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November 13, 2007


Jon K

I agree wholeheartedly that games are essentially teachers, and can influence us in pretty much any way they choose. The problem when kids get hold of violent games is they are less likely to question and consider what they are taught.

I think it's important to isolate the elements of a game that are simply present from those that are taught, however. The primary lessons in team shooters are lessons of cooperation; the primary lessons in a fast-paced FPS are things like anticipation, aim, reflexes, route determination, evasion and weapon selection.

Games like Manhunt 2 are IMO controversial for the very reason that they teach aggression directly. Elements of the less controversial Godfather game follow a similar route by requiring you to extort businesses. As much as I enjoy throwing shop owners around to extort cash from them, picking on their weak points, there is no greater skill I am learning than that of bullying (far more so than in "Bully", ironically).


Mm, agreed. I never felt that Quake was violent, for instance; but Manhunt 1 - right at the beginning where you have to sneak up behind the big guys and cut their throats - EW. That was enough for me: can't see what good that can be teaching.

Anthony Perez

I remember reading an article very recently about how today's gamers will be tomorrow's leaders. http://mybroadband.co.za/news/Gaming/1808.html

There's something very real in the argument for videogames' ability to teach. While young minds are certainly impressionable, they're impressionable to everything equally as "bad" as gaming. It all comes down to how well the parents regulate their access.

With each generation there will be some kind of medium or illegal substance that will be experienced by kids many believe are inappropriate for them. You can't stop it, just as I couldn't stop from smelling marijuana in school when I was in 4th grade. Yet not all of these kids are messed up, hell some are doing extremely well.

I think how someone absorbs information and interprets it is far more important than the information itself, though I do believe kids should be shielded up to a certain age.


You're assuming that they defined "violent" video games as those in the "18" category, but that isn't clear in the article. Certain previous studies have defined "violent videogames" in such a way that the games they categorized as violent were closer to "Mario" than "Manhunt." Their notion of violence included all games where advancement through the game was through aggression towards non-anthropomorphic entities. It pretty much covered everything but puzzle games, which is what made the previous studies so disturbing- all these games deemed suitable for kids were, according to the studies, actually teaching them aggressive behavior.
So I am curious how "violent" was defined in this study- it may be far broader than you realize.


Huh, that IS interesting.

I honestly can't see how a mario game could be considered dangerous, though. I mean, it beggars belief, that.

Mr Tom

Mario has led to a lot of kids kicking tortoises!


A minor point, but... It was WAY easier to get your hands on a replica gun 20 or 30 years ago. And they were generally more accurate replicas. Easier - at least more common - to get a hold of real guns, too.

The secret is to teach kids to respect the power of the weapon, the value of life, and the gruesomeness of death.

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