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Video game controversy

Video game controversy

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Violent video game debates often center on topics such as video game graphic violence
Graphic violence
Graphic violence is the depiction of especially vivid, brutal and realistic acts of violence in visual media such as literature, film, television, and video games...

, sex and sexism, violent and gory scenes, partial or full nudity, portrayal of criminal behavior
Crime
Crime is the breach of rules or laws for which some governing authority can ultimately prescribe a conviction...

, racism, and other provocative and objectionable material. Video games have been studied for links to addiction and aggression
Aggression
In psychology, as well as other social and behavioral sciences, aggression refers to behavior between members of the same species that is intended to cause humiliation, pain, or harm. Ferguson and Beaver defined aggressive behavior as "Behavior which is intended to increase the social dominance of...

. Earlier meta-analyses (an analysis of several studies) were conflicting. A 2001 study found that exposure to violent video games causes at least a temporary increase in aggression and that this exposure correlates with aggression in the real world. A decrease in prosocial behavior
Prosocial behavior
Prosocial behavior, or "voluntary behavior intended to benefit another", consists of actions which "benefit other people or society as a whole," "such as helping, sharing, donating, co- operating, and volunteering." These actions may be motivated by empathy and by concern about the welfare and...

 (caring about the welfare and rights of others) was also noted. Another 2001 meta-analyses using similar methods and a more recent 2009 study focusing specifically on serious aggressive behavior concluded that video game violence is not related to serious aggressive behavior in real life. Many potential positive effects have even been proposed. Recent research has suggested that even some violent video games may actually have a prosocial effect in some contexts for example, team play. It has been argued there is generally a lack of quality studies which can be relied upon and that the video game industry has become an easy target for the media to blame for many modern day problems. The most recent large scale meta-anlysis-- examining 130 studies with over 130,000 subjects worldwide-- concluded that exposure to violent video games causes both short term and long term aggression in players and decreases empathy and prosocial behavior. However, this meta-analysis was severely criticized in the same issue of the same journal for a number of methodological flaws, including failure to distinguish clinically valid from unstandardized aggression measures and for failing to solicit studies from researchers who have questioned whether causal links exist, thus biasing the sample of included studies.

Age


The Entertainment Software Association states that 20% of video game players are boys under the age of 17, 26% are over 50 (regardless of gender), and that the average game player is 37.
In a survey of 1,102 teenagers aged 12 to 17, 97% of them said that they play video games; moreover, half of the survey respondents said that they had played a video game in the last day. Three-quarters of parents who were surveyed said that they check the ratings on their kid's games. However, half of the boys who were asked about their favorite game listed a game with an “M” or “AO” rating as their favorite, compared with 14% of girls.
The adult demographic is the fastest-growing segment of the American video games market with 32% of adults playing video games, although critics have suggested that such statistics are often used to deflect from the fact that almost all American children are exposed to video games.

Gender


While nearly 40% of players are female, a 1998 study conducted at the University of Central Florida found that of the 33 games sampled, 41% do not feature female characters, 28% portrayed woman as sex objects, 21% depicted violence against women, and 30% did not represent the female population at all. Furthermore, characterizations of women tended to be stereotypical: highly sexualized ("visions of beauty with large breasts and hips"), dependent ("victim or as the proverbial 'Damsel in Distress'"), opposed ("evil or as obstacles to the goal of the game"), and trivial ("females depicted [...] in fairly non-significant roles").

However, this report has been criticized for not representing a wide range of video games, and that the games analysed, being up to 20 years old, do not represent the current status of the video game industry, and that strong female characters are now increasingly more prevalent.

A UK survey of 300 women by an online game rental company suggested that female gamers have 34% more sex than female non-gamers. A similarly non-scientific poll suggests that men who play video games are 3 times more likely to admit to masturbating than their non gaming counterparts.

Historically, the video game market has been predominantly male. However, the percentage of women playing games has steadily increased over the past decade. Women now slightly outnumber men playing Web-based games.

Crime and violence


One of the most common criticisms of video games is that they increase the violent tendencies among youth. However, several major studies by groups such as The Harvard Medical School Center for Mental Health
Harvard Medical School
Harvard Medical School is the graduate medical school of Harvard University. It is located in the Longwood Medical Area of the Mission Hill neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts....

, The Journal of Adolescent Health, and The British Medical Journal
BMJ
BMJ is a partially open-access peer-reviewed medical journal. Originally called the British Medical Journal, the title was officially shortened to BMJ in 1988. The journal is published by the BMJ Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Medical Association...

have shown no conclusive link between video game usage and violent activity." One study did find an increase in reports of bullying, noting, "Our research found that certain patterns of video game play were much more likely to be associated with these types of behavioral problems than with major violent crime such as school shootings. One of the first widely accepted controversial video games was developer Exidy
Exidy
Exidy was one of the largest creators of arcade video games during the early period of video games, from 1974 until at least 1986 . The company was founded by H.R."Pete" Kauffman...

's 1976 title Death Race
Death Race (1976 game)
Death Race is a controversial arcade game, released by Exidy in 1976. While not the first violent video game to appear, it was the first video game to inspire a great deal of protest and controversy in the United States.-Overview:...

, in which players controlled cars that ran over pixelated representations of "gremlins". The game caused such an outcry that it was pulled from store shelves and profiled on 60 Minutes
60 Minutes
60 Minutes is an American television news magazine, which has run on CBS since 1968. The program was created by producer Don Hewitt who set it apart by using a unique style of reporter-centered investigation....

. Long Island
Long Island
Long Island is an island located in the southeast part of the U.S. state of New York, just east of Manhattan. Stretching northeast into the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island contains four counties, two of which are boroughs of New York City , and two of which are mainly suburban...

 PTA
Parent-Teacher Association
In the U.S. a parent-teacher association or Parent-Teacher-Student Association is a formal organization composed of parents, teachers and staff that is intended to facilitate parental participation in a public or private school. Most public and private K-8 schools in the U.S. have a PTA, a...

 president Ronnie Lamm pushed for legislation in the early 1980s to place restrictions on how close video game arcades could be to schools, asserting that they caused children to fight. Portrayals of violence allegedly became more realistic with time, and so politicians such as U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman
Joe Lieberman
Joseph Isadore "Joe" Lieberman is the senior United States Senator from Connecticut. A former member of the Democratic Party, he was the party's nominee for Vice President in the 2000 election. Currently an independent, he remains closely affiliated with the party.Born in Stamford, Connecticut,...

 conducted hearings during the 1990s regarding what he referred to as "violent video games" which, in his opinion, included such games as Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat (video game)
Mortal Kombat is a 1992 fighting-game developed and published by Midway for arcades. In 1993, home versions were released by Acclaim Entertainment. Released in the Fall of 1994, the Microsoft Windows 3.1x version was released by Activision Interactive. It is the first title in the Mortal Kombat...

. His sentiments have been echoed by certain researchers, such as Dr. Craig A. Anderson
Craig A. Anderson
Craig A. Anderson is an American professor and director at the Department of Psychology, Iowa State University in Ames, with a PHD from Stanford University in 1980....

 who testified before the Senate, "Some studies have yielded nonsignificant video game effects, just as some smoking studies failed to find a significant link to lung cancer. But when one combines all relevant empirical studies using meta-analytic techniques it shows that violent video games are significantly associated with: increased aggressive behavior, thoughts, and affect; increased physiological arousal; and decreased pro-social (helping) behavior." Anderson himself was later criticized in a 2005 video game court case for failing to cite research that differed from his view.


