Do you think violent video games detract the reality of violence from its audience?
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Today I would say that almost 95 percent of games have some level of violence,
be it something as minimal as the Mario franchise. I myself am an aspiring game designer, and I have played a lot of violent games in my time. Some of these games include Final Fantasy(RPG), Counter-Strike(Tactical War game), Diablo, and so on. I myself don't consider myself a violent person, despite occasional violent thoughts which I would never act upon; However I do feel rather desensitized to a reality of violence that exists in our world.
Lately, with the rise of terrorist activity, I have noticed that I particularly don't emphasize entirely to truly feel the reality of the situations that go on around the world. I feel shocked when I read some bad news, but I am quick to settle myself and can easily remove myself from any empathetic sensations to situate myself in a more objective, logical and observing position. This is my experience, and sometimes the same for my brothers. Perhaps this happens to all people in peaceful countries like mine (Australia) who have had the privileged not to experience such terrors unless they subject themselves to it or find themselves pulling the short straw. Regardless, I believe based on a lack of human interest/constructive activity in external affairs, that these two activities may possibly be a responsible factor.
A lot of Games and Movies often create (virtual) realities in which the players are subject to experiences which would be otherwise considered violent, if the full laws of our reality applied to it. Games like Mario or GTA where the protagonist eliminates enemies with a level of violence (Of course at two different ends of the spectrum), one by jumping on an enemies head, and one with a variety of violent choices. Of course, I will agree that video games may not induce violent behavior in players, as the acts of violence they commit are done towards extremely unintelligent AI (In comparison to most life on earth). However, the activities that they partake within games are far from non-existent. In fact they happen all across the world.
People are making games out of war, which are far from the reality that actually exists. And when I say far, I mean the emotional/physical connection. We have game that are replicating realistic events, however they are portrayed in a fashion that makes them enjoyable(Sorry for repeating myself >.<). I think this is what disconnects people from the reality of whats actually happening in the world today. People (Including myself) make connections from real events, such as the shootings in Paris, and connect them to games, somehow diminishing the value of the true horror and misfortune of the events that took place. Unfortunately I don't have much evidence for my claims, so take anything I say with a grain of salt; However a lot of the online games I play involve people making jokes of such events, and my brothers and I often make these connections as well.
I was a terrible english student, so I really apologize if my wording/structure was confusing or poor. I hope you'll take some time to input what you think, because as a practicing ethical person, I don't want to create games that warrant this sort of disconnected behavior, I really don't think it's healthy at all.
Regarding your example of dulled terror; The recent influx of activity, paradoxically, would cause such a thing. You see, human brains have a regulating principle called the hedonic treadmill. This "treadmill" (it's not a literal treadmill in your brain, obviously) makes our perception of the world around us a uniform "Kind of ok" as long as we aren't starving, in constant pain, or dying of illness. The mental states of euphoria and depression are thought of by many psychologists as results of the treadmill failing. So since terrorism is now unfortunately common, as long as you aren't in a place where terrorism isn't a constant threat, then you won't be as shocked or have your shock last as long when you hear of an attack. This also plays into magnitude bias, which is a complex concept that I'm not qualified to talk about.
Lastly, if you WERE to create a game that simulates real warlike conditions, it would sell horribly. As long as you have that feeling of agency, it will almost feel like you are experiencing everything happening in the game. Not even the most depraved human would willingly experience that horror. The only way you could really use the digital art medium to dull one's perception to war is by actively trying to deceive the player into thinking that the fantasy you're giving to him/her is the real thing. Such a technique is used by propagandist games, such as (and this is just a minor example; it won't turn you into a hawkish ultra nationalist xenophobe) the America's Army series.
To conclude: Video games are incapable of what Pro describes unless they are designed to. Most popular violent games on the market make no effort to convince the player that they're experiencing a representation of reality at all. Any games that market off of "realism" only have better graphics or higher depth; They still lack the components necessary to make the player feel like an actual soldier. If they DID make the player feel like one, they'd either be terrifying them or lying to them.
*Agency: A term used to mean the feeling of free will in video games.
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