Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

On Realism and Virtual Murder

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the joyride-down-a-slippery-slope dept.

Games 473

Gamasutra has an interesting article about how the push toward realistic graphics and extremely lifelike characters in modern games is making the term "murder simulator" — once laughed off for referring to pixelated dying Nazis — a concept to take more seriously. The author is careful to simply explore the issue, and not come to a specific conclusion; he doesn't say that we should or shouldn't prevent it from happening, only that it's worth consideration. (One section is even titled "Forget the kids," saying that decisions for what children play fall under parental responsibility.) Quoting: "We should start rethinking these issues now before we all slide down the slope together and can't pull ourselves back up again. Or, even worse, before governments step in and dictate what can and can't be depicted or simulated in video games via legislation. ... Obviously, what makes an acceptable game play experience for each player is a personal choice that should be judged on a person-by-person basis (or on a parent to child basis), and I believe it should stay that way. As for me, I'm already drawing the line at BioShock — I can barely stomach the game as it is. Sure, I could play it more and desensitize myself, but I don't want to. And that's just me. It's up to you and a million other adult gamers to decide what's best for yourselves and to draw the line on virtual violence where you feel most comfortable."

cancel ×

473 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Relevant quote (5, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28538949)

Relevant quote that I saw on the bottom of slashdot a few days ago, this from Alfred Hitchcock:

TV has brought murder back into the home, where it belongs.

frist ps0t (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28538951)

Won't somebody please think of the children!

this fp for gnaa and linux torwalds (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28538975)

8==C=O=C=K=S=L=A=P==D~~ [www.gnaa.us] f1srt p0s7 for gnaa gay nigger association of america and linux torwalds

Re:this fp for gnaa and linux torwalds (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28539047)

Translation: I have a small penis, see its actual size in my graphic. I act all macho and homophobic to hide my own latent homosexuality. I am also threatened that girls like big cocks and the stereotype of black men having large penis scares me. I will badmouth Linux because nerds are the only people I am not scared of.

MURDER-BOX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28538969)

Expect another great piece by Martha MacCallum on FOX...

Ban how to host a murder while you're at it. (5, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28538971)

Sorry but this is very very silly.

We've had violent games and movies for a long time now. Take a look at the blood and gore in horror films. It currently does and will continue to outdo any realism a game can provide for some time to come.

Take a look at games where we play murderers. How to host a murder/murder mystery nights. What are you going to do next. Ban Murder She Wrote because some idiot might decide to copy one of the murders?

The solution is simple. You need to educate children about the difference between fiction and reality. It's really not that hard.

Will there be people who copy the fiction and commit murder? Sure. They're mentally unstable and would find some other reason to do it anyway.

Re:Ban how to host a murder while you're at it. (3, Interesting)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539053)

OK, imagine that it's 2050 and computers can create seamless virtual realities that we have trouble telling apart from 'real' life. Imagine that your friend buys a new game, "Virtual How-to-host-a-murder 2050", and spends the next month solid playing it. It's very realistic, you go through endless scenarios where someone in the dinner party gets bludgeoned - except that in this game, it actually happens, and your friend is acting out beating someone to death with a lead pipe in the Conservatory. Over, and over again.

You decided to have an 'IRL' dinner party, and thinking nothing of it you invite your friend.

Halfway through dinner your friend heads to the bathroom, and before they come back the power is cut.

How sure are you that your friend has equally strong injunctions now against killing that guy he doesn't like / his ex's new partner / you because you beat him in Virtual Poker? He's been doing it in a photo-real environment for the last month, it's exactly the same to him apart from that little voice in the back of his head saying "there's no reset button on this one". How strong will that voice be?

Re:Ban how to host a murder while you're at it. (5, Insightful)

lorenzo.boccaccia (1263310) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539247)

if that voice is not strong, then you have a problem well before playing a violent game. it's not like full metal jacket had such an impact...
also, stop pursuing thought crime or thinking that blurring reality and simulation will make criminals out of people, that happens only when you have a strong predisposition towards violence and crime, and happen in the same way it would happen trough alcohol or drugs.

it's not good when everyone is punished for the fault of a small group of people, when that happens the society as a whole fails.

Re:Ban how to host a murder while you're at it. (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539277)

Sorry, the point I was trying to make was that the injunction stopping the friend from carrying out the murder grows successively weaker with each ultra-realistic simulated murder, to the point where when the opportunity arises, he's already desensitised himself to it. Other posts here have mentioned operant conditioning, and while it's incomplete as a theory it does explain this quite well.

And I guess I must have stepped on someone's toes, I'm getting -1 Overrated mods. :P

Re:Ban how to host a murder while you're at it. (3, Interesting)

gullevek (174152) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539385)

No it does not, because a simulation is still a simulation, as real it might be. If he would only play such a game, never go out, never leave his house, never communicate with anyone. Well if that happens now or in 50 years, such people who might loose the grip of reality, loose it anyway.

Re:Ban how to host a murder while you're at it. (4, Insightful)

pugugly (152978) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539425)

I have two impulses.

I) All thought provoking coffee house conversation aside, we have moved from a more violent culture to a less-violent one, all despite Poe, Hitchcock, NCIS, Grand Theft Auto, or anything else. Anyone that wants to compare modern society (I will except the horrors of war and other automated grand-scale killing here) level of violence with that of the Old west, or even the old East - before the Civil War a congressman bludgeoned an anti-slavery advocate to a pulp on the floor of the house of Representatives.

Today we argue about the jokes David Letterman made about a woman.

The trend is fairly obvious.

II) Then there's the flip side. I know I play games where I get to be the Hero - when I 'kill' in Morrowind, I'm fighting an evil that will overtake the land.

I also hear from the guy that talks on the forum about how he killed the entire population in the game. *THAT* guy is *weird*. And I have to wonder, if he thinks that is fun, *is* he going to feel the same way given something that helps enhance rather than mitigate that kind of 'fun'?

I don't think either of these is an insane take on the issue, so are they two competing trends, do they cancel out, or do they just mean we're headed towards a largely peaceful world that happens to have very occasional but very violent serial killers?

Just a thought - Pug

Re:Ban how to host a murder while you're at it. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28539311)

OK, imagine that it's 2050 and computers can create seamless virtual realities that we have trouble telling apart from 'real' life.

Ok, lost me already. With technology advances, simulations asymptotically approach reality, sure; but 40 years from now it won't be indistinguishable, we'll just be that much better at distinguishing reality. That position's probably controversial among /. futurists, but I'm pretty convinced it's true.