An example of video game controversy Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is a 2002 open world action computer and video game developed by British games developer Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It is the second 3D game in the Grand Theft Auto video game franchise and sixth original title overall...

came under similar criticism, also for implying allegedly racist
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

 hate crime
Hate crime
In crime and law, hate crimes occur when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a certain social group, usually defined by racial group, religion, sexual orientation, disability, class, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, gender identity, social status or...

s: The game, taking place in "Vice City" (a fictional Miami) in 1986, involves a gang war between Haiti
Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

ans and Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

n refugees, and the player often serves both gangs to plot against one another. Haitian and Cuban anti-defamation groups highly criticized the game for these actions, including using phrases such as "kill the Haitian idiots" (a phrase used in the game, referring to the Haitian gang with which the character is having a shoot-out). After the threat of being sued by the Haitian-American Coalition, Rockstar removed the word "Haitians" from this phrase in the game's subtitles.

Lt. Col. David Grossman
Dave Grossman (author)
Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman is an author who has specialized in the study of the psychology of killing, which has been termed 'killology'.In February 1998 Grossman retired from the military as Professor of Military Science at Arkansas State University...

, a former West Point
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

 psychology professor, has written several books that pertain to the subject of violence in the media, including On Killing and Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill. During heights of video game controversy he has been interviewed on the content of his books, and has repeatedly used the term "murder simulator" to describe first-person shooter
First-person shooter
First-person shooter is a video game genre that centers the gameplay on gun and projectile weapon-based combat through first-person perspective; i.e., the player experiences the action through the eyes of a protagonist. Generally speaking, the first-person shooter shares common traits with other...

 games. He argues that video game publishers unethically train children in the use of weapons and, more importantly, harden them emotionally to the act of murder by simulating the killing of hundreds or thousands of opponents in a single typical video game. Grossman's conclusions have been criticized by some scholars, however, as highly selective and misleading.

Research published in 2001 suggested that violent video games may increase mild forms of aggressive behavior in children and young adults. Analyses also showed that exposure to violent video games results in increased physiological arousal, aggression-related thoughts and feelings as well as decreased prosocial behavior. The research comprised a meta analysis, laboratory and field studies. However meta-analyses by other groups have not replicated these findings and these other groups have been critical of attempts to link violent games with aggression. For instance John Sherry has said (2007) "Further, why do some researchers (e.g. Gentile & Anderson, 2003) continue to argue that video games are dangerous despite evidence to the contrary?” (p. 244).

A study by Dr. Craig A. Anderson
Craig A. Anderson
Craig A. Anderson is an American professor and director at the Department of Psychology, Iowa State University in Ames, with a PHD from Stanford University in 1980....

 et al. compared the effects of violent video games to those of smoking on lung cancer This view has been challenged, however. For instance, Ferguson (2010) has ruled out a relationship between video game violence and serious aggression, concluding "Taken together these meta-analyses range from those which argue against meaningful effects to those which find weak effects. Thus the debate on video game violence has been reduced to whether video game violence produces no effects…or almost no effects."

Other studies reach the conclusion that violence in video games is not causally linked with aggressive tendencies. This was the conclusion of a 1999 study by the U.S. government, prompting Surgeon General
Surgeon General of the United States
The Surgeon General of the United States is the operational head of the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and thus the leading spokesperson on matters of public health in the federal government...

 David Satcher
David Satcher
David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D. FAAFP, FACPM, FACP is an American physician, and public health administrator. He was a four-star admiral in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and served as the 10th Assistant Secretary for Health, and the 16th Surgeon General of the United...

 to say, "We clearly associate media violence to aggressive behavior. But the impact was very small compared to other things. Some may not be happy with that, but that’s where the science is." A meta-analysis
Meta-analysis
In statistics, a meta-analysis combines the results of several studies that address a set of related research hypotheses. In its simplest form, this is normally by identification of a common measure of effect size, for which a weighted average might be the output of a meta-analyses. Here the...

 by psychologist
Psychologist
Psychologist is a professional or academic title used by individuals who are either:* Clinical professionals who work with patients in a variety of therapeutic contexts .* Scientists conducting psychological research or teaching psychology in a college...

 Jonathan Freedman, who reviewed over 200 published studies and found that the "vast and overwhelming majority" did not find a causal link, also reached this conclusion. A US Secret Service study found that only 12% of those involved in school shootings were attracted to violent video games, while 24% read violent books and 27% were attracted to violent films. An Australian study found that only children already predisposed to violence were affected by violent games. A recent long-term outcome study of youth found no long-term relationship between playing violent video game and youth violence or bullying

A recent longitudinal study of youth in Germany found that aggressive children tend to select more violent video games, not the inverse. This study found no evidence violent games are psychologically harmful to minors. The authors further speculated other studies may have found spurious effects due to focusing on youth self-report of aggression rather than reports by parents or teachers, the so called "single responder bias" .

In Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do
Grand Theft Childhood
Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do is a book by Lawrence Kutner, Ph.D. and Cheryl K. Olson, Sc.D. In it, they draw various conclusions that run contrary to the rhetoric of some politicians and activists. Along with psychiatrist Eugene V...

, researchers/authors Lawrence Kutner
Lawrence Kutner (psychologist)
Lawrence Kutner is an American child psychologist. He is a member of the faculty at Massachusetts General Hospital, and the author of a number of popular books on child psychology...

, PhD, and Cheryl K. Olson, ScD, refute claims of violent behavior increase caused by violent video games. The researchers' study shows that adolescents that don't play video games at all are most at-risk for violent behavior (but without statistical significance), claiming that video game play is part of an adolescent boy's normal social setting. However, they do not completely deny violent (M-rated) video games' negative influences on pre-teens and teenagers. Kutner and Olson say the views of both alarmists and the video game industry are often supported by flawed or misconstrued studies. The real risks according to them are not just about exposure to violence, gore and sex but are more subtle with some children at greater risk than others.

Official records show that violent crime rates have declined dramatically since the early 1990s in the USA, among both juveniles and adults. This is despite sales of violent video games exploding and their content becoming increasingly graphic during the same period. Video game violence is not the primary contributor to societal violence, however, as there are many other factors at play.

According to media scholar Henry Jenkins
Henry Jenkins
Henry Jenkins III is an American media scholar and currently a Provost Professor of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts, a joint professorship at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and the USC School of Cinematic Arts...

:
Fears have been expressed about exposure to violent video games, often demonstrating the correlation is not causation fallacy. For example, politicians and other people and organizations have considered video games effects on society, where the causative factor was not clear, "there has been some fears specially from UK news service that hijackers may have used flight simulator software to practice flying jet planes, also, Beam Breakers removed all references to the World Trade Center
World Trade Center
The original World Trade Center was a complex with seven buildings featuring landmark twin towers in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. The complex opened on April 4, 1973, and was destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. The site is currently being rebuilt with five new...

 already used in the game 1". In this scenario, politicians seemed to propose that an organized terrorist conspiracy that planned the hijacking of passenger jets to use as projectiles in attacks on buildings was somehow influenced by flight simulator software. This ignores both the fact that flight simulators are nonviolent (rewarding successful completion of the flight, not destruction of the plane) and that the flight simulator software was being used to learn flight controls by individuals already well into the process of executing a terrorist attack.

Biological links to aggressive behavior


Some researchers believe that while playing violent video games leads to violent actions, there are also biological influences that impact a person's choices. According to Sean P. Neubert of Rochester Institute of Technology, a person who is biologically predisposed to aggression will be more strongly influenced by violent scenes and thus will have a greater risk for carrying out destructive actions. For example someone with Antisocial personality disorder
Antisocial personality disorder
Antisocial personality disorder is described by the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth edition , as an Axis II personality disorder characterized by "...a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood...

 has a greater risk of going out and shooting someone after playing hours of Grand Theft Auto or a game of a similar nature.

