art.
  • Hehe... Right on...

    It reminds me a little of back in the 80's when swedish authorities wanted to censor a lot of games because of the violence. But after a while when computer journalists began asking questions they had to admit that they never played the games, or even saw them.
  • good point on the guns. Television and videogames are no less violent in say... England, but they have effective gun control and a lot less shooting deaths. Trying to stop violent media sources is ridiculous. And it is not a new problem. I just finished read Edmund Spnecers The Fairy Queen which was published in 1596. You better believe it glorifies violence, and from a christian perspective. How many people over the last four centuries have killed somebody because of the Fairy Queen? I don't think violent TV and video games has nearly as significant a de-sensitizing effect as news media. Real violence makes kids violent, not fake violence. We have a destructive culture- our wealth was founded on violent oppression. Violence has always been part of our heritage. Blaming it on video games is absurd.
  • Today it's FPS before it was Role Playing Games and Heavy Metal.
    Also movies catch the blame too.
    It's just parents trying to find a quick blame so they don't have to be responsable. I'm not saying they automaticly are I am saying they grab at the first chance to asign responsability elsewhere so they can say they are not.
    However thies are token shards and not really the problem or even representive of the problem. Instead they respresent the posability that the parent might have recognised the signs if they had known what to look for. Being fair short of a PhD in child psycology they wouldn't have known what to look for. But thats not comforting to a parent who lost a child.
    Instead blame must be assigned to something tangable. Something evil. Something they themselfs disaprove off. Something like Role Playing games, Heavy Metall and violent video games.
    I know what I want to blame... I'll blame poorly writen software. :) Yeah thats it...
    But in all sereousness FPS are escapism like movies and role playing games. Not trainning for violence but a way to leave it behind.
  • 1999-12-10 16:07:55 Grossman's book slammed on MSNBC (articles,news) (rejected)
    1999-12-01 13:57:51 Intel/Dell acknowledges Coppermine bug (articles,intel) (rejected)
    1999-12-06 09:21:22 Merced Simulator posted online (articles,news) (rejected)
    1999-12-06 14:17:26 3dfx Open Sources Glide API (articles,news) (rejected)

    I'm not bitter (okay, maybe a little bitter), but seems like the slashdot submit news process is grossly inefficient. May I suggest that there is a reason should it be rejected?

    i.e. (rejected: redundant)
    or (rejected: CmdrTaco thinks it doesn't matter)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The Army used to ban kids who were once on Ritalin or other such drugs because the potential for instability was much too high. No one seems to want to touch the effects these drugs may have had on the Columbine kids. (Luvox was found in the bloodstream of one.) Not in the media, not in Slashdot, nowhere except for "conspiracy wacko" fora.
  • by synesthesia ( 120307 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @02:03AM (#1469700)
    This type of argument kind of cuts to my quick. I'm not convinced that Quake is the reason these kids turn out to be violent. Another likely explanation might be that kids tend to play more Quake (or whatever the shoot-em-up flavor of the month is). Can these "researches" rule out the possibility that people with a proclivity to violence naturally seek out violent games? I haven't read any reasearch that is able to prove which comes first, the psycho killer or the game. Personally, I would rather have the neighborhood psycho play Quake than start torturing the neighborhood cats.

    Also, does anyone else see an alarming trend in America to seek out scapegoats? It seems to me like we are engaging in one crusade after another that seeks to lay blame for people's actions on the objects that they use to act. . .blame the guns for murder and ignore the fact that the gun doesn't get up and shoot someone on its own, blame sport-utility vehicles for vehicle fatalities instead of the drivers, blame condoms for letting people have sex. I don't know, as I see it, at some point we all make the decision to behave either more or less responsibly. If someone goes off and shoots up a school full of kiddies, they made the choice to behave that way. The game certainly didn't make them do it.

    On another note, I find the argument that these games increse the accuracy of these psychokids to be rather spurious. Anyone (I'm waiting to get flamed for this one)who has actually fired a pistol AND played a game that simulates the firing of a pistol knows that the computer just isn't a substitute and won't improve your accuracy. There is a big difference between holding a rather heavy firearm at (more or less) arm's length and hitting a target AND cradeling a mouse in your hand (or scrolling a trackball, pressing arrow keys, etc) to aim and fire a simulated, weightless, recoilless firearm. I just don't buy the fact that Quake makes for more accurate shooting. I don't shoot anymore, but I know that Castle Wolfenstien (sp?) didn't improve my acuuracy one bit.

    But alas, we live in a society that likes easy answers and lets face it, its relatively easy to point our fingers at a computer game and say "there lies the cause of our (your) ills!" But once we take the video games away, we'll be pointing our fingers at something else, violent books perhaps. Eventually we will run out of objects to point at, and we'll see that everyone is left pointing at each other.

    I'm glad the the journalist didn't fall for this guy's book because the esteemed Lt.Col. seems to have substituted military credentials for rational thought. Perhaps instead of writing/reading a reactionary book (a book that appears to shamelessly seek to profit off of recent school tragedies)we should all just sit back and invest a little thought in the matter.

    Just my .02 cents


    --not sayin' I have all the answers, but I don't trust the ones I've been gettin'--

  • by Effugas ( 2378 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @02:09AM (#1469701) Homepage
    Quake is no more of a murder simulator than a mosh pit at rock concert is a virtualized lynch mob or gladiator pit.

    Quake is a game where people fight back, are similarly armed, *have the expectation of death(and rebirth!)* built into the game design, and where, at the conclusion of a difficult match, all the (still surviving) combatants generally *congratulate* themselves with effusive praises of "gg"(for Good Game)!

    For crying out loud, there's a thing known as context which pundits, attempting to earn themselves a reputation, a salary, and maybe a few cheap votes, seem to try to remove from human nature. (And it's ironic, really--programming context into a computer device is brutally complicated!) One doesn't need to be an expert on even mammalian behavior to know that violent play is a genetic predisposation--most species do so, and we're no different!

    But even a tiger cub knows the difference between playfully biting its brother's neck, and just ripping the trachea out wholesale. You know what? I think there's an off chance that we do too.

    The author seems a bit to enthralled with rating systems, though. The most interesting event of 1999 will probably end up being the release--and very effective suppression--of the South Park movie. What, exactly, did the mighty R rating, the model of rating systems everywhere, protect sixteen year olds from? The frankest look at the ridiculousness of rating systems ever concocted? The plain truth that life cannot be wholly described in extrasyllabic language? What? (Oh! I just stepped on a nail! I am presently experiencing inscrutably excruciating amount of pain!)

    But, you what what? Blaming cartoons for the sins of the child is a time honored tradition in America. What is reality to get in the way?

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
  • by Redking ( 89329 ) <stevenw&redking,com> on Saturday December 11, 1999 @02:13AM (#1469702) Homepage Journal
    Mr. Kent (of MSNBC) writes:

    "Lt. Col. Grossman's book seems to revolve around a few basic themes:

    - Exposure to violent entertainment desensitizes youth to acts of violence and leads to aggressive behavior."

    Plain and simple, this is true. If you view/do something over and over again, you are desensitized to it. It doesn't have the same effect after many repetitions. Does it lead to violence and aggression? No, but it doesn't prevent violence either. I don't think the world would suffer if we reduced the amount of violence present in the media.

    "- Violent video and computer games are an ultra-effective way of instructing murder."

    Yes. An old military rule states that one must perform an action 500 for it to "stick" but 5,000 times for it to become second nature. I've used the MACS before to hone my marksmanship skills and it really is just a Super Nintendo with a plastic laser light gun in the mold of an M-16. Anybody who has played "gun games" at the arcades pretty much have begun to learn the basic fundamentals of marksmanship.

    Computer games such as Quake Deathmatch? It teaches kids the concept that life easily restored by hitting the spacebar. I'm not talking about your 13+ kids now, but the eight year olds who have just warezed Quake 2 and are playing it. Who cares if you die? Who cares if I shoot wildly, friendly fire is OFF! Hostage down? Who cares, he'll be back next round! Some concepts of violence in video games will rub off on kids. Ratings won't stop the eight year old AOL pirates.

    "- Youth crime is rising in America as is the amount of violence in video and computer games"

    Probably not. The reason youth crime is rising is because of the lack of parent's responsiblity. Lock your f*cking gun cabinents. Keep your gun and ammo apart. If you see your kids making pipe bombs, stop them. If you see your kids playing a game you don't like, stop them. If you see your kids downloading hardcore porn, stop them. Talk to them. Geez, I thought it was obvious.

    The only way to stop kid violence is for parents to take action. Talk to kids, talk to unpopular kids, talk to "in crowd" kids, talk to geeks, talk to athletes, talk to band members. Whatever. Anything.

    People shooting people? It's been happening for a while. Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. Colin Ferguson on the Long Island train, the day trader in Georgia, too many bother listing. People like to point out that all of the sudden it's kids and their video games. Wake the hell up, it's the irresponsible parents.

    To stop adults from shooting each other, make stricter gun laws. Banning guns is not the answer. However, no matter what laws we produce, some nut will go on a shooting spree. Therefore, Carpe Diem and live everyday to its fullest.

    Other points: everybody knows that shooting someone in the head will do more damage then anywhere else. We don't need video games to tell us that - it's pretty damn obvious.

    BTW, I play Quake X, Half-Life, Doom X, Jagged Alliance, Delta Force 2, all the violent games. Yes, I have learned military and gun related stuff from playing these games that I probably wouldn't have if I didn't, but it doesn't mean I'm going to shoot people.
  • by DeadSea ( 69598 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @02:20AM (#1469703) Homepage Journal
    I would just like to put in a word from my own personal experience. I have played almost every violent computer game out there and I really enjoy a lot of them. There was one time, that I really thought a game went over the edge.

    After playing Carmagedon, I really shouldn't be driving. Carmagedon is a 3-D style racing game in which one of the main objects is to run over pedestrians. Running them down makes a nice splat and you get points and more time to continue the race. Without running anybody down, you only start with like 30 seconds to finish the race, just not possible.

    I had played this game in college when I didn't have a car, so I didn't notice anything for a while. But as soon as I got home and got behind the wheel, I found myself looking for pedestrians! It was really more of an uncontious thing. I'd be driving and I'd see a group of people and I'd really have to activly tell that this is reality and its not right to drive my car into a crowd.