Another, perhaps less controversial, but also less universally applicable point: very few games sacrifice gameplay for realism. Why would they, just because more realism is possible? I doubt players really want to get out of breath if they walk too fast for too long, feel pain when they stub their toe from a momentary lapse in coordination, or any of a thousand other inconveniences that we accept unthinkingly in RL, because there's no alternative. When it's a simulation, there are alternatives, and I think most games won't be as realistic as they could be, given tech levels. Of course, there probably will be some simulations that do try for realism, and if the friend in question is really into those, your point could remain.

Re:Ban how to host a murder while you're at it. (2, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539055)

It's not that simple. I assume you are basing this on your personal observations, and not on any controlled study. If you do know of studies, please share them. It will take a while before we know the true effect of violent video games on a person, but studies are starting to trickle in: http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/03/violent_films_and_games_delay_people_from_helping_others.php"> like this one showing people who play violent video games are slower to help people [scienceblogs.com] . There are similar studies for movies. These things do affect people, it's just not clear what the entire affect is.

(PS Please do not respond to this post with anecdotal evidence, or telling me I am wrong, without having some kind of study to back it up, or SOMETHING)

Re:Ban how to host a murder while you're at it. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28539101)

I've played plenty of violent video games and that's not what keeps me from helping people. I don't help people because of law suits.

Re:Ban how to host a murder while you're at it. (2, Insightful)

Allicorn (175921) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539241)

Fascinating link, ty. Since the study finds some impact from both video games and movies I'd love to see similar work done regarding the effect (or otherwise) of observing news broadcasts and documentaries about violence, written fiction, and "acceptable" actual violent behaviour (hockey, boxing, etc).

Proving that violent videogames and movies make folks temporarily less likely to aid others might be all the basis lawmakers need to rule in a whole bunch of crazy censorship ideas I'm sure we can all imagine. If there was proof that the lunchtime news, a documentary about WWII or a saturday afternoon sports show had just as much impact, that could throw interesting contrast into the argument.

Re:Ban how to host a murder while you're at it. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28539279)

Those studies never, ever have valid controls. Their control group is always made up of people playing Candyland, or not playing any game at all. They don't use sports games or other non-violence-oriented action games for comparison.

Re:Ban how to host a murder while you're at it. (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539065)

This. Until we're in holodecks or getting direct neural stimulation that is utterly indistinguishable from reality the whole thing is a nonissue as the rational mind will simply know the difference between reality and fiction, just like when watching a movie.

Re:Ban how to host a murder while you're at it. (1)

srothroc (733160) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539079)

The way I read it, his major concern is that as the person who commits realistic murder, YOU will be affected by the emotional backlash of seeing "someone" suffer as a consequence of your actions.

Re:Ban how to host a murder while you're at it. (2, Informative)

0123456 (636235) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539121)

The way I read it, his major concern is that as the person who commits realistic murder, YOU will be affected by the emotional backlash of seeing "someone" suffer as a consequence of your actions.

Which must be a good thing, because it will make non-psychopaths far less likely to murder someone in real life.

Re:Ban how to host a murder while you're at it. (4, Insightful)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539149)

Not if they keep doing it until that emotional backlash subsides and they see "things that look and act exactly like humans" as empty cybernetic shells rather than as people. Because once they start seeing "things that look and act exactly like humans" in that way, they'll see humans like that too. They will become psychopathic.

Re:Ban how to host a murder while you're at it. (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539271)

Not if they keep doing it until that emotional backlash subsides and they see "things that look and act exactly like humans" as empty cybernetic shells rather than as people.

Except anyone who keeps killing innocent photorealistic VR humans until 'the emotional backlash subsides' was probably a psychopath to begin with.

You must have a pretty low opinion of your fellow humans if you think that the average person will enjoy realistic in-game killings as opposed to current cartoon-style death.

You might also want to explain how the average frontline wartime soldier -- you know, someone who's been professionally indoctrinated to kill people and has actually, really, physically killed them for real in real life -- manages not to go on a killing spree after being discharged from the service, yet a kid who's killed a few pixels on a video screen is going to do so?

Re:Ban how to host a murder while you're at it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28539365)

You must have a pretty low opinion of your fellow humans if you think that the average person will enjoy realistic in-game killings as opposed to current cartoon-style death.

Wouldn't you?

Re:Ban how to host a murder while you're at it. (1, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539287)

empty cybernetic shells rather than as people.

Or as slashtards?

Re:Ban how to host a murder while you're at it. (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539081)

The solution is simple. You need to educate children about the difference between fiction and reality. It's really not that hard.

Maybe you should RTFA? (Or even RTFS?) The author's whole point is the effect that games have on adults, not on kids. Agree or disagree with his conclusions as you will, but don't argue against a straw man.

Re:Ban how to host a murder while you're at it. (2, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539091)

Will there be people who copy the fiction and commit murder? Sure. They're mentally unstable and would find some other reason to do it anyway.

Got that right. "Hey, let's play Abraham and Isaac! I'll tie you up, and god will stay my hand just before I cut your throat!"

-jcr

Gaze not into stupid, lest it gaze back... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28539239)

short story:

Back in the 90's I there was a 'virtualpet' game/simulator/timewaster app that I played with. You could create a virtual pet and abuse it until it would cower in constant terror. I told a girl I worked with about it, and she though that was an awful thing to do. I pointed out that all I was doing was flipping 1s and 0s in a computer's memory, and she still thought it was a bad thing to do.

This is the sort of problem we face with this fight. The people who have problems telling the difference between real and fantasy AREN'T THE GAMERS. How can you fight that kind of stupid?

Re:Gaze not into stupid, lest it gaze back... (1)

jaxtherat (1165473) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539351)

But that is a bad analogy to use. Incinerating someone to death is also merely taking some molecules and oxidising them at heat. Blowing someone's head off is also merely rearranging some particles to be outside a container as opposed to inside...

Just my $0.02

Re:Ban how to host a murder while you're at it. (1)

dblackshell (1450807) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539263)

You need to educate children about the difference between fiction and reality. It's really not that hard.

oh really?
I stopped watching TV news when I realized there is almost no difference between fiction and reality...

Re:Ban how to host a murder while you're at it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28539327)

The big difference between games and movies is the way that you participate. With movies you are passive, so if you're enjoying watching something violent it's just voyeuristic whereas with games you're an active participant, actually doing the violent things. The fact that games are getting more sophisticated with the way you can interact with the other characters (like being able to shoot specific body parts and see them get turned into mince meat) is what's worrying people more and more.

Re:Ban how to host a murder while you're at it. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539401)

You need to educate children about the difference between fiction and reality. It's really not that hard.

Could we first of all educate our politicians? When I look at the development of legislation concerning "murder games" and "terrorist training games", it seems to me they need it a lot more.

