Are Video Games Bad for You?
In recent decades, attention has been placed on the influence of violent videogames on the aggressive behaviour of individuals. While some scholars believe that videogames increase aggression amongst children in particular, others claim evidence on the catharsis hypothesis where videogames are argued to be a safe outlet to express aggression (Berger 2002). Although many theories have emerged regarding the influence of violent videogames, the debate continues to be divided between those who claim its destructive nature and others who claim that videogames cannot be solely blamed for the aggressive behaviour expressed by young people. This essay therefore aims to examine different arguments raised in the literature regarding
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Rollings and Adams (2002) therefore argue that the debate is not about violence per se, but rather about how violence is portrayed and the circumstances under which it is acceptable. In their book ‘Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Designs’ (Rollings & Adams 2002), they examine the nature of violence in video games as being highly influenced by the similarities to the real world; the more a game resembles real life ‘situations’ the more debate and opposition it will raise amongst politicians and the general public. On the other hand, if the violence portrayed is abstract and unrealistic, as e.g. killing aliens in Space Invaders, it becomes less controversial. As a result, the more a game resembles real life the more ethical issues it will raise. Rollings and Adam (2002) therefore strongly recommend that ethical realism need to be tied closely to visual realism. Video games makers consequently need to understand this link for there will always be some individuals who will have difficulties in differentiating between fiction and reality. Children in particular need to be protected, as the younger they are, the harder it is for them to distinguish between play and reality,
A few designers, mostly young and male, seem to think that deliberately including gratuitous violence in their games is a