    The only upshot to this, is that when I realized I was thinking like this, I quit playing the game and the feelings wore off in a couple weeks.

    Given this, I'm not sure that shoot 'em up games are the best thing for anybody that has access to guns. Given my experience with cars, I'd imagine that playing shoot 'em ups makes you look at the gun in your hands a litte bit differently. Especially, if the gun belongs to somebody else and you have not really been trained to use it.

    Obviously, computer games aren't the only factor here, in fact probably not even the main one, but I think that most of us here are too quick to say, "I play them and nothing bad happens to me, so it must be alright."

  • I often don't like it when journalists try to be cute, but this article was amusing.

    I find it sad that no one ever draws the obvious connection, that perhaps kids with a predisposition to or fascination with violent behavior seek out violent games and TV shows. That seems to make the most sense to me.

    Remember, guys, Duck Hunt doesn't kill people, angry Lt. Col.'s do. All Duck Hunk encourages is shooting that dog. And you know what? It doesn't work. He still snickers at you!

    However: five of the top ten games of 1999 were Pokemon games? That's enough to make me want to shoot someone... :)
    pb Reply or e-mail rather than vaguely moderate [].
  • Here, here.
    You just about hit the nail on the head.
    Nothing to add, just reiterating the point...
  • I was a claymation man with three fingers and no neck running through a swamp full of giant malevolent animated tupperware
    Don't fear the household products any more!!! Give up the 10 tabs of LSD before bed, and you'll be fiiine! :)
  • About a year ago, when I was still in school, the topic of my psychology class shifted to 'does TV make people violent?' (The class was Motivation).
    The exact details are lost to the airs of time, but apparently there was a huge study about it, tracking kids for 10 years or something like that.
    The results of the study were:
    Violent children watch a lot of violent TV.
    Non-violent children don't watch a lot of violent TV.
    However, the researchers could not determine whether exposure to violent TV caused someone to be violent, or whether being violent just meant you liked violent TV more.
    I'll have to dig around in my psych books for more information.
  • Of course MSNBC debunked a book that may lead worried parents to believe that video game violence may translate to the real world; with the recent releases of Age of Empires 2 and Ascheron's Call, and the approach of Christmas, they couldn't have the sales figures dropping now, could they? ;)

  • by Skinka ( 15767 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @02:53AM (#1469712)
    Stomped did a great interview of Col. Grossman [stomped.com] a while back. What makes this interview good, is that it wasn't done by some sensationalist TV-show trying to exploit Columbine, but by gamer orientated site. They gave Grossman space to ellaborate on his views, rather than just have him say "murder simulators" a couple of times. Seeing Grossman on "60 minutes", I thought he was just another tight-ass wanting to ban all games, but it turns out he is not. I don't agree with all his views, but he does have some good points.

    There was also a follow up [stomped.com] to the interview, plus a lot more to read at the comments page [stomped.com].

  • No matter how many times people blame something else for a problem in society, I truely believe it falls back onto the parents. I'm not just saying this either I speak from watching my 5 year old nephew play with his friends. My sister has taught my nephew all the good things, like 1)guns are bad (keeping it simple for his small mind) and 2) shooting someone is bad (in play and in real life again just to keep it simple.

    On my last visit I observed my nephew at play with his other street pals. I was amazed. He played like any small boy but the other kids woo youd think they were teens when they are only 5-8 years of age. Two of the young girls were using language that would make even a seasoned sailor blush, the other boys were "killing" each other and were arguing about how the other wasnt "dieing" right. After an afternoon of playing my sister spends the next hour deprogramming my nephew so that crap like that doesnt mess with his head. Around 10o'clock I went back outside to find the same group of kids still playing in the steet. Now I don't know about you people but when I was that age, when the sun started to set I was inside in the comfort of my home.

    There you go REAL world proof that when parents don't do the job of parenting and spend less time watching their kids that they go bad. Who taught you that killing was bad?

    Two Cents In The Bucket (TCTB)
  • Q3A is the only game I have on my machine (after I finally tired of Q2 earlier in the year), and if you look at it with an open mind it really is a simulator of death, gore, bloodsmears, injury, damage and aggression.

    To me Q3A is about one thing and one thing alone: Winning. I want to win the game, and the only way to do it is to frag the opponent before he rails my ass. It has nothing to do with blood and gore. Flying bodyparts and bloodstains are actully a bad thing, because they eat the framerate. I, like any serious Quaker, go for FPS rather than graphis, so I naturally turn blood etc. off with "cg_gibs 0".

  • Probably not. The reason youth crime is rising is because of the lack of parent's responsiblity. Lock your f*cking gun cabinents. Keep your gun and ammo apart. If you see your kids making pipe bombs, stop them. If you see your kids playing a game you don't like, stop them. If you see your kids downloading hardcore porn, stop them. Talk to them. Geez, I thought it was obvious.

    Wow, you just found the solution and you didn't even have to write a book or go on a talk show!

    Seriously, you are right, but no one is going to buy it. It's much easier to allow the internet to raise your kids, then act suprised when it does a poor job. That way, the blame is always somewhere else, somewhere we can point the blame and rally against. But not ourselves, heavens no.

    And this whole thing about these games training you in some way. Those who actually ARE trained for combat must be laughing their asses off. Games are not ANYTHING like it.


  • by FelixTheFelineFrenzy ( 124648 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @03:35AM (#1469721)
    Col. Grossman says .... Thus, in my opinion there is a continuum that can be outlined ranging from "negative" (i.e., most harmful) to "positive" (i.e., least harmful or even helpful) activities:
    -10. Point-and-shoot violent video games: violence modeling, no repercussions, no discipline, no supervision, no sportsmanship, no reality check, no suffering on the part of the player, no energy expended, desensitization to human suffering, rewards for inflicting human suffering, combined with teaching marksmanship skills and making killing an indiscriminate reflexive action.
    -9. Push-the-button, "first person shooter," violent video games: violence modeling, no repercussions, no discipline, no supervision, no sportsmanship, no reality check, no suffering on the part of the player, no energy expended, desensitization to human suffering, rewards for inflicting human suffering
    0. Viewing contact sports in which good sportsmanship is modeled.
    +2. Playing well supervised, highly disciplined and structured contact sports such as paintball or football.

    I'm going to attempt to take apart his FPS argument.

    violence modeling: so paintball (which he rates so well) does not model violence?

    no repercussions: When you get fraged your down 1 pt. That pt. has to be made up or else you lose. No one likes to lose.

    no discipline: so how many hours do people spend playing FPS games? They seemed to be disciplined enough to practice just like you would do in football.

    no supervision: turn the coin. What parent can you see standing behind their kid telling them "you should of switched to the RL, your rail sucks"???

    no sportsmanship: *sigh* after everymatch that I have ever played the losers give props to the winner. "gg whoever" "nice job". And their is always the "nice shot" "good one" phrases that pop up during the game. So you have the occasional bastard that just offends people but you have the same in organized sports.

    no reality check: whats he driving at? the reality check for me happens when ive spent a little longer then i wanted playing and im going to be late for work.

    no suffering on the part of the player: Ok so is he saying that football players suffer when they lose, not really they still get paid. Or maybe he is referring to getting shot in paintball, hell i know that hurts like a bitch especially when they don't clock the guns. In FPS players suffer. You run around with loads of ammo/armor/weapons make one dumb mistake, your dead. You have to start over.

    no energy expended: energy is expended, electricity is used, the little muscle used in moving the mouse and the flinging of the mouse that ive seen a few times would constitute energy expenditure.

    desensitization to human suffering: in this world if we all weren't a little desensitized we'd all be crying and be unproductive everyday of our lives

    rewards for inflicting human suffering: ok back to football, a 300lb defensive lineman gets paid millions for inflicting pain on the QB. I get my frag counter incremented by one when I kill someone. where is my million dollar payoff. But remember he rated contact sports as OK and if you actually play football its a good thing. Hell I guess I should play football make millions blow it on cheap woman and cocaine like the Dallas Cowboys, then I'd be a role model for society.

    Stick a fork in my I'm done.

  • A few questions... Why is it that in the early 90s it was reported that one in every four black men would be either dead or in prison by the age of 25 - yet considering this statistic was based largely upon ghetto youths - how many of these young men had access to Quake? Why did nobody care that inner city schools needed metal detectors installed? Why wasn't it important chest beating news when a friend of mine's father who teaches in an inner city school had a gun pulled on him by a student? Why is it only when it happens to a largely middle class, affluent suburb that we actually care this happens in America? Why does this sort of thing not happen in Britain, where I'm living at the moment, where there is no easy access to guns? Why is it that I play Counterstrike at least three times a week, have experience with firing firearms of all sorts, work in special effects simulating gore and violence of all sorts, got picked on as a kid, and my father took me to see Alien in a theater when I was four, yet I have never shot a living entity in my life, and have no urges to do so? Why is it when the media ran that same clip from "The Matrix" over and over covering the Columbine shooting, they showed the assault with guns - but never showed people running up walls or stopping bullets with their mind? To paraphrase David Cronenberg "The problem with censors is they do what psychotics do. They confuse fantasy with reality." I wish J.G. Ballard's Running Wild was still in print. Prophetic Mr. Ballard, who is usually on the ball predicting the development of our psychopathology, who inferred that adolescents living in a sterile middle class suburb go apeshit and violent when they are cut off from cultural dealings with violence and sexuality. On a case by case basis, with accurate fact checking, one would see that essentially no link can be proven between violent cultural material and actual violence. The British Film Institute published an entire issue of its journal, Sight and Sound, devoted to using the latest data from clinical psychologists and sociologists working in the field, and were able to refute a concrete link between the two. The fact is that for psychopaths, any cultural material could become the trigger for their psychosis because they attempt through force of will to make fantasy reality. The violence in culture is just gravy that they fit into their train. There has never, NEVER, been irrefutable evidence of a link between the absorption of violent media and violent behavior, despite attempts to do so for the past century. Lt. Col Roger Ramjet has a serious major malfunction. At least he has let us know that a former West Point instructor believes the U.S. military is brainwashing ("desensitzing") its recruits with mind control programs. Which is hilarious news to me - I thought they were supposed to be developing "combat awareness". But then again, what do I know, I never taught at West Point.
  • Called The War in Heaven, by Eternal Warriors. Check out this [eternalwarriors.com].
  • I had played this game in college when I didn't have a car, so I didn't notice anything for a while. But as soon as I got home and got behind the wheel, I found myself looking for pedestrians! It was really more of an uncontious thing. I'd be driving and I'd see a group of people and I'd really have to activly tell that this is reality and its not right to drive my car into a crowd.

