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Video Games: A Cause of Violence and Aggression

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Biology 202
2003 Second Web Paper
On Serendip

Video Games: A Cause of Violence and Aggression

Grace Shin

There is a huge hype surrounding the launch of every new game system - Game Cube, XBox, and Sony Playstation 2 being just few of the latest. Affecting children age 4 all the way to 45 year-old adults, these video games have called for concern in our society regarding issues such as addiction, depression, and even aggression related to the playing of video games. A recent study of children in their early teens found that almost a third played video games daily, and that 7% played for at least 30 hours a week. (1) What is more, some of these games being played like Mortal Combat, Marvel Vs. Capcom, and Doom are very interactive in the violence of slaughtering the opponent. The video game industries even put signs like "Real-life violence" and "Violence level - not recommended for children under age of 12" on their box covers, arcade fronts, and even on the game CDs themselves.

In the modern popular game Goldeneye 007 bad guys no longer disappear in a cloud of smoke when killed. Instead they perform an elaborate maneuver when killed. For example, those shot in the neck fall to their knees and then face while clutching at their throats. Other games such as Unreal Tournament and Half-Life are gorier. In these games when characters get shot a large spray of blood covers the walls and floor near the character, and on the occasions when explosives are used, the characters burst into small but recognizable body parts. In spite of the violence, the violent video games are also the more popular games on the market. (2) When video games first came out, indeed they were addictive... however, there seems to be a strong correlation now between the violent nature of games these days and the aggressive tendencies in game players.

On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold launched an assault on Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, murdering 13 and wounding 23 before turning the guns on themselves. Although nothing is for certain as to why these boys did what they did, we do know that Harris and Klebold both enjoyed playing the bloody, shoot-'em-up video game Doom, a game licensed by the U.S. military to train soldiers to effectively kill. The Simon Wiesenthal Center, which tracks Internet hate groups, found in its archives a copy of Harris' web site with a version of Doom. He had customized it so that there were two shooters, each with extra weapons and unlimited ammunition, and the other people in the game could not fight back. For a class project, Harris and Klebold made a videotape that was similar to their customized version of Doom. In the video, Harris and Klebold were dressed in trench coats, carried guns, and killed school athletes. They acted out their videotaped performance in real life less than a year later... (3)

Everyone deals with stress and frustrations differently. However when action is taken upon the frustration and stress, and the action is taken out in anger and aggression, the results may be very harmful to both the aggressor and the person being aggressed against, mentally, emotionally, and even physically. Aggression is action, i.e. attacking someone or a group with an intent to harm someone. It can be a verbal attack--insults, threats, sarcasm, or attributing nasty motives to them--or a physical punishment or restriction. Direct behavioral signs include being overly critical, fault finding, name-calling, accusing someone of having immoral or despicable traits or motives, nagging, whining, sarcasm, prejudice, and/or flashes of temper. (4) The crime and abuse rate in the United States has soared in the past decade. More and more children suffer from and are being treated for anger management than ever before. Now, one can't help but to wonder if these violent video games are even playing a slight part in the current statistics. I believe they do.

Calvert and Tan (5) compared the effects of playing versus observing violent video games on young adults' arousal levels, hostile feelings, and aggressive thoughts. Results indicated that college students who had played a violent virtual reality game had a higher heart rate, reported more dizziness and nausea, and exhibited more aggressive thoughts in a posttest than those who had played a nonviolent game do. A study by Irwin and Gross (6) sought to identify effects of playing an "aggressive" versus "nonaggressive" video game on second-grade boys identified as impulsive or reflective. Boys who had played the aggressive game, compared to those who had played the nonaggressive game, displayed more verbal and physical aggression to inanimate objects and playmates during a subsequent free play session. Moreover, these differences were not related to the boys' impulsive or reflective traits. Thirdly, Kirsh (7) also investigated the effects of playing a violent versus a nonviolent video game. After playing these games, third- and fourth-graders were asked questions about a hypothetical story. On three of six questions, the children who had played the violent game responded more negatively about the harmful actions of a story character than did the other children. These results suggest that playing violent video games may make children more likely to attribute hostile intentions to others.

In another study by Karen E. Dill, Ph.D. & Craig A. Anderson, Ph.D., violent video games were considered to be more harmful in increasing aggression than violent movies or television shows due to their interactive and engrossing nature. (8) The two studies showed that aggressive young men were especially vulnerable to violent games and that even brief exposure to violent games can temporarily increase aggressive behavior in all types of participants.
The first study was conducted with 227 college students with aggressive behavior records in the past and who completed a measure of trait aggressiveness. They were also reported to have habits of playing video games. It was found that students, who reported playing more violent video games in junior and high school, engaged in more aggressive behavior. In addition, the time spent playing video games in the past were associated with lower academic grades in college, which is a source of frustration for many students, a potential cause for anger and aggression as discussed in the previous paragraph.

In the second study, 210 college students were allowed to play Wolfenstein 3D, an extremely violent game, or Myst, a nonviolent game. After a short time, it was found that the students who played the violent game punished an opponent for a longer period of time compared to the students who played the non violent game. Dr. Anderson concluded by saying, "Violent video games provide a forum for learning and practicing aggressive solutions to conflict situations. It the short run, playing a violent video game appears to affect aggression by priming aggressive thoughts." Despite the fact that this study was for a short term effect, longer term effects are likely to be possible as the player learns and practices new aggression-related scripts that can become more and more accessible for the real-life conflict that may arise. (9)

The U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop once claimed that arcade and home video games are among the top three causes of family. Although there have been studies that have found video game violence to have little negative effects on their players, there are also many studies that have found a positive correlation between negative behavior, such as aggression, and video and computer game violence. Thus, in order to totally assess the effects of game violence on its users, the limiting conditions under which there are effects must be taken into account, which include age, gender, and class/level of education. (10) However, violent games do affect children, as the studies show, especially early teens, and I feel that there needs to be a stricter regulation regarding the availability of these games to young children.



1) BBC News Web site in UK.

2) Game Research Website, covering the art, the business, and the science of computer games.

3) American Psychological Association, Article on the main study discussed in this paper.

4) Mental Help Net, Psychological Self-Help. This site has a lot of interesting links to mental illnesses and just understanding personalities.

