The Violent Gamers

In the 21st century, video games have broken onto the world stage, up till 2016, the amount of gamers in the world has reached 1.8 billion, with 1.2

immersive experience makes anything possible

billion gamers playing on PC. Video games have become an important part of the popular culture, people enjoy exploring virtual and fancy worlds as if they were living in the game world. I personally enjoy playing games very much, because it provides a so called “immersive experience” and thus I can do anything I like in the game just like I really did it in the real world.

 

Some people prefer the violent elements, and the game publishers produce the violent games to hit their spots. An example is the famous Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series.

Grand Theft Auto V

In GTA, player can do almost anything they want: robbing, murdering, crashing people, and driving cars, planes, and even submarines. And obviously, nearly none of them are allowed in the real life. The game series has become an outlet for people’s repressed desires, the sales of it faithfully reflects how popular it is: as of February 2018, the latest series, GTA V has shipped over 90 million copies in the worldwide.

Here comes a problem: as you can see, neither laws nor orders exist in the game worlds. Some media criticize the violent games as leading teenagers to commit crimes. As a gamer, I could not agree with that opinion because I don’t think I have ever been influenced by a violent game and thus decided to find some scientific proofs about the connection between violence and game.

A crime happened in the real life

A 14-year-old Idaho boy in Coeur d’Alene confessed to authorities about a pre-planned murder of his family members after idolizing a violent game character, Trevor, in Grand Theft Auto 5 (GTA V). The boy, Eldon Samuel III shot his dad with a .45 calibre handgun, before killing his brother. Samuel later revealed to officers that he “enjoyed playing as Trevor in GTA V, which inspired him to emulate the violent character’s actions in real life”.

Trevor in GTA V

Trevor is usually seen as an extremely aggressive and dangerous character in the GTA series, he usually tends to solve problems with guns, knives and sometimes gas. It’s not hard to understand Samuel’s actions if he was trying to emulate Trevor. Similar to Trevor, the characters in violent games are usually shown as bloodthirsty and aggressive, and there’re some gamers (just like Samuel) who cannot distinguish real and virtual.

Vasilli’s Story

Vasilii was a League of Legends (LOL) professional gamer, on the night of Oct. 26th, he was streaming himself live in LOL. After performing poorly and losing the match, he started to blame his teammates, and his girlfriend advised him to stay calm:

“Why are you still talking now? I’ve told you you better not talk too much.” Said his girlfriend.

“Why?” Vasilli asked with no emotion.

“You are the main problem, you know? And you keep blaming others, not only in game but also fans in stream room.” After saying the words, Vasilli’s girlfriend gave him some advices about the game.

“He keep laughing on me and hurt me hard, mentally.” Said Vasilli.

“You can block him them. Just ignore/block him next time. He’s also streaming, you looked so dumb you know?”

Hearing that, Vasilli suddenly flipping everything in the front of him: the table, the monitor, and the webcam. Because of that, the rest of video is literally invisible, but we can hear him yelling “Are you looking for a beating?” and “I want to kill you right now”. He seems to beat his girlfriend, as he continually yelling dirty words and his girlfriend can be heard yelling and crying, “I don’t know why you’re so mad, you beat me for this?” while furniture goes flying around the room.

(make sure to lower your volume if you decide to watch)

As a result of the incident, Vasilli’s gaming team, as well as his streaming platform, announced that they have terminated their contract with the him, and the police arrived to arrest this gaming star.

The mad guys

If the Vasilli’s case was just an accident, there’re more and more players revealed on the Internet, being angry, reasonless and crazy. They broke their monitors:

punch their friends:

and threw their consoles out of the window:

 

Wait, you forgot the base number

So far, even if I trusted the gamers so much, I’m starting to worry about the influence of the games. The gamers were so aggressive, I believe that there’s no one in the world can save them. But wait, remember the research study on week 5? Data may not represent anything without given the base number, and the base number of the gamers is surprisingly huge!