It's just evolutionary. (5, Interesting)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28538973)

The reason we have so much violence in games these days is that in the very early arcade games, that's how things were scored. Mario jumped on goombas for points and self-defence. The aliens in Space Invaders had to die to protect the Earth. That worked, from a gameplay point of view, so we kept going with it, never thinking that in 30 years' time the aliens in Space Invaders would have realistic anatomies and motivations and a family back home who's relying on them to bring Earth's cows back for dinner.

Which brings us back to the initial point: Why would you WANT to kill that alien? The first games, killing enemies was the moral equivalent of stomping on ants. Sure, they die, but how much actual life experience have they lost? Now the games are increasingly realistic, it's no longer ants we're killing. Sure, there are scenarios (like war games) which people want to re-enact virtually, but games like Manhunt are explicitly designed around killing defenseless strangers. Maybe it's time to put games like that on the same level as rape simulators?

Re:It's just evolutionary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28539023)

games like Manhunt are explicitly designed around killing defenceless strangers?
what?
i played that game a few years ago and i don't think i saw a single unarmed NPC in it.

Re:It's just evolutionary. (5, Insightful)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539057)

The reason we have so much violence in games these days is that in the very early arcade games...

I could be wrong here, but I'm pretty sure that there is violence in video-games is because in reality we are increasingly less able to do it. 50 years ago, you had an urge to fight, you went to the bar, you wanted excitement, you drove fast, you wanted to explore, you went outside... now-a-days most people don't really have any exciting in their lives, nor are they really allowed to (even Raves, and Concerts are usually "locked down", even sports are tame now), so they look for that visceral experience where they can, in video-games and movies.

Re:It's just evolutionary. (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539099)

I could be wrong here, but I'm pretty sure that there is violence in video-games is because in reality we are increasingly less able to do it.

Absolutely: humans are by far the most bad-ass predators on the planet, yet for the last few decades governments have been trying harder and harder to wrap us in cotton wool. It's no surprise that if we're denied an outlet for our natural violence then we'll find one in play.

What the cotton-wool fanatics seem to miss is that is that violence is not a bad thing so long as it's used in defensively rather than destructively, and that if humans can't play at being violent, they're far more likely to bring violence into the real world in destructive manners.

Re:It's just evolutionary. (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539113)

50 years ago, you had an urge to fight, you went to the bar ... now-a-days most people don't really have any exciting in their lives, nor are they really allowed to

If you still want a real live bar fight, I guarantee you that you can find a bar that will meet your needs. Probably within walking distance of wherever you happen to live.

Re:It's just evolutionary. (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539163)

I *wish* I had a bar within walking distance of where I live. :(

Ah well, maybe I can start a bar fridge brawl vs my cat. :P

Re:It's just evolutionary. (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539195)

Well, if you're really out in the boonies, you might have to drive some distance. But I'm pretty sure there is nowhere in the lower 48 states of the US (except maybe parts of Utah?) where you're more than ten or fifteen minutes from a bar -- half an hour, tops -- and most people are a lot closer than that. And there are some things you can do that are pretty much guaranteed to start a brawl in any bar you're in.

I'm not recommending this, of course, just noting that it's possible.

Re:It's just evolutionary. (2, Informative)

FiveDozenWhales (1360717) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539421)

I grew up in rural Massachusetts where I was a half hour drive from a convenience store, never mind a bar. And Massachusetts is relatively compact... I'm sure there are many places where it's much worse.

Re:It's just evolutionary. (1)

auLucifer (1371577) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539361)

The important thing is having a home within staggering distance of a bar

Re:It's just evolutionary. (2, Informative)

skavenger (1219006) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539377)

You should travel more. I live in Arizona and there are plenty of places here and in surrounding states, with neighborhoods (generally ranches), where you need to drive more than an hour to get to the nearest gas station, and further for a bar.

Rule #1 - Re:It's just evolutionary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28539439)

If you still want a real live bar fight, I guarantee you that you can find a bar that will meet your needs. Probably within walking distance of wherever you happen to live.

Rule #1: You do not talk about the fight club.

Re:It's just evolutionary. (1)

Eric52902 (1080393) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539291)

Come on people, who can feel true emotional backlash from "killing" something that isn't even alive? I'm a fairly hardcore gamer and I can say that I've almost never felt any remorse for any of the brutal things I've done in video games. Is this because I'm a psychopath? Of course not, I just have a tough time empathizing with a bunch of zeros and ones. That's what it all comes down to, these "people" will never come close to being real because they cease to exist when I turn the power off. The only time I've ever felt empathy for a character is when the developers have done a particularly good job characterizing them and when this does happen, it's exactly as if I were empathizing with a movie or TV character. Games are just for amusement, they aren't reality simulators. Everyone needs to get a little perspective and realize this fact.

Re:It's just evolutionary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28539321)

Now I only played Manhunt 1 but I dont remember killing a whole lot of innocents in that game. First of its pixels. Second its a bunch of people trying to kill YOU and you fighting back. Its like alot of old action movies except in game form. I dunno think running man with more stalkers.

Violence and murder (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28538997)

From the article:

Within the next 10-20 years, your virtual victims in Grand Theft Auto 6 could look, sound, and behave exactly like a real human would if you stabbed him in the neck or shot him in the gut. There'd be plenty of blood, screaming, and carnage to go around. You could watch as they bleed to death in agony.

The funny thing is -- and I'm just guessing -- you wouldn't want to do that in real life to a real human, so why would you want to do that in a video game?

I think in most people there is a side that actually would want to do that to a real person, sick as it sounds. You probably have that side, even if you haven't recognized it yet. How much do you want to bet Jack Thompson does? There's probably a reason he's so scared of it. I'm not trying to be judgmental, but that's the true reality of life.

I don't know what playing games like this will do to a person; probably no one knows. But we are going to find out soon, I guess. They aren't going to stop making these games.

Re:Violence and murder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28539067)

I'm just glad to see some other gamer taking a step back from the gore.

I came to the same conclusion TFA did a cycle or two before BioShock came out. The more realistic and amoral the game, the grosser it feels as a human pretending to kill without meaning.

I'm not calling for a ban, I've made my choice for myself and that's enough for now.

Re:Violence and murder (2, Interesting)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539133)

I think in most people there is a side that actually would want to do that to a real person, sick as it sounds. You probably have that side, even if you haven't recognized it yet.

There IS a side like that, and not just in 'most' people. We're killers, that's why we're here and not the descendants of the Neanderthals that we wiped out.