5) Calvert, Sandra L., & Tan, Siu-Lan. (1994). Impact of virtual reality on young adults' physiological arousal and aggressive thoughts: Interaction versus observation. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 15(1), 125-139. PS 527 971.

6) Irwin, A. Roland, & Gross, Alan M. (1995). Cognitive tempo, violent video games, and aggressive behavior in young boys. Journal of Family Violence, 10(3), 337-350.

7) Kirsh, Steven J. (1997, April). Seeing the world through "Mortal Kombat" colored glasses: Violent video games and hostile attribution bias. Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Washington, DC.

8) SelfhelpMagazine. Article under teen help. It is a great library of various mental disorders and personal growth topics!

9) American Psychological Association.

10) Internet Impact This paper is a collaborative essay consisting of research and policy recommendations on the impact of the Internet in society.



Continuing conversation
(to contribute your own observations/thoughts, post in the Video Game Experiences Forum on Serendip)

06/21/2005, from a Reader on the Web

According to an article in the New York Daily News, the latest controversial video game, “25 To Life,” is the most outrageous promotion of violence the game developers have pushed onto the market yet. It’s almost like a training simulator, preparing gamers to join gangs, murder policemen and use innocent civilians as human shields. Let the good times roll, eh? Shockingly enough, I’m a 22-year-old male who considers himself a casual gamer, which probably places me in most game developers’ targeted demographic. Still, I believe this sort of “entertainment” should be banned completely, not just from children. Why should anyone of any age delight in simulating gang activity, murder, theft and the like? Unfortunately Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) stands as the only politician attempting to block “25 To Life” from hitting store shelves. If the Patriot Act brands people terrorists just for checking out certain books at the library, why are people who develop, purchase and play these types of games given a free pass? As a gamer, I know how serious games can become to certain individuals - especially young ones – and I believe allowing material such as “25 To Life” onto the market corrupts not only our children, but our society as a whole. Michael Ford Editor-in-Chief The Voice -

09/12/2005, from a Reader on the Web

Ignarants is that in which you make of it don't blame Columbine on video games that is stupid they did it because the dudes girl friend broke up with him. Don't read the news they lie. The cop next door knew he was making pipe bombs and did nothing. you might as well blame 9/11 on video games to. come on people play the games if it makes you viloent your right if it doesn't the rest of the world told you so.......

09/27/2005, from a Reader on the Web

I was reading your article entitled Video Games: A cause of Violence and Agression, I'm doing a research project of my own for a personal Essay but upon reading your article I noticed somthing. In paragraph four you state "THe crime and abuse rate in the United States has soared in the past decade." Well, I'm sorry to say this information is faulty. The case of Violent Crime Rates has dropped significantly. According to the U.S Department of Justice, Bureau of statistics, the crime rate has dropped by more then half from 1995 to 2004. You can see all this for youself at: . I'm a gamer myself, and a bit tired of seeing these "Video games make you a killer" stories. This isn't a threat against you or yours, it's merely a response asking people to do some research from all angles before stating that something is a certain way. Sincerely,

11/02/2005, from a Reader on the Web

In the article titled "Video Games: A Cause of Violence and Aggression," the study that was sited left me feeling a little confused. The players that played "Wolfenstein 3D" were said to have "punished an opponent for a longer period of time compared to the students who played the non violent game." What exactly is meant by that? In "Myst" there are no opponents, and it is not a competitive game. Competitive events, in any form, have a tendency to cause a bit of agression between people, as that is the nature of competetion.

11/04/2005, from a Reader on the Web

This article is very wrong in alot of places. First off, I would like to say that I am an avid "gamer," devoting a sizeable amount of my life to playing them. But, more importantly, I will be getting into the video game industry, hopefully starting my own company eventually, and succeeding in this million-dollar industry. But more than I play games, I edit them. The sequel to Half-Life (in which all humans retain their body parts), Half-Life 2, comes with a program called "Source SDK," which allows gamers like me to open up and edit the engine that they slaved over for moths to bring us, allowing us to make maps (or levels), characters, objects, even editing the game itself. I spend easily three times the time I play the actual game editing it and making things happen, which is the beauty of it. On your statement about how crime and violence has soared in numbers in the U.S. as of late, this is not a true statement, be it purposefully or a fault of poor research. Violent crimes, carjackings, and others have drastically DROPPED since 1975. I suggest you read the letter Steven Johnston sent to Sen. Hilary Clinton about her attack on violent games. But, as I doubt you will read it, I'll tell you the main points: First off, isn't it possible that kids that would normally be out commiting violent crimes or joyriding are getting their fill from argueably the most violent and inappropriate game of our time, the Grand Theft Auto series? Recent studies have shown that games work as a stress-reliever, allowing you to let out your anger or stress in a realistic but harmless way. Second, when people say that our generation of people (I'm 16 years old) is being raised to be unintelligent, violent, untrusting people, they need to look up on the recent statistics: SAT scores have never been higher, especially now. I'm not saying that there aren't a handful of kids out there who take a little too much from violent games and other forms of entertainment (my brother happens to have an anger disorder), but I am saying that if you even think that your kid may take the game a little too seriously, start smaller and work your way up. Taking violent games off the market completely is not the answer. After all, why should the sane, intelligent, or sound kids have to pay for a parent not saying "No" in the first place?

11/05/2005, from a Reader on the Web

Dear Grace Shin, As a result of reading over my previous e-mail, i'd like to appologize for my use of unnecesary comments. But that doesnt mean that my original views have changed. The original response that was written, was done so in the heat of reading a "finger pointing" article such as the one you wrote. The most blatantly offensive comment that you made, was the tie between the video game 'Doom' and the Columbine trajedy. It is comments like these that are extremely offensive to anyone who is a fan of gaming in general. I am a teenager, who attends a public high school. I enjoy playing video games, and i must admit that most of them are violent. I play these games on a weekly basis, but to this day i haven't commited a single act of violence in a school building. The same holds true with my friends, and many people like my friends across the country. This means that the children who have commited acts of violence and blamed their actions on video games, have other mental illnesses that stir these thoughts. Depression, anger issues and a myriad of other problems would be enough to distort a child's view of the difference between reality and video games. A popular arguement used to counter the arguement i just made, is the scanning of the brain during game play. In tests conducted by various medical institutes across the nation, brain scan images have been captured during game-play. The images are conclusive, and show red blips in the frontal lobes of the brain (areas that control emotions, such as anger). These results shouldnt be shocking, but very obvious. Video games are stimulating. Their purpose and intent is to involve you. If a person is involved in a game, he/she will begin to react to events inside the game, as if they were real life events. Fairly simple, but not enough to prove that video games cause children to become more violent. The way to answer this question would be to observe children's behavior after playing games. The results would aslo be conclusive. Video games DO NOT cause children to commit acts of violence. Columbines' dont happen every day, and thank god they don't. They are rare occurances in our country, despite all of the media hype over the situations. If video games had a negatice affect on children, horrible examples of school-yard violence would appear on our television screens every night, considering that msot youth in america play video games. As a final note, if you search any major database sites, looking for information on this same subject, chances are that you will find line graphs that have been compiled by different government associasions, fcc, etc. etc. The information shows a very steady and gradual dive in violence across the nation, even after the release of video games such as Grand Theft Auto.

