Home General Discussion

Violence in Video Games - Research Paper

Hey guys, for my Composition class I am required to write a 10-15 page research paper on a topic of my choice. I decided to do it on violence in video games and the effects it has on the players.

I'm going to need to cite at least 7 sources and I figure I could use Polycount as one of them. So if you guys could share your views on the subject or post links to useful info, it would be much appreciated. It would be very helpful to use quotes from actual game developers in the paper.


  • cholden
    Offline / Send Message
    cholden polycounter lvl 18
    good list of reasons where and why

    Texas Chainsaw Massacre for Atari. This vid has great info about how this game was banned for violence even in 1983 where there were only a few pixels to speak of.

    I'm sure plenty of folks have stories associated with odd changes they had to make to hit an ESRB rating.
  • Firebert
    Offline / Send Message
    Firebert polycounter lvl 15
    Penn & Teller: Bullshit episode on Violent Video games is at the very least an excellent place to start to get ideas of where to research.
    I think they took it off of youtube, otherwise I'd link it :/

    edit: here's the link from the original thread bearkub posted last year. read through the thread too. there's some opinions and links that may also help.
  • Firecracker197
    Offline / Send Message
    Firecracker197 polycounter lvl 11
    Firebert wrote: »
    Penn & Teller: Bullshit episode on Violent Video games is at the very least an excellent place to start to get ideas of where to research.
    I think they took it off of youtube, otherwise I'd link it :/.


    just watched it a few days ago, if that helps.
  • acc
    Offline / Send Message
    acc polycounter lvl 18
    I decided to do it on violence in video games and the effects it has on the players.
  • Vailias
    Offline / Send Message
    Vailias polycounter lvl 18
    and this once again rears its head. :) glad the work I did a while ago is continuing to be useful.

    Here: I compiled a spreadsheet of violent crime data from the FBI from 1990-2007 plotted against number of available shooter games on the market, I think via moby games. Of course many shooters are available for years after release, so the numbers appear much larger than what were "new releases" but considering you can still get the entire ID catelogue off of steam, this doesn't seem unjustified.
    Violent Crime vs Violent Games

    The raw data here shows that if there IS a relationship it is an inverse one. Ie more violent games available = lower violent crime rate.
    The realistic interpretation is that there is little to no correlation between violent games and violent people. Some violent people may also play violent games, but games do not "make" violent people.

    another spreadsheet I set up (if its of any interest to your specific report) is also from the FBI listing homocides by reason and by weapon type used. I added in a few lines comparing firearm deaths vs Other cause of death. Lines I added are highlighted in yellow

    Murder by Type

    The synopsis of it is that things other than firearms account for about 1/3 of all murders. Of firearm related murders handguns make up about 70-75% of the weapons of choice. Anecdotally you could link this to the idea that pistols don't show up in many violent games, and if they do they are relegated to the least useful weapon. The idea of learned behaviour would suggest that a gamer would more likely seek out a rifle for violence than a pistol as they've been "taught" pistols are weak and take many hits to kill an opponent. The evidence (~7800 of ~10200 firearm murders) suggests a lack of correlation.

    ugh. Google docs conversion has mushed some of the formatting and dropped the chart all together
    Here are links to the Excel Files from my webspace
    Murder By Type excel

    FPS vs Violent crime excel

    also here are gif's of the sheets if you don't feel like downloading or dealing with googledox
  • HonkyPunch
    Offline / Send Message
    HonkyPunch polycounter lvl 18
    no such thing as violence in video games
  • crazyfingers
    Offline / Send Message
    crazyfingers polycounter lvl 10
    This is interesting:
    China is blaming gaming for 80% of their violence, largely to counter the rise of online gaming and the proliferation of more open minded world views that that would bring. Well that or they just want to keep their money in-house.
  • ralusek
    Offline / Send Message
    ralusek polycounter lvl 10
    ignoring the fact that humans have a very competitive drive would be a silly way of approaching our nature. with that in mind, men often take this competitive nature to a higher level, with a level that needs a certain sense of "overpowering" or "destruction."

    violence in movies or video games is absolutely not the source of violent behavior. it really just stems from our competitive nature and the satisfaction from victory...in any situation. look to nature, or men acting at their most primal levels to find the most raw forms of violence. it is absolutely basic nature, and in many cases the simple need to prove who is alpha in any given situation.

    so the argument here is not whether or not video games make us violent or not. we are a violent species by default. the question is whether or not video games serve as an inspiration for such acts of violence, or whether or not they serve as an outlet.

    the arguments suggesting that violence such as that found in grand theft auto makes kids think "it's okay to act this way" are grounded on a plausible theory...but only under the assumption that the human brain is as malleable as these psychologists believe it to be. truth be told, i don't think any single person playing grand theft auto fails to see the boundaries between the game and the "real world," and if they do, their problems exist outside of the fact that they're just playing violent video games.

    the alternative to these suggestions would be that violence through sport and game, and victory in an artificial, controlled situation can serve to satisfy our lust for competition. this is pretty much proved across the board. i play games because i like to win, as do most people. there is the obvious advantage of beautiful art, and great story telling, but that is for a different topic entirely. the gore and violence and competitive spirit that comes from games labeled as violent really just give another level of entertainment, and takes a very gross underestimation of our intelligence if we're meant to believe that this kind of behavior is ok in reality.
  • Ged
    Offline / Send Message
    Ged interpolator
    I studied into subjects like this for my dissertation, good luck its a very gray territory - what studies thier are seem to be limited and rather inconclusive. It seems to me its more like a case of supply and demand, not really a question of the games making people violent but more a question of "why do we as a society demand voilent games" in the first place? ralusek deals with a few of these opinions already but its interesting to see what developers have to say - look in edge magazines and articles about controversial games - I found some great info about bioshock and manhunt including the developers opinions on game violence and game making.
  • bbob
    Offline / Send Message

    Now on a more serious note, I think blaming video games for violence is the same mechanism that had villagers burn women at the stake in the 15th century, if the harvest was bad.

    It seems that people who blames video games and rap music for violence is simply looking for a scapegoat so they can simplify the problem for themselves. It is much easier to blame video games, than it is to realize that these kids who shoots up their school each have their own psychotic or sociopathic reason for doing what they did.
  • Sean VanGorder
    Offline / Send Message
    Thanks for all the responses guys, definitely a lot of valuable information I can include in my paper. This subject really is a lot bigger than I first thought it would be. I will most likely end up using pieces of each response, I want to cover as many angles as possible.
Sign In or Register to comment.