    I have had the same experience with driving right after playing Carmageddon. Right after I got into the car, I had a strong urge to ram the other idiot drivers off the road. The feeling wore off in a few minutes though.

    I thought about why I only had this experience with this particular game, and it ocurred to me that in this case, playing Carmageddon and driving a real car are actually very similar activities (especially if you play with a steering wheel control). The controls and visual feedback in Carmageddon correspond to those you get while driving a real car.

    What happens when games become more and more realistic? Right now, firing a gun in Quake is very different from firing a real one, but in the future it migth be hard to tell the difference. Will people playing "Quake 11" get the same urge I felt after playing Carmageddon, whip out their gun in the street and start fragging? Personally I think it could happen to people already on the edge and in posession of a gun. But I honestly don't think any computer game, however realistic, will cause normal people to go out and buy a gun, load it, and shoot people with it.

    Obviously, computer games aren't the only factor here, in fact probably not even the main one, but I think that most of us here are too quick to say, "I play them and nothing bad happens to me, so it must be alright.

    My thoughts exactly.
  • The military guy knows what it takes to turn people into killers.

    What, sitting with a mouse and keyboard looking at a monitor should in any way be connected to the ability to hold a physical gun in your hand and pull the trigger?

  • I can understand why people can blame FPS video games with death, but I can't understand how any evidence is procured. I remember in the Comombine (correct me if I spelled that wrong) shootings, the media was saying things about how the stuents involved int the shooting played violent video games. As far as I know, so does every other teenage boy with a computer! This really cannot be used as evidence that video games lead to vioence.
  • Youth crime as a whole in America is going DOWN .. not UP... Crime and violence by youth are declining. Violent juvenile crime arrests have fallen by 25% since 1994. Don't listen to the hype!
  • I agree. I think the whole situation that has arisen stems more from the current political climate than any specific link between games and violence. The current social/political thinking is that whenever soething goes wrong, someone or something must be to blame.

    To a very limited degree it is proberbly true (pause for shouting to die down). We all remember the adrenaline rush we got when first playing Doom. However to point to one thing and say this is the cause is foolish.

    I would liken this to the historical debate as to the cause of world war 2. You can point to a number of events and say "that was the cause" but it's simple not true, all that can be identified is a few sparks, it doesn't change the fact that europe was a powder keg to begin with. In the same way, something about our society is bringing out people with violent tendancies, maybe a peice of music, a film or a videogame was the spark but if you had removed the game or whatever it would have been something else. People would like to be able to find a cause they can burn at the steak because it makes them feel more secure.

  • Games can only increase accuracy if you have a pointing deivce that works like a gun. There are very few of those for computer and finding them is the main difficulty\ly. Arcades on the other hand have tons of games with guns. At the local arcade about 1/3 of the games have gun like controllers, 1/2 of those are force feedback.
  • by Wntrmute ( 18056 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @04:24AM (#1469738)
    > Correlation != causation

    Exactly. The scientific method teaches you that. One of the famous fallacies along these lines is the "Low self-esteem causes you to fail in school" that has dominated our education system for many years now.

    Yes, there is a correlation between low self esteem and poor school performance, however, as education experts have started to realize, they had the causality mixed up. Newer, better done studies are proving that poor perfomance in school actually causes low self-esteem. (which makes sense really)

    This totally goes against the education theory of the last 20 years. This deliberate building of self-esteem actually is useless, because it doesn't attack the root cause, poor school performance. Help these kids learn, and the self-esteem will follow naturally.

    I can easily make a similar argument about violent video games:

    "Being a violent individual causes you to play violent video games."

    Makes perfect sense. Obviously, those who are violent would prefer violent entertainment. The fact is, I can't prove this, but those who say violent games cause individuals to become violent can't prove it either. I can just as easily argue the reverse.

    So, to sum up, it is precisely as the original poster said: Correlation != Causality... There are some people in this world that need to recite that to themselves 50 times before they go to sleep at night.. :-)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    What people like Grossman really fail to realize is that games like Doom and Quake may actually PREVENT teen violence.

    I don't know about any of the rest of you, but I HATED high school. I went to school in a small rural town, where the jocks, preps, and other such idiots ruled the school. If you had any intelligence or individuality you were persecuted and treated with hostility. I hung with a group of other outcast people that weren't widely popular, but were good people. All the insanity about the "Trenchcoat Mafia" really angers me, because it amounts to nothing more than hysteria generated by the media to single out different people even more so than they have been already, which creates fear and suspicion on the part of all those who "fit in." In freaking out about the Columbine shooting, they are doing nothing more than perpetuating and increasing everything that is wrong with high school to begin with. Furthermore they are also allowing administrators to enhance our police state even more by installing more security cameras, metal detectors, microphones, etc, and allowing unreasonable searches and other invasions of privacy. One would think that they wanted it to be more like a prison than an institution of education, which is ironically the way I viewed it when I was in high school.

    I honestly hated high school and most of the moron students and totalitarian staff, and sometimes wished that some sort of fighter plane would miss its target and accidentally drop a bomb on the school on a day that I was sick. But instead of plotting my gameplan for going in one day and blowing a bunch of people away, I contented myself to playing with my computer a lot of the time. And yes, that included many enjoyable multiplayer Doom fragfests. It was a great outlet for all of that frustration, and allowed me to get rid of it in a fun and harmless way. And I met some really cool people in the process.

    So, all these people who are criticizing video games, the internet, literature, and any other form of expression as making youth more aggressive, should think about the fact that many of us are interested in these things as a means of coping with all of the REAL aggression that is imposed upon us by "normal" people.
  • go here to see the interview [stomped.com]

    i submitted this to /. but they didn't post it up. very interesting read

  • Youth crime is rising in America
    This is probably the most prevalent bit of disinformation being spread today. Youth crime is not rising in America. It is, in fact, falling. Study the FBI's Uniform Crime Report (UCR) [fbi.gov], specifically see the arrest statistics sorted by age [fbi.gov], to see that overall crime is down, both in actual numbers of crimes known and per capita. It would be more accurate to say that the reporting of youth crime by the news media is rising, not youth crime itself.

    There is a reason for the spread of this lie, however, and that is to distract from the total failure of the immoral attack on human rights disguised as a war on drugs. The illusion of increasing crime, and the designation of scapegoats such as video games, disguises the failure of current government policy, leading to increasing the power government has, allowing it to push the failed policy even harder. A vicious cycle -- the more powerfully the government pushes its drug policy, the worse the policy fails; the more it fails, the more scapegoats the government uses to increase its power to push that policy.

    By the way, the FBI page is not very conducive to reading the UCR. The sections with information are not linked, but they are there if you poke around enough.

  • Even though he was a lousy shot, he knew enough to aim at people if you want to kill them, something he wouldn't have known without Q3.

    He knew to aim at people if you want to kill them? What other reason would there be to aim at someone? To ivite them over for Hannukah?

    Enough with the semantics though, more to the point, the guy wouldn't have known where to aim if he hadn't played quake? How about walking down to the library and picking up any medical or history book? Would that in turn make people who have a knowledge of basic human physics killers? Why then doesn't more doctors go berzerk instead of postal workers? And why do people who doesn't play computer games actualy kill others, pure dumb luck? Since they can't know where to aim, they haven't played quake.

    Yes, there is a connection between watched violent behaviour and expressed violent behaviour. But it's much smaller than say, the connection between endured stress and violent behaviour, or the connection between dysfunctional upbringing and violent behaviour. And if you study you will notice that there is a causual connection between watched violence and expressed, but there has not been a conclusive study to show how much of that is direct and how much is shared (ie the "do people who watch violent movies become more violent or do violent people watch violent movies?" dilema). (Disclamer; I haven't seen one mentionend in any of the sociology and social theory classes I've studied.)
  • One little nagging question...were those targets shooting _back_ at you?

    Notice, the quote is about a _shootout_ at close range, not shooting on a practice range.

    Bad guys shooting back at you do not stand there and give you a nice stationary target.

    Go look up the statistics on soldiers firing in combat. In some cases, _hundreds_ of rounds are expended per hit.
  • Personally, I don't think we can point the finger at any single cause of the problem. Do TV, movies, realistic "death simulator" games play a role in developing violent tendencies? Sure. Do the home environment, the school environment, the friends a kid keeps, and parental involvement (or lack thereof) in their child's life also play roles in youthful violence? You bet your sweet ass they do. Do genetics play a role in a predisposition to violent behavior? Probably. All of these are contributing factors to the social engineering of a 14-year old killer.

    I _do_ feel that as "death simulators" (gotta love that term) become more and more realistic, it is going to raise the thrill level the player feels while playing the game. I _live_ to experience extreme emotions...so I play games that allow me to escape from reality and experience things every now and then that I'm not going to experience sitting at my desk writing "killer" Perl code. (That's same reason I love poetry and perform some "heavy" classical music every now and then...they all allow me to experience a wide range of emotions) The more realistic the game, the more real my physical and mental reactions to my sensory input are. The difference is that I have a strong enough moral (and psychological) foundation to know that, while it's really thrilling to blow some guy away on the screen, it's not appropriate for me to walk out on Park Ave. one day at lunch and start taking shots at cabbies because they drive too damn fast...and goddamn it, I'm going to make NY a safer place for everyone (except cabbies)! Some children are lacking that social buffer that stops most of us from acting on our more primal urges.

    That's what the real issue is. Is it the resposibility of video games to develop social responsibility? Of course not. It's the responsibility of the families, the schools, even the immediate peer group to engineer social responsibility in future generations. If those institutions have failed, it is unfair to point the finger at a violent video game (an aggravating factor, but not a direct cause).