11/08/2005, from a Reader on the Web

You cannot generalize the few finds you have to "empirical facts". First of all, video games are not all violent. Second, there are researches that prove otherwise. Third, there are so many fallacies, I do not even bother to list them (appeal to authority, emotion, etc.) Overall argument is incoherent. Fails to even mention the possibility of being wrong.

11/21/2005, from a Reader on the Web

I think its ridiculous that so many people are going around and pointing the finger at things that are violent and negative towards kids. Its only a way of having fun. Only those few individuals take it to far and commite acts of violence toward people, and society, and they ruin it for the rest of us. Not everyone that plays video games is a violent person they merely enjoy those types of games like my self for example. I personally am not a voilent person and take offense to the fact that if u play video games you are labeled violent. Sincerly, RB

11/27/2005, from a Reader on the Web

As a gamer I know that certain people take there video games too seriously. However, video games themselves are not to blame for violence. The highest population of gamers is younger people, and younger people are usually living at home. This is where parenting comes in. A parent should watch there children, monitor there game play, and note any variances in there childrens actions. Some people cannot decipher fantasy from reality, and these should people not play games that involve violence. I have played video games for many, many years. I have not yet comitted a violent crime, nor have I attacked anyone. Why? Simply because I know that these things are wrong in real life. My parents monitored me, and did not let me play overly-violent games at a young age. Good parenting is the key.

12/01/2005, from a Reader on the Web

I was reading your article and I'm sorry, but I disagree with you on some things. I'm 17 years old and a gamer myself. I own some gory games like the Silent Hill games, Metal Gear 3: Snake Eater, God of War, HALO, HALO 2, and so on. I'm currently writing a paper myself about teens and violent games and I firmmly believe it isn't the video game that triggers teen violence, it depends on the individual. I've played these violent games since I was 11 or 12 years old and I'm not affected by them. I have a strong sense between fantasy and reality and some other teens do too. Don't judge us all because a portion of us have minds like sponges and suck everything they see. Not only video games, MTV and the media along with rap songs also corrupt our young generation. Look at those too, because they're the ones that cause the most damage. By encouraging pre-marital sex, abortion, drug use, and corruption in a person's being by being "cool". But no, not a lot of people look at those. It is true that games can be addicting but not every single teenager has the same brain. Study those who aren't affected, then you'll see it too. Adults can stop teen violence other ways like better parenting. Because this corrupted society needs it.

12/08/2005, from a Reader on the Web

I am writing a paper concerning violence in video games and how easy kids are able to get there hands on them. It is unbelievable what games that kids at the age of tweleve can get there hands on. once when i was babing sitting the kids had a friend over and there friend had Grand theft Auto: San Andras with him. i was shocked for the first part that his parents would allow him to play such game. he had saved game file on which he had played for many 20 hours. That was kid that was under 10. I thought why in the world would you allow your kids to play a such game. one problem with it is that game like GTA and others never really so some of the peprecuctions of murdering someone of killing them. If look that most gamers that are over the age of 18. under 50% of them play games that are rated M. That says that most of people playing games that are rated M are below age 18 not even legal to buy them. The government need to come out with laws simlar to laws they have with Alcohol or Cigerettes. The giving to minors is illegal.

12/12/2005, from a Reader on the Web

Interesting analysis on the societal impact of violent games. I do, however, take issue with the statement regarding the military using Doom to train soldiers how to "effectively kill". According to the official MCMSMO document 1500.55, the use of Marine Doom and other first-person shooter video games is to "implement military thinking and decision making excercises throughout the marine corps." The assertion that the military uses a video game to train soldiers how to kill is misleading in that it may lead readers to believe that these games are so real that the best fighting force on the planet is using it to train. You don't learn how to kill from a keyboard and mouse. You either are someone who has the ability to kill, or you're not. Lack of parenting and a lack of understading of what is right and wrong is to blame, not video games.

12/14/2005, from a Reader on the Web

Your idealalidgy on the violence in video games affeting people is flawed. I am a violent video game player and yet my family has told me themselves that have noticed a change in my temper or personality. I've played violent video game for half my life. And the Columbine shootings I belive that they were provoced to do to extrem bullying.


Additional comments made prior to 2007
Will i think that children playing violent video games should not be allowed. The industries that makes this games are basically marketing murder. Industries acknowledge that their games are inappropriate for children but then why aren't they accepting regulations of the sale of their products to children. Video games are just as bad as smoking, and alcohol it is harmful. These industries just want MONEY and their games do influence children ... Lynne Maraha, 8 March 2006

i'm a more than average gamer.. i probably play about 10+ hours a day. and about 100% of the games i play are violent, and i used to live in an area that was really rough and there were fights and arguments all the time. except i never shot anyone or drove my truck over people. cause violent cideo games dont make people into pyscho's... people 'choose' to hurt other people... videogames dont force people to pull the trigger. and since i was raised by a single parent, tv and games helped raise me.