Other biological theories of aggression and violence have specifically excluded video game and other media effects. For instance the Catalyst Model proposed by Ferguson and Beaver specifically exclude media violence as a contributor to violence, arguing research evidence for such effects have been weak, and media violence is too distal a factor to have much influence.

Sexual themes


Sexual themes in video games are much less tolerated in the US than violent themes; the most well-known example of this is the Hot Coffee controversy. In June 2005, an entire portion of unused code was found within the main script of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is a 2004 open world action video game developed by British games developer Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It is the third 3D game in the Grand Theft Auto video game franchise, the fifth original console release and eighth game overall...

, allowing the player to simulate sex with the main character's girlfriends. The game could be accessed in the PC version via a mod
Mod (computer gaming)
Mod or modification is a term generally applied to personal computer games , especially first-person shooters, role-playing games and real-time strategy games. Mods are made by the general public or a developer, and can be entirely new games in themselves, but mods are not standalone software and...

, and through Action Replay codes in the PS2
PlayStation 2
The PlayStation 2 is a sixth-generation video game console manufactured by Sony as part of the PlayStation series. Its development was announced in March 1999 and it was first released on March 4, 2000, in Japan...

 and Xbox
Xbox
The Xbox is a sixth-generation video game console manufactured by Microsoft. It was released on November 15, 2001 in North America, February 22, 2002 in Japan, and March 14, 2002 in Australia and Europe and is the predecessor to the Xbox 360. It was Microsoft's first foray into the gaming console...

 versions. The fact that the scene was left on the disc, and could be accessed by altering a few bytes of the game's code via a hex editor, prompted the Entertainment Software Rating Board
Entertainment Software Rating Board
The Entertainment Software Rating Board is a self-regulatory organization that assigns age and content ratings, enforces industry-adopted advertising guidelines, and ensures responsible online privacy principles for computer and video games as well as entertainment software in Canada, Mexico and...

 (ESRB) to change the rating of San Andreas to "Adults Only" on July 20, 2005. The game was pulled from many stores; Rockstar Games
Rockstar Games
Rockstar Games is a major video game developer and publisher based in New York City, owned by Take-Two Interactive following its purchase of UK video game publisher BMG Interactive. The brand is mostly known for Grand Theft Auto, Max Payne, L.A...

 posted a loss of $28.8 million that quarter.

Almost no North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

n video games display full frontal nudity. Sexual themes are more common in Japanese PC games
Eroge
An or Ero-ga is a Japanese video or computer game that features erotic content, usually in the form of anime-style artwork. Eroge originated from galge, but unlike galge, they feature erotic/pornographic content.-History:...

, but console companies such as Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony do not license adult-only content games for their systems.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) characters have been depicted in some video games since the 1980s. LGBT content has been subject to changing rules and regulations by game companies, which are generally examples of heterosexism
Heterosexism
Heterosexism is a system of attitudes, bias, and discrimination in favor of opposite-sex sexuality and relationships. It can include the presumption that everyone is heterosexual or that opposite-sex attractions and relationships are the only norm and therefore superior...

 in that heterosexuality is normalized while homosexuality is subject to additional censorship or ridicule. Sexual orientation
Sexual orientation
Sexual orientation describes a pattern of emotional, romantic, or sexual attractions to the opposite sex, the same sex, both, or neither, and the genders that accompany them. By the convention of organized researchers, these attractions are subsumed under heterosexuality, homosexuality,...

 and gender identity
Gender identity
A gender identity is the way in which an individual self-identifies with a gender category, for example, as being either a man or a woman, or in some cases being neither, which can be distinct from biological sex. Basic gender identity is usually formed by age three and is extremely difficult to...

 have served a significant role in some console and personal computer games, with the trend being toward greater visibility of LGBT identities, in special in Japanese popular culture
Homosexuality in Japan
Records of men who have sex with men in Japan date back to ancient times. Western scholars have identified these as evidence of homosexuality in Japan.There were few laws restricting sexual behavior in Japan before the early modern period...

 and games marketed to LGBT consumers
Pink money
Pink money describes the purchasing power of the gay community, often especially with respect to political donations. With the rise of the gay rights movement, pink money has gone from being a fringe or marginalized market to a thriving industry in many parts of the Western world such as the...

.

Reinforcement of sexist stereotypes has also been claimed as an effect of violent video games.

Social development


Over two hundred studies have been published which examine the effects of violence in entertainment media and which at least partially focus on violence in video games in particular. Some psychological studies have shown a correlation between children playing violent video games and suffering psychological effects, although many other studies find no such link causation
Causality
Causality is the relationship between an event and a second event , where the second event is understood as a consequence of the first....

.

In 2004 the American Psychological Association
American Psychological Association
The American Psychological Association is the largest scientific and professional organization of psychologists in the United States. It is the world's largest association of psychologists with around 154,000 members including scientists, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. The APA...

 summarized the issue as "Psychological research confirms that violent video games can increase children's aggression, but that parents moderate the negative effects." A more recent press release by the APA in 2010 summarized recent research findings as "Bad effects depend on certain personality traits; games can offer learning opportunities for others". Craig Anderson
Craig A. Anderson
Craig A. Anderson is an American professor and director at the Department of Psychology, Iowa State University in Ames, with a PHD from Stanford University in 1980....

 has conducted meta-analysis
Meta-analysis
In statistics, a meta-analysis combines the results of several studies that address a set of related research hypotheses. In its simplest form, this is normally by identification of a common measure of effect size, for which a weighted average might be the output of a meta-analyses. Here the...

 of previous studies and claimed they have demonstrated five effects: "increased aggressive behavior, thoughts, and affect; increased physiological arousal; and decreased pro-social (helping) behavior". Nevertheless, other studies have explicitly denied that such a connection exists, most notably Anderson and Ford (1986), Winkel et al. (1987), Scott (1995), Ballard and Lineberger (1999), and Jonathan Freedman (2002). More recently, Block and Crain (2007) claim that in a critical paper by Anderson (and his co-author, Bushman), data was improperly calculated and produced fallacious results. Other meta-analyses by other groups, such as by Ferguson and Kilburn (2009) and Sherry (2007) have repudiated any links between video game violence and aggression, as have recent reviews by the Australian Government (2010) and the US Supreme Court (June, 2011).

After conducting a two-year study of more than 1,200 Middle School
Middle school
Middle School and Junior High School are levels of schooling between elementary and high schools. Most school systems use one term or the other, not both. The terms are not interchangeable...

 children about their attitudes towards video games, Harvard Medical School
Harvard Medical School
Harvard Medical School is the graduate medical school of Harvard University. It is located in the Longwood Medical Area of the Mission Hill neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts....

 researcher
Researcher
A researcher is somebody who performs research, the search for knowledge or in general any systematic investigation to establish facts. Researchers can work in academic, industrial, government, or private institutions.-Examples of research institutions:...

s Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson found that playing video games did not have a particularly negative effect on the researched group.

The portrayal of race in video games has also recently become an issue, seen in games such as the Grand Theft Auto series
Grand Theft Auto (series)
Grand Theft Auto is a multi-award-winning British video game series created in the United Kingdom by Dave Jones, then later by brothers Dan Houser and Sam Houser, and game designer Zachary Clarke. It is primarily developed by Edinburgh based Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games...

, 50 Cent: Bulletproof
50 Cent: Bulletproof
50 Cent: Bulletproof is a video game for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox platforms. It was developed in response to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas after 50 Cent was asked to voice the game's protagonist Carl "CJ" Johnson with 50 Cent stating that he will only voice himself in video games...

, and Def Jam: Fight for NY
Def Jam: Fight for NY
Def Jam: Fight for NY is the sequel to Def Jam Vendetta, a hip hop-influenced 3D fighting game released for the GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox and is followed by Def Jam: Icon...