  • At 7 yards, I can guarantee you that I would make a head-shot on a stationary target every time.

    But that's without the stress of a real-life shootout (where the other person is trying to KILL you!). LEO's get a lot of training for these situations, but when it comes down to two people 7 yards away trying to put holes in eachother, it's probobly pretty hard to concentrate (particularily becuase shootouts don't happen that often, so it's not something an officer is used to). I'd also guess that at least some of those missed shots are being fired in the general direction of the bad guy, so that he can't relax and get a better shot.

    Hmm.. I guess playing games like Quake/Unreal might help one deal with the pyschological effects of a shootout, and so in that way they could make a person have better aim (because you are used to dealing with that adreline rush of being shot at).

    - Isaac =)
  • by Money__ ( 87045 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @05:56AM (#1469771)
    This is probably to late to get moderated up, but I'de like to take issue with the "The media doesn't influence me" point of view.

    People pay good money to get their message (even product placement in 3D shoot-em-ups) out. Have you heard many .com adds lately? Have you tried punching in a domain name your heard/read in the media? Yes you have.
    This is just one example of how the media influences the people exposed to it. Many people in many differant walks of life pay good money [adage.com] to get their message out to the people.
    Why do they pay this kind of money to advertise? Because they know that the message has influence.
    Consider this:
    (1)Ford Motor Company recieved $66.15 in sales for every $1.00 they spent on ads in 1998.
    (2)Anheuser-Busch recieved $17.83 in sales for every $1.00 they spent on ads in 1998.
    (3)Dell Computer recieved $54.68 in sales for every $1.00 they spent on ads in 1998.
    (4)Microsoft recieved $23.68 in sales for every $1.00 they spent on ads in 1998.
    (5)Time Warner recieved $19.686in sales for every $1.00 they spent on ads in 1998.
    (source [adage.com])

    So we have Ford spending $1,150,700,000 a year telling people to buy cars. Dell spending $227,100,000 a year telling people their computers are cool. Walmart spends $404,500,000 into telling you how warm and fuzzy they are. They do this, because it influences people exposed to the medium.

    Now, when people sugest that perhaps the media may have a negative impact on society, the standard response seems to be "We're not telling people to do this or that"' "The media didn't tell that kid to do this or that". Then why do people pay so much for influence in that same medium? [adage.com]

    So before you say that the media doesn't influence you think again. It does.
    (The test: What bands logo was on the nail box in Quake 1?) :)

  • by SlackAttack ( 34371 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @06:12AM (#1469784)
    You know what REALLY desensitized me to violence, until recently? The news, where pretty anchormen and women reporting on a death regularly just casually slip it in -- watch CNN Headline News, and wait for a mention of death. It's really kind of creepy how little the loss of a human life can seem to mean to people.

    But then I played Unreal. I didn't think much about it at the time, but after blowing off something's legs and having it claw its way after me, hearing people scream in pain as their lives are needlessly wasted in a hail of rockets -- watching the news turns my stomach.

    And what do people against violence in the media often suggest? Make the violence less explicit and just generally prettier. Now I think the notion of people -- children in particular, when I was watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a child it all flew over my head, I just thought Raphael was cool -- taking subliminal moral lessons from entertainment is bullshit, but if things are that way, which would you rather have your children believe -- that Wile E. Coyote can escape a mallet, anvil, and bowling ball on the head unharmed to concoct another scheme? That it might be okay to hurt someone if you're angry with them? Or that when you hurt people, they're hurt?

    I think when people want to sugar-coat violence they're running from having to face the real consequences of what happens when you hurt someone, and there could be many reasons for this. To see the desensitization to the consequences of violence -- not to violence itself -- you have to look no further than the heroic way we looked at Kosovo and its ilk, and ignored the fact that we destroyed hundreds of lives that had nothing to do with our conflicts.

    (A little clarification here -- "showing children what violence really accomplishes" doesn't mean showing Halloween to three-year-olds. In my mind, it means letting seven-year-olds see, say, Dragon Ball Z -- where the protagonist recognizes the consequences of fighting and avoids it even at his own peril, and the villains really hurt people, and not just physically.)

  • ...our dear raving lunatic friend, Grossman. It's interesting that Col. Ron Krisak makes the same point I often make about Grossman, that the Grossman Thesis that the military uses video games to 'desensitize' soldiers psychologically for combat, is sick. It's also not true, but Grossman doesn't seem to be bothered by it if it were true. I.e. it would be alright for the government to psychologically damage soldiers so they'll be more efficient killers since they'll be used in combat, it's only when these games are released to the general public that he has a problem with it.

    If his arguement in this case made sense we would need to have a full investigation of the military, people would end up court marshalled and it would cause a huge shake up of the simulator using part of the military. Of course, if you told anyone with a brain in the military this thesis, they would laugh at you. Simulators in the military are designed to teach soldiers to use things like tanks and fighter planes more effectively, not to brainwash them. Games like Quake are not even realistic simulators, unless there is some other dimension where getting shot in the head doesn't kill you and ogres and other monsters exist. Quake and the rest are designed for having fun, it is true that some (Rainbow Six or Medal of Honor ) do attempt to include a certain amount or realism. But even then, I do not believe anyone ever learned how to shoot a gun with a mouse (besides, the realism in these games and the lack of "Satanic" imagery means they'll be less likely targets than scary looking games like Quake. This isn't about logic, or science, it's about image. The politicians want to look like they are going after the evil game makers who are hurting our children, and going after a game called Medal of Honor or one based on Tom Clancy's novels won't do it.) Besides, if I have a gun, and the person I want to kill is completely unarmed and untrained in combat situations, the other person is probably going to die even if I lived in a box for the last twenty years and never saw a gun in my life. Guns are powerful killing machines, extensive training with them is needed only when you are facing an armed and trained opponent. My Dad was a cop for twenty years, and I still wouldn't want him to face a teenage kid with a gun if he was unarmed and not wearing his vest. An even worse situation is if you take a bunch of school kids who are more likely to freeze up when scared than react in the way a person trained in combat is, and the situation will definitely turn out tragically. (I think movies do give us a distorted view of combat, they make us think that completely unarmed people stand a chance against a well armed foe. But I don't blame the movies, I blame people for being naive enough to believe it!)

    But if you want to really understand how open minded and enlightened the government (and Grossman) are about video games, you need only read this [tripod.com], a letter from a professor of media studies at MIT.

    Incidentally, I found the MSNBC article to be touchy-feely gobbledygook. Sure it takes on Grossman (Grossman is an obvious crackpot) but it seems to punctuate every sentence with "but then again, he may have a point." It's because of guys like the articles author that while I can easily get a real .357 Magnum anytime I want (and probably could have stolen my Dad's when I was still in grade school, if I'd had a mind to), if I want to get a plastic lightgun to play House of the Dead II on my American Dreamcast, I'll have to rewire it so it will no longer block out the Japanese light guns. Incidentally, I believe in the Second Amendment and the Right to Bear Arms. (Sorry, I know the stuff about guns in this post will certainly be picked up by gun control people on this forum, but gun control is a seperate issue. Guns are dangerous, the arguement comes down to whether you think they are more dangerous than having an armed government and an unarmed populace. I just don't want to get sidetracked into this issue.) However, I also think it is incredibly naive for people to think that restricting plastic lightguns is going to stop any crimes other than the many that are actually committed with plastic lightguns (against photon-based life forms, no doubt) when real guns are available.

  • I love how the media tends to lay the blame on everything and anything, but I have a thought that they won't like.

    Why not say that NEWS MEDIA makes kids violent.

    Let's use the same reasoning here. You read in the paper, and see on television reports of murders. Over and Over and Over. Then, you hear and see stories about Rapes. And Kidnapping. And rioting. Now because you read all of this in the paper and see it on the news, that means it's your turn. You've been desensitized to it, so Let's RUN OUT and KILL a man!

    Wrong. Why is it wrong? It's wrong for the same reasoning behind why video games don't make people violent. It's a psychological issue, folks! But nobody seems to want to admit that. Why put blame on the individual, when we can blame a mass market?

    But if you try to change the scapegoat, the entire argument falls apart. Get over it people, Video games make about as many psychotics as Romper Room.

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • ...is difficult to describe, and multifaceted. I will not try to do so here, but I think I can point out two things that other posters just touched on about:

    1) With a growing number of kids who are not doing the same activities as kids one or two generations earlier. We as a society are becoming *increasingly* digital and interconnected. The media/parents/unconnected fail to realize that most of the younger generation of kids are not entrenched in the mindset of "real world" competetive activities (sports, etc). Why? You can get the same rush by playing Quake as you do by playing a game of football, without the potential for injuries/accidents. And you can do this while doing other things on your 'puter. Of course, you get good exercise by sports...

    2) The media likes to have scapegoats that are unknown & a distinct minority. Many older folks don't even know what the core of the game is all about. All they see is the blood and gore. Not a high percentage of the total populace play games that dish out gobs of blood (I only played Quake/Doom when my friends did, but I spent far too much time on Starcraft/SpacewardHo).

    3) A real fear I have is that most of these games *are* zero sum. The world as we know it, is generally *not* (society is a good example of a non-zero-sum environment). Immersion in this kind of activity for long periods of time, and development of other psychological needs (ego, self worth, etc) based on these games causes a very fragile (and potentially disturbed) individual.
    Of course the same results with addiction to real world sports (football, tennis, etc), but it's significantly more difficult to get addicted to such activities (due to fatigue, accessibility, weather, etc), and Also, enough people like real world sports that this becomes "okay" with the media.

  • I personally think most correlations between video games and teen violence are bull. Having said that, however, I must point out the following:

    Saying that people are naturally violent, naturally want to be violent, and that video games only tap into this urge and desire misses the point, which is: social orders are all about getting people not to do what they naturally do, because what they naturally do isn't good for cohabiting with the rest of society. Killing is one of the most natural acts in this world, but societies make most instances of killing illegal.

    If you want to say "We have to suppress real violence, and therefore we have to allow for pretend violence in order to let people release their pent-up frustrations at not getting to be violent.", then you have a different point.