Anthony Martin Bean, a master of Pacifica Graduate Institute, wrote a dissertation named “Video Gamers’ Personas: A Five Factor Study Exploring Personality Elements of The Video Gamer” for his doctor degree. The dissertation explored 19,416 video gamers’ personalities and analyzed them in scientific ways (the Big Five Inventory, BFI). This dissertation contains everything we need: scientific method and a huge sample capacity!

In the report, the researchers found four distinct and statistically different personality profiles—introversive, extroversive, secure ambiversive and insecure ambiversive—and indicated no support indicated for the different classification of video gamers possessing statistically different personality traits. Also, they found that different genres of video game player have different personality types, but the personalities found did not fit into the criteria of antisocial personalities.

Coincidentally, another dissertation named “Does Playing Video Games with Violent Content Temporarily Increase Aggressive Inclinations? A Pre-registered Experimental Study”, made by the researchers from Northern Illinois University, explored the relationship between violent behavior and the violent video games. The researchers designed an experiment to test whether participants who played a violent video game (VVG) would exhibit increased aggressive inclinations relative to those who played a non-violent video game (NVG):

386 participants were randomly assigned to play a VVG or NVG prior to presumably interacting with another participant. The researchers then measured participants’ aggressive inclinations: participants reported how many pins they would like to stick into a “voodoo doll” representing their interaction partner, and how likely they would be to actually harm their partner.

The report shows that there was no observed difference between the aggressive inclinations displayed by participants who played a NVG and the participants who played a VVG. Thus, the hypothesis that playing a VVG would increase aggressive inclinations was not supported in the study.

Conclusion

There’s no scientific evidence shows that playing video games, not even violent video games, could increase the possibility of being anxiety or aggressive. And the cases showed at the beginning should be the exceptions. The popular culture successfully portrayed games as something that would drive people crazy, by showing what they wanted you to see. I think the process of research taught me a lesson: data is always the best tool to help us tell right from wrong.

 

 

Works Cited

  1. Video gamers’ personas: A five factor study exploring personality elements of the video gamer” Bean, Anthony Martin; https://search-proquest-com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/docview/1733679590
  2. Does playing video games with violent content temporarily increase aggressive inclinations? A pre-registered experimental study” Randy J.McCarthy, Sarah L.Coley, Michael F.Wagner, BettinaZengel, Ariel Basham; 17 Sep. 2016, https://www-sciencedirect-com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/science/article/pii/S0022103115300093#s0045
  3. GTA 5: 14-year-old Boy Kills Father and Brother ‘Inspired’ by Violent Character Trevor” Vinod Yalburgi; 29 Mar. 2014, https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/gta-5-14-year-old-boy-kills-father-brother-inspired-by-violent-character-trevor-1442418
  4. Top 15 Angry Gamers, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zy6laZtRkcM
  5. The version with the minute before Vasilli beat his GF, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06SqXDs3RrE&t=4s
  6. League of legends. Top 5 rage players, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rljG6xrQreE
  7. There are 1.8 billion gamers in the world, and PC gaming dominates the market, https://mygaming.co.za/news/features/89913-there-are-1-8-billion-gamers-in-the-world-and-pc-gaming-dominates-the-market.html
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11 thoughts on “The Violent Gamers

  1. Hey natsuyasum1, I’ve seen some other posts from previous years similar to your topic so I think it’s a great topic because it has stayed relevant for so long! I remember playing GTA Vice City on our PS2 when I was young, maybe 9 or 10 years old, with my siblings who are even younger watching me play. I never gave much thought to it because I was never affected by the game and neither were my siblings. Was it hard to narrow down the artifacts you wanted to focus on? I bet there was a lot on this topic. Good work!

  2. Hi natsuyasum1,

    Good job writing your post! I enjoyed the variety of sources you chose to analyze (some video game characters and some real-life examples). I had never heard of the incident with the boy in Idaho before, how sad. I can see how opponents of violent video games (or video games in general) would use this in their favor. However, a few extreme cases like this doesn’t mean all gamers are violent. You made a good point about needing a base number to compare statistics to. I mean, one of the studies you listed had over 19,000 participants and found no evidence supporting that claim.

