Over the course of the next couple months, I will be researching various aspects relating to violent video games and public policy relating to video games. To be honest, I had wanted to explore this topic since my junior year of college. Instead, when it came down to choose a topic for a research project, I wrote about the triangular relationship between Okinawa, Japan and the United States and military base policy in Japan. So, I have already done some preliminary research into this topic, and have an (outdated) listed of sources to go through and review. The title of the series will be Controlling the Joystick, and updates will come out whenever they are ready.
Controlling the Joystick is another one of my grandiose ideas. The way that I see it, there are a lot of topics that relate to violent videos and violent video legislation. I would have research to review the possible effects of violent video games on people, cover historical events, review policy and conduct interviews with authorities on the subject. Lastly, I can also compare events, history and policies in an attempt to explain everything. It’s also semi-related to video game addiction and escapism. There’s a lot here to explore, and I’d like to invite the Source Gaming community to come on this journey with me. I’m not sure what my conclusions will be, and that’s pretty exciting. I look forward to creating a healthy discussion on the topic, and I hope you guys will join me. Commenting on articles, or even reaching out to me on Twitter is always welcomed!
As a precursor to the series, I wanted to quickly jot down my own experiences with violent videos games and my own thoughts on them. That way, when this project is finished I can reflect on what we have discovered and how I’ve grown.
As of right now, I do not believe there is an inherent link to playing violent video games and aggressiveness in people. I do think sometimes over-engaging in violent video games can be a symptom of a larger mental issue.I do not currently have any scientific evidence to back this claim up. This is my bias going into the project. I will work hard to remain objective during my study and make sure I’m not just ‘trying to prove my preconceptions.
I, myself have an extensive history of playing violent video games…which probably explains my bias. My parents for the most part ignored ERSB ratings, and let me play Mortal Kombat on the Sega Genesis as a young child. I had Grand Thef Auto 3 on the PC when it was released too (I was 14 years old). I was a regular on NewGrounds growing up and I saw the site evolve many times. In general, I was on the unfiltered Internet at a young age. Violent media doesn’t really bother me. The only movie that I can remember to have ever ‘bothered’ me was Clockwork Orange, with the rape scene. Despite engaging in a plenty of violent media throughout my childhood…I don’t think I’m very aggressive person, nor that violent media has influenced me to become more violent.
For the first real article in this series, I will read and review perhaps the most influential piece of literature on the subject, On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society by Dave Grossman. Dave Grossman has argued that violent video games train people to kill, and his influential book is perhaps the most cited piece on that subject.Of course, I will also look at sources that argue that violent video games can have a positive effect, or have no effect on a person’s psyche. Grossman’s influential book seemed like the natural starting point.
That’s it for today. I hope you guys will join me on this journey. Please let me know your experiences with violent video games in the comments below.