Video Games and Society

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Video Games: A History of Violence?
HAHA! I KILLED YOU! I’M NOW LEVEL 30! How and why does mass media influence aggressive behavior? More specifically, does playing video games cause aggressive behavior? Because children and teenagers spend an increased amount of time each day viewing/playing video games, they are shaping their values, attitudes, and behaviors. For people who do act out aggressively, the results can be deadly. Monthly, the news is filled with blood-chilling accounts of crimes committed due to a copy-cat obsession with violent video games. Violent video games are changing the values that parents have taught their teens. Parents want their kids to have good values such as being kind, truthful, caring, and courteous to others. The video games that they are letting their teens play are promoting none of these golden values. What has the world come to? When a child can walk into a store and find video games where you win based on how many people you can kill or how many places you can blow up. Parents would not want their teens to go around in real life killing other people or using explosives in any way. So what’s the difference in letting them virtually do it in your house? Letting teens play violent video games are changing their values to the ones being taught inside the game as well as many across the world today. For the past 40 years, since the first video games were created, the gaming industry has developed games that would surpass other games before it. Since the late 1970’s, when the first two games of “Pac-man” and “Space Invaders” were created, video games have changed tremendously over time. The late 1970’s through the 1980’s video game makers used what was called an 8-bit graphic system, which limited many features they could put in video games .Violence was not realistic, blood was not red, and so violence in video games was not incorporated into the new games that appeared on the market. In the early 1990’s, video game makers began using a 16-bit graphic system which would enable them to incorporate much more detail of violence and blood into video games. This caused an increase in violent video game demand and an increase in realistic violent events incorporated into these games. With technology in video games enhanced, the productivity on violent videos games moved up as well. When a game called ‘Mortal Kombat’ was released in the early 1990’s with a gruesome death seen in the game, the US Congress had to intervene. They told the gaming industry they had to come up with an accurate grading system to rate the games on age-appropriateness and content-appropriateness. This brought on the ESRB or A.K.A the “Entertainment Software Rating Board.” While rating each video game and posting that rate on them has improved access by small children, teens and young adults can still buy and view very violent scenes. In 2007, there was a tragic event at Virginia Tech University. A young man by the name of Seung Hui Cho went on a rampage on the campus and killed a total of “32 students and faculty”. Cho admitted to watching videos games before the rampant killing, and just like the “Columbine massacre,” people blamed the Virginia Tech shooting on violent video games. There were also other mental health factors that attributed to this senseless act of violence. In the year 1999, a tragic shooting at Columbine High School occurred. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students, along with one teacher. Shortly after the attack and killing of their fellow students and teacher, they both committed suicide. After the massacre, a police investigation revealed a video tape of both the boys. In the video, both boys made the comment saying it would be “just like doom”. “Doom” is a violent video game that burst on the market in the 1990’s shortly after the new genre of gaming called “first person shooter,” a 3-dementional environment type of video game, showed up on the scene. Since the “Columbine massacre” and the...
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