. In 2009, the issue of race emerged with the release of Resident Evil 5
Resident Evil 5
Resident Evil 5, known in Japan as , is a survival horror third-person shooter video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the seventh installment in the Resident Evil survival horror series, and was released on March 5, 2009 in Japan and on March 13, 2009 in North America and Europe...

, which has the player kill numerous African enemies, resulting in arguments from both sides of the issue. Supporters of Resident Evil 5 argued however that to censor the portrayal of black antagonists was discrimination in itself. A similar outrage also occurred when it was revealed that "Left 4 Dead 2
Left 4 Dead 2
Left 4 Dead 2 is a cooperative first-person shooter video game. It is the sequel to Valve Corporation's award-winning Left 4 Dead. The game launched on November 17, 2009, for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360 in the United States and November 20 in Europe; in 2010, Left 4 Dead 2 was made available to...

", set in New Orleans, would include African-American zombies. These and other games demonstrate an interesting trend towards the increased presence of racial differences in video games. Indeed, it is true that “Significantly, these games, and particularly their questionable claims of authenticity, establish compelling learning environments that help facilitate how young gamers develop their knowledge of and familiarity with popular views of race and urban culture.”

Addiction



Video game addiction is excessive or compulsive
Compulsive behavior
Compulsive behavior is behavior which a person does compulsively—in other words, not because they want to behave that way, but because they feel they have to do so....

 use of computer and video games that interferes with daily life. Instances have been reported in which users play compulsively, isolating themselves from family and friends or from other forms of social contact
Interpersonal relationship
An interpersonal relationship is an association between two or more people that may range from fleeting to enduring. This association may be based on limerence, love, solidarity, regular business interactions, or some other type of social commitment. Interpersonal relationships are formed in the...

, and focus almost entirely on in-game achievements rather than broader life events.

Publicized incidents



Several incidents speculated to be related to video games in recent decades have helped fuel controversy.
  • On November 22, 1997, thirteen-year-old Noah Wilson died when his friend Yancy stabbed him in the chest with a kitchen knife. The mother of Noah, Andrea Wilson, alleges that her son was stabbed to death because of his obsession with the Midway game Mortal Kombat. She alleges that Yancy S. was so obsessed with the game, that the child thought he was actually the character Cyrax. This character, Cyrax, used a finishing move
    Fatality (Mortal Kombat)
    In the Mortal Kombat series of fighting games, a Fatality is a finishing move that can be used against one's defeated opponent at the end of the final match, after the boss character says "Finish Him/Her." The Fatalities are usually lethal, featuring a brutal and morbid execution of the defenseless...

     in which the character grabs the opponent in a headlock and stabs the character's opponent in the chest. Wilson alleges that this is the maneuver in which Yancy S., killed her son. However, despite the character's other varieties of finishing moves, the character Cyrax does not actually perform this move at all. The conclusion of Wilson v. Midway games, Inc. was, according to the court case report, "Wilson's complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The product liability counts fail because Mortal Kombat is not a "product" within the purview-of the CPLA [...]"
  • On April 20, 1999, 18-year-old Eric Harris and 17-year-old Dylan Klebold
    Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold
    Eric David Harris and Dylan Bennet Klebold were American high school seniors who committed the Columbine High School massacre. They killed 13 people—including teacher Dave Sanders—and injured 24 others, three of whom were injured as they escaped the attack...

     killed 12 students and a teacher in the Columbine High School massacre
    Columbine High School massacre
    The Columbine High School massacre occurred on Tuesday, April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School in Columbine, an unincorporated area of Jefferson County, Colorado, United States, near Denver and Littleton. Two senior students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, embarked on a massacre, killing 12...

    . The two were allegedly obsessed
    Fixation (psychology)
    Fixation: 'concept originated by Sigmund Freud to denote the persistence of anachronistic sexual traits'. Subsequently '"Fixation" acquired a broader connotation...

     with the video game Doom. Harris also created WADs
    Doom WAD
    Doom WAD format is default format of package files for the video game Doom or its sequel Doom II, that are containing sprites, levels, and game data. WAD stands for Where's All the Data?...

     for the game, and created a large mod
    Mod (computer gaming)
    Mod or modification is a term generally applied to personal computer games , especially first-person shooters, role-playing games and real-time strategy games. Mods are made by the general public or a developer, and can be entirely new games in themselves, but mods are not standalone software and...

     named "Tier" which he called his "life's work". Contrary to certain rumors, however, neither student had made a Doom level mimicking the school's layout, and there is no evidence the pair practiced the massacre in Doom.
  • In April 2000, 16-year-old Spanish teenager José Rabadán Pardo murdered his father, mother and his sister with a katana
    Katana
    A Japanese sword, or , is one of the traditional bladed weapons of Japan. There are several types of Japanese swords, according to size, field of application and method of manufacture.-Description:...

    , proclaiming that he was on an "avenging mission" by Squall Leonhart
    Squall Leonhart
    is the main protagonist of Final Fantasy VIII, a role-playing game by Square . He was designed by Tetsuya Nomura, with heavy influences coming from game director Yoshinori Kitase. Squall has appeared in several other games, such as the Kingdom Hearts series, where he appears under the name ;...

    , the main character
    Characters of Final Fantasy VIII
    Square's 1999 best-selling console role-playing game Final Fantasy VIII deals with an elite group of mercenaries called "SeeD", as well as soldiers, rebels, and political leaders of various nations and cities. Thirteen weeks after its release, Final Fantasy VIII had earned more than US$50 million...

     of the video game Final Fantasy VIII
    Final Fantasy VIII
    is a role-playing video game released for the PlayStation in 1999 and for Windows-based personal computers in 2000. It was developed and published by Square as the Final Fantasy series' eighth title, removing magic point-based spell-casting and the first title to consistently use realistically...

    .
  • In November 2001, 21-year-old American Shawn Woolley committed suicide after what his mother claimed was an addiction to EverQuest
    EverQuest
    EverQuest, often shortened to EQ, is a 3D fantasy-themed massively multiplayer online role-playing game that was released on the 16th of March, 1999. The original design is credited to Brad McQuaid, Steve Clover, and Bill Trost...

    . Woolley's mother stated, "I think the way the game is written is that when you first start playing it, it is fun, and you make great accomplishments. And then the further you get into it, the higher level you get, the longer you have to stay on it to move onward, and then it isn't fun anymore. But by then you're addicted, and you can't leave it."
  • In February 2003, 16-year-old American Dustin Lynch
    Dustin Lynch
    Dustin Lynch is a criminal from Ohio who sparked a large controversy over the video game Grand Theft Auto III when he committed one act of first degree murder, killing JoLynn Mishne on November 2, 2002. Lynch was to be represented by lawyer Jack Thompson, claiming that he was 'obsessed' with GTA...

     was charged with aggravated murder and made an insanity defense that he was "obsessed" with Grand Theft Auto III
    Grand Theft Auto III
    Grand Theft Auto III is a 2001 open world action computer and video game developed by DMA Design in the United Kingdom, and published by Rockstar Games. It is the first 3D title in the Grand Theft Auto series. It was released in October 2001 for the PlayStation 2, May 2002 for Microsoft Windows,...

    . Long time video game opponent and former attorney Jack Thompson encouraged the father of victim JoLynn Mishne to pass a note to the judge that said "the attorneys had better tell the jury about the violent video game that trained this kid [and] showed him how to kill our daughter, JoLynn. If they don't, I will." Lynch later retracted his insanity plea, and his mother Jerrilyn Thomas commented, "It has nothing to do with video games or Paxil
    Paroxetine
    Paroxetine is an SSRI antidepressant. Marketing of the drug began in 1992 by the pharmaceutical company SmithKline Beecham, now GlaxoSmithKline...