However, we're also social animals and we've covered our killer side over with social responsibility and ethics and laws. The problem is that every time we kill, we reinforce the killer side and we weaken the restraints on it. If we're only killing pixellated mushrooms then the effect is minimal. If we're beating some virtual unfortunate's head in with a claw hammer, the effect is much stronger. Just think of the first time you played an FPS or fighting game - unless you were already acclimatised to violence via movies and TV, you probably felt a little queasy at all the killing. Then you got used to it and payed it no mind. The first time a quest asked me to kill a female human NPC in WoW, I felt distinctly uncomfortable - now, I'm used to it and don't even notice. When games go from stylised combat to full body virtual reality, it's going to be even more challenging for people to commit this virtual slaughter... at first. When what we're practising (and becoming acclimated to) is indistinguishable from what our conditioning is preventing us from doing, then the practice must necessarily weaken that conditioning.

Re:Violence and murder (1)

cmdotter (1274534) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539251)

I remember that back in the '90's, when the company I was working for were trying to ship a war game to germany, we were forced to change the blood to green to satisfy censorship rules. It was actually a small and easy change implement, neatly turning nazi looking soldiers into non-specific zombie/aliens.

Perhaps new games could offer a 'zombie safe' mode, where there is no red blood, just hues of greens and/or blues. Would that be enough to disarm the realism issue, I wonder?

Re:Violence and murder (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28539253)

About a year ago a friend showed me a game called Grassy Knoll in which you play as Oswald and you have to shoot at JFK as he drives by. When he first told me about the game I was appalled by the very idea of playing an assassination simulator. A few days passed and he eventually showed me the game and, to my surprise, I couldn't put it down. It was running on the GTA 3 engine, the visuals were realistic (as were the reactions of those in the car), and the controls were on par with a regular sniping game. For about forty minutes I played the same 2 minute segment again and again trying different shots. It wasn't so much that I loved shooting at the president but rather it was so realistic I was curious to see how it was done. Video games like that are on par with shows like CSI. You don't watch it because of the acting but rather to see how the poor sob gets it. It's that curiousness that makes even casual gamers wonder about games like this.

There will be screaming, but no crying. (5, Informative)

copponex (13876) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539285)

There will be screaming, but no crying. In GTA or anything similar, there are groans, shrieks, and most of them are a little "overdone" to be comical. A real death is less gory, but far more traumatizing. They would have to plead for their lives, start praying, or simply mutter the name of their child or their mother until their life leaves their body. I think only a very small subset of the population is going to want to see real death simulations.

Recently I ran over a fox, and I thought it was a small dog so I pulled over and I got out of the car. It was twisting in agony, gushing blood from it's mouth, and I watched it as it died. It tried to get up a few times, the rattling in it's throat grew louder, and I recognized the moment it gave up. That was the most terrifying part to watch, not the actual death at the end, but the moment were it seemed to realize that it's time had run out.

Death and suffering are something we have a natural aversion to. That's why Shock and Awe was shot from miles away. That's why hamburger arrives in little white styrofoam trays with no pictures of cows on it. That's why we've made it as a species - we've needed each other to survive, so our evolutionary morality led us to the point where we more or less share a similar set of values. And that's why I don't think the simulations will come close to reality, because few people want to see it, and many who think they do will realize that they don't.

Re:Violence and murder (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28539325)

I can agree with this. I was on babysitting duty for my younger cousin the other day, so I introduced him to the FPS SWAT 4 to keep him busy. The first thing he did was ask me if he could shoot his teammates, and entertained himself for the next 20 minutes or so by killing his fellow officers before actually trying to play the game.

Re:Violence and murder (2, Insightful)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539413)

From the article
The funny thing is -- and I'm just guessing -- you wouldn't want to do that in real life to a real human, so why would you want to do that in a video game?

- Nobody gets actually hurt in the game.
- There are no savegames in real life, you've only got 1 live.
- When I turn off the game all carnage will be gone until I start it again, this isn't the case in real life.
- Not that easy to get a gun in real life (at least, in some countries).
- A game is not real, that's why you want to do these things.

That are some reasons why you won't do it in real life.

Drawing lines (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539007)

When there is no lines separating what is right from what is wrong, anything goes, but the final choice is made by the buyer (client, visitor, whatever). But once put a line somewhere, limiting the freedom of both producer and client, it always ends putting the wrong things in the right places, or being redefined to be more restrictive, but rarely loosened or removed. The same could happen with most things in internet too. Will the FPS be replaced by FPPS (First Person PhotoShooters)?

ESRB anyone? (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539009)

Wasn't this the role of the ESRB to judge games and give ratings that a parent/guardian could use?

I know there are rebel kids that get the games anyway, but punishments have gone out to for kids.

Leading to the "just let them do it" conversations that occur, thinking that there is no way the game is that bad.

However it will only become a bad influence when people do something that is a "bad thing", which it often to late.

Overall, the system has low and high points of what is the social norm, and certain levels of violence in games are normal.

Is this for real? (1)

Alumoi (1321661) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539011)

Come on, people. If you can't see the difference between a game and real life then you'd better go see a shrink. Or just remove yourself from the gene pool. That's the idea behind all violent games: do it in the game, not in real life. Relieve you anger were nobody gets hurt.

Re:Is this for real? (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539041)

Is that why the Mountain Dew game fuel came back, to insure the removal from the gene pool of certain classes of person?

Re:Is this for real? (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539167)

The difference between real life and a game is becoming increasingly fine. That's kind of the point of the article.

Re:Is this for real? (1)

Alumoi (1321661) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539207)

Kidding, right? Real life is what goes on OUTSIDE your computer screen, you know.

Re:Is this for real? (2, Interesting)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539227)

Not kidding. It's still easy to draw the line, now, but there's already a huge difference between the old 31cm TV that I first played games on and my 24" full-HD widescreen LCD. The experience on the latter is far more immersive.

I can still 'look outside my screen' now, but in 20, 30, 40 years' time? We could easily have Matrix-style total immersion VR. And when that VR looks identical to what does go on in real life, your brain will carry lessons over from one to the other.

Re:Is this for real? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28539355)

No you are just becoming more of an idiot and losing your objectivity. The older you get the more you want to blame others for your own problems!

Re:Is this for real? (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539433)

Or maybe the older you get, the better you understand your own mind and those of people around you? It's nothing to do with blame, and everything to do with the simple observation that inhibitions against any action fade as you rehearse that action.