actually i think video games kept me outta trouble... if i didnt have a video-game to play i'd probably be getting stoned or smoking crack right now.. or in jail. i think the government needs to crack down on illegal drugs and on finding cure's for diseases... why the hell would you spend 90 million dollars to start research on the effect of media on children ... Reader on the web, 14 March 2006
Dear Writer. No offense but some of your information is wrong. And please andswer me this in the 19th Century Waltz music was outlawed as evil incarnate. But over the years it has become one of the major money making industries. Now im sure that even you enjoy some music. My point being gaming is going down the same road. Will it take 100 years for people to change their mind. I bloody hope not! These games insipired me to begin on my own book. Gaming can be evil but most children, even the younger ones, shrug it off as " Interesting but not real." I hope my comments helped change your mind, most critics of gaming never play so how can you critisize ... Erik, 21 March 2006
I am a gamer and beilieve that the parenting matters the most. I and many others play video games to do things that we would never do in real life. They are an escape from the real world. In some cases they prevent me from doing wrong in real life. They do effect you after a long long time. The bible says what comes in must come out and I am a strong believer in that. but that is for prolonged exposures to violene. but me I can tell between games and reality. If I am angry, I will play Halo 2 to get the anger out. It helps me not comit a crime and to keep my cool. Colombine was the parents fault not games. kids also must have picked on them alot. that dosnt excuse there actions though. Do you play violent games. I bet you dont. Then dont judge what they do to you untill you have. you have no position in the argument unless you have ... Reader on the web, 21 March 2006
I am 15 years old and i am a gamer. I think that you are right yet wrong at the same time. I am doing an essay on whether or not I think that violent video games affect childrens decision to join a gang or commit violent crimes. I have one thing to sum it up. Sure video games are violent but can they load a gun and pull the trigger for you? Can they pull out your pocket knife and stab someone for you. Video games may have an affect on children BUT THEY CANNOT FORCE SOMEONE TO PULL THE TRIGGER ... James S, 28 March 2006
dear mrs. shin
i believe that although you present a good argument about how games MIGHT affect a child's brain and personality, but, you must realize this. if you TRULY believe that video games cause violence, then how would you be able to explain Hitler? how about Napoleaon? Or even the terrorists that many of our youth's games depict today? i highly doubt that any of the insurgents are playing any violent games right now. nor, i doubt, even the Children of iraq and afghanistan, yet studies show that 1 out of 3 children in those countries know how to shoot and kill U.S soldiers. thank you for your time and please take this to heart before writing any thing that might be untrue ... Reader on the web, 20 April 2006
everything today has been considered or is being considered violent. Video games do show violence but do not provoke it. there have been more violent crimes due to sports rather than video games. Take soccer games in south america, when ever a team looses the fans become angry and violent just like in any other sport (video games aswell). But when have you seen Riots occur due to a person loosing or seeing violence in video games? Riots arent rare in south america due to hooligans and hardcore fans. Sure in very few cases people commit violent crimes after playing video games but riots due to sports have causes many many deaths and injuries over the years and still continue to this day, are they considering banning them aswell? I play video games daily but sports aswell and in sports such as football... we take the anger out on the other player by tackling them or clippin em.. and people do brake bones or get head injuries while in video games the only person getting hurt is the damn 3D animated creature or human. If they try to ban video games they'd might aswell ban sports while they are at it ... Ale, 12 May 2006



I play violent video games and my family has yet to say I am more aggresive in personality. But you still have a point since i'm me and the people who are influenced to kill by video games are them. The point is that all you have to do is to not become obsessed with games that have lots of gore ... Decoy, 20 August 2006



I love playing video games on my game console, and spend plenty of hours perched in front of the tv. Yet even i have to acknowledge that games can, and do cause violence. When you have games that are so graphic, that had they been put in a movie sequence their rating would be "x", then i think that you have gone to far. Life like graphics are cool, and i myself love to play "life like" games were the enemies and characters could almost be standing beside you. However, when you go around in a game killing these life like people, you enevitably desensitize yourself. There is a mark where you have gone too far, and i believe that we are crossing it over and over again ... Rae, 18 December 2006



Well. I ccame here looking for statistics but instead found a lot of interesting comments.

Playing video games doesn't make you violent. Human nature and suceptibility does. Violence is a "learned" behavior not substantialy (as of yet but to be determined) an inherent behavior.

If thats not in the report or whatever up there, then it needs to be acknoledged. The point a LOT of people gloss over is that its not a matter of \"being\" violent so much as being impressionable. Although gaming related violence research HAS shown there to be a strong coorelation between agressive behaviour and post-gaming violent behavior, there is a distinct lack of longitudinal research.

Also there are two main aspects to clinical study Arousel, and then the actual comission of the act. Arousel has been shown to have almost no bearing on the actual act due to the fact that observe violent behavior has not occured directly after the moment of arousel.

In other words, just because you enjoy the violent activity of a game, doesn't mean you ARE violent at all OR because of the game. What is being studied is that statistical occurance of agressive behavior in people with prolonged exposure to violent games.

If you've played video games you know that 1. Some games are violent. 2. Some aren't.

I noticed some of you have acknowledged the "competative" nature of video games. This learned sense of competition is fine but is not to be associated with "agressive behavior" there is a distinct line between number of goals and number of frags. The issue is the Violence, not the the rules.

In summary I say to all who worry about being accused of being "violent": Don't sweat it and don't get your hackles raised. The debate is over the usual badd apples, or kids who didn't and thus still do't, have the right behavioral reinforcement. Ideal preventive measures start from birth, but practicly are documented to be administered from age 8 and continue through adolescence.

To put it in a lay manner: Its because of the tools, that our favorite games are being attacked. And as an afterthought. The group who were studied playing the game "Myst"(if that was the case) was most likely a control group or a "backlight" group to help identify the differences between violent games and games in general, OR violence free games ... W. Caudill, 16 February 2007



I, for one, am one of the many teens that play violent video games. And, i do beleive that cause aggrivation to sprout betweent to people versing each other. Also that MMORPG's cause people to have a sense of connection to their character, making them rather play, for instance, World of Warcraft than doing academic work. Plus when parents are trying to get their teen children off a game they tend to be rather aggresive torwards the parents and are moody for ahwile. Thus i do beleive that video games are a cause of violence but it's not entirely the kids fault, the parents are the one that beleive there kids are able to handle it and don't think there "Little Angels" can handle it. Well i have news for those parents, " Watch the violence in the games you get your children and i can gaurentee you will change you mind about letting them play rated M games!" ... Reader on the Web, 18 March 2007



