Video games do cause violent feelings

News & Politics

"After long stints in front of Double Dragon [video game] at Western Arcade in high school, I distinctly recall stumbling on to the street and feeling the urge to headbut people walking by..." writes Josh Bearman.

Asking whether it was "the decadence of video game bloodlust, or harmless neurological echo?" as well as the fact that he never did headbut anyone, he notes that: "it has been now shown that violent video games do cause violent feelings." He comments:

"But that doesn't mean that violent media causes actual violence. Such stimuli, like football, clearly can facilitate agression. The question is whether the reality-bending of video games... translates into action. My feeling is that video games, like violent movies or sports, are mostly harmless, unless experienced by a someone who's already half-cocked. You just don't drive over people because of GTA. You drive over people because you're crazy."
Which gets precisely at why the question of whether or not violent video games spawn violence is sort of a narrow (though not irrelevant) question. Video games are just as likely the product of an ethos as they are to be the prompter of one. That is, where on the wheel do the video games board? The simplistic notion that video games appeared inspiring hordes of otherwise calm and peaceful citizens to start marauding down mainstreet with pickaxes is just a bit silly.

Besides, one need look no further than the Republican governor of California to note the schizophrenia with which we approach this issue. After all, if I had to bet, I'd say more people in this world have seen graphic depictions of the GOP muscleman kill and maim others than perhaps any other human on Earth. (Joshuah Bearman)

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