Comments: Who Are The People Who Design These Horrific Video Games?

Ah, yes - it's back to the video games now. While I agree that there are plenty that are extremely violent, etc., I still find this to be an extremely unpersuasive argument, even as I often find myself wondering about the sorts of minds that can imagine such things. Of course, I often find myself baffled by what people create and are willing to share, and this bafflement is by no means limited to whatever passes for pop culture of today.

Anyway. The thing is, I suspect that at least part of the reason violent video games and movies are so popular is that the much of modern living is so very, very safe. Would this stuff have been popular if it were available after WWI, or WWII, when so many men had lived the horrors of war for real?

I heard it said that my grandfather, who was in the trenches and was one of the few survivors of his unit, for the rest of his life could never stand the color red. I can't imagine he would have approved of such games, simply because the memories evoked would have been too horrific.

My point here, Dude, is that for virtually all of mankind's history, the experience of horrific violence at some point in one's life was the norm, not the exception. It wasn't long ago at all that public executions made for great entertainment, with picnics and maybe even a dead body puppet show. Fun for the whole family!

So yeah, these games. They're gross, and violent, and maybe they put nasty ideas in peoples heads.

Then again, maybe they keep a few people glued to their computers and off the streets, their lust for death and mayhem being sated by pixels instead of the real deal. But what do I know?

Posted by Julie at December 19, 2012 2:06 PM

Good points, Julie. Good points.

Posted by vanderleun at December 19, 2012 2:07 PM

Good points, Julie. Good points.

Posted by vanderleun at December 19, 2012 2:08 PM

Likely because they have no experience with the real thing, and thus no understanding of what's involved or what happens. I have yet to meet a man, veteran of numerous video game battles, who does not screech life a baby whenever his ankle gets wrenched in real life.

Posted by Alan Kellogg at December 19, 2012 5:00 PM

"Who makes these video games? Where do they get their warped, violent, evil ideas from?"

The ones I've known are *** or *** or ***. (Can't really mention them--it would be offensive.)

Posted by Anonymous at December 20, 2012 3:28 AM

@ Julie~...the much of modern living is so very, very safe.

Life isn't that much safer, quite the opposite. Mom drops kid into wild dog exhibit, someone crawls into the tiger or lion cage or Trayvon wins the Darwin Award, Here in SC, Clemson student shot and killed at a party in gated community; many pedestrians popped by drivers, both licensed and unlicensed. Listeria coats your melons and E. Coli stalks you disguised as food.

What is apparent is those that believe the police are there to protect them, believe in 'gun free zones' and believe that the (any) Government is benevolent are not in contact with reality.

You're in a jungle, both blackboard and asphalt. Think not, tell that scrofulous looking guy smoking in the no smoking park to put out the cigarette.

Posted by Peccable at December 20, 2012 4:01 AM

For some reason, this question has been sticking with me the past couple of days. There is reason to be concerned about video games, but after much thought I believe it's the exact opposite reason that has been given here: yes, we should be worried that people, young men in particular, are spending hours and hours engaging their minds in simulated violence. Not because it makes them more violent, but rather because it successfully hijacks certain male drives and quite effectively finishes the job that Ritalin has begun.

Think of it: while young men are lost in simulated realms, their minds are quite effectively removed from the problems of real life. When things get real, and real shitty, historically speaking it's been mainly young men with literally nothing to lose who are the driving force behind revolutionary change. But right now we have a generation who should by all rights be extremely pissed off at how shitty things are - only, they don't really notice because no matter how crappy it is living in mom's basement, the only thing they really have to lose is their computers and video game consoles, which in the grand scheme of things aren't so expensive as going out and actually having a life. Plus, in the World of Warcraft or the Borderlands, they've almost reached the highest level and they're living large.

Perhaps the real reason Obama got voted in for a second term is that the people who should be most frustrated by what his policies have wrought are too busy playing violent video games instead of living lives of action.

Again, in the case of some men this is probably A Good Thing; best for all concerned if they just blow away their enemies onscreen instead of real life. But for most, it's damaging because all of that male energy which in generations past might have been spent Doing Something - usually Something To Impress Girls or barring that Something to Terrify Their Mothers - are instead racking up points to buff their characters, even as their own bodies and lives are sorely neglected.

Seems to me those with a certain nannyish political outlook probably like that just fine, all things considered, and no matter how much they may publicly wring their hands...

Posted by Julie at December 20, 2012 11:33 PM

The linked page shows a shot from “Call of Duty,” which the miserable little nit supposedly played all the time. What’s the building shown? The Reichstag. The player is storming the place after the fall of Berlin. The player is not a Nazi defending evil; he is a soldier trying to defeat it. Violent it is, but “warped” and “evil” is something you hear from people who have never played these games, and still think “Doom” - where one was encouraged to shoot bazookas at large, malevolent, pixilated tomatoes - was a hyper-realistic murder-simulation.

The Sun article linked in the piece says: “CRAZED gunman Anders Breivik played Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare to improve his shooting skills in preparation of his killing rampage.”

Sounds about right. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to stop playing Call of Duty because the recoil of the mouse has numbed my arm.

There’s an interesting piece to be written about the ethical code of these games, but it’s not going to be written by people who've never played them.

Posted by Lileks at December 21, 2012 8:59 AM

Yes, those are great points as well.

Posted by Julie at December 21, 2012 12:09 PM

Yes Jim - well-stated!

I understand that Charles Whitman improved his shooting skills on the PDP-6 version of Medal of Honor. One can just imagine the violence-inducing effect of spinning tape or a dropped stack of keypunch cards. And of course the time between shots, waiting overnight for the 256-word memory to process his input, would have led to instant madness.

Posted by goy at December 22, 2012 5:38 AM

I don't see anyone of the recent posts answering the question,"Who makes these violent games?" Are you posters in denial? What if it is the government sponsored left, or worse the UN and the sickos like George Soros that are initiating these games and movies with subliminal messages in them that will eventually find a victim,a person not able to distinguish right from wrong, to go out and take a life or worse many lives for the purpose of attacking our Constitution and Bill of Rights? I mean what is 20 babies' lives to sacrifice in order to advance one's agenda?

Posted by Frank P. at December 26, 2012 5:40 AM

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