    And while you're at it, you can also point out that many of the rules of law were founded on the idea of not suppressing violence, but rather in channeling violence and revenge in certain fashions. I.e., when a slave or a tree killed a man, it was given to his family to hack up into bits as revenge. With things like capital punishment still floating around, our society is much more violent than many would hope. I'm still amused by the correlation between calling for capital punishment and demonizing video games.
  • by dennisp ( 66527 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @06:41AM (#1469806)
    I played carmageddon as well as just about every other game involving senseless murder. I, like you, really enjoy most of them as well.

    I also played paper based RPG games and read a lot of fantasy/Sci-Fi books.

    In the first few years of high school I found myself having fantasies about having special powers and being part of some epic plot to destroy or save the world (depending on my mood).

    I also had low self esteem due to having to constantly move to new schools because of parents obligations as well as being excluded from groups in school due to what I wore, how I talked, or what my interests were.

    Anyway, the bounds of reality were often stretched and I sometimes found myself not knowing what was real and what was imagination.

    Fortunately, my parents also taught me basic fair play, lessons about reality, made sure I did my school work, and pushed me into interaction with my peers (through sports, youth groups, whatever).

    I could have just as easily exploded.

    What I'm trying to get across here, is that these elements could have just as easily combined to result in chemically unbalanced volatile person who might just have done something incredibly stupid. Now that I am not clouded by emotions and my incredibly puny 14 year old mind who just wanted to be accepted, it does seem really stupid. I also see that my parents should have done something other than ask me "If I was ok". Of course I was going to say yes.

    I think I remember in grade 9, having a fantasy about sticking a pencil in the back of the neck of someone who was constantly pestering me and throwing spitballs at me in class. Teachers? They did nothing. One day I just burst out crying; I don't think I had cried since my father had died years before (the story behind that and the abuse is not pretty). I didn't stop crying for almost an hour.

    Do you think people understood then? Nope. Months later I had heard a teacher joking with a student about me -- And do you think I would have thought about the consequences or even appreciated the fact that anything mattered if it was me engaging in a violent act just like one recently acted out? I couldn't even appreciate and understand my own feelings, let alone someone elses.

    Why did someone so borderline, without a serious grasp on reality, fair play, and with such low self esteem explode? In part because my parents finally woke up and in another part being exposed to religion. I am an athiest today -- as I have outgrown its crutch, but I did learn some fairly serious teachings that helped me through my early days.

    Anyway, back on topic. Did games effect my actions? In my case, I think they mostly helped me to expend all that built up energy, hate, and held back emotions. I also found that online in games, as well as on IRC, I was accepted for who I was -- not excluded because of who I should be. Did games and the media in general give me ideas as to how I could use violence to make things better? Yeah I guess -- fortunately there are probably virtually no guns in my community. I also had fantasies of stabbing people with pencils or snowjobbing them to death in winter too. I have never been not exposed to violent media and games -- so I can't make a hypothesis as to what their imagined actions would be -- but I'm sure most humans learn early on that violence is a fast and easy way to extract revenge and expend anger. Before there were video games or television, I'm sure there were bullies and those like me who imagined violence, death and destruction. They are human realities. The past five thousand years of documented human history are full of violence.

    Those that blame the media, video games, youth, whatever, either have a political agenda or are simple minded, inexperienced or both.

    If you asked many of the people I knew, they would have just said that I appeared normal.

    Today I would say that I am a well rounded successful person. I feel sorry for the victims and those who thought they were victors in violent crimes as such.

    The reason why I don't allude to violence in media an games as a factor in adult violence, is because I would assume most have the ability to tell the difference between imagination and reality. I would also assume that one would be able to make a 'good' decision -- but then again...

    Art imitating life, or life imitating art? I think both, but the second is a lesser affect and is a lesser evil by far.

    Then again, what is a definition of evil ...?
  • by knife_in_winter ( 85888 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @06:54AM (#1469815)
    This from the article:

    Lt. Col. Grossman's book seems to revolve around a few basic themes:

    Exposure to violent entertainment desensitizes youth to acts of violence and leads to aggressive behavior.

    Violent video and computer games are an ultra-effective way of instructing murder.

    Youth crime is rising in America as is the amount of violence in video and computer games.

    Now, you would think that a career soldier would know better than this. I know I am working with a condensation of the Colonel's words here, but work with me.

    Point one: Exposure to violence certainly does desensitize, but I think that what leads to aggressive behavior is a lack of discipline, compassion and focus. If a person, young or not, does not have effective means of safely externalizing aggressive feelings and instincts while still feeling safe and cared for, they are going to go nuts and start blowing people away.

    You never see a story about some 17 year old gunning down his class where the headline is "Happy, expressive, and well adjusted captain of the wrestling team and merit scholar John Smith executes school mates in a fit of undefined pent-up rage". You also never see the headline: "Disciplined and obedient Marine Private Jackson slaughters his squad for lack of purpose and direction".

    Point two: Violent video and computer games are an ultra-effective way of instructing point and click techniques. Sure we can learn some strategy and conniving and learn to become very comfortable with "killing" thousands of game entities. But we all know it is not real. No matter how realistic a game is, it will never be the same as killing a real human being, face to face.

    If *anything* is an ultra-effective way of learning to murder, it is enlisting in a branch of the United States Armed Forces. I don't think the Colonel can argue against the fact that most people who enlist, whether or not they are innately aggressive people, are quite definitely tought to kill. Are we to believe that the thousands of violent game players in this country are more dangerous than the thousands of professionally trained killers? I personally don't think either group is inherently dangerous, mainly because the vast majority of people in the world really are fairly well adjusted and not likely to hurt anyone without provocation.

    Point three: I could swear I have seen several articles by now, citing findings that youth crime is actually down, in spite of the rise in violence in games.

    That is all I have to say about that.

    Nothing can possiblai go wrong. Er...possibly go wrong.
    Strange, that's the first thing that's ever gone wrong.

  • If you want more people than just the Slashdot community to see this article, go down to the bottom of the article. There's a rating system MSNBC uses so that viewers (readers) can rate every article they read, on a scale from 1 to 7.

    I'm not saying Slashdot effect the poll and vote 7 all the way - read it for yourself. However, I certainly voted 7.

    The top ten stories at MSNBC.com are updated constantly, but at least if the rating of this article reaches a few people outside of the community that already sympathizes (sp?) with it, it'll be worth it. Also, I think the top 10 headlines are read aloud on MSNBC's television broadcasts (but am not sure).
  • I'm a 15-year-old sophomore, and I play Quake II, Half-Life, etc. This article completely and fully states EXACTLY what I would have wanted to tell the world if I had the chance. Anyways, I like to play these "violent" games, but when I play Half-Life Team Fortress over the Internet, which also includes the bonuses for head shots, I absolutely, positively, have NO intention of carrying out ANY of the things I do on the computer. These games are more of a comical representation of violence. In fact, I laugh hysterically often, for example, when someone throws grenades everywhere and ends up blowing themself up.

    Everybody wants what they can't get, and everybody wants to do what they can't do. So naturally, it's fun to kill imaginary people within a digital realm. But there aren't any truly harmful effects from killing imaginary beings. The question here is what prevents people from going out and killing people? Or raping people? Or taking out baseball bats and beating people? I believe that it's the intuition within. Everybody knows that getting shot hurts. So if someone would want to kill someone, just the fact that it hurts would cause that person to think more deeply. And another point that Lieutenant Colonel David Grossman missed was the fact that practically all of these teenage killers had some sort of mental illness. I can't stress enough that most of our population does not have a mental illness, and the thing that makes these kids kill are violent childhoods, and other sorts of things. Also, a lot of these killings related to religion in some way or another, but I can't really connect them.

    Finally, with all due respect to him, Lieutenant Colonel David Grossman is an idiot. He is completely out of touch with the teenage population, and however old he is, he needs to be a teenager now in order to understand how teenagers these days work. The world is changing so fast that teenagers 10 years ago would probably feel somewhat awkward in high school now.


  • Last week, The Netherlands saw what IIRC was the first shooting in a school in recorded history. The background was a family dispute, revenging the family honor, the Turkish background of the kid is basically blamed for this incident.

    Yet our kids watch the same shows and movies, with the difference that they're shown earlier in the evening on tv, and rated far less strictly (The only ratings are all ages, 12 and 16. Violence that is rewarded or excessive gore goes to rating 16, as does pornographic sex, pretty much everything else is fair game).

    Only now are young people perceived to become more violent, but the media and games have been the same for years. So obviously there is some other factor that's to blame. My favorite would be unbridled capitalism, the demise of solidarity, and the coming-soon demise of social services and welfare, forcing people to look out for themselves and only themselves. Etc. etc. The breakdown of the social fabric of society has actually been blamed in Dutch media. No solutions are at hand though -- smaller classrooms, taking care of grandpa, all the obvious things are preceived to take to much time, effort and money, both privately, as well as publicly.

    So maybe these are the things to look out for. No wonder kids don't learn how to solve disputes non-violently if they never even socially interact with their own family, but only with the tv.. (Which isn't the tv's fault!)

    Food for thought?


  • When kids have violent tendancies, I believe some of these situations can be traced to the parenting and some can be traced to chemical imbalances which can be regulated through medication. But even kids with wonderful parents and no physical disorders have been known to go over the edge. Especially in case involving teens (rather that very young offenders) it boils down to the will and the mind of the offender themselves. Society can blame parents, video games, media, movies, etc. all they want, but well, I and the majority of society have had all those influences and we didn't run around killing innocent people. (And yes, I play Quake.) I think society doesn't want to accept the fact that while they can control the content of video games to a degree, they will never be able to control the human spirit and will. And so they blame the things they can control or think they can control.

    BTW, I do agree with the statement that it is just common sense not to expose very young children to a situation --be it video games or movies or what-have-you-- where it is hard to seperate the reality from fiction. Studies indicate that most children don't develop the ability to discern and analyze more abstract concepts such as the difference between reality and a very visual fiction until they are ten or so. They will realize that it is not "real" but the concept of reality is still very amorphous to them.

  • Like this, for example. Pay attention to the original question:

    JCal: You have called games like Doom and Quake "murder simulators" implying that they can actually teach a person to operate a real firearm and shoot it accurately. Yet in most of these games, the firearms are of a fantasy-futuristic variety with no relationship to real weapons. Also, the games are played in a sitting position and players click on buttons on a mouse and keyboard. Why do you believe playing these games trains children to know how to aim and fire a real, loaded firearm?