Played for along time (1)

VegetaFH1 (1294640) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539013)

Ive been playing games since i was a 1 year old, im a perfectly normal human being (other then having A.S and Dyslexiea) Killing human beings and killing pixels ARE NOT THE SAME in any way shape or form, infact you could narrow it down to killing electricity, becuase quite honestly, what powers your computer? HOWEVER: I do notice and accept that preforming these acts in/on the computer screen does stimulate your brain as to say "This is a possible outcome, I shall prepare myself for it" it is then barried into your sub-concenious, you dont think of it like that but that is the way your brain handles it On top of that i do have to notice the crimes commited by "so called" GTA players (now we all know its BS that its just GTA, thats just aload of mass media ass-hattery) I am a good human being, ive done nothing wrong and i sware, the day the government tells me what i can and cannot do on the net or in/on games is infact the fact i eather die or take up arms again those that will suromvent my RIGHT to view stuff that i wish to view (or do) As to where i draw the line: anything that deals with rape or anything of the forceful nature done on human beings OR pixels that is not wished to be done to them, and no that does not mean i wont kill you in team fortress 2 if you ask me not to, ill still gladly flame your ass from here to timbukto and back again :D

Re:Played for along time (5, Funny)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539175)

Not content with your slaughter of innocent virtual entities, you then proceeded to disembowel the English language?

Schoolyard violence? (0, Troll)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539017)

And violence on the playground? I draw the line at cops and robbers, man. Murder simulation right there. I couldn't stomach one kid lying down pretending to be dead. Hell, I threw up when my friend made an over-the-top death gargling noise. Shit's unreal, man, surely our Congressional Overlords must step in with sweet blessings from Barack Obama.

it is NOT murder... (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539021)

I mean... they get better, right? So how can it be murder, virtual or otherwise.

Who deserves to be murdered? (0, Troll)

ringbarer (545020) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539027)

I can think of three people:

* Gottfrid Svartholm
* Fredrik Neij
* Peter Sunde

The messiahs of theft. Their greatest heist was to steal the good will offered by their supporters. The talentless scum who believe they shouldn't have to contribute a cent towards the artistic output of better people. The same scum who believed in piracy for social change. Scum who would download episodes of their favorite Sci-Fi shows, but cry the loudest when they were cancelled, incapable of making the connection between viewer ratings and advertising revenue. All played for fools by the messiahs of theft, who are laughing at you all.

I promise you this: Appeals or not, they will NOT make it to jail.

Virtual murder isn't and cannot be murder. (1)

Digestromath (1190577) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539037)

Murder is defined as the unlawful killing of a human being. This requires the death of a human being, being the ceasation of life. One cannot commit virtual murder.

Further more, one cannot commit murder against an artificial intelligence or even an alien (at this moment in most countries).

To confuse 'killing' avatars in an MMO with murder is rediculous, at its best, rendering an avatar useless against the law would be property damage.

The photorealistic qualities of games do not change the law, or impart more permanent consequences. Even if a computer peripheral sprays blood on my face after shooting a digital representation of my mom on screen, it doesn't mean I killed her. It may not be great for one's mental health, but neither is entertaining to many realistic daydreams about similar topics.

Page me when I can actually press a button while playing a game, and a handgun mounted on top of thier monitor shoots someone in face.

Re:Virtual murder isn't and cannot be murder. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28539145)

It is Intellectual Murder! We are preparing a bill to punish all you intellectual murderers!
Think of the virtual children!

Re:Virtual murder isn't and cannot be murder. (2, Interesting)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539151)

Representations mean something. If you know someone that is always playing "Virtual KKK," running around lynching black men and burning crosses in a virtual setting, are you going to say, "oh, he's not a racist, those aren't real people?" No, you're going to make a connection between the representation of a thing and the thing itself.

While the re-enactment of a murder isn't the same as a murder, no one is saying that it is. What they are saying is that indulgence in the first desensitizes us from our horror about the second. I think it's generally true (and by no means limited to games, either.) Games and media affect the emotions: they can teach, they can inspire, they can create fear and suspense, they can produce empathy. Why do you think they are incapable of also reducing empathy?

Re:Virtual murder isn't and cannot be murder. (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539155)

If you're going to be pedantic and legalistic, you might want to try proofreading your post before hitting the "Submit" button.

False premise (5, Insightful)

another_twilight (585366) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539049)

From the article;

"With each act of violence, a piece of us grows cold, calloused, and uncaring towards the well being of others. Repeat that, and we become slowly desensitized to pain and suffering."

Perhaps the part of us that finds violence towards an on-screen representation of someone or something, but I have yet to see any evidence that this translates to a callousness towards real people or events. The implication that increasingly realistic graphics are somehow going to cross this divide is neither argued nor proven in this article.

Games are designed as entertainment. Entertainment is not realistic. No matter what the interface (I will even allow some futuristic neural hookup) there are going to be clues and cues that what you are engaged in is not Real Life. It is this very knowledge that is part of what makes games enjoyable. We are freed of the normal consequences of our actions, free to explore a new environment, to discover the rules of cause-and-effect and to enjoy the difference between these and the world we normally live in.

Perhaps when we have the tech to seamlessly mimic reality there may grow a market for entertainment that deliberately blurs the line between Real and Game, but that relies on both an increase in technical realism and a deliberate move away from what makes a game a game.

Perhaps the author has forgotten what it means to play.

Re:False premise (5, Insightful)

Macgrrl (762836) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539135)

"With each act of violence, a piece of us grows cold, calloused, and uncaring towards the well being of others. Repeat that, and we become slowly desensitized to pain and suffering."

Good thing I don't need to kill animals for food then, imagaine how much damage that would do to the psyche as opposed to the detatchment we get from buying meat vaccuum sealed at the supermarket.

It's not that long ago in terms of human history that death was far more familiar to everyone, we killed for food, people were born and died at home, wars broke out far more frequently and we most likely on your doorstep, life in general was far more girtty and voilent on a daily basis.

Oddly enough the average 'man in the street' didn't turn into a serial killer through simple exposure to all this banal violence. Maybe that was the difference, the banality of it all. Why do we believe the exposure to fantasy violence will be so damaging when exposure to real violence typically wasn't?

There are still people in our communities who are exposed to massive violence on a daily basis - slaughtermen, emergency services personnel, etc... Do they have a higher than average likelihood to commit violent crimes?

There are times I think this is all a beat up for someones honours thesis.

Re:False premise (1)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539219)

"With each act of violence, a piece of us grows cold, calloused, and uncaring towards the well being of others. Repeat that, and we become slowly desensitized to pain and suffering."

Good thing I don't need to kill animals for food then, imagaine how much damage that would do to the psyche as opposed to the detatchment we get from buying meat vaccuum sealed at the supermarket.

It's not that long ago in terms of human history that death was far more familiar to everyone, we killed for food, people were born and died at home, wars broke out far more frequently and we most likely on your doorstep, life in general was far more girtty and voilent on a daily basis.

Oddly enough the average 'man in the street' didn't turn into a serial killer through simple exposure to all this banal violence. Maybe that was the difference, the banality of it all. Why do we believe the exposure to fantasy violence will be so damaging when exposure to real violence typically wasn't?

