developers should be allowed to put as much violence as they please into their games
Debate Rounds (3)
1) As video game designers continue to ramp up the violence and gore in their games, we the players become desensitized to it. Instead of feeling that sense of awe and chills down your spine when you execute a particularly gruesome kill or a cutscene takes a creepy, bloody turn, it just all kind of blends into the background and becomes part of an average mediocre gameplay experience. However if violence and gore is sprinkled in sparingly, it is much more effective in enriching the experience.
2) Along the same lines, as we become more accustomed to seeing blood, gore and non-stop violence, we will be influenced (even only slightly and subconsciously) by those images in our everyday lives. This does not necessarily mean that we will run around killing people, but it may mean that over time we will become less empathetic to those who are suffering in war times or who have experienced violence in their real lives.
3) I truly believe that video games are evolving into the most immersive, exciting vehicle for great storytelling, and in games that go overboard with wave after wave of bloody combat it takes away from that immersive storytelling experience.
Let's get 1) and 2) out of the way first: The ESRB is in charge of rating most games. If a game has no violence, it will be given an E for Everyone rating, and it is safe. M for Mature should be watched out for, and T for Teen should be monitored. Most people who are involved with gaming have heard this exact debate time and time again, and in the modern era it is easy to find the information necessary to make a conclusion. If the parents are able to find this info, and understand the connection to aggression and violence, and still let their preteen child play games like Hatred, unmonitored for vast amounts of time, then that child was doomed from the start. The parent should monitor to see how violent video games affect grades, personality, etc., and be ready to pull the plug at any time; or better yet, just stay away from games like these in the first place.  Further, while it may sound off-topic right now, the color red has been stated to, to an extent, cause aggression, adrenaline, and similar things. I'm going somewhere with this, trust me. The link I got this info from did say that research was a little rusty in this area, but it tends to say red would "stimulate the body and mind and to increase circulation", or "causes people to react with greater speed and force". If nothing else, this should speak about how nearly everything in life can affect the mind in one way or another. I'd be worried if video games couldn't make us feel more mad or aggressive.
And with that out of the way, let's get to point 3). I am glad to find another gamer who understands games as an art form, and I will go as far as to agree with you on basically everything you said here. Remember Hatred? Hatred was a poorly made game, with most of its focus pointed to mindless sadism as opposed to good gameplay or an actual storyline, based on what I saw of it. And who needs another COD clone? Honestly, I'm a teenage boy, the target demographic for these games, and I would prefer to play Undertale on pacifist mode to playing either of those. But violence, in itself, can't be all bad; it all depends on how the developers use it. Spec Ops: The Line used violence (specifically mind-numbing violence) to jab at the aforementioned COD clones by having you engage in such killing without thinking about it, only to pull you out and remind you that these people you are killing are people (even though, yes, they are pixels on a screen). It even brings a monologue at the end that directly, if subtly, jabs at these games and their players. While it is true that most of the ways this game did violence correctly were to point out how most games do it incorrectly, it still shows that violence can be used in ways that actually help story and immersion, without just being a cop-out for game developers.
I'm not sure why Pro brought up the ESRB rating system as I have not argued that gory and violent games are inappropriate for certain audiences - I agree that the ESRB rating system is sufficient in providing information to children and their parents about the level of supervision needed with certain games depending on a child's age, and games to be avoided for younger children. My second argument was in reference to teenagers and adults playing unnecessarily violent and gory games. Several studies have been conducted which show that adults and teens who are exposed to violence in video games over the long-term are less empathetic to those in violent situations in real life.
"The research is getting clearer that over the long term, people with more exposure to violent video games have demonstrated things like lower empathy to violence," according to Dr. Jeanne Brockmyer, a clinical psychologist and professor emeritus at the University of Toledo. "Initially, people are horrified by things they see, but we can"t maintain that level of arousal. Everyone gets desensitized to things." Her research has found that areas of the brain responsible for empathy become muted by violent images when teens and adults are exposed to them over long periods of time.
These are the results one sees from lazy shoot-em-up games like COD, which rely on non-stop violence and gore in their gameplay to hold the gamer's attention. However if game developers were more intentional with their use of violence and gore to enrich the game's story or create a visceral reaction in the gamer occasionally, the results would most likely be completely different. If video game developers were taught and urged to take this approach to utilizing violence and gore in their games, the concern of reduced empathy toward violence in real life would be pretty well addressed.
Now, circling back to your final point. I absolutely agree with everything you said here. However if excessive, mind-numbing violence wasn't so prevalent in video games today, Spec Ops: The Line's final monologue would not have hit a nerve as it did, and it would not have been necessary to point out.
I apologize with my point on the ESRB system; I was going somewhere, but lost my train of thought. (Awkward. I'm still not the best at debating.) I was trying to cover the adults and children independently; the kids are the real fear here, which is why most people talk about them when violence comes up. At an early state in development, the kids are more impressionable from the rest of the world. They are more likely to carry experiences from their childhood into the rest of their lives than they are to carry experiences from adulthood. The idea is that if an adult comes across a situation that requires his or her personal decision making skills, they will be more apt to handle it. If not, the adult was doomed from the start. The journey of life is already filled with potholes. That is an unavoidable fact. Even without games, there will be potholes, and some of them would be . People are capable of falling into one pothole and learning, then trying to prepare for new ones. No one can fall into just one pothole, learn a little, and never fall into one again. At a young age, it is a parent's job to limit (but not eliminate), these potholes. At an adult age, it becomes the adult's problem. If the adult doesn't know how to handle them, he or she will learn behind the wheel. Should we try to make these potholes more visible? Definitely, otherwise even if the adult learned something (supposedly from a different pothole), he or she wouldn't be able to fix the problem. But that's not really what we're asking. The prompt is, "developers should be allowed to put as much violence as they please into their games". In other words, should we take out the pothole entirely? The answer is that no matter what we do for this pothole, there will still be thousands more. We should make sure we are prepared to deal with them.
In terms of "Spec Ops: The Line", I do understand that the game, not even just the final monologue, is made as a jab at how games portray war. I must say that you did a good job countering this one, and I doubt that I could use this specific game as an argument. But this isn't the only game that can use violence seriously. Take "This War Of Mine", for example. This game is not a jab at the FPS or the gamers that play them. It, instead, uses violence to show the horrors of war, in a way that other mediums can't. Thus, it is still possible for a game to use violence correctly.
And beyond that, if violence was taken out of games, it wouldn't fix the problem of poorly crafted games. Most of these games are bad because the AAA developers that make these games are spending so much money making sure that the games look nice because some gamers can't understand if we'd go back a few steps to make a game that doesn't have beard stubble that grows in real time, or other things along that line. And even those few that allow themselves to take that step back spend extra time and money making sure that the gameplay works, or writing good story. But the problem is that if such a game winds up existing, they can no longer afford to innovate, because innovation in such expensive games is a risk. If the innovation was a bad idea (i.e. the WiiU), then they wasted millions of dollars and only got hundreds back. I'm not saying gaming can't continue to grow and evolve
And, as a closing note, while I know the debate is not yet over, I still would just like to say GG now, at the risk of not being able to say it later. You put up a good argument, regardless of who wins.
Akarn forfeited this round.
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