    Now look at his response:

    Col. Grossman: John, if you play at flying a plane we call that a flight simulator. If you play at shooting people it is a murder simulator. Like a plane, a gun is a mechanical device that you learn to use. I primarily apply this term (murder simulator) to games where you actually point a gun and learn trigger reflexes and other skills. But just as a flight simulator where the "player click on buttons on a mouse and keyboard" is still a flight simulator and still useful in helping you learn to fly, so too with Doom and Quake.

    Now, that's fair enough. I don't take too much issue with what he says here. But now look at what he does:

    Now a law enforcement sniper training magazine ("Sniper". . .) wrote the following in their recent Issue 28:

    "A new video game "Silent Scope" is the latest rage at the local arcades. This video game puts you, the sniper, behind a scoped rifle, interacting in an unfolding scenario in which your talents are needed to help rescue the President's daughter from terrorists. The game will help you on observation skills, tracking and identifying targets, snap shooting, and movers. It will never replace real range time, but it is a nice variation and it is fun."

    "observation skills, tracking and identifying targets, snap shooting, and movers." This is what is being taught. Like a flight simulator it will not replace real "stick" time, or real "range" time, but it helps.

    See how he uses that one particular game, which uses an actual gun (albeit one that doesn't fire bullets) with a scope as its weapon as proof that first-person shooters are "murder simulators"? Remember the original question? See how he not only glossed over it, but used the arcade game, which nobody has in their house and which has an actual gun, to prove to the reader that first-person shooters, which use mice and keyboards on home computers, can teach kids to become expert marksmen?

    It's one thing to speak from the heart and to the emotions. It's quite another to be so blatantly deceptive about it. I hope others caught that too.

    - A.P.

    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • The only reason you see an alarming trend in Americans seeking out scapegoats is the fact that you're young. It isn't just this decade, nor is it even just this culture. Making scapegoats is just a very human response to shocking and inexplicable events. Although we do have a very good idea about why Harris and Klebold killed- they left a videotape for the police telling why: they wanted to be famous.
  • You can blame Columbine directly on the media's sensationalist culture- Harris and Klebold did it for the fame they KNEW it would bring them by the soap opera coverage the media would provide on their lives and actions.
  • I also think blaming video games is aweak scapegoat, but there's a serious problem in the statement that "we have to allow for pretend violence in order to let people release their pent-up frustrations at not getting to be violent."
    The problem is that the assumption it's based on, that acting out agression releases it like a teapot letting off steam, is utterly wrong.
    I'm not talking about talking to someone about your anger, but screaming at or about someone only makes one MORE angry. Kids that watch a boxing video are not more calm than kids who watch ballet- the boxing didn't help them release their aggressions- and it may have made them more riled up. Violence is not like an engine overheating, though it can feel that way. All available research (see Alfie Kohn at MIT for refernces) suggests that it is much more like a habit.
    But again- is Quake a violence habit? I don't think so- when I play I don't FEEL violent, and that's the key- how one interprets what one is doing. I feel sort of strategic, but the only anger i feel is towards my ISP for lousy ping tht causes me to walk off a ledge in Q3CTF4.
  • There is a famous study, Men Against Fire [usmc.mil] by S.L.A. Marshall, that showed that only a small proportion (~20%) of U.S. soldiers in combat situations in World War II, actively used their weapons. That suggests that killing the enemy is not instinctive for most people, even during a war.
  • (4)Microsoft recieved $23.68 in sales for every $1.00 they spent on ads in 1998.

    So do you think everyone who bought M$ did it because they were brainwashed by the ads? Or did at least some of them do it never having seen an ad, or because it was bundled, or because of compatability requirements, or because of a review in a computer magazine, etc. etc.?

    Repeat after me: Correlation does not imply causation. Just because they spent X on ads and got Y, does not mean that the ads were the main cause.

    I have seem some absolutely brain-dead ads in my time. It is amazing how anyone could ever believe that the early Renault Megane adverts would ever sell cars.

    Branding works, sure, that's obvious. But as for more subtle influencing - those figures don't really tell you anything about that.

    I think the content and focus of the news media is a far more important influence on people than adverts.

  • Repeat after me: Correlation does not imply causation. Just because they spent X on ads and got Y, does not mean that the ads were the main cause.

    My Intent behind stating those numbers ((4)Microsoft recieved $23.68 in sales ...) was not to link this Corralate with Causation, rather to get you to think about why that time is worth so much.

    Look at it this way, When a sales person is selling time on her medium, she will often blab about how much influence her medium has, how many people she can reach, and why someone should pay a lot to reach all those people with their message.

    When someone complains about the content in the same medium, the same sales person blabs about how little influence her medium has, how few people realy listen, and never mentions the hundreds of thousands people pay to access it.

    Do you see the discrepency here?

  • ...about the D&D bank robbers, who drew their D20's, shouting "Everyone down! These dice are loaded!"?

    ...about the Invaders of Space cult, who only walk sideways and shoot straight down?

    ...about the Paranoia Patrol, who report to the Computer anyone looking suspicious, mutant, treacherous or unhappy?

    ...about the Mutant Ninja Turtle Tribe, who swim in radioactive, contaminated industrial sewage in order to become mighty & powerful?

    No? Surely you must have! The Army Officer hath pronounced such deeds to be True!

    (Reality Check: Whilst I think it extremely probable that violent kids will enjoy violent games, that does NOT mean the converse will be true. I also think unfeeling kids will enjoy games that rely on a lack of sentiment. Again, the converse will not necessarily be true. If all dogs are animals, it does not mean all animals are dogs.)

  • Unfortunately, with the way things are going in Oz, no one is going to be able to deathmatch a FPS unless the Government has a back door into your server :)

  • ...but frankly, Q3 doesn't even get a spot on my "killing games" list. Quake 1 had a more intense sense of gore and killing by a long shot, with the single player aspect and the wealth of fairly straightforward Grunts (and their dogs) trundling around and yelling at the player. Q3 is geared toward such outright speed of gameplay that there is rarely even a chance to pause and feel nervous tension or examine a corpse.

    If you want to look at a genuinely violent game (and I'm speaking here for informational purposes, not as an advocate of the anti-gaming movement), take a good look at the Counter-Strike mod for Halflife. The pacing, the models, the setting, the guns, the way people die, is all designed to model reality more closely than just about any other game on the market.

    Counter-Strike is, I believe, the most played game on the net right now. Should there not, by alarmist accounts, be a rash of shootings? Or, at the very least, a rash of enlistments in the Marines, and Seals, and other special ops type groups?

    Warmcat is exactly right about the nature of our desire to play games. It *is* catharsis. While Rummy and Asshole and Egyptian Ratscrew can serve one part of my brain, and Nomic works for me much of the time, sometimes a video game is a better release for whatever stress I'm feeling.

    These are games. No matter how realistic they may seem at first glance, they are nothing more than loose isomorphisms. I do not play Counter-Strike to feed my desire to kill; I play Counter-Strike to feed my desire to engage in a tense and engaging teamplay experience and (on a good day) excel (sp?). I yell at the screen in frustration when I bugger up, not to voice my bloodlust. It must be recognized that gamers, even passionate gamers, are as a whole, passionate about gaming and not passionate about the content. Most QuakeX players don't sit down thinking, "Must kill...must fire rocket launcher..." any more so than Pac-Man players sit down thinking, "Must destroy godless undead creatures..."

  • I have real-world experience with what happens if you try to overprotect a child from violence. (Well, it's not first-hand experience, but let's just say that I have known this person from birth and he's now in his mid-teens.)

    When he was born, his parents -- his mother, really, I don't think his father ever actually bought into it -- decided that he would not be exposed to anything related to violence. (I suppose this was a reaction to seeing me grow up several years earlier playing with GI Joes and the like, and (IMNSHO) wholly unrelated discipline problems at school. (Come on, I'm a geek, who didn't get picked on when they were young?))

    Anyway, when he finally started walking around and talking, they went to great pains to ensure that he was in a positive, nurturing environment. Don't get me wrong, this is a very good thing. However, they went out of their way to censor anything resembling violence in his life. I don't know how many five-year-old boys think the Care Bears are the coolest thing in the world, but it just seemed weird to me.

    So he continues to grow up. He learns how to cook and sew -- again, these are good skills to have, especially for later in life when one is living on one's own. But everything he did in play time had violent undertones. He would routinely fashion clubs or ray guns out of Legos and the like and go around hitting imaginary foes. Ghostbusters came out about this time, and he got hooked on it. His mother lightened up a bit, but only a bit -- it was sort of violent, but it was entirely directed against ghosts and other things that don't exist.

    So when he got the Ghostbuster gun for his birthday, what was his first act? To run around shooting at his baby sister. Heh.

    About the time he was eight-or-so, something weird happened. One day his grandmother bought him a cap gun and some caps! You would have thought the world was coming to an end. (His father couldn't have been happier. 8^) ) When the caps ran out, he was still running around with the cap gun shooting at everything -- and I mean everything, people, animals, cars, appliances, rocks, you name it.

    Later that year, his mother finally loosened her reigns on the poor kid and let him get GI Joes for his birthday. As it turns out, he had been going over to friends' houses for a few years and playing with violent toys anyway. His play-acting of violence increased slightly thereafter, but now, in his mid-teens, he is a perfectly well-adjusted kid. He just reached the level of Eagle Scout.

    Moral of the story: kids, especially boys, are hardwired to express themselves actively and (in a limited fashion) violently. Stop trying to suppress this genetic feature and start spending efforts towards directing this output in creative fashions. I know from personal experience (of the first-hand variety) that violent video games and violence-based toys (like GI Joe) provided a release for all of my built-up aggression toward the world. (Nothing's better than coming home after being beat up at school and blowing away some demons in the dark... 8^) ) But would I ever go out and actually kill anyone in real life? No. Why? Because I learned early on that that was just something you didn't do. I'm not sure if it was my parents who taught me that -- I think the only thing my parents actually gave me (in the heredity sense) was common sense, which says that taking a gun to school and killing the bullies is wrong. Why? It's wrong. Plain, simple.