There are still people in our communities who are exposed to massive violence on a daily basis - slaughtermen, emergency services personnel, etc... Do they have a higher than average likelihood to commit violent crimes?

There are times I think this is all a beat up for someones honours thesis.

While video game violence is debatable exposure to real violence does have dramtic consequences on some people.
You never heard of post traumatic stress disorder?

Re:False premise (1)

palndrumm (416336) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539265)

I have yet to see any evidence that this translates to a callousness towards real people or events.

Read the article linked to in this comment above [slashdot.org] . While it's by no means conclusive evidence, it is does suggest there may be some kind of connection worth investigating.

Oh, please. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539061)

Kids pointing their fingers at each other and yelling "bang!" are simulating murder. So what?

Hundreds of millions of kids play cops and robbers or cowboys and indians, and never hurt anyone at all.

-jcr

Re:Oh, please. (3, Insightful)

Nutria (679911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539427)

Kids pointing their fingers at each other and yelling "bang!" are simulating murder.

It is bald stupidity or complete intellectual dishonesty to equate gross (of, relating to, or dealing with general aspects or broad distinctions) stylizations by children who have never seen a gun, much less blood or a serious wound, with photorealistic hi-def video of death, agony and gore.

Re:Oh, please. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539435)

It is bald stupidity or complete intellectual dishonesty

How do you walk with that stick up your ass?

-jcr

There is an upside (1)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539083)

We could simulate murdering Tom Cruise over and over and it would just never get old.

Unpopular but interesting. (5, Interesting)

haeger (85819) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539105)

Read this by Dave Grossman http://www.killology.com/print/print_teachkid.htm [killology.com]
It's about teaching kids to kill. I'm sure there are many anecdotes out there about how "I played games for years and I haven't killed anyone" but the man has a point...

 

Some quotes from the text:

"Healthy members of most species have a powerful, natural resistance to killing their own kind. Animals with antlers and horns fight one another by butting heads. Against other species they go to the side to gut and gore. Piranha turn their fangs on everything, but they fight one another with flicks of the tail. Rattlesnakes bite anything, but they wrestle one another.

When we human beings are overwhelmed with anger and fear our thought processes become very primitive, and we slam head on into that hardwired resistance against killing. During World War II, we discovered that only 15-20 percent of the individual riflemen would fire at an exposed enemy soldier (Marshall, 1998). [...]

That's the reality of the battlefield. Only a small percentage of soldiers are willing and able to kill. When the military became aware of this, they systematically went about the process of âoefixingâ this âoeproblem.â And fix it they did. By Vietnam the firing rate rose to over 90 percent (Grossman, 1999a).

[...]

  The training methods the military uses are brutalization, classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and role modeling. Let us explain these and then observe how the media does the same thing to our children, but without the safeguards.

Brutalization, or âoevalues inculcation,â is what happens at boot camp. Your head is shaved, you are herded together naked, and dressed alike, losing all vestiges of individuality. You are trained relentlessly in a total immersion environment. In the end you embrace violence and discipline and accept it as a normal and essential survival skill in your brutal new world.

Something very similar is happening to our children through violence in the media. [...]

Classical conditioning is like Pavlov's dog in Psych 101. Remember the ringing bell, the food, and the dog could not hear the bell without salivating?

In World War II, the Japanese would make some of their young, unblooded soldiers bayonet innocent prisoners to death. Their friends would cheer them on. Afterwards, all these soldiers were treated to the best meal they've had in months, sake, and to so-called "comfort girls." The result? They learned to associate violence with pleasure.

This technique is so morally reprehensible that there are very few examples of it in modern U.S. military training, but the media is doing it to our children. Kids watch vivid images of human death and suffering and they learn to associate it with: laughter, cheers, popcorn, soda, and their girlfriend's perfume (Grossman & DeGaetano, 1999).
[...]
The third method the military uses is operant conditioning, a powerful procedure of stimulus-response training. We see this with pilots in flight simulators, or children in fire drills. When the fire alarm is set off, the children learn to file out in orderly fashion. One day there's a real fire and they're frightened out of their little wits, but they do exactly what they've been conditioned to do (Grossman & DeGaetano, 1999).

In World War II we taught our soldiers to fire at bullseye targets, but that training failed miserably because we have no known instances of any soldiers being attacked by bullseyes. Now soldiers learn to fire at realistic, man-shaped silhouettes that pop up in their field of view. That's the stimulus. The conditioned response is to shoot the target and then it drops. Stimulus-response, stimulus-response, repeated hundreds of times."

Re:Unpopular but interesting. (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539141)

Read this by Dave Grossman http://www.killology.com/print/print_teachkid.htm [killology.com]

I have read it, and I'm sorry, but I'm far from convinced: he makes some good points in his book, but this one is just silly. It's one thing to take a soldier who's going through the brutalising process of basic training, teach them to shoot a gun at a target, then throw them into a war-zone with a gun and people shooting back at them and expect them to shoot back; it's a huge jump to go from there to claiming that shooting a few pixels on a screen using a mouse button in the comfort of your own home will make the average person more likely to go on a killing spree.

Re:Unpopular but interesting. (2, Interesting)

tnok85 (1434319) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539297)

I have read it, and I'm sorry, but I'm far from convinced: he makes some good points in his book, but this one is just silly. It's one thing to take a soldier who's going through the brutalising process of basic training, teach them to shoot a gun at a target, then throw them into a war-zone with a gun and people shooting back at them and expect them to shoot back; it's a huge jump to go from there to claiming that shooting a few pixels on a screen using a mouse button in the comfort of your own home will make the average person more likely to go on a killing spree.

It's not a far jump to say that simulating an environment in which we are trained to kill has absolutely no effect on us. Boot camps are essentially extended training simulations, when you look at it like this.

Re:Unpopular but interesting. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28539395)

I take it you have never been to boot camp? See the thing about boot camp is you dont get bored and quit (well you could but its unlikely for most ppl) With video games when you finish playing you get up and go on with your day. They arent similar at all. Soon as you can make a video game tired me out both physically and mentally that makes me have very little fun then you might have an arguement. Really tho who the hell would buy such an unfun game tho?

Re:Unpopular but interesting. (2, Insightful)

pedestrian crossing (802349) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539375)

it's a huge jump to go from there to claiming that shooting a few pixels on a screen using a mouse button in the comfort of your own home will make the average person more likely to go on a killing spree.

It was a "few pixels" back in the days of Space Invaders, but now the push is to make it more and more pixels, to get more realistic.

While I don't think that legislation is appropriate, you're fooling yourself if you think that slaying a monster by bumping into a single ASCII character (ala Nethack) has the same psychological impact as blasting away at a very realistic looking human with a BFG, splashing realistic gore all over the place at 1600x1200.

