Do violent games desensitize us?
Fallout 3 is a game where you get to literally splatter people's brains all over yourself and the immediate surroundings.
It takes place in the future, after WWIII. It is a bleak, gray, violent and dangerous place. A place where there are unexploded ordinances, radioactive water and groups of people fighting for what little resources are left.
Do these games desensitize us to this possible, alternate, reality or does it makes us fight for a brighter future?
I remember when I was in high school everyone was talking about Doom being so violent, but these same people would watch movies where people are blown to pieces with a lot more realism than my little pixely game.
Now I know they've gotten more realistic now, and there are a few that honestly should be banned I think (remember insighting violence is not a protected form of free speech), but those games are very few in number (I can think of only 2 off the top of my head). Anyway, people blame video games for everything when there's a lot of other forms of violence kids are exposed to.
Side: Don't just blame video games
Right now, the world is so upside down. We are all fighting for a brighter future, not only for ourselves but, for our children. Disagreeing on how we are going to get there, might be the catalyst that brings about this alternate reality.
If we could freeze time like in the movie, "Groundhog Day," should we? Just so that we don't run out of oil, whales, and polar bears? Just so that global warming doesn't continue? Even if it means that what we have right now will always be. Terrorist, status quo, Bush, etc. It wouldn't be perfect but it's not WWIII either.
Bush tried standing firm for 8 years. The terrorists claimed that Americans could not stomach being in it for the long haul. Obama promised to change the doctrine of our 8 year approach to problem solving in order to create a brighter future and the American people voted him in.
Have we been in it for the long haul? I just payed less than $2.00 for a gallon of gas. Is the doctrine working? Do we stand firm against the terrorists or do we negotiate? Should the gay community stand firm and demand nothing less than marriage or compromise? What's the best approach; standing firm or compromising? Or do these games just make us not care anymore?
Side: Don't just blame video games
Of course they desensitize us. All violent media makes us less inhibited against using violence, read the studies. Action movies, with their complete lack of situational nuance, build and build the "shoot first, never ask questions" mindset that's become so normal for the American population. 99% of action movies start with the presupposition that all resistance against the protagonist is potentially deadly, and should be terminated ASAP. They cannot be reasoned with. It's not intentionally dumbing us down, it just makes for a better action movie. But we're so used to this mindset that it becomes normal for us to accept the idea that immediate hostility is the safest route, not just politically, but individually.
Video games are everything in action movies, PLUS training you to make the choice to pull the trigger. The US Military uses video games to reduce the inhibition to kill. As we say in psych, "the neurons that fire together wire together," meaning that if you train a reaction enough, it will eventually automatically override the possibility of most other reactions. I know for a fact that in First Person Shooters, it's rare to find targets you're not supposed to shoot who aren't allied soldiers. The "protect the civilian" missions are notoriously drags on gameplay. A lot of players will shoot the helpless ones in the game, because it's funny. I sure do :-P
Side: best game ever
well i dont own fallout 3 but do own a lot of killing action blood splatering games and it may effect some people/kids but i for one have not seen anyone take a gun and go kill someone just because they did it on a video game in fact i think that video games help us control our urge to hurt/kill someone by doing it in the harmless computer game. video games have not made anyone i know want to kill anyone and i havent heard about anyone doing it on the news or anything like that its just a big rumor if you ask me.
Side: not true