Watcha think? Do Violent Video Games Cause Behavioral Problems?

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Community Contributor
Jan 14, 2020
I had the occasion to play Doom, Quake and Duke Nukem 3D when I was 9-10 years old and I grew up to be a decent citizen. ;) I view violent games more like a way to relieve stress rather to cause aggressiveness. There are people who took violent games as an inspiration for their actions, but we can say the same about using knives in kitchen.

Of course we have to remember that the scenes in games are more realistic these days than they were in the past. There was a huge graphics progress in the past 20 years or so. I doubt however that they're the cause of aggressiveness. Look at the human history which is full of wars, brutality and crime. There were no computer games in the past, yet the aggressive behavior was more common back then.
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The only example i know of where violence was a direct result of video gaming is the game manhunt.
It had been available for many years on consoles , not long after it became available on pc it hit the national news and newspapers because somebody sadly killed a so called friend in his bedroom and in court he said he got the idea from playing manhunt.

As a direct result of this incident it was banned and pulled from sale by everyone.

I reinstalled it a few years ago on my latest game rig and bearing in mind how long ago it came out i had forgotten just how violent it was.
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Feb 22, 2022
Definitely not. If someone has behavioral problems then they have problems simple as and no interacting with entertainment will change of influence this.
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The reason players become angry or aggressive during a gaming session is because they got beat or got interrupted during a gaming session , die hard gamers dont just play the games ... they are in them.

I should know because i am 66 and have been a die hard gamer since 1982 and a pc user since 2002
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The reason players become angry or aggressive during a gaming session is because they got beat or got interrupted during a gaming session , die hard gamers dont just play the games ... they are in them.

I should know because i am 66 and have been a die hard gamer since 1982 and a pc user since 2002
You're right, but some people can control that anger more than others. Most people aren't going to go on a violent rampage in real life because of gaming rage. The people who do that type of thing already have some kind of mental illness or other issues.
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The way I look at it, more than just bias is the problem with this topic. In fact I mainly think of hypocrisy when I think of this topic. Many of the people that are of the opinion that violent video games make people whom play them violent seem perfectly OK with them watching violent movies. There's also people in general whom think video gamers are too obsessed with video gaming, yet they'll play games on their cell phones, AND spend hours every day obsessing with their phones in general.

When it comes right down to it, there are a ton of things that could potentially become a problem when people obsess over them. We need to look more at what's causing the obsession itself, than blaming the medium it's acted out with. Psychology is a very complex thing, you need to see beneath the surface to get at the root of these problems.

Pretty much every case where video games are blamed for violence, a close friend or relative ends up admitting they knew the person who committed said violence was acting strangely in general, or they tried to tell authorities or doctors and they didn't take it seriously. If you ask me, drugs are FAR more related to violent crimes than gaming.
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Nov 26, 2021
Just wanted to pop by this thread because I'm reading about a similar topic with "the Satanic Panic" of ye olden dayes. More specifically, the effects Dungeons & Dragons and other tabletop roleplaying games had on youth violence. I'd like to link some reading material that highlights the misconceptions about violence in video games at the time, with the disclaimer that these links contain mention of suicide and violence. I invite the mods to remove anything that may be distasteful and disrespectful to those involved.
  1. Michael A. Stackpole's (fantasy author and game designer) "Role Playing Games and Satanism: Part One."
  2. Michael A. Stackpole's compilation of "The Pulling Report," discussing Pat Pulling of B.A.D.D's (Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons) police profiles for suspect questioning. Pulling blames D&D for her son's tragic suicide, among several other youngsters' own harm. D&D is not the only apparent perpetrator, as the play-by-post game 'It's a Crime' was blamed for the mass shooting in Hungerford, England, which was massively influencial for my country's gun laws.
  3. The Darren Molitor Letter, archived by The Escapist's RPGAdvocate page. Related to that are newspaper articles reporting on the murder of Mary Towey by Molitor and Ronald Adcox, which took place during a game of Dungeons & Dragons.
  4. The Escapist RPGArchive Resources Page. The whole site's a cracking read, with rebuttals to arguments that they're un-Christian and don't care about the safety of children with toys, to talking about what RPGs and the things they've gone through to get where they are today (or at least, up until the latest point of the archives; even web pages turn beige over time.)
On a lighter note, Stackpole does make an amusing point in the first link, quote, "A cynic might note, after looking at Mrs. Pulling's list of methods for Satanists, that it is no wonder Satanism is on the rise. Before Heavy Metal, games and movies, they had little to offer prospective recruits."

All of this is to say that games of all kinds, indeed a lot of youth interests, have been called into question over what they do and why they do it, and it's usually because - without putting too ageist a point on it - the old fear the new. That, as Stackpole points out, adolescents especially want to make their own identity and do the opposite to their parents, and sometimes that means acting out when they live with fuddy-duddies who read newspapers and tuck their shirts into their trousers.

I believe Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw once said something along the lines of "a game can only inspire a violent act, it cannot make one do it" in an episode of Let's Drown Out.

Anyway, just thought I'd share that. I hope it's as intriguing a read for you as it is me.
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