Next FOX Special... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28539147)

This will probably be on the next Martha MacCallum show on FOX...

Virtual reality as a moral imperative? (2, Interesting)

PsychoKick (97013) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539177)

The closer games get to simulating reality, the less reasons & excuses there are to do bad things in reality. With full immersive VR, the collective id of humanity can be contained in the sandbox "Matrix" where it belongs. Reality may finally become the exclusive domain of our higher nature, unpolluted by our base, obsolete animal/tribal urges.

People are so quick to fear the "corrupting" effects of virtual reality, but it may very well be that VR is the key to establishing an unimaginably better reality.

Its all about self restriction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28539191)

I agree with the self restriction. I personally can't stomach games like gears of war because its too nasty with blood and guts, and I'm 14. People need to draw the line for themselves, and parents need to actually talk to their kids, not just sit them in front of barney... because that is even worse.

Kings also play Chess. (1)

Tei (520358) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539199)

Chess is not a "King murder simulator"/"King murder strategy planner".

You don't "GET IT". Games are not simulations, except these that are simulations (like ArmA 3 or American Army, Flight Simulator, etc). Games are... games, and his conexion with reality is just ...settings. There are rules on a videogame, much like there are rules on a table game. These rules "remenber" how the world work in some ways, but are way too artificial to be a real world, more like separate the game from real world.

In esence, all videogames are still ... Games!.. the fact that could be visually modeling a city, or a battefield, is just eyecandy, the reality is that these games are not citys-like or battlefields-like that any "Tag" game you have played with other childrens at 11 years old.

So games are nor real, nor simulations. And share traits with stuff everything else on our civilization, movies, books, everything. Helll... as children I use to play "cops and thiefs", a game that is much like counter-strike... nope, a game that is counter-strike.

The violent VHS generation (4, Insightful)

denoir (960304) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539213)

In the early 80's when VHS became popular there was a strong movement in Sweden for banning all video imports. The reason cited was that the children would become hooligans at best and mass murderers at worst if they were to exposed to so much violence. Until the early 90's, there were no private TV channels in Sweden. There were two state owned and controlled channels that were very proactive in censoring violence. Movies in theaters were heavily censored as well.

In a way the fear of video was more justified than the fear of video games - there was no prior data on how people react in general when exposed to displays of graphic violence on a regular basis. As it turns out, photorealistic video did not make mass murderers out of the population, so there is really no reason why we should expect the video game generation to be any more violent than the VHS generation.

The video ban in Sweden? It was never introduced, but not for a lack of trying. The reason why it was scrapped was because a ban would have violated some trade agreements. It is a rather remarkable human trait - the desire to stop *other* people from doing something they like. Note that it's always stopping others for their own good. You'll never find somebody saying: Please pass this ban so that I'll stop doing that thing that I know I shouldn't be doing.

Re:The violent VHS generation (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539415)

You'll never find somebody saying: Please pass this ban so that I'll stop doing that thing that I know I shouldn't be doing.

Haven't you ever had a girl call you to see if she's kept up on her diet?

Virtuality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28539233)

Watch Virtuality (new show on Fox), it seems to cover this same issue.

I had to get my training from somewhere (5, Funny)

saladpuncher (633633) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539267)

I have killed more people than Hitler. It's true. I have murdered millions of Nazis and slaughtered as many dragons. I have raped Native Americans and killed hundreds of thousands of cops. I have killed aliens that looked like pigs dressed as cops. I have destroyed feminism by flashing cash at strippers. I have committed genocide. I have wiped the earth clean of barbarians, Romans, Egyptians, Germans, and the Mongols. I have brought sword to creatures great and small because they may be carrying gold. I have killed creatures and then thrown away anything they were carrying because I did not deem it worthy. I have lied, cheated and double crossed denizens of the wasteland, a fairy kingdom, an ancient alien race and time travelers. I have shot mutants and bounty hunters in the groin and face. After killing someone else who I have never met and who had done me no wrong I crouched over his dead body and tea bagged him. I have enslaved a star faring race and then traded those slaves for military secrets. I have spied on other countries, planets and star systems and sabotaged numerous public works to cause strife and disorder. I have starved cities and brought whips down on my workers so that they may finish great works in my name before someone else did the same. I have stabbed kings and rezoned miles of pristine wilderness into ash spewing city hell holes. I have built nuclear reactors and then let them go critical so that I may laugh at the death toll and then, while the people were still putting out the atomic fires, I have unleashed Godzilla and a hurricane onto them. I have built swimming pools and then removed the exit ladders to watch people drown. I have smashed buildings to grab people inside and then eat them.

All of these simulations have trained me well in the off chance I am ever presented with the ability to be an omnipotent, immortal, time traveling, alien, city building, world conquering, sword wielding, post apocalyptic, giant fire breathing, car jacking last great hope for humanity...who also happens to be a complete and total bastard.

Re:I had to get my training from somewhere (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539419)

I have murdered millions of Nazis ...

Millions?! What game was that where you were killing several thousand Nazis a session? Spore?

Murder vs defense (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539295)

In most games, there is a clearly defined good vs evil arrangement. I dont think many would view the baddies in Bioshock as anything other than baddies. In fact, it seems there are three categories of bad guys in games that are always a safe bet that people wont mind killing. Zombies, Nazis, and aliens. Some games break out of that and have a morally gray story, especially RPGs. Fallout 3 for example. You can be a saint and save Megaton from the bomb, or blow them up in the first 30 minutes. I always tend to be the good guy myself, I just dont see the appeal of being evil, even in a game. Taking it a bit further, games like Manhunt (never seen it nor played it I might note) and GTA (same, no interest) are an even darker gray. I dont know squat about Manhunt, but from the little I do I know I dont want to know more. I think wanting to play that crap already shows signs of being a sick bastard, not that its going to turn you into one out of an angel.

draw the line (1)

Strange Ranger (454494) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539319)

I draw the line at servers where gruesome graphic murder is OK but swear words are not.
Think of the children? Seriously??
That's just too messed up to support.

Re:draw the line (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539423)

I draw the line at servers where gruesome graphic murder is OK but swear words are not.

Think of the children? Seriously??

That's just too messed up to support.

Why? Lots of kids run around saying the f-word but not that many of them are campers at the playground.

More moral beings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28539333)

If video games continue to blur the lines between the real and unreal, we need only instill a more intrinsic sense of right and wrong into people.

Further, we may need video games to have "watermarks" once they hit a certain level of realism, ie the matrix type, to help people distinguish between a video game and reality. Watermarks could just be marks in impossible places, like a giant wolf fighting a flamingo in the sky, or by making it so the game breaks the laws of physics in order to show how virtual it is. At the very least make sure they're fighting impossible monsters or possibly robots.