First of all I believe that your study is incredibly flawed, and the only conclusion that can be made from it (Myst has less opponents than Wolfenstein)has NOTHING to do with the original arguement. The arguments concerning the "Doom used as a training tool" and Wolfstein vs. Myst are completely misleading and efected in all ways by your bias opinion. Also, your connection with the shootings to videogames is only a coincedence, in that it may have nothing to do with the shootings ... Joey, 1 May 2007



On Your paper Video Games: A Cause of Violence and Aggression, i have to say this. I'm an avid gamer myself, and, though I cannot speak for everyone,I,nor anyone I play with has any problems with agression. sure games can be addicting, as well as extremely violent but in many cases I feel much less agressive after playing games like HALO and DOOM. As for Cases like Cho and the colombine shooters, if you know that you or someone close to you could be a sociopath or homicidal, they shouldn't be near games like these anyway. However, Ms. Shin, i do agree that some games are too violent. games like the GTA series and 25 to Life strongly suggest that killing innocent people and Authority figures are perfectly ok. This is completely and totally wrong, and needs more backing. My final coment to everyone, game-manufacturers especially, WATCH WHAT IS IN THESE GAMES, if we con tinue this way, our worst fears may be realized ... Tyler Hale, 3 December 2007



You Fail! Some video games are violent by nature. If you were to tell the story of World War II without violence and death, it becomes totally uninteresting. Much of the violence in games comes from the story, like Halo puts the player into the shoes of a soldier in the Marines! Also, the armed forces of the United States developed their own training game. It was then repackaged and TONED DOWN for the public, but does that train people to kill? NO. Why does propaganda seem to always be excluded? ... Greg, 4 December 2007


Damian Ichabod's picture

This Article is filled with BS and Lies

"bloody, shoot-'em-up video game Doom, a game licensed by the U.S. military to train soldiers to effectively kill. The Simon Wiesenthal Center, which tracks Internet hate groups, found in its archives a copy of Harris' web site with a version of Doom. He had customized it so that there were two shooters, each with extra weapons and unlimited ammunition, and the other people in the game could not fight back. For a class project, Harris and Klebold made a videotape that was similar to their customized version of Doom. In the video, Harris and Klebold were dressed in trench coats, carried guns, and killed school athletes. They acted out their videotaped performance in real life less than a year later.."

Doom was NOT licensed by the Military... It was created by ID in 1993. The Marines modified the game to train soldiers in group tactics, not to make them 'kill more effectively'. The absolute 'retardedness' of the idea that Doom could be used to actually train real soldiers to shoot better is astounding! The game mimicked real weapons with their recoil and other realistic characteristics about as good as duck hunt does. There is NO recoil in any doom weapons, and there is no way anyone could learn to actually aim a real gun through the game without using a real gun style controller for the PC, which doesn't exist, atleast didn't back in 1999. The archive of Harris's Website at fails to mention your made up little 'modified' version of doom where they 'simulate columbine' by 'going around and killing innocent begging students'. In fact the whole RUMOR (not fact) that Eric Harris modified doom to simulate columbine was started by some anti-video game loser journalist from Connecticut by claiming Eric Harris told a friend that Harris recreated Columbine in Doom and it spiraled out of proportion, until debunked it. Yes, Harris made Doom levels. But NONE of them had one bit of architecture, and features in common with a school, and none allowed you to shoot 'people in the game could not fight back'. The claim that Harris put in a 'second shooter' is also false. The game allows multiple people to play it online, that's not something eric Harris added, thats 'multiplayer'. Look it up. You're making the game look like a 'school shooting simulator' just to profit off the nonsense you will spread to the media about video game violence and how games 'train shooters to kill like in the military' just so that your warped dream of outright bans of violent games will come true. You need to cite biased studies that use electroshock therapy to purposely create a result that makes it look like violent games cause aggression (NOT Violence) without even proving the Aggression didn't come from the natural source of Aggression in kids, young age. Pathetic.

Damian Ichabod -

Jack's picture

No! Video Games do NOT make


Video Games do NOT make people neither aggressive nor violent! Fact!
Aggressive behaviour is PRESENT BEFORE PLAYING violent video games!
In 99% of the cases aggression is caused by social problems due to frustration.
This can be:
Bad job / low position in job / low power over own life / bad financial situation / bad social situation / people making fun of one / having problems with own body (overweight/looks/penis size) / low confidence / no girlfriend / inferiority complex / frustration in daily life / health problems / the list goes on...

These problems cause FRUSTRATION / DEPRESSION / STRESS => AGGRESSION => RAGE, Its simple psychology.

This stress boils inside and needs to be released.
Some people then grab the beer bottle to release stress.
Some people grab some Whiskey bottles instead.
Some people go in to the gym to release stress.
Some people go make sports to release stress.
Some people go play video games to release stress.
In all cases stress REMAINS INSIDE THE HEAD.
Especially at activites (like sports or video games) which are of VERY COMPETITIVE NATURE, which require skill and focusing and sometimes tactics. The subjects are more likely to loose and get even MORE AGGRESSIVE BECAUSE OF THEIR LACK OF CONCENTRATION in this state.


Bottom line:
Video Games CAN INCREASE -> PRESENT <- AGGRESSION just like any sort of competetive activity - NOT CAUSE IT!

Austin's picture

I think that this is all very

I think that this is all very useless. If you look at all the cases where people ACTUALLY killed or hurt someone, and they blamed video games, it's because the wrong doer had issues PRIOR to playing the video game.

Serendip Visitor's picture

hey guys this is actually

hey guys this is actually legit. Im doing my 8th grade thesis on violent video games and oer 1000 tests prove that violent video games afftect the amygalda, a part of the brain asociated with emotion. After playing Medal of Honor for 30 min they were given MRIs of their brains. This article is true. Heres the URL i got this stuff from:
There are other websites also. STOP BEING IGNORANT.

guy's picture

I am a gamer and i think that

I am a gamer and i think that nonviolent games make me more agressive than violent games. most non violent games are problem solving puzzle gamers or platform games. usually in platform games i get stuck a one point and iget really ticked and go play a violent game to take my stress out. thats just me but im sure im not the only one

Serendip Visitor's picture

I think the problem is

I think the problem is knowing the difference between games and reality. I am 13 and have played violent games from 10, yet I never even hit people in real life. I find violent games an effective outlet for my testosterone. They actually help me not do violence. Also, someone who can't tell the difference between games and life Is messed up. They might be triggered by a movie or book just A's easily A's a game.