    , and my son's no murderer."
  • On June 7, 2003, 18-year-old American Devin Moore shot and killed two policemen and a dispatcher after grabbing one of the officers' weapons following an arrest for the possession of a stolen vehicle. At trial, the defense claimed that Moore had been inspired by the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
    Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
    Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is a 2002 open world action computer and video game developed by British games developer Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It is the second 3D game in the Grand Theft Auto video game franchise and sixth original title overall...

    .
  • On June 25, 2003, two American step brothers, Joshua and William Buckner, aged 14 and 16, respectively, used a rifle to fire at vehicles on Interstate 40
    Interstate 40
    Interstate 40 is the third-longest major east–west Interstate Highway in the United States, after I-90 and I-80. Its western end is at Interstate 15 in Barstow, California; its eastern end is at a concurrency of U.S. Route 117 and North Carolina Highway 132 in Wilmington, North Carolina...

     in Tennessee
    Tennessee
    Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

    , killing a 45-year-old man and wounding a 19-year-old woman. The two shooters told investigators they had been inspired by Grand Theft Auto III
    Grand Theft Auto III
    Grand Theft Auto III is a 2001 open world action computer and video game developed by DMA Design in the United Kingdom, and published by Rockstar Games. It is the first 3D title in the Grand Theft Auto series. It was released in October 2001 for the PlayStation 2, May 2002 for Microsoft Windows,...

    .
  • On February 27, 2004 in Leicester
    Leicester
    Leicester is a city and unitary authority in the East Midlands of England, and the county town of Leicestershire. The city lies on the River Soar and at the edge of the National Forest...

    , UK
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

    , 17-year-old Warren Leblanc lured 14-year-old Stefan Pakeerah into a park and murdered him by stabbing him repeatedly with a claw hammer
    Claw hammer
    A claw hammer is a tool primarily used for pounding nails into, or extracting nails from, some other object. Generally, a claw hammer is associated with woodworking but is not limited to use with wood products...

     and knife
    Knife
    A knife is a cutting tool with an exposed cutting edge or blade, hand-held or otherwise, with or without a handle. Knives were used at least two-and-a-half million years ago, as evidenced by the Oldowan tools...

    . Leblanc was reportedly obsessed with Manhunt
    Manhunt (video game)
    Manhunt is a stealth game developed by Rockstar Games. It was released to the public on November 18, 2003 for the PlayStation 2 console, and on April 20, 2004 for Xbox and PC. Although it was generally well-received by critics, Manhunt created a controversy due to the graphic violence the player...

    , although investigation quickly revealed that the killer did not even own a copy of the game. The victim's mother Giselle Pakeerah has been campaigning against violent video games in the UK
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

     ever since. The police investigating the case have dismissed any link, as discussed in the relevant articles.
  • In October 2004, a 41-year-old Chinese man named Qiu Chengwei stabbed 26-year-old Zhu Caoyuan to death over a dispute regarding the sale of a virtual weapon the two had jointly won in the game The Legend of Mir 3
    The Legend of Mir 3
    The Legend of Mir 3 is a sprite based isometric 3-D massively multiplayer online role-playing game, developed by Wemade Entertainment. It is a sequel to the hugely popular game The Legend of Mir 2....

    .
  • On December 27, 2004, 13-year-old Xiao Yi committed suicide by jumping from a twenty-four story building in Tianjin
    Tianjin
    ' is a metropolis in northern China and one of the five national central cities of the People's Republic of China. It is governed as a direct-controlled municipality, one of four such designations, and is, thus, under direct administration of the central government...

    , China, as a result of the effects of his addiction, hoping to be "reunited" with his fellow gamers in the afterlife, according to his suicide notes. Prior to his death, he had spent 36 consecutive hours playing Warcraft III
    Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos
    Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos is a real time strategy computer game released by Blizzard Entertainment on July 3, 2002 . It is the second sequel to Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, and it is the third game set in the Warcraft Universe...

    .
  • In August 2005, 28-year-old South Korean Lee Seung Seop died after playing StarCraft
    StarCraft
    StarCraft is a military science fiction real-time strategy video game developed by Blizzard Entertainment. The first game of the StarCraft series was released for Microsoft Windows on 31 March 1998. With more than 11 million copies sold worldwide as of February 2009, it is one of the best-selling...

    for 50 hours straight. His death is portrayed on the TV show 1000 Ways to Die
    1000 Ways to Die
    1000 Ways to Die is a docufiction anthology television series that premiered on May 14, 2008 on Spike. The program recreates unusual supposed deaths and debunked urban legends and includes interviews with experts who describe the science behind each death...

  • Controversy of speeding and evading the authority
    Moving violation
    A moving violation is any violation of the law committed by the driver of a vehicle while it is in motion. The term "motion" distinguishes it from other violations such as parking violations, equipment violations, or paperwork violations relating to insurance, registration, inspection, etc.-...

     in racing games surfaced when a copy of Need for Speed: Most Wanted
    Need for Speed: Most Wanted
    Need for Speed: Most Wanted is a racing video game developed by EA Black Box and published by Electronic Arts. It is the tenth installment in the Need for Speed series. The game features street racing-oriented game play, with certain customization options from the Need for Speed: Underground series...

    was found on one of the street racers' car in Toronto
    Toronto
    Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

     on January 19, 2006, when two 18-year-olds, Alexander Ryazanov and Wang-Piao Dumani Rossracers, were involved in an accident resulting in the death of taxi-driver Tahir Khan. Nevertheless, the police did not find any connection between the game and the incident.
  • In June 2007, 22-year-old Alejandro Garcia from Texas shot dead his cousin after arguing over whose turn it was to play the game Scarface: The World Is Yours
    Scarface: The World is Yours
    Scarface: The World Is Yours is a video game developed by Radical Entertainment and published by Vivendi Universal Games. The game is based on and is a quasi-sequel to the 1983 motion picture Scarface starring Al Pacino reprising his role as Tony Montana, with André Sogliuzzo providing Montana's...

    . He pleaded guilty for murder at his trial on April 6, 2011, and will serve 15 to 30 years in prison.
  • In September 2007, a Chinese man in Guangzhou
    Guangzhou
    Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

    , China
    People's Republic of China
    China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

    , died after playing Internet video games for three consecutive days in an Internet cafe.
  • In September 2007 in Ohio, 16-year-old Daniel Petric
    Daniel Petric
    Daniel Petric is a teenager from Wellington, Ohio who shot both of his parents at the age of 16 over a video game disagreement. His mother was killed and his father was badly injured, but recovered.-Background:...

     snuck out of his bedroom window to purchase the game Halo 3
    Halo 3
    Halo 3 is a first-person shooter video game developed by Bungie for the Xbox 360 console. The third installment in the Halo franchise, the game concludes the story arc begun in Halo: Combat Evolved and continued in Halo 2...

    against the orders of his father, a minister at New Life Assembly of God in Wellington, Ohio
    Wellington, Ohio
    Wellington is a village in Lorain County, Ohio, United States. The population was 4,511 at the 2000 census.-History:Wellington was settled in 1818 by Ephraim Wilcox, Charles Sweet, William T. Welling, John Clifford, and Joseph Wilson from the states of Massachusetts and New York...