    In closing: with all of this BS over censoring violent video games and such, has anyone actually watched the evening news lately? I see more so-called Bad Stuff on the news that in a Jackie Chan movie...
  • I think both the author of this article and Grossman blur a very important distinction between different types of video games. I think it was one of the id guys who recently pointed out, there's a difference between a game where you aim with the mouse and shoot with mouse clicks, and one where you use an actual gun mock-up (e.g. Duck Hunt and Virtua Cop) to aim and fire. The former cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, teach you to kill, at least from a skills standpoint. The latter, however, possibly can. There's quite a difference between squeezing a plastic trigger and firing a real gun (weight, noise, recoil, etc.), but it's a lot closer than mouse-clicks.

    The gun interface of Virtua Cop et. al. is probably unneccessary- a more conventional interface could be just as much fun, and without the potential negative repercussions. In general, I think steps away from realism in various ways would, on the whole, be a positive thing: The more unrealistic and video-gamey a game is, the more it will be disconnected in people's minds from the real act of killing. Furthermore, I find a video-gamey unrealism to be fun. Take a look at Quake 3, for example- almost everything about it is ludicrously unrealistic (e.g. the weapons), but it's a lot of fun, and that very unrealism makes it more fun. Furthermore, Quake 3 and other deathmatch games are probably an improvement on single-player-style games because yyour opponents are as strong and capable as you, and so it is less likely to condition one to a massacre mentality, since you cannot simply find a big gun and mow down a whole room full of bad guys.

  • ..it seems to me he plays his audience. Here he has an audience that know video games really well and have a deep understanding of them. He can't say stuff that just isn't true (like his line during the Senate hearings about Nintendo having designed a military simulator) so he goes for stuff about psychology and history that is more difficult to refute. He also talks about this in terms of a right-left polemic:

    The lawyers in this case have hired some of the nation's leading Constitutional experts, including the man who will probably be the next DEMOCRATIC nominee for the Supreme Court, and these people have no doubt of the Constitutionality of the case, and I have no doubt how the jury will react.-- Grossman quote
    I should point out that the above may well be a lie, but even if not why does he assume that I'll be impressed that someone from the Democratic party is on this side? Considering that if a Democrat gets to be president it will likely be Al Gore, and his pro-censorship wife may have an influence on his decisions as to who to nominate for the Supreme Court, I say "So what?" Wrong is wrong, I don't care what party the wrong-headedness comes from. (This is the old "if the Democrats and the Republicans agree on something, then it must be the right thing." I think there were a few people gathered in Seattle recently who would disagree with that premise.)

    Oh, and I happen to think that seat belt laws are an unneccessary intrusion of government into people's personal lives and a revenue generator for the police rather than a useful safety measure. I don't know why he believes that just because something is the law that everyone is going to agree with it, except that he has a dangerous, authoritarian point of view. (Which dovetails nicely with his thesis that its OK for the military to brainwash soldiers.)

    NOW, the Surgeon General, the AMA, the APA and the President (Ha!) have ALL made definitive statements about violent video games and the need to enforce the industry's rating system. -- Grossman quote
    This comes from the part of the article where Grossman really starts to rave, although out of context it isn't as bad as the rest of the quote. I bring it up though because I'm not sure what the Ha! in parenthesis next to the President is supposed to mean. Is it "Ha! Even your beloved Democratic president insists that police must prevent kids from getting bad games" or "Ha! the president agrees with me, you have no choice but to do so as well" ?

    One final quote, taken out of context from this page:

    How many lives, how many shattered families, how much blood is it worth to YOU to be able to have kids rehearse murder and killing and maiming in the comfort of their own homes? -- Grossman quote
    I put this statement in to let it stand for itself. It is not an appeal to reason, it is demagoguery, and it also sounds like raving. Let's take it apart:

    How many lives, how many shattered families, how much blood is it worth to YOU

    If we put, to let people pick posies or grow corn as the next part of this statement, I think the answer still has to be "none." I just don't happen to believe that Doom causes any of these things, but Grossman is setting it up that "If you don't believe that video games cause violence, if you don't agree with my solution, your a monster who is willing to see people murdered for your own enjoyment." Nope, since Grossman's solution will stop 0% of the violence, I'm not risking anyone's life.

    have kids rehearse murder and killing and maiming

    This is the way children talk when they want to impress you with what they are saying, it is redundant and uses the word and too many times as a way to emphasize something. What's the difference between murder and killing? No need to use two synonyms in the same sentence to argue the same thing if you are arguing from reason.

    in the comfort of their own homes

    Sooo, if the kids were practicing murder and killing and maiming in the alley behind some bar, that would be acceptable? What does the "comfort of their own homes" have to do with anything? Oh, I see, "those sick violent video game playing murderers get to be comfortable as they plan their atrocities."

    Incidentally, Quake and Doom don't teach murder but defensive combat. i.e. if a hideous demon is trying to kill you, and you have a weapon, you try to take him out. No different than what I'd train my kid to do if he were being threatened by a mass murderer with a gun. (Ok, I tell him to try to get out of there and call the police, but if the only option were to fight for his life I'd want him to try to take the bad guy out rather than just lay down and die. Murder and self-defense are two different things, Grossman attempts to make them morally equivalent.)

  • DOOM> "Munch... munch... crunch... Mmmmmm... Fireballed Kids... Medium-Rare..."
  • You said:
    "Computer games such as Quake Deathmatch? It teaches kids the concept that life easily restored by hitting the spacebar. I'm not talking about your 13+ kids now, but the eight year olds who have just warezed Quake 2 and are playing it. Who cares if you die? Who cares if I shoot wildly, friendly fire is OFF! Hostage down? Who cares, he'll be back next round! Some concepts of violence in video games will rub off on kids. Ratings won't stop the eight year old AOL pirates."

    If a parent isn't watching his 8 year old child, then the PARENT should be arrested when the kid shoots people. I grew up watching Looney Toons and whatnot, then later, playing Nintendo games. Every step of the way, I had a parent over my shoulder teaching me the fundamental lessons of life and morality. I play Unreal Tournament a lot, but if you met me, you'd find me to be totally laid back. I rarely get angry, and I am not violent.

    Wile E Coyote did not warp my mind by blowing himself up, the same way Wolfenstein 3d didn't give me the idea that Nazism is okay.
  • > Carmagedon gives you an urge to think about
    > such things, while games such as Quake don't.

    Wow. You don't play enough CTF.
    That grappling hook is an addicting substance, and I find myself CONSTANTLY looking at ceilings and cross-beams for places to grapple.

    The best is when you and a friend both play a lot of CaptureTheFlag, and you notice each other eyeing a certain balcony or a chandelier across a crowded room (in real life). I've often said "That landing's looking pretty nice, huh?" and gotten good responses.

    As much Quake-Bonding as we do in the real world, we very rarely start attacking each other.
  • Why do they pay this kind of money to advertise? Because they know that the message has influence. Consider this: (1)Ford Motor Company recieved $66.15 in sales for every $1.00 they spent on ads in 1998. (2)Anheuser-Busch recieved $17.83 in sales for every $1.00 they spent on ads in 1998. (3)Dell Computer recieved $54.68 in sales for every $1.00 they spent on ads in 1998. (4)Microsoft recieved $23.68 in sales for every $1.00 they spent on ads in 1998. (5)Time Warner recieved $19.686in sales for every $1.00 they spent on ads in 1998.
    You're assuming that all of these companies would have sold nothing without advertising. Are you really suggesting that without advertising Ford wouldn't be able to sell a single car or truck?
  • No, you don't lose a point when you're fragged. You can have 200 deaths and 100 kills and you'll still beat the guy who got 99 kills but didn't die. (note: I have a history of getting 90% of the kills and 50% of the deaths of people who regularly beat me, so maybe I'm biased...) And not only are the repercussions next to nothing, but they're being adjusted even lower in Quake 3 for the sake of "game balance" (read: keeping newbies from becoming frustrated). New respawns start with 125 health instead of 100 so they can't be killed in one hit. The default weapon is a serious machine gun instead of a joke blaster. All the non-default weapons are quite good, and easy to get a hold of fast. No more runes in CTF. No more power armor. Even the default Q3test policy of forcing respawns to wait until after your old corpse hit the ground is gone!
  • Are you really suggesting that without advertising Ford wouldn't be able to sell a single car or truck?
    I'de be willing to bet that Ford sales would be cut in half for each year if they didn't advertise. What I'm suggesting is that the m(b)illions they invest in advertizing is done for a good reason. The company message, placed in the media, has a positive effect on their bottom line. That is a testiment to the reach of that media.
    I think it'd be a lot less than a 50% cut, but there is a potentional point of contention here - I'm counting only the Ford ads run directly by the company. I think local dealer advertising is far more effective, simply because people who don't need a car won't run out and spend $20K just because they saw an ad and those that are in the market will be checking the local places to see who's cheapest.
  • Potential buyers aren't always ready to jump out there and purchase. There are probably a much larger number considering or wishing to buy a car and advertising reaches them and at least gets the company name and car model in their head so that they will at least consider it when the time comes around. By sheer numbers of those who watch whatever media, they are sure to get someone.

    Yes, the ads by themselves don't sell the cars -- but they do make you interested. I saw a Lincoln LS car ad (great commercial btw), and then went online to see great reviews of the car and then went out to buy one myself. Without that advertising, I probably wouldn't have even knew the car existed. Even if I did, come on, this is Lincoln here, I doubt I would have bought a lincoln based on what I've seen from their cars in the past.

    Local dealer advertising? Give me a break. They don't show much of anything; they just blather on about deals and "Hi, mom!".

    Both are good for what they are for, I guess. Local dealer ads for those directly considering pricing and an immediate > 3 months purchase -- and those extolling the virtues of the car in motion to get the word out.
  • True -- though I haven't heard many arguments targeted at groups these large that were valid.

    I visit Muslim countries and all I hear about is the worldwide jewish conspiracy; I visit Israel and all I hear from jews is all the arabs/muslims are trash and will take over israel if provided the opportunity in an instant (oh wait, that last one was true); In turkey it's the greeks; In greece it's the turks; In cali it's all those damn mexicans taking over; in Ireland it's the..