I do agree that most under ten year olds should not be exposed to many violent games, A's they are much more impressionable.

Unknown's picture

I just think this is stupid xD

Video games are just FOR FUN get over it people! Don't blame the video games when your children aren't the way you would want to when it's probably your own fault for bad parenting or not giving them the attention they need.. etc.

HMM....'s picture


ok maybe this could be true, even though i disagree. But I bet thta most of the people here don't no $@#! on this topic and need to stfu. Most of you guys don't know what your talking about leaving all these comments trying to act like you know anything. Yes, I do play violent video games, the disier to win pushes kids to get better, when you get better you start loving the game more, pwning more, and I love to pwn, and when I do pwn, its stimulating in a good way, not making me feel violent.

Eduardo V.'s picture

Parents should Monitor there kids

I have read this and many other articles on things like this and they always have negative things to say about video games.I have played video games for a long time now with my first console being the Sega Genesis and my first games being Sonic Spinball as well as RoboCop Vs. The Terminator all the way to Halo Reach, Fallout 3, and Dead Space for the Xbox-360 and well I have to tell you in that time span I have only gotten in 2 fights and i always try to avoid violent confrontations now I'm in college with good grade in all my classes and i still play video games and they have not affected me in any negative manor. My parents did a good job to at raising me they always showed me right from wrong. I have not done any destructive behavior and I've been approached by other kids trying to sell me drugs and I always turn them down. Pretty much my point is that the major fault for all of this is the Governments trying to teach parents how to educated there children when in fact the Parents should take full responsibility for there children and the government should only step in if it is really needed (If the child is being beaten by anything other than a belt or hand as well as being sexually abused). What my thought on all this should be that Media stores selling games should be strict to reinforce the ESRB rating system like its been getting this days ( every time i go to perches an M rated game i get IDed and i totally respect that) also parents should be notified what content that video game being purchased has as well as the target audience when there purchasing games for there children which is being done now as well when my mother bought games for me back when i was young. So seeing all the things being done to prevent people from buying this games so we are already on the road to a great future for video games

kmcdonald 's picture

i disagree because i love to

i disagree because i love to play video games A LOT :D

Joshua's picture

kinda agree with violence not being at all related to video game

im 18 years old. been playing games since day one ass holes. and for the sake of video games. ive never had an urge to pull what they do in video games, into real life. what kinda idiot does that? and why do u think they stick the maturity level pic on the front of the box? they kinda intended u to abide by it... but who cares. i consider games a good way to relieve stress. get mad? pop some bullets into enemies and feel the stress just, wash away.

Sage Karre's picture

I'm 15 and a half and I

I'm 15 and a half and I respectfully have to disagree with you. I play a considerable amount of video games, some violent and some not. Politicians, parents, and critics are overreacting to the violence depicted in video games. Video games that have mild or extreme violence are usually blamed for school shootings and murders all around the world but I can wholeheartedly assure you that they are NOT the cause of violent rampages. The most notable of these rampages is the Colombine shooting mainly because Eric Harris and Dylan Kebold were avid players of the 1990's first person shooter "Doom". Violent video games do not train teenagers to go kill people or cause destruction, it is always something else. Other factors are involved in most of these shootings. I really think that people need to stop overreacting about violent video games and if parents are truly concerned for the mental well-being of their kids, then maybe they need to moniter what they play. I have several M rated video games but my family understands that I am old and mature enough to play these games and not have them affect me. By the way, video games should not be banned etheir, which some people want to happen. Video games are protected by the first amendment and thus ultimately qualify as free speech. Thank you. PS just to let you know, I have an IQ of 137.

Serendip Visitor's picture

To use the world "Cause" in

To use the world "Cause" in your title makes you lose credibility instantly because if you have taken any class on research involving human participants you would know not to use the word cause ever in your results...nonetheless your title.

Serendip Visitor's picture


I love reading these things,especially as a gamer who's never even thrown a punch at another human being in her life. I'm currently writing a paper on this very topic, only against these nonsensical accusations. There are plenty of gamers who are non violent that play violent games, and its VERY rare to hear of a gamer going out and killing someone or doing something crazy to another person because of a video game. As for using Columbine for an example? You really did that? You're as bad as the media if that's the case, exploiting a tragic event where people were killed and traumatized and using it to support "evidence" of games causing violence.Pathetic choice of support, and might I add, distasteful. Maybe try an alternate fact on for size- these two boys were already violent, disturbed individuals, I highly doubt video games were the biggest factor in creating two people who were capable of heartlessly executing fellow students- why would they target their school do you think? Well, guess that could raise some questions about being accepted by their peers. Were they teased or bullied? Were they liked or disliked by others? Did they have reasons to shoot their fellow students that in their mind were justified? I highly doubt Doom is the reason behind it. I played Doom at 11 years old. I have a normal human brain and these games didn't incite the desire to act out aggressively in real life- if anything, they were a release from real life that relieved stress and anger, because you know you aren't really going to hurt anyone in a game.

Honestly, video games are no different that an R rated movie, or adult music lyrics- they should be regulated, this I do agree, youth shouldn't be exposed to some things if it's not necessary, but the past speaks other wise and kids will find a way around everything and MANY of them will not turn out or become violent.

The way I see it, violent minds are attracted to violent media- video games contain that which an already violent mind would find not entertaining, but as a distorted reality for them to live in and feel accepted.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Studies that were used

I know that it has been 7 years since this was posted but i have noticed that the first study was performed on 227 college students that had,"aggressive behavior records in the past" this is kind of a biased study because all of those students were already primed to be more aggressive and more violent from the get go, which completely invalidates any data that was taken from that study.
I am an avid gamer and i am in college, i just wrote a paper about the affects of violent video games on teens and preteens in the nation and the majority of my research rendered very interesting results. it actually said that violent video games can influence violent thoughts but these teens and preteens are actually occupying their time and taking their aggression out on the game which in effect has actually brought the U.S.A. to an all time low of violence and crime in the last 30 years.

Anonymous's picture

Your article.

Violent people play violent video games.

Doesn't mean video games cause the violence, it's the people whom are violent who cause it.

notarealname's picture

not true

this is not true at all i this this is all bs if this was true there would be a killing every 5 seconds 1 2 3 4 5 nope nothing i play video games all the time and im fine plus look at all these comments also disagreeing i think you should look this over and see if all this is all true because its not true

killkillhatekillkill's picture

... if you say so....