    , U.S. His parents eventually banned him from the game after he spent up to 18 hours a day with it, and secured it in a lockbox in a closet where the father also kept a 9mm handgun, according to prosecutors. In October 2007, Daniel used his father's key to open the lockbox and remove the gun and the game. He then entered the living room of his house and shot both of them in the head, killing his mother and wounding his father. Petric is sentenced to life in prison without parole, which was later commuted
    Commutation of sentence
    Commutation of sentence involves the reduction of legal penalties, especially in terms of imprisonment. Unlike a pardon, a commutation does not nullify the conviction and is often conditional. Clemency is a similar term, meaning the lessening of the penalty of the crime without forgiving the crime...

     to 23 years in imprisonment. Defense attorneys argued that Petric was influenced by video game addiction, the court dismissed these claims. The judge, James Burge commented that while he thought there was ample evidence the boy knew what he was doing, Burge thought the game had affected him like a drug, saying "I firmly believe that Daniel Petric had no idea at the time he hatched this plot that if he killed his parents they would be dead forever."
  • In October 2007, the police falsely reported that Alan Locke, age 29, who killed a man with a switchblade did so because of the game "Assassins Creed" despite the fact that the game was not even released yet. They later took back this statement.
  • In December 2007, 17-year-old Lamar Roberts and 16-year-old Heather Trujillo were accused of beating a seven-year-old girl to death. They are said to have been imitating the moves taken from the game "Mortal Kombat".
  • In December 2007, a Russian man was beaten to death over an argument in the MMORPG Lineage II
    Lineage II
    Lineage II is a massive multiplayer online role-playing game for Microsoft Windows. It is a prequel to Lineage, and is set 150 years before the earlier game. It has become very popular since its October 1, 2003 launch in South Korea, reporting 1,000,918 unique users during the month of March 2007...

    . The man was killed when his guild
    Clan (computer gaming)
    In computer and video gaming, a clan or guild is an organised group of players that regularly play together in a particular multiplayer games. These games range from groups of a few friends to 1000-person organizations, with a broad range of structures, goals and members. The lifespan of a clan...

     and a rival one challenged each other to a real-life brawl.
  • False reports initially claimed that Seung-Hui Cho
    Seung-Hui Cho
    Seung-Hui Cho was a senior-level undergraduate student at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University who killed 32 people and wounded 17 others on April 16, 2007, in the shooting rampage which came to be known as the "Virginia Tech massacre." Cho later committed suicide after law...

    , the killer in the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre
    Virginia Tech massacre
    The Virginia Tech massacre was a school shooting that took place on April 16, 2007, on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, United States. In two separate attacks, approximately two hours apart, the perpetrator, Seung-Hui Cho, killed 32 people...

     was an avid Counter-Strike
    Counter-Strike
    Counter-Strike is a tactical first-person shooter video game developed by Valve Corporation which originated from a Half-Life modification by Minh "Gooseman" Le and Jess "Cliffe" Cliffe...

    player. However, police reports said that roommates of Cho had never seen him play any video games. Despite these discoveries, disbarred attorney Jack Thompson continued to erroneously claim that video games were to blame.
  • In June 2008, four teens allegedly obsessed with Grand Theft Auto IV
    Grand Theft Auto IV
    Grand Theft Auto IV is a 2008 open world action video game published by Rockstar Games, and developed by British games developer Rockstar North. It has been released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 video game consoles, and for the Windows operating system...

    went on a crime spree after being in New Hyde Park, New York. They first robbed a man, knocking his teeth out and then they stopped a woman driving a black BMW
    BMW
    Bayerische Motoren Werke AG is a German automobile, motorcycle and engine manufacturing company founded in 1916. It also owns and produces the Mini marque, and is the parent company of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. BMW produces motorcycles under BMW Motorrad and Husqvarna brands...

     and stole her car and her cigarettes.
  • On August 2, 2008, Polwat Chinno, a 19-year-old Thai
    Thai people
    The Thai people, or Siamese, are the main ethnic group of Thailand and are part of the larger Tai ethnolinguistic peoples found in Thailand and adjacent countries in Southeast Asia as well as southern China. Their language is the Thai language, which is classified as part of the Kradai family of...

     teenager, stabbed a Bangkok
    Bangkok
    Bangkok is the capital and largest urban area city in Thailand. It is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or simply Krung Thep , meaning "city of angels." The full name of Bangkok is Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom...

     taxi driver to death during an attempt to steal the driver's cab in order to obtain money to buy a copy of Grand Theft Auto IV. A police official said that the teen was trying to copy
    Copycat crimes
    A copycat crime is a criminal act that is modelled or inspired by a previous crime that has been reported in the media or described in fiction.-Copycat effect:...

     a similar act in the game. As a consequence, officials ordered the banning of the series
    Grand Theft Auto (series)
    Grand Theft Auto is a multi-award-winning British video game series created in the United Kingdom by Dave Jones, then later by brothers Dan Houser and Sam Houser, and game designer Zachary Clarke. It is primarily developed by Edinburgh based Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games...

    , which led its distributor, New Era Interactive Media, to withdraw it, including the aforementioned, then-upcoming installment
    Grand Theft Auto IV
    Grand Theft Auto IV is a 2008 open world action video game published by Rockstar Games, and developed by British games developer Rockstar North. It has been released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 video game consoles, and for the Windows operating system...

    , from shops across Thailand
    Thailand
    Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

    .
  • On October 13, 2008, the disappearance of Brandon Crisp
    Disappearance of Brandon Crisp
    Brandon Emmett Crisp was a teenage Canadian boy who disappeared on October 13, 2008, when he ran away from his home in Barrie, Ontario, Canada after his parents took away his Xbox 360 due to failing grades and excessive play of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare...

     and his subsequent death involving, according to his parents, obsessive playing of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
    Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
    Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is a 2007 first-person shooter video game, developed by Infinity Ward and published by Activision for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii. A handheld game was made for the Nintendo DS. The game was released in North America, Australia, and...

     has been referenced in discussions about video game obsession and spawned a report aired by CBC's the fifth estate
    The fifth estate
    the fifth estate is a Canadian television newsmagazine, which airs on the English language CBC Television network. The name is a play on the fact that the media are sometimes referred to as the Fourth Estate, and was chosen to highlight the program's determination to go beyond everyday news into...

     on video game addiction and Brandon's story titled "Top Gun", subtitled "When a video gaming obsession turns to addiction and tragedy".
  • In December 2009, after losing three consecutive games of FIFA 2008, a 17-year-old schizophrenic boy named James Callaghan went on a drunken rampage in which he attacked several teens with an axe, threatened a cyclist and finally bludgeoned and stabbed to death a 65-year-old-woman. He also used to play Grand Theft Auto.
  • In January 2010, 9-year-old Anthony Maldonado was stabbed by relative Alejandro Morales after an argument regarding Maldonado's recently purchased copy of Tony Hawk: Ride and PlayStation 3
    PlayStation 3
    The is the third home video game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment and the successor to the PlayStation 2 as part of the PlayStation series. The PlayStation 3 competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles...

     console.
  • In January 2010, Gary Alcock punched, slapped and pinched his partner's 15-month-old daughter in the three weeks leading up to her death before he delivered a fatal blow to the stomach which tore her internal organs because she interrupted him playing his Xbox. She died from internal bleeding after suffering 35 separate injuries including multiple bruises, rib fractures and brain damage, which were comparable to injuries suffered in a car crash. Alcock was jailed for life and must serve at least 21 years.
  • In May 2010, French gamer Julien Barreaux located and stabbed a fellow player who had stabbed Barreaux on the game Counter-Strike. The judge at his trial called him "a menace to society."
  • On November 29, 2010 in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 16-year-old boy Kendall Anderson bludgeoned his mother to death in her sleep with a claw hammer after she took away his PlayStation
    PlayStation
    The is a 32-bit fifth-generation video game console first released by Sony Computer Entertainment in Japan on December 3, .The PlayStation was the first of the PlayStation series of consoles and handheld game devices. The PlayStation 2 was the console's successor in 2000...