Before games are indistinguishable from reality, we need to make sure we keep them separate. Or, we need to make it so that you'd never do things in a game that you'd do in real life. I'd prefer the first because video games are a fantasy, an escape and a challenge. They're not supposed to be real.

Just an opinion... (1)

tnok85 (1434319) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539345)

But maybe it's the fact that we don't have enough wars going on to suit our nature. It was pretty normal going way back for every male to be involved in at least one or two deadly conflicts in their lifetime. Whether it was over food, land, family, women, or the age old money, wars and violence was much more common.<p>

Ever notice that the vast majority of violent games players are males? And more often than not, males seem to take more satisfaction in the actual 'kill' than a woman? (I'd LOVE to see a study on this, as this is 100% anecdotal).<p>

I think it's natural for a man (and some women) to get their fix of 'violence' - a tendency perhaps inherited from centuries or millennium of justice being doled out with the sharp end of a pointy stick. Maybe we're making up for it now in a super-protective society by simulating it, to an extent.<p>

But yeah, this is all anecdotal. I'm not a sociological scientist.

Re:Just an opinion... (1)

tnok85 (1434319) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539353)

Bah had the wrong Comment Post Mode set....

Perhapss most CAN'T understand... (1)

gohmifune (1420829) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539387)

Video games gratify and glorify violence. Period. When headshots are rewarded with easier challenges and further progression, when there are no options to not kill, when killing gratuitously is a function required to progress a story or an experience, then it can not be argued that games provide positive reinforcement.

In the past year, I've played three games: Gun, Billy Hatcher, and Shadow of the Colossus. In Gun, you can scalp innocents in town and they scream, BEGGING YOU not to do it. In Billy Hatcher, there in practically no violence as even the grunts get away. In Shadow of the Colossus, you have to proactively kill sixteen living creatures which do not bother you for absolutely no net benefit to you as a person, or your character. There are even a couple of instances where the creatures do not fight back.

Needless to say, of the the Billy Hatcher was the most boring and less stimulating of the three, despite it being a great game..

We, the players, have become desensitized to the point that there is no longer cognitive dissonance between the ingame logic which allows or compels me to kill innocents and benefit compared to the real world logic which doesn't allow me to. Instead of saying that it isn't bad, that it isn't real, shouldn't we be asking ourselves how is it that we are unable to recognize it as real in the moment we are doing it.

We've become so far removed from it that games where one does not kill do not sell equally.

Desensitized? (4, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 5 years ago | (#28539407)

I'm in my early 30's. I've spent a great number of hours playing Wolfenstein, Mortal Kombat, Doom, Quake, every incarnation of Grand Theft Auto, Street Fighter, Killer Instinct, and so on. Although I don't have reasonable numbers to work with, I'm comfortable saying I played these violent games more than the average person. I watched a lot of gory movies, too. I've had a healthy dose of Three Stooges and Warner Brothers cartoons to boot.

There are a couple of things about me I'd like to say about me. First, I don't think anybody would ever describe me as violent. It takes a lot to even get me to shout at somebody. I don't bang my fist on the keyboard or steering wheel. I don't threaten to hurt people. I have a real calm demeanor. You've all heard that story from other people before so I'll leave this point here.

Secondly, I'd say I'm about as desensitized as it gets. I really cannot imagine that my exposure to all of this media is anything but 'higher than average'. I didn't even find beating up hookers in GTA all that shocking. (Or fun, either. Despite what the noisy people have said, you start avoid killing pedestrians when the cops come after you and make completing missions difficult. Compare that to, say, Crazy Taxi, and well I can tell you what I'd prefer my future kid to play when learning-to-drive time comes along.)

When I was in college, though, I made a surprising discovery. Somebody mentioned Rotten.com, a site where you can see actual real dead bodies. (Do not go there unless you're really to see something like that. NSFW) Two things really struck me about the content of that site. First was that I gasped and made a bitter-beer-face. Second was that this shit didn't look like anything I had seen in Hollywood. (Although I dare say Starship Troopers was awfully close.) Part of it is simply knowing that this was real and not made up baloney, but part of it was that damaged flesh is a very complex... and goopy, swelly, discolor'y. In other words, I reacted to actual murders and accidents in a way that is significantly different from the way I react to them in video games.

Since observing that, I realized that knowing that something actually happened makes a huge difference. I went by the Television Department in college and saw a safety video that was part of the orientation that rail-road workers were required to watch. I wanted to watch it because I caught part of it and was like "That guy got his foot smashed! Neat!!" So the instructor was like "Okay, watch this..." The video I saw had a train come to a stop and put these legs down on the ground, I assume to stabilize the train while cargo boxes were lifted off it. This guy had his hand in the way and the engineer didn't see it. He extended the gear and *goosh* caught the guy's hand. It was just pushed into the ground so hard that the guy pulled his arm back only to find it hand-less. This was not gory, really. There was no real blood or anything visual, it was all covered up by his jacket. But somewhere in the back of my head, a thought made itself heard: "This happened to somebody. It has probably happened a lot." That little clip was far more disturbing to me than anything in Robocop or any other of Verhoven's movies.

I do not believe violent video games desensitize kids because violent video games are not even heading in the vague direction of reality. I don't care how much better the graphics get, they do not touch on the real horrors of violence. I've yet to even really see a movie that managed this.

I think I understand where the fears of this come from. I think we've all seen kids imitate what they see on TV. I think the experience a video game provides, though, is being given way too much credit. All this talk of 'murder simulators' and the like... but if you were on an airplane and the pilot died, and a teenager volunteered to fly the plane with thousands of hours of Playstation time under his belt, would you take it seriously?

Missing the Point (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28539441)

Somehow the author missed the point about graphic violence and photorealism, especially considering Bioshock. The "fun"-part is not slaughtering human-like monsters and cute little girls throughout the game, it's rather /not/ doing it.

While I have no problem whatsoever killing Monsters that - if at all - look just remotely human all day and all the way long, when it comes down to more and more real looking humans - maybe I even can identify with them - I, as the player, have to make an /ethical/ decision. Which in return adds a whole new dimension to gameplay. We should'nt be looking at graphic violence as a risk or danger to the game industry, we should see it as a chance to create deeper, morally and ethical challenging games. Maybe with a little character-development thrown in.

Take "Fable" for an example. You can go around slaughtering as many humans as you wish and to show that you are "evil" you get horns. Its boring. I as the player have no real ethical choices to make, I don't /get/ as a human that I'm doing evil. I "understand" it, because I get the fuckin horns, but on an emotional level I dont /get/ it. /BioShock/ on the other hand has made a tiny step for me to be morally inclined in my actions in an "murder-simulator", which is a very, very good thing about the game.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>