Violent Video Games: Research and Debates

As a reading, I selected “From Halo To Hot Sauce: What 25 Years Of Violent Video Game Research Looks Like” posted by Jason Schreier on Kotaku, a famous blog about video games. This article is relevant to the course because it speaks about one of the most important problems in video gaming. Also the article is useful for me because I interest in finding out about games and violence.

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In this article Schreier tells about the debate between scientists, they argue if video games provoke violence in people or not. In the beginning, author describes a typical focus group on game violence research and makes it look very not professional. Then Schreier says that Obama proposed to do more research on video games and violence because there is a debate. The author speaks about the examples when mass murderers were gamers. After that he describes the views of different scientists about games and violence and the studies they did. He also tells about a study that proved that aggression was provoke not by violence in games but by competition. Then Schreier tries to learn who funds these studies and what this means. In the end he says that Obama is right and there is a need to more research.

In this article are definitions that need explanation. Hot sauce test is a test when the researcher asks the participant to imagine that they should give a hot sauce to someone, and they should decide how hot the sauce should be. This used to measure aggression. Aggression is different from violence. Violence is crime, and aggression is hostile behavior to other people, such as bullying and spreading rumors. If it will be prove that games cause violence they will be forbidden but if they cause only aggression they will not.

As a main point in this article Schreier is tries to prove that even if people are sure that video games make children and teens violent it does not mean it is true. The researches that prove that kids who play games become violent are biased and funded by people who interest in making games for kids illegal. The methods of studies are often designed very poorly and they are fail to make a true result.

There are some vested interests of those people who want to prove that video games are dangerous. Schreier checked who funded some studies like that and he found that it were advocacy groups. One of them was the Center For Successful Parenting. Parents want video games forbidden for kids by law because they think games will make their kids violent (Schreier par. 73-74).

Schreier quotes Chris Ferguson, a scientist who thinks video games do not cause violence. Ferguson names three methodological flaws of the other side (those who think games cause violence). First, they use college students as participants, not kids. Students know what research is for, and they answer as the scientist wants. Second, the measures are not adequate. Third, the measures are flexible and the scientist can see what they want in them (Schreier par. 43-47).

I think this is a good article because the author presents different points of view and cited a lot of works. This is very useful to understand how the debate goes and what are the arguments of the scientists who take part in debate. But we should not forget that Kotaku belongs to a video game industry and they will defend video games because they sell them.

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Works Cited

Schreier, Jason. “From Halo To Hot Sauce: What 25 Years Of Violent Video Game Research Looks Like.” Kotaku. Kotaku, 2013. Web.

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