    .
  • On April 9, 2011 in Alphen Aan Den Rijn, The Netherlands, 24-year-old Tristan van der Vlis opened fire in a shopping mall, releasing more than a hundred bullets with a semi-automatic rifle and a handgun, killing 6 people and wounding 17 others, after which he also killed himself. A fair amount of attention was given to the fact that Van Der Vlis had been playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is a first-person shooter video game developed by Infinity Ward and published by Activision for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 video game consoles and the Microsoft Windows operating system. Officially announced on February 11, 2009, the game was released worldwide on...

     and to the alleged similarities between the events in Alphen a/d Rijn and the controversial "No Russian" mission
    Controversies surrounding Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is a first-person shooter video game released for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Microsoft Windows on November 10, 2009...

     in the game (also known as the 'Airport Massacre') where the player can choose to (or choose not to) partake in the killing of a large group of innocent people inside an airport terminal.

Theories of Video Game Effects


Several theoretical approaches have been applied to potential video game violence effects (or lack of effects). These models compete, attempting to explain how video games may or may not have effects on players.

For example the Catalyst Model of aggression comes from a diathesis-stress perspective, implying that aggression is due to a combination of genetic risk and environmental strain. The Catalyst Model suggests that stress, coupled with antisocial personalities is most salient in the creation of aggression. The Catalyst Model does allow that proximal influences such as family or peers may influence aggressiveness. However the Catalyst Model specifically states that media influences are too weak and distant to have much influence.

The General Aggression Model (GAM) models video games as having an influence on people, proposing that a participant's thoughts, feelings and physical arousal can be affected by simulated violence. The GAM asserts this creates an effect on an individual's interpretation of an aggressive or violent act.

The GAM claims that video games have both short- and long-term effects. In the short-term the aggressive cognitions, affects and arousal are posited to increase while long-term effects are asserted to be possible, but not yet accurately determined. Anderson and Bushman claim violent video games promote violent behavior, attitudes and beliefs by desensitizing an individual to aggression.

Regulation of video games


In response to concerns about video games, governments around the globe have enacted or attempted to enact legislation regulating, prohibiting, or outright banning video games. Similarly, support for video game and media regulation has been linked to moral panic. To that end, different video game content rating system
Video game content rating system
A video game content rating system is a system used for the classification of video games into suitability-related groups. Most of these systems are associated with and/or sponsored by a government, and are sometimes part of the local motion picture rating system...

s have been introduced across the globe.

Psychology professor Chris Ferguson discusses in an interview how these myths are perpetuated. When asked to describe the nature of how negative propaganda is spread by activist against video games, Ferguson explained that many respected academics and elected officials develop apprehension towards the media in question and formulate disproportionate accusations of harm. Those claims are out in the public when expert evidence proves them to be invalid, making it difficult to withdraw from such allegations. Possible motivations for why activist claims are not retracted are “…there are certain financial incentives and political incentives. It’s hard to get grant money arguing that something *isn’t* a problem…and some scholars take money from anti-media lobbying groups. Politically scholars to support a government mandated censorship regimen naturally intend to be in charge of that regimen themselves”. Ferguson adds that present research on violence in video games confirms no valid link, “The best studies now coming out — those which take care to use well-validated clinical outcome measures and which carefully control for other important risk factors — provide no support for the belief that VVG contributes to youth violence”

Voluntary rating systems adopted by the video game industry, such as the ESRB
Entertainment Software Rating Board
The Entertainment Software Rating Board is a self-regulatory organization that assigns age and content ratings, enforces industry-adopted advertising guidelines, and ensures responsible online privacy principles for computer and video games as well as entertainment software in Canada, Mexico and...

 rating system in the United States and Canada, as well as the Pan European Game Information
Pan European Game Information
Pan European Game Information is a European video game content rating system established to help European parents make informed decisions on buying computer games with logos on games boxes. It was developed by the Interactive Software Federation of Europe and came into use in April 2003; it...

 (PEGI) rating system in Europe, that are aimed at informing parents about the types of games their children are playing (or are asking to play). Certain game publishers’ decision to have controversial games rated seems to show that they are not targeted at young children. They are rated by the ESRB as "Mature" (M) or "Adults Only" (AO) in the US, or given British Board of Film Classification
British Board of Film Classification
The British Board of Film Classification , originally British Board of Film Censors, is a non-governmental organisation, funded by the film industry and responsible for the national classification of films within the United Kingdom...

 (BBFC) ratings of 15 or 18 in the UK. The packaging notes that these games should not be sold to children. In the US, ESRB ratings are not legally binding, but many retailers take it upon themselves to refuse the sale of these games to minors. In the United Kingdom (UK), the BBFC ratings are backed up by law, so it is actually illegal to sell the game to anyone under the indicated age, and many UK retailers go beyond that and also enforce the PEGI ratings, which are not backed up by law. No video game console manufacturer has yet to allow any game to be published in North America with the harshest ESRB rating, "Adults Only", signaling that the game is only appropriate for ages 18 years and up. Additionally, no major retailers are willing to set aside shelf space for AO-rated games. Although Grand Theft Auto San Andreas was given a rating of AO after widespread surfacing of an add-on originally deleted from the game, "Hot Coffee," in which the player controls a fully clothed sexual encounter. It was later fully removed and the game retained the M rating. GTA San Andreas is the best selling game to ever receive the AO rating.

The sales of M- and AO-rated games to minors has been an issue of much concern to parent groups and public officials, and bills have been submitted to government agencies, including the Video Games Ratings Enforcement Act introduced to the US House of Representatives in both the 109th Congress
109th United States Congress
The One Hundred Ninth United States Congress was the legislative branch of the United States, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives, from January 3, 2005 to January 3, 2007, during the fifth and sixth years of George W. Bush's presidency. House members...

 and 110th Congress
110th United States Congress
The One Hundred Tenth United States Congress was the meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, between January 3, 2007, and January 3, 2009, during the last two years of the second term of President George W. Bush. It was composed of the Senate and the House of...

. The proposed legislation would require an ID check for M- and AO-rated game purchases. The bill was not passed into law, and other proposed bills were stopped because of First Amendment
First Amendment to the United States Constitution
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering...

 violations.

Although no law mandates ID checking for games with adult content, a 2008 secret shopper survey done by the Federal Trade Commission
Federal Trade Commission
The Federal Trade Commission is an independent agency of the United States government, established in 1914 by the Federal Trade Commission Act...

 shows that video game retailers have voluntarily increased ID verification for M- and AO-rated games, and sales of those games to underage potential buyers have been reduced from 83% in 2000 to only 20% in 2008.

In April 2011, the Federal Trade Commission
Federal Trade Commission
The Federal Trade Commission is an independent agency of the United States government, established in 1914 by the Federal Trade Commission Act...

 undercover shopper survey found that video game retailers continue to enforce the ratings by allowing only 13% of underage teenage shoppers to buy M-rated video games, a statistically significant improvement from the 20% purchase rate in 2009. By contrast, underage shoppers purchased R-rated movies 38% of the time, and unrated movies 47% of the time.

On January 7, 2009, Representative Joe Baca of California’s 43rd District introduced H.R. 231, the Video Game Health Labelling Act. This bill called for labels to be placed in a “clear and conspicuous location on the packaging” which states “WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behaviour.” The proposed legislation mandated that all video games with an ESRB rating of T (Teen) or higher be subjected to the compulsory labelling. The press release accompanying the introduction of the bill referred to scientific studies from the Pediatrics Journal, Indiana University, University of Missouri and Michigan State University which pointed to a “neurological link between playing violent video games and aggressive behaviour in children and teenagers.” The proposed legislation was referred on to the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection. On January 24, 2011; Rep. Joe Baca reintroduced the Video Game Health Labelling Act as H.R. 400 of the 112th Congress. The bill was once again passed onto the Subcommittee.