I don't agree.

I love video games.

... well written paper tho...

mike bradley's picture

video games only promote

video games only promote violence whne you let them take you over ive been playing video games for 13 yrs and i have never ever got an idea of pulling a stunt like ones on a game. in fact video games help me control my anger. when i get mad i sit down and play a game and shoot some people and then it relieves stress. so next time think before speaking.

smartman's picture

this article is verry

this article is verry incorrect, such ignorance..

The Soviet's picture

This is madness!

i beleve that video games couse violence to children who have idiotic perent who can't teach childred right from wrong,i am making a documentry on video games and how they are simmiler to films, i am reaching a section on which i describe adition and violence, films and videogames are so simmiler there diforent, becuse films include live action like "law abinding citizen" whils video games have animated caricters. so which is worce violence wize, video games contaning animated caricters, or films which contane live action killing and bloodshed. video games are inocent, end of.

cody's picture

replying to COD MW2, i am

replying to COD MW2, i am completly on that man when i go around sniping people from 53 yards away then calling in a NUKE, then you'll be worried

Serendip Visitor's picture

1v1 me in mw2 or black ops

1v1 me in mw2 or black ops quickscope .. GT : Stray Swagg

Serendip Visitor's picture

My paper's on the exact same topic

Well, let me say first of all, I read your paper, I have read the psychological and sociological aspects, I have read the gamers opinions, as well as the creators/investors/supporters opinions as well. And what I have come to realize is that people are really closed minded on both sides of this subject. But I do also understand, and I'm sure others who have taken a college English writing course will agree, when it comes to writing a paper as a student, we are asked to take one side or the other, and make the best argument for our chosen stand on the issue at hand. That I will applaud you on, for you did an excellent job. I too am focused on the negative affects technological advancements such as these have made on the youth demographic. But I AM A PARENT, so let me put a few of you up on some very obvious things about watching children grow up. It is scientifically a proven fact that we have mirror receptors in our brains, that with no effort on our part at all, mirrors what we see. When someone smiles, even if our face dosen't show it our brain shows evidence that the brain is mirroring this act mentally and on a lower physical note as well because the muscles show activity at that time when being observed. Children watch and listen to others to learn how to navigate in life. True some people can play these games and it not play out in reality, but the truth of the matter is it does affect the mentally in some way shape or form. My sister has two sons; both loves video games. But one son prefers the adventure games over the violent ones, vice versa. And guess what, when faced with conflict who you think acts out in a more violent nature? The one playing the violent video games. Once I recall telling him i would spank him for slapping a little girl at the playground. His response at 6 years of age was, " No you won't Auntie, I'm going to shoot you in the head!" Now tell me video games dont have an affect on the minds of these kids you are mistaken! He doesn't come from a broken home, family is stable in every aspect, non violent we he get shooting somebody in the face?? THOSE SAME VIOLENT GAMES YOU PEOPLE ARE DEFENDING!!! I'm not saying it affects everyone to the extremes that the go out on killing sprees, but I bet it does make them more prone to violent tendencies. I played the same games growing up, but I must say they have gotten far more disturbing than they were 15 years ago. Of course people who create, sponsor/support gaming industries, and those who love playing the games will say it has no affect, just as tobacco companies said there was correlation between cancer and cigarettes! But we now know just how wrong they were on that don't we!! Let's just put it on a simpler note. DOOM WAS CREATED TO TEACH SOLIDERS TO MURDER EFFICIENTLY.... THIS SAME GAME IS BEING PLAYED BY THE MASSES......SO WHAT ARE THEY LEARNING???? I have never used a gun outside of the shooting range, but i learned how to load and shoot one before i ever had a real one in my Video games..... Say what you will but the thought that there is no correlation between the two isn't holding water!

Serendip Visitor's picture

I understand your

I understand your frustration, and though I agree that video games can make kids violent, especially at a young age, It is not what we should be focusing on to solve our anger problem in America. MY question to your sister is Why is she letting her child play such violent video games at such a young age of 6? Don't blame the games when you're giving them toyour children in the first place, knowing that there are some links links to behavior. You can keep your kids from playing M rated games untill they're 18 if you want! But I think some responsibility should be shared here. Now granted I might be bias as I play video games quite a bit myself, but violent video games in themselves are not the problem.

Serendip Visitor's picture

RE: My paper's on the exact same topic

'But one son prefers the adventure games over the violent ones, vice versa. And guess what, when faced with conflict who you think acts out in a more violent nature? The one playing the violent video games. Once I recall telling him i would spank him for slapping a little girl at the playground. His response at 6 years of age was, " No you won't Auntie, I'm going to shoot you in the head!" Now tell me video games dont have an affect on the minds of these kids you are mistaken! He doesn't come from a broken home, family is stable in every aspect, non violent we he get shooting somebody in the face?? THOSE SAME VIOLENT GAMES YOU PEOPLE ARE DEFENDING!!!'

Of course young children are going to copy what they see others say and do -- anybody with even half a brain cell knows that, but my question is, how the hell has this SIX YEAR-OLD CHILD got ahold of such a violent video game in the first place, with 'slapping' and 'shooting in the head'? A kid that age should never have been anywhere NEAR a game like that, and you know whose fault it is? Not the game's. The game that your nephew has been playing is most likely R15 or R18, and it's people like you who never suspect that the blame, God forbid, could lie with them. Bottom line: it's not the game industry's fault that your sister is a crap parent.

Serendip Visitor's picture

I disagree

I am also a parent on an 8 year old and I too am writing a paper on the same topic. I however am for the other side. My son has been playing violent video games since he was 5 or 6. As a parent it is my responsiblilty to teach him that video games are fantasy and not reality. It would be irresponsble to let you child play such games and not lay down rules and expectations before hand. My son is a typical 8 year old, meaning he is not perfect. The two times that he has gotten in trouble in school were for defending hisself. A 4th grader thought it would be fun to pick on a second grader and after the third time of being pushed my son hit him back. That is what I told him to do. Had he handled the situation like a video game the 4th grader would dead, but all he had was a hurt shin. If we don't teach our kids what is acceptable and what is unacceptable then that is our fault, not the video games. I am also a professional nanny and I have worked with children who are only allowed an hour of TV a day and no video games and they are far more violent than my son. Differences is my son knows he has consequences for his actions. My past bosses have let their children run the household, never telling them no. When they get tired and finally decide to say no, the children act out violently kicking, biting,or slapping the parents.

