Posts Tagged ‘violence in games’

Gaming Brain Studies & Who’s Behind Them

Turns out there's only so many times you can read violence before it looks REALLY weird.

A number of people have got in touch to let us know about a new study that has been published, identifying once again that violent videogames may have an effect on the brain of the player. It’s a finding that, in general, is worth taking notice of – last week I wrote about a meta-analysis discussion conducted by Nature that showed a consensus amongst researchers that there is a noticeable change in the brain after prolongued exposure to violent videogames. However, things get more interesting when you dig into who was funding it. Which turns out to be a campaign group who have some dubious claims of their own.

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The Fox News Debacle: TechSavvy Update

I'm getting sick of seeing the logo too.

Here’s an update to my investigating the story Fox News printed in which they astonishingly suggested that Bulletstorm would cause rape. Scott Steinberg, CEO of TechSavvy Global, and all-round industry guru, got in touch with me to show me the answers he submitted to Fox when they approached him for comment. The full answers are reproduced below, because what results is a fantastic interview on the subject of adult game content and regulation.

Fox chose to use none of Steinberg’s comments in their final piece, opting instead for the more sensational claims of those with no expertise in the subject (neither of whom have found time to reply to our emails). But seeing these answers also provides further insight into how the mainstream media coverage of gaming stories works. Far from being a reporter ignorant of the subject and twisted by naive contributors, Fox correspondent John Brandon was equipped with a wealth of factual information and informed opinion before composing his frantic article. The below, combined with our previously reported unedited response from M2 Research’s Billy Pidgeon, show quite how determined the final story was to ignore the facts in favour of scaring its readers.

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Will Bulletstorm Murder Your Children? (No)

OMG I'm going to do a violence now!

Yesterday Fox News asked the headline question, “Is Bulletstorm the Worst Video Game in the World?” Which is spectacular. It’s a quite remarkable piece of writing, worthy of our own Daily Mail. And why is it the WORST GAME IN THE WORRRRLD? Because they’ve named some of the Skill Shots with sexual innuendos. Which, they absolutely astonishingly claim, causes rape.

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Academic Studies Of Violence Cause Violence

This makes us look smart.

There’s some wobbly reporting going on today, with yet another study claiming to demonstrate a link between a young person’s viewing violence, and being more tolerant of violence. Which is discussed as being about videogames. Which is a peculiar way of viewing a study that shows images from films to 22 teenagers, and demonstrates that as the clips progress their brain reacts less intensely, and not surprising since the study’s authors also make the same wild leap. However, it’s still an entry into the argument about whether violent images beget violence.

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Do Violent Games Create Violent Players?

Clearly there's been too much Peggle.

When analysing the claims made by those from various fields with regards to the negative effects of gaming it’s tempting to come to the same conclusion each time. These claims, inevitably presented without evidence (and unable to offer evidence when it is asked for), tend to rely on uncited anecdotal stories of individual cases. Whether it is suggestions that games cause addiction, violence, sexual crimes or murder, we are told about one child, or one individual, whose behaviour appears to be adversely effected while playing games. And the conclusion that’s so tempting to reach for each time is: perhaps this individual has unique circumstances that reach beyond a pathology created by the games they play? But there’s a problem. While this conclusion may appear extremely reasonable given the evidence, it’s still an unproven assumption. It’s just as bad to declare as the unproven assumptions being contested. Which makes a new study (as reported by, that finds violent behaviour in response to games to be directly linked to individual predispositions, something of enormous interest.

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“Because, uh, but, uh, I wrote a book.”

Baiting Jack Thompson is too easy. It’s the games writing equivalent of following Britney Spears around with a camera 24/7. We generally avoid it on this site.

Still, what the hell, eh? Like the aforementioned pop princess, his grip on reality could be perceived to be publically coming undone. It clearly isn’t, because he’s a lawyer, and he’s obviously in full control of all his faculties, and a lawyer. Have a look at this.

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