  3. Hey natsuyasum1! I grew up playing video games of all sorts but tended to preffer sports games. I always found that when i played a game that was violent in nature like GTA, or Call of Duty or games that involved shooting or violence i tended to get super anxious and i hated the feeling of my heart rate going up like i was actually in battle. I decided from a young age that these type of games that made me feel so anxious and nervous while playing them. I also believe that these type of games do not directly translate to violence but they may normalize these actions of shooting to where it might become an issue. Have you ever been turned off by a game because you didnt like the way it made you feel? And thank you so much for the time and research that you did to put the blog post together!

    Sincerely, Mason Vega

  4. I myself have played my fair share of violent video games and they do get a bad reputation, but it’s something the media can turn to to justify or makes sense of something, that may not make sense. Sure it might de-sensitize kids and glamorize violent actions, but it’s also the responsibility of the community and parents to monitor and dictate, teach and instill values in their children. Regardless, the layout of your blog post is phenomenal and I like how you broke it out in sections. Great job!

  5. Natsuyasum1,
    Great blog topic! I think this is an issue that is very relevant and talked about a lot by older generations. I personally see the examples of gamers acting out, as in Vasilli’s story, and other instances such as swatting, as examples of how video games do actually have the potential to cause an increase in aggression and anxiety in users. These instances show gamers acting in poor ways as a result of their game or an associated reason, and therefore give me reason to feel that in some cases, violent video games do influence behaviors. Just as Mason said above, it had a physical effect on him when he played. However, I feel that these isolated incidents take over media and grab our attention and ultimately put a negative light on violent video games as a whole, rather tan looking at the bigger picture and understanding that these instances occur a small fraction of the time when compared to the overall gamer population. Maybe a more important issue is the power that media has in influencing our opinions on something that we have never really encountered or further investigated!
    Great work!
    -Brittany Schmid

  6. Natsuyasum1,
    I too agree with your opinion that there is no obvious solid connection that violent video games connect to violent actions in the real world and it is also disheartening to hear that very many people, including those in our government, enforce the idea to ban/limit/embargo these games very strongly. What these people do not get to see is the other side to video games that shares its care and compassion. For example, there are many cases of gamers who hold many charity events, such as conventions like Games Done Quick, a convention where “speedrunners” show off their prowess to a live audience and on stream. They raised a collective $2,222,790.52 in 2017! Video games are also the reason many gamers create communities so they can make teams and compete with one another or talk about their favorite video games. Websites I can name that contribute to these communities is the r/gaming subreddit, gamefaq boards, and even twitch and youtube.

  7. natsuyasum1
    Growing up playing videogames my parents never really let me play violent games. I think that for a long time violent videogames have been associated with violent acts. however i think that the real problem lies in the fact that if someone is inherently violent it odes not matter if they play videogames or not because they will do violent things regardless.

  8. Hello, great topic. Growing up ever since I was little I was exposed to violent video games considering I had two older brothers. I always found that the games were really fun because they obviously aren’t a reality. I don’t really play video games anymore but every now and then I will play some. I really think that there isn’t a correlation between violence and these games. People will be violent based upon who they are, not what video games they play. In my opinion violence stems from mental illness not from video games.

  9. Hi,
    A good discussion. Just like in your paper, I’m a person who really loves video games. But in my personal life, it is really hard to found the example that you list on your paper. Therefore I totally agree with “the data not means the fact”. But at the same time, I learn as a player should have a clam attitude.

  10. Hi
    I used to play al lot of video games but I stopped long time ago. I loved playing video games whenever I used to play to video games my parents would monitor me while playing. I would play for certain time so I do not get addicted to video games. I agree with what you said in the decision.
    I think there is no link between violence and these games. I like the way you broke down your essay and the the way it is organized. Well done great job

  11. This is a great post! I love video games, and always have, but I always found it strange that people would argue that GTA or other violent games might cause people to become violent or whatever. I’ve played a number of the GTA games, and I’ve never stolen a car, beat the crap out of people, killed people, or anything. I like that you showed that there is no scientific backing that these games cause people to become violent. This was all very well organized and had some great graphics with it.

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