On June 27, 2011, the Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 ruled on Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, cited video games as protected speech under the First Amendment. The case centered on a California law that sought to restrict sales of violent video games to minors. The video game industry, led by the Entertainment Merchants Association
Entertainment merchants association
The Entertainment Merchants Association is the not-for-profit international trade association dedicated to advancing the interests of the $32 billion home entertainment industry....

 and the Entertainment Software Association
Entertainment Software Association
The Entertainment Software Association is the trade association of the video game industry in the United States. It was formed in April 1994 as the Interactive Digital Software Association and renamed on July 16, 2003...

 successfully obtained an injunction on the bill, believing that definition of violence defined by the California law was too vague and would not treat video games as protected speech. This opinion was upheld in lower courts, and supported by the Supreme Court's decision. In the decision, the Court determined that there was no direct link between violent video games and its influence on child, in as much as compared to other types of media like television and pictures, and that they could not create a new class of restricted speech that is not applied to other forms of media.

Potential positive effects of video games


Numerous researchers have proposed potential positive effects of video games on aspects of social and cognitive development and psychological well-being. It has been shown that action video game players have better hand-eye coordination and visuo-motor skills, such as their resistance to distraction, their sensitivity to information in the peripheral vision and their ability to count briefly presented objects, than non-players.
Video games also develop the individual's intelligence, and in social games develop the social capabilities of the individual.
Another way in which the usage of video games might provide a benefit is in the relief of stress. There is a study being conducted by Dr.Cheryl Olson and her team at Massachusetts General Hospital’s (MGH) Center for Mental Health and Media and Harvard to prove that violent games help students deal with stress and aggression. She has found that over 49% of boys and 25% of girls use violent games such as Grand Theft Auto IV as an outlet for their anger. Dr. Olson has come to the conclusion that violent games affect students positively and not negatively because the violent crime rate is going down while the popularity of M-rated video games has increased. She suggests that instead of stopping children from playing M-rated games completely, parents should just monitor how much time their children spend playing games; parents should take responsibility.
Several studies have explored the possible benefits of multiplayer video games in a family setting. The most recent study found that girls 11-16 who played video games with their parents had better mental health and less aggressive behavior, with a stronger connection if they played age-appropriate games.

Many studies have been done on gaming and its integration into the classroom in order to support the educator. "The use of gaming has the ability to actively involve students in learning." On-line gaming is especially important in helping students build collaborative skills while completing given tasks.

To date, video game training appears to be one of the more interesting and promising means to improve perceptual, attentional, and cognitive abilities. One of its promises is that, compared to traditional training, it can be engaging and entertaining. This has led some companies to begin to market video games for the specific purpose of improving cognition. For example, Nintendo advertises "Big Brain Academy" as a game that "trains your brain with a course load of mind-bending activities across five categories: think, memorize, analyze, compute, and identify".

There are many positive effects of video games on some people as suggested by some researches; people play because they want to get away from their everyday life, break routine, to relieve stress, allow them to cool off when they are stressful, take out their anger through the game rather in real life because they are fun and an interesting way to spend time.

It enables players to explore with various aspects of their identity in a virtual world.

Journalist and author, David Sheff, believes that many skills can be learned from the gaming experience, it builds practical and intellectual skills, "by playing video games children gain problem solving abilities, perseverance, pattern recognition, hypothesis testing, estimating skills, inductive skills, resources management, logistics mapping, memory, quick thinking and reasonal judgements".

Research at University of Rochester
University of Rochester
The University of Rochester is a private, nonsectarian, research university in Rochester, New York, United States. The university grants undergraduate and graduate degrees, including doctoral and professional degrees. The university has six schools and various interdisciplinary programs.The...

 suggest that playing video games that contain high levels of action can improve eyesight.

Many authors disagree with the notion that suggests that the media can cause violence, they propose media cannot cause violence because humans have the ability to recognize what is wrong, and what is right. They suggest people are not going to mistake fiction for reality. Some people who criticize the proposed negative effects based their research are Terry Flew, Sal Humphreys, Martin Barker and Jonathan Freedman.
Some authors also suggest that video games many have healthy and positive aspects effects; for example, it can be a safe outlet for aggression and frustration.

See also


  • Culture war
    Culture war
    The culture war in American usage is a metaphor used to claim that political conflict is based on sets of conflicting cultural values. The term frequently implies a conflict between those values considered traditionalist or conservative and those considered progressive or liberal...

  • First Amendment to the United States Constitution
    First Amendment to the United States Constitution
    The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering...

  • Folk devil
    Folk devil
    A folk devil is a person or group of people who are portrayed in folklore or the media as outsiders and deviant, and who are blamed for crimes or other sorts of social problems ....

  • For the Children
    For The Children (politics)
    Citing the interests of children is a rationale that is sometimes given for why something should or should not be done.It can also be seen as:* a rationalization/justification* a political tool* a rhetorical phrase Citing the interests of children is a rationale that is sometimes given for why...

  • Game brain
  • Video game addiction
  • Greek electronic game ban
  • List of banned video games
  • List of controversial video games
  • Media controversy
    Media influence
    Media influence or media effects are used in media studies, psychology, communication theory and sociology to refer to the theories about the ways in which mass media affect how their audiences think and behave....

     (disambiguation page)
  • Media influence
    Media influence
    Media influence or media effects are used in media studies, psychology, communication theory and sociology to refer to the theories about the ways in which mass media affect how their audiences think and behave....

  • Media violence research
    Media violence research
    Research into the media and violence examines whether links between consuming media violence and subsequent aggressive and violent behavior exists...

  • Moral panic
    Moral panic
    A moral panic is the intensity of feeling expressed in a population about an issue that appears to threaten the social order. According to Stanley Cohen, author of Folk Devils and Moral Panics and credited creator of the term, a moral panic occurs when "[a] condition, episode, person or group of...

  • Nanny state
    Nanny state
    A nanny state is the perception of a situation characterised by governmental policies of over-protectionism, economic interventionism, or heavy regulation of economic, social or other nature....

  • Video game content rating system
    Video game content rating system
    A video game content rating system is a system used for the classification of video games into suitability-related groups. Most of these systems are associated with and/or sponsored by a government, and are sometimes part of the local motion picture rating system...

  • Videogame Rating Council
    Videogame Rating Council
    The Videogame Rating Council was introduced by Sega of America in 1993 to rate all video games that were released for sale in the United States on the Sega Genesis, Sega Game Gear, Sega CD, and rarely, some computer games...



Examples:
  • Portrayal of women in video games
    Portrayal of women in video games
    The portrayal of women in video games has often been the subject of both academic studies and controversy. Two recurring themes are the level of independence of female characters from their male counterparts, and their objectification and sexualization....

  • Video games censored by Nintendo of America
    Video games censored by Nintendo of America
    Nintendo of America has gained notoriety for its formerly strict ban policy, particularly with regard to video games bearing religious symbols , references to widely practiced religions, violence, profanity, death references, political propaganda, copyright issues and so forth...

  • Islamic Fun
    Islamic Fun
    Islamic Fun is a controversial package of computer games targeted at Muslim children, developed by the UK-based firm Innovative Minds. All the games in the package involve answering a series of multiple choice questions on a range of Islamic themes...

  • Super Columbine Massacre RPG!
    Super Columbine Massacre RPG!
    Super Columbine Massacre RPG!, abbreviated SCMRPG!, is a role-playing video game created by Danny Ledonne and released in April 2005. The game recreates the 1999 Columbine High School shootings near Littleton, Colorado...

  • V-Tech Rampage
    V-Tech Rampage
    V-Tech Rampage is a controversial amateur action computer game that re-creates the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, United States. The game was created by 21-year-old Ryan Lambourn from Australia...