    A friend in Egypt told me the media there was making jokes about the jewish controlled americans who had shot down the EgyptAir flight with a new high tech laser gun.

    Lets face it; Most people are simple minded when it comes to anything outside of their profession or daily life. Simple people want simple solutions and targetting a particular group is very convenient.

    Some of the criticism is sometimes true -- but is more often either completely bent to fit a convenient lie; or complete and utter paranoia.

    It gets more complex when those paranoia propogators make up more paranoia and lies to cover their tracks, but you get the drift.

    The only partially valid criticism I can think of right now about israeli's(im not saying jews because im jewish but not a f***ing israeli) is that they are treating palestinians bad. Even then, though, if you look at the big picture; the hate goes both ways and gets particularly ugly when dealing with land -- especially when its deemed to be "holy".

    Remember when texas wanted to become independent?

    Unfortunately we don't live in a perfect world, and people are conditioned to accept criticism of certain groups -- at least on a subliminal level. Think about it though, if it was ok to criticise the minority, then things like asian/jewish/[insert minority here] opression during world war II might occur again in the near future.

    It's better to be overly politically correct of minorities than to let human stupidity take over.

    For some wacko funny shit, head over to radioislam.net. The sad part, however, is that I have heard some Muslims in canada propogating this mindless hate and even believing it themselves. If you think american government conspiracy theories are extreme, get a load of this stuff. It makes all sense now! The jews are controlling all american media and the government! Me and my jewish friends are in our basemint on a hush hush conference call with clinton every tuesday at 3am to deliver our demands or we raze your country. And guess what? We're not humans. We're aliens from the planet xentar and we really enjoy anally probing hicks from alabama ;)

  • Local dealer advertising? Give me a break. They don't show much of anything; they just blather on about deals and "Hi, mom!".

    Not the "Meet Cal Worthington & his dog" blither. I was referring more to what I've noticed with my friends & family - when someone's looking for a new vehicle, they're going to get a copy of the newspaper or magazine (e.g. regionals like the AutoTrader or Car & Driver, Consumer Reports & similar) and compare prices.

    The only manufacturers who really seem to benefit from brand-awareness campaigns are the new ones (e.g. Killed-In-Action, etc); otherwise, it's usually a question of who's offering more for less.
  • "Newer better studies"

    Sure there, bud. The simple truth is that both occur.

    Bob had high grades and self esteem. Bob has a death in the family or is regularly abused by his schoolmates or recently broke up with a long time girlfriend. Those grades fall as a result of low self esteem.

    Mary has low grades; she feels incapable of competing with the other kids; she fell behind in grade 7 and hasn't been able to catch up since; teachers label her as the stupid kid; other students laugh at her when she announces a b+. The result is low self esteem.

    Hi, I'm bob. Meet my sister mary.
  • If you knew the answer, you would have stated so. Another flame with no substance.

    England, Canada, Switzerland all have lower crime per capita as well as less violent crimes involving guns.

    There are, however, socioeconomic factors that may skew comparisons.

    The closest comparison is the US vs Canada. Even then, we have social systems that the US does not, so that's not even a relatively good comparison. Many people in the US also tend to be very self righteous which can also fuel the flames.

    I'm sure people could go on for hours just stating all the possible factors, and it would take years to come up with a system to rank these factors -- and even then, it would be based on a snapshot of a certain time -- and become irrelevant the next..

    I at least feel safe knowing that there isn't that same guy with a gun for protection, using it against me.

    And then you hear people saying;
    "But then people will use knives instead!" Well go ahead, I can run from knives not weighted for throwing (in those situations where I was aware of the threat) :).

    I tend to think that less guns means less crazy or poor or emotionally challenged people who were previously thought not to be using them. I can actually live in a community where there is a lot less recipricol fear of death.

    Now, *everyone* having guns also works. It's kind of hard to execute a massacre when everyone and their mother is carrying an uzi. The problem with this is that there is a neverending cycle of hate and fear. It's necessary for countries that need consciption to survive -- but I wouldn't recommend it for any country that expects to live in relative peace in the not so distant future.
  • I heard a long discussion on NPR about the reasons for why violent crime is on the decline currently and had been on the rise for a long time before that. Arguments largely centered around law enforcement and punishments, whether three-strikes is effective, the increase and decrease of drug usage, increases and decreases in earning power and employment... video games and movies were never mentioned.

    Now, this doesn't exactly 'prove' anything, but it does show that people filling the DA's position and vocal critics of unfairness in the legal system alike believe that the causes lie in underlying facets of society, not in our entertainment-of-the-moment. They might just be onto something.

  • Oh :).

    Anyway, both are advertising on the same target market in a different phase of being prepared to purchase.

    Actually, tv car ads are mostly just for brand awareness so that if you ever think of purchasing a car or truck, it will be the first thing that comes to mind. While it has less effect than purchases that are more impulse, it does have an effect -- at least subliminally -- on brands that aren't sufficiently differentiated in price or features. The auto oligopoly generally has similar prices as per the current price setter -- so prices of similar model car are usually very similar. There of course is still product differentiation -- but market share is usually more or less stable. Moves to obtain more market share are also often very slow. Unfortunately with the barriers on the market, no new competitor can join in and really innovate and produce cars that dont fall apart within 3 years.

    In correlation to the story, to not be so off topic -- it does show that the media and advertising does affect us -- but we aren't often aware of it, even if we've taken some business or advertising courses and can identify the key words used to elicit a sale, in a testimonial or whatever. Fortunately we're able to filter this information more efficiently as adults; otherwise we'd all be going to Devry, eating pringles for dinner, and being like mike and using product x.
  • ... that the Grossman Thesis that the military uses video games to 'desensitize' soldiers psychologically for combat, is sick. It's also not true...

    I beg to differ

    Perhaps you should take a look at the cover from Wired Mag [wired.com]from April 1997 and read the article [wired.com] that details exactly how the military is used Doom in training.

    A quote from the Wired cover story:
    Marine Doom shows how anxious the corps is to use nontraditional ideas for keeping its soldiers sharp. And it's not above picking up tips from the business and entertainment worlds. For example, Lieutenant General Paul Van Riper, the Quantico base commander, recently took his top officers to a stock trading floor to study how people behave in chaotic situations. "The military needs to borrow from the commercial sector," says Carl Builder, author of The Masks of War: American Military Styles in Strategy and Analysis. "The commercial sector is moving much faster, for instance, in this area of simulation technology. This is the kind of thinking that the military needs."

  • Are you fucking kidding? They left a VIDEOTAPE for the police saying that this was exactly why they did it. Fame is certainly enjoyed in death: try Jesus! But that point is moot anyway- their original plan wasn't to die in the school anyway- they had much more elborate plans about escaping the school and hyjacking a plane. They hadn't even planned on going IN the school in the first place- the bombs in the lunchroom were supposed to go off, killing tons, and scaring the rest out of the building, where they'd be waiting. It's all in the soon to be released official report- parts of it got leaked to Salon.
  • If crime is being reduced, can't the FBI (or rather, the DEA) claim the War on Drugs is being won? This would be silly, of course, but your points don't seem to follow. Youth crime is going down though, and schools are still safer than the home for kids. In fact, the media focus on certain things, like these violent attacks, is pernicious in the respect that it puts undue policy focus on what are minor social problems- the majority of violence done to children is perpetrated by adults. That's what needs major policy aid, but we just don't hear about it because it involves less spectacle.
  • Very well put!

    In correlation to the story, to not be so off topic -- it does show that the media and advertising does affect us -- but we aren't often aware of it, even if we've taken some business or advertising courses and can identify the key words used to elicit a sale, in a testimonial or whatever. Fortunately we're able to filter this information more efficiently as adults; otherwise we'd all be going to Devry, eating pringles for dinner, and being like mike and using product x.

    I have to say, I agree with how well most adults are very well educated to filter messages out of the media. Having been exposed to advertising most of their childhood (adds on sat. morning tv anyone?) and adult lives, people have a wonderful way of applying adaptive filtering to weed out the junk.

    The original intent behind my post was to point this out to some of the younger readers on /. and to get them to think about what they hear/see around them. People pay b(m)illions to influence people exposed to the media, and the viewers/readers are being influenced.

    The *content* is also influencial and to try and deny that is to try and deny that year [adage.com] after year [adage.com], decade after decade, companies pay _Billions_ to get their message into the media. [adage.com]

  • Why did you moderate me up to 4? I was just responding to someone else who made the point (just in a less catchy way) before I did.

    Vovida, OS VoIP
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  • I agree with much of what I see in the above post, but one thing grates:

    If you see your kids making pipe bombs, stop
    them. If you see your kids playing a game you don't like, stop them. If you see your kids downloading hardcore porn, stop them.

    No. It's not quite that simple. But in the next sentence, Redking gets it right.

    Talk to them. Geez, I thought it was obvious.

    How many here reading this played with explosives in their youth? Would you have stopped just because mom or dad told you to stop? Probably not. Would you have used those explosives to kill or maim? Probably not deliberately (accidents happen). Telling the kids to stop, or trying to make them stop, is useless by itself. They'll just try (harder) to hide it from you, and it'll be more dangerous than ever. Talking to the kids is required. Listening to the kids is even more important. Find out why they're making explosives (or playing violent games, or downloading porn). Determine for yourself whether the kid is showing healthy curiosity or dangerous violent tendencies, and then act accordingly.

    If the kid really is dangerously disturbed, there will be other signs, and you might miss them if you just flat-out ban (explosives, shoot-em-up games, porn) without some serious two-way communication first. If the kid's mostly okay, but likes (to blow things up, deathmatches, porn sites) some guidance might be in order, to keep him/her from hurting self or others. Get the otherwise-normal kid who's fascinated with explosives some safety equipment and a long talk with a chemistry teacher. Make sure the underage porn fan knows the difference between fantasy and reality, and some of the basic "facts of life".

    Communication is vital before deciding on a course of action.
  • True, this insitance on honor also stops a lot
    of the coruption and pety crime we see dayly.

    I.e. In Japan if you rape a child the father
    will kill you for doing this, then kill himself
    for failing to prevent it.

    The result ? Pedofiles are fearfull of angry
    parents with nothing to luse.

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan