In this essay I will be critically writing about controversy surrounding video games and how they have been portrayed in the media as well as in the public eye.
One of the first ever games created was ‘two for tennis’ it was developed by William Higinbotham the game featured two lines, which represented the side of the tennis court and also a dot that represented the ball. The game ‘two for tennis’ started what seemed to be a new entertainment format allowing people to get involved with technical devices. These games allowed for competitive play and other methods of playing within the users own home with very little space required. After the popularity of ‘two for tennis’ people began to work on a way to create a platform dedicated to playing video games this is why the infamous pong was created to give the public a new way of experiencing entertainment. The game was developed and released in 1972 by ‘Nolan Bushnell’ it quickly became a success making it one of the first commercially successful arcade game machine.
Modern games have become one of the most popular methods of entertainment gaining a huge fan base and obtaining millions of pounds. Games and consoles are now accessible not only in the users home, but outside the household for example portable and mobile devices. Similar to movies games have constructed a large amount of content therefore needing to be grouped. That’s why games have been grouped into different genres allowing users to easily locate a game based upon, which category it is under for example action, action adventure, sport, simulation, etc.
Games involve people and sometimes make the audience feel, as they are the character within the game exposing them to content and allowing them to make decisions that can change an outcome. Players can also communicate with other players this is normally included within competitive play where the game itself has a person verses person option. Videogames can be described as immersive meaning that the player is surrounded with the content; it has been argued that this is a dangerous matter depending on the genre. Many experiments have been constructed to test how people react when they come into contact with a virtual visual element this includes anything digital that you can see. These tests would allow people to find out what effects may accrue when exposing the mind to such content.
The Bobo doll experiment was conducted in 1961 by a man named Albert Bandura the test was created to prove that people could get ideas they feel they need to act upon through observation and imitation. The experiment involved two group of children one group where shown a video clip of a person beating a clown doll after the clip had finished the children where then released into a room with the same doll where the children repeated what they saw being aggressive and beating the clown. The other group of children where show a video of a person being kind to the doll and when they saw the same doll they treated it with the same kindness the overall outcome was clear and showed depending on the content the children were exposed to depended on the actions they would take.
What this experiment was trying to prove is very similar to the hypodermic needle theory. The hypodermic needle theory is classed as a type of communication the audience receives and accepts the message given wholly with no resistance or objection this theory is now seen as out dated and obsolete, but many still believe a certain percentage of the theory may be true deeming many to act upon contemplations making certain material dangerous. The theory was built up over research done on the propaganda within World War 1 and the Orson Welles war of the world’s incident where Orson went live on air talking about the well-known war of the worlds but unfortunately everyone who was listening thought there was an actual alien attack-taking place.
These theories’ may be titled as outdated, but they still have a valid meaning even in today’s social and digital culture. The hypodermic needle lies heavily on the fact that people do not object to the analogue communication, in some cases this can be true if a mother has lost her son in a crime and people around her blame a certain game she may also blame that game but people may argue it’s because of her state of mind.
One of the biggest question within the media is ‘does the media affect us or do we effect the media?’ media is the largest communication method allowing people to construct social followings and act on day to day routines with aid from such an infrastructure. When looking at the two different sides it’s easy to see why it may be confusing due to popularity a celebrity can wear a certain item of clothing and a week later it can become hugely popular for example ‘Justin Bieber’ and ‘Kanye West’ wore longline tops, which have now become hugely known and are one of the number one fashion item. ‘The guardian’ released how popular longline has now become stating the popular increase as the ‘Kanye effect’.
Games have come under criticism due to the content they have released many deemed them to be to addictive forcing people to do things they normally wouldn’t some would title these particular games as controversial due to the rise of controversies or public disagreement. Games which have been subjected to such allegation and publicly been named controversial are call of duty Modern warfare 2, Bully, Manhunt and many more.
Modern warfare 2 became hugely popular selling 4.7 million copies within 24 hours of release making it one of the best-selling games of 2009. Huge controversy surrounded the game due to the mission ‘no Russia’, which consisted of the player shooting innocent people within an airport this mission was banned in Russia and altered within Japan and Germany where if the player shot a civilian they would fail and the mission would restart. The newspaper Salt lake tribunes editor Vince Horiuchi stated ‘The imagery was too much for the people of the united kingdom following the mass shooting of fort wood’.
Certain games have been blamed for influencing people to murder mostly all the games involve some sort of violence. Some well-known games that have been accused of doing this are Manhunt, Halo 3 and Mw2. Manhunt is a stealth based survival horror, which was released on The 18th November 2003 the game, featured a huge level of violence that led to the game being banned in several countries. A young boy named Warren Leblanc aged seventeen repeatedly battered and stabbed his younger friend Stefan after luring to Leicester Park to steal from him. Stefan’s mother said within the hearing that Warren had copied some aspects of the game Manhunt to carry out the devastating murder.
Patrick Pakeerah the father of the victim stated “I don’t play these games, but if they are influencing kids to go out and kill people then you don’t want them on the shelves” it’s obvious that a huge negative effect has become apparent after this devastating incident, but a lot of the blame has been directed at games this shows that a high amount of people believed that the game influenced the killer into committing a brutal murder a spokesperson for Entertainment and Leisure Software Publisher Association said “we reject any suggestion or association between the tragic events and the sale of the video game Manhunt” they also went on to state that the game was classed eighteen by the British Board of Film Classification and shouldn’t of been in possession of Leblanc seeing as he was aged seventeen. The BBC tiled the story as “Game blamed for hammer murder” other newspapers used the title Murder by PlayStation, which made front-page headlines Titles like this produce bad pliability as it seems like the murder was caused by the game where It could of just been a person who became a killer.
The Halo franchise has become one of the most popular games of all time but in 2007 in the town of wellington located in Ohio a sixteen-year-old boy named Danny Petric went out one day and purchased the game Halo 3 even though his parents had forbidden him from playing it. He was caught playing it and his parents confiscated the game this infuriated Danny Petric and in a burst of rage he charged into the room where the game was confiscated to hold of his father’s gun and shot both his parents. BBC news named this story as Teen Killed mother in Halo 3 row.
When a murder has accrued and involves a video game some newspapers use titles that can across as the game being the main reason for the incident from example “PlayStation murder”, but in this case the murderer blamed video games for making him violent. Fourteen-year-old Nathan Brooks blamed games for making him act in a violent manner before committing hi crime he had already quit playing video games in an act to stop his violent actions from progressing. In March 2013 Nathan Brooks shot both of his parents after they banned him from electronics he later revealed that he had been contemplating killing his parents since the age of eight. So even though he said the games where making him more violent it was also apparent that it most likely wasn’t caused by video games due to the amount of time he had been thinking about acting upon his violent thoughts.
In July 2011 Anders Breivik `killed seventy seven people at a political youth camp on the island of Utoya he admitted that he used holographic aiming technology and the game call of duty modern warfare to practice his aiming. The game didn’t influence him to go out and kill seventy-seven people, but it was part of his training and could be classed as his training ground, which helped him gather his skills for this mass murder.
Games have an objective and once the player completes the objective they receive a reward. This give the player a goal to achieve therefore giving them reason to play the game, the reward could be something as simple as completing the game or something more technical like experience points. Once a player obtains an award other people may want it too for example in “Tom Clancy’s rainbow 6 siege” players can spend in game currency on skins for guns this currency can only be obtained through playing matches this can cause frustration if the player keeps loosing and in some case this can turn physical. I created a presentation showing controversy surrounding video games and people’s opinions on the subject after finishing the presentation I tested an experiment out upon the class this experiment involved me throwing a ball to the and them catching it if they managed to catch it they would receive chocolate. The throw of the ball acts as the objective the catch acts as the completion of the objective and the chocolate would be the reward. After throwing it to only a couple members of the audience I asked if the people without the reward would like one and they all agreed they would after understanding everyone wanted a piece of chocolate I then through it to a person but when I did this I made sure he wouldn’t be able to catch it I then asked him if I did this multiple times would it frustrate him and he replied saying “yes”.
My findings within this experiment goes to show that failing multiple times where other people seem to succeed may lead to anger sometimes even physical behaviour. This is why people may seem concerned, if a game is making people behave in such a manner in what extent can this reach? A lot of stories within certain newspapers that I have listed may narrow the answer down to video games, but can someone be certain that video games are the real reason?
The book ‘10 interesting things about human behaviour’ stated “attitude affects are behaviour, but it is also true that are behaviour can have a direct effect on are attitude” meaning that if something causes you distress therefore giving you a bad attitude it can lead to your behaviour being within the same manner. Another statement within the book is probably one of the most interesting it states “‘Do the right thing and your brain will follow’ Or ‘act like the person you want to be and you just might become that person’ both statements refer to the amazing thing our brains when are behaviour and attitude don’t match. You can learn to like something (or at least become more comfortable with it) by “just doing it” and continuing to do it, even if you initially don’t want to.”’ This statement is very similar to people who play games and if something becomes addictive it may have a negative effect therefore changing their attitude and ultimately their behaviour.
I believe that video games can produce games that are very addictive and sometimes can be classed as immersive, but overall many people react differently to certain things for example some people find it fun playing horror games while others may just find it unnerving. The percentage of crimes linked to video games compared to the percentage of crime which have nothing to do with them are hugely different.
YouTube, which is undeniably becoming the biggest platform for entertainment has an enormous fan base and the YouTuber who has most subscribers is a man named pewdiepi his job is to create video clips and upload them for the entertainment for his audience he already has over 40 million subscribers and 12,025,400,545 views and his main focus within his video clips is games. People have stated his channel as a gaming channel as most of his videos are dedicated to them. This channel is proof that the gaming industry is huge not only do they create games but they also have a wide control over YouTube this is because of the huge fan base.
Overall there is a huge majority of the population who play games or have at least played them once in their life not only have most of these people resisted the temptation to turn to anger or release a rage that turned physical many people may not have even gotten to that stage of emotion. I believe in some sense that games are harmless if exposed to the right people, but sometimes games may be given to people who might find it hard to differ what is real and what is part of a virtual surrounding.
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