Teach your children the difference between fantasy and reality and let them know what is acceptable behavior. Also if you know that your child is not mentally stable then hello they should not be allowed to play such games. Don't blame the video game, blame the lack of parenting.

Serendip Visitor's picture

i totally agree. videogames

i totally agree. videogames are not the cause of violence or agression. It is up to the parent's teaching and disipline.

Serendip Visitor's picture

While I agree with you that

While I agree with you that violent video game do not CAUSE violence they do ENCOURAGE the behavior. It is up to the parents to teach them how to deal with their feelings. I think that this is the most important point to understand. Yes, the children are capable of making their own decisions, however violent video games can make a huge impact on how they make the decision. What are your thoughts on this ?

Serendip Visitor's picture

Ignorance is Bliss i guess

It's sad to see that there are so many uneducated people out their who cannot place the blame on their parenting and decide "Its not my fault its the games fault." The mirror principle you say? So wait, you mean if they see something they react to it a mimic it? No way. So we should outlaw Drinking, and smoking, and violence in general. Outlaw the news, outlaw playing in the park, what if someone gets hit playfully? Outlaw that too. You know we should just put out kids in giant bubbles so nothing can affect them and not let them go outside. Lets just keep them in a dark secluded room so they cant see anything, put earmuffs on so they cant hear anything either. Lets just not let them experience anything. According to your paper people who play games have no self control, their just sponges and absorb everything and have no resistance to what they are seeing. Its very unfortunate we have ignorant people like you who obviously have no form of schooling or any idea of the real world. Your not fit to care for a child as a parent if these are your views. Good day.

Spielemagazin's picture

Beyound Good and Evil

sorry for my bad english. i`am a gamer and student from germany. in germany we have a very strong age rating program to publish a new game. Just because the violence is taken very seriously. I see a danger not through the games. In childhood, we have also fought in the park or playground. played cowboy and Indians. the guys who play continuously and only shooter must now and again be brought into reality. that can not done by teachers, but family and friends! It is the hatred of them drives. They see no future in the successful career for themselves or have fears of loss. The other problem is the casual use of firearms in the United States.

ricky stephens's picture

you need to get a life these

you need to get a life these games are rated it the same as a film would we be having the conversation is saw to gory for kids no!!! gaming is enjoyed by a high percentage of adult gamers it is not just for kids so don't insult people with your political correctness madness

Serendip Visitor's picture


Just because Harris and Klebold were playin DOOM means nothing. I have researched way into the columbine event and the more prominent reason the two did what they did was because they were being hazed. Which more then likely sent them on that rampage. There is actually a movie made about it... Google it... the cause of their act is made known in that DVD.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Guns = death


kyle white's picture

i aggree

i agree its not like we would pull the trigger the gun makes us pull it to show bad guys what were made of.

kmcdonald 's picture

no they dont your just messed

no they dont your just messed up in the head

zerodownfront1234's picture

How very ignorant of you. Man

How very ignorant of you. Man has been killing one another since the dawn of time. A gun is just a more advanced technique and arguably more humane than most other forms of butchering/disemboweling your enemies.

the guy whos right's picture

toasters dont toast toast.

toasters dont toast toast. toast toast's toast.

Serendip Visitor's picture

No, toasters toast bread,

No, toasters toast bread, lol.

Garrison's picture

I want to like this on

I want to like this on facebook

Serendip Visitor's picture


you've got that ass backwards buddy..

Serendip Visitor's picture

no shit sherlock

no shit sherlock

Josiah seaton's picture

your opinoin

i would like to believe this but your information is extreamely how do you say this
okay your doing this like a news report you twist and turn stuff until it supports you but the truth is those columbine kids used the modded game to 'train'how they would do it
second the only people affected significantly actually had history of mental problems
also what causes the aggression is not the voilence the violence makes it seem less well
voilent well thats what it was intended to do but nfinity ward dosent understand that
the voilence is originally funny not actually violent like in mortal kombat you uppercut peoples heads of that makes no sense and it making no sense makes it funny but any ways
the violence is caused by human nature beecause the only time some one gets violent is when they lose in a video game not when they see it because to people you do not have mental problems its truely obvious that they are not capable of this stuff so
on a final note "you dun goof'd"

Serendip Visitor's picture


I've been playing video games since i wa four, i'm now fifteen. I play Doom, Halo, Snake, I've played Manhunt (Don't ask me why) etc, and i have no urge to kill people or commit violent crimes. People blame video games because they have nothing else to blame.

Serendip Visitor's picture

games are not violent

people blame a lot of but this is mad I play a lot of games like nazi zombies but don't try to kill.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Ohtheyhave things to blame,

Ohtheyhave things to blame, they just don't want to admit that it is the violence in homes, schools, sports or previous pschological issues. Again old people trying to change something without thinking about it. IE world war 1and . Old men sending young men to fight their battles.

cody's picture



Jackson's picture

oh my god yes I totally

oh my god yes I totally agree. this whole thing is bullshit. I play cod only on the weekends and like im totally not crazy. btw if you have and xbox friend me im --

Anonymous's picture

Not caused by video games.

I am a 13 year old in year 7, and I have been playing video games since i was 4 or younger. When i was young, the types of games i played were : Zelda, Mario and Megaman. I have not acted violently or killed anyone when i was young.

Now i play games like Warcraft 3 and other online games.

Probably the most violent act i have dont is having a 20 second punch up which got separated. I would like to say, it was not the cause of video games. Rather i say that why i did what i did is the same reasons some people did what they did. I am constantly being bullied at school. One person took it too far and i couldnt handle it anymore so i took it out in violent means. NOT BECAUSE OF VIDEO GAMES

Fernando's picture

not violent

I have been playing video games since I was 5 yrs. old and I'm seventeen now, they have not made me a violent person if anything when I play them they cause me to have a sense of peace. Sure that may seem sadistic to say since most of my games are shooters, but I take my agression out on my friends Illr when we have sparing matches againest each other and we go to tap out not till first blood. video games don't make people violent, bullying and abuse make people violent. guns don't kill people, PEOPLE kill people.