PRESS START to corrupt a generation

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As well as other forms of media, violent video games have become a controversial subject amongst our society. It seems that the video game industry has become a scapegoat for the media to blame for various social ills. Apparently, playing video games in general is 'harmful' to the brain and when we indulge in these glorified blood baths the activity in the region of our brain that governs our emotional arousal increases. Statistics also show that playing video games decreases activity in the part of the brain with control, focus and concentration. So, if they're so harmful, why on earth do we engage in them, and why are we allowed to?

One of the media's most slated titles is a game called Grand Theft Auto. The game consists of shooting the innocent, driving big, fast, dangerous cars, raping whoever you want and occasionally selling drugs to lowlifes. Unsurprisingly, it has gained controversy for its adult nature and violent themes and, strangely enough, the game has somehow fallen into the tiny innocent hands of our youth. Although scientists have yet to show a conclusive link between video game usage and violent activity, it is clear that this game is rated 18 for a reason. Children are certainly more easily influenced by what they see on TV so I can understand why the media is treating it with such a negative attitude. But surely it is down to the supposed eighteen year old who brought the game. Its no wonder that this game has influenced over ten teenagers to commit murder in the US alone. But does playing a game make the player want to mimic the actions of a fictional and virtual being?

Take, for example, the latest shooting game House Of the Dead Overkill. This game consists of shooting zombies until they die (again?) and it is, admittedly, overflowing with gore and extreme violence. If you had to sum this game up into two words they would be humiliatingly ridiculous. It is a remarkably ridiculous idea that only proves the media's point even more. The game itself, however, has taken such an intellectual approach to the ridiculous concept that its almost like a work of art. Which is another interesting debate; are games forms of art? Anyway, the developers actually make the game a parody, a sort of tongue-in-cheek piss take of the "takes-itself-seriously" violence of Grand Theft Auto. And its pulled off brilliantly. The fact that I can play this game and afterwards not have an uncontrollable urge to go out on the street, grab a rifle and shoot someone is a direct example of games failing to corrupt our minds. But maybe it’s the games parody approach that stops my mind from turning murderous, maybe because its so farfetched, unbelievable and deliberately over-the-top that my mind ignores the games violent influence. So if that’s true, then isn't it a choice, a mental decision that we make when we play these games to whether or not be under their influence?

Video games have been linked to addiction, laziness and violent behavior, yes… we know that, but I believe that the people who immerse themselves so deeply into these games have made a decision to be under their influence. So it is a choice. Believe me, there's nothing I enjoy more than coming home after a long day sitting on my coach with my feet up and playing a video game with some pals I invited over. For me, and a lot of my friends, it's a social gathering and a positive environment. There are defiantly positive effects of gaming, its just a shame they're shadowed by the enormous negative aspects/consequences of the act by the media. Gaming can develop a persons social and cognitive skills as well as psychological well-being and, on more than one occasion, it has offered me with some creative inspiration, and above all... they're fun.

Surely the sole purpose of playing a video game is to have fun, after all it is a form of entertainment. However I fear that many gamers cross the narrow bridge of fun and linger around the grotty borders of obsession… and the sad fact is that, once they have become addicted most gamers will be afraid to admit it which, in turn, could lead to anti-social behaviour, dishonesty and aggressive tendencies. We all know that too much of a good thing is never healthy and that same proverb is true to gaming as well.

In today's modern culture gaming is a popular playground conversation topic, and it has been for some time now. You only have to go back to the 90's, where you were considered 'cool' if you played Sonic the Hedgehog games and lame if you played Mario games. In a way, your status in the hierarchy of the playground was determined by what games you played and, of course, how late your mum and dad let you stay up to. But, predominantly, there was a pressure (and I still feel it exists even today) to have the 'coolest' games and the 'best' consoles and the games industry thrived off it! Today's young person is oblivious to the so called 'coolest' game's influence because all they're worried about is whether or not they're the most popular kid in school. Countless occasions were a child has been judged and, in extreme cases, bullied for the games that he or she likes contribute to games being put in a bad light. But this is a culture that is mainly influenced by the media. How very ironic it is to see the media complain about video games having negative influences when they themselves influence an entire generation of humans to implement peer-pressure into playgrounds.

Not all video games are violent. In fact there's a wide library of games that tend to focus more on character development, immersion and storytelling and I would consider the latter a form of creativity. But, oddly enough, these games tend to have a younger target audience and the games that are just violent-for-the-sake-of-being-violent are promoted more by advertisements and word of mouth. It seems to me that the games that try to be something other than violent, blood-filled goregasms are the games that get overlooked, badly reviewed and slated by the gaming community and the media alike. So therefore, if our children are living and growing up into a society where the media advertises and influences children to buy the game that’s 'restricted' for them, then why are the same said media complaining that violent video games make children aggressive? Didn't they see it coming? Isn't it massively hypocritical of them? Have they never played Space Invaders?
Hey all. Sorry about this rather out-of-context thread but i just felt that i made some really nice points. I don't actually know how ive managed to pull this off so well cause most of the time im as dumb as Matt :s (wait, im Matt,.... dammit there i go again insulting myself ! )

But yeh, i'd just like some opinions i guess. I think its a genuinly interesting topic myself.
Please take into consideration that this is a essay i completed for my English cousework at collage and i had no intention of uploading it onto GTN. But i just felt i wanted to. So if u find any of this essay offensive or harsh then plz note that there were some points and conventions i had to make us of as it was an English essay.

Cheers Wink Hope u enjoy.

What a great read, Matt. I agree. When I completed MGS4, why didn't I (like millions of other, apparently, according to the media), build a lifesize Metal Gear REX out of Mechano (you love it), and blow up the houses of parliament?

Because like the majority of gamers, I'm a rational human being, not someone who's mind is so easily twisted by such things. For example, violent movies. Why are they not so slated, and video games given all the stick?

Why is the most prolific and addictive drug in the world not controlled. I speak of coffee, by the way.

It's because culture is used to, and thus accepts these forms of entertainment and media. Something new and advanced like gaming is something the quangos can't wait to shake a stick at.

Also a Final Fantasy Republic Global Moderator
The media always blow these kind of things up. It used to be te same with heavy metal music. And in someways still is. I played Manhunt when it was released and although it was a gore fest i knew it was a game and for entertainment. Also most members of the media probably don't game themselves. There's always that fear of the unknown, if people don't know about something then they'll avoid it or talk about it in a negative manner. I've even done it myself about some games and online but now I enjoy online because I decided to try it out.
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Its kinda weird how in your essay you say video games are linked to poor concentration skills. This I admit, Find ridiculous. I won't go into a long explanation here, But I can tell you, My concentration is ALWAYS called upon when I play, So whats up with that. I also see a shrink due to schizophrenia (My mind...Its splittingggg...ahhhhhh) And he actually supports gaming. Why? Because he is aware of the not-so popular tests that show gaming INCREASES focus and concentration. The guys got like 12 diplomas all clattered up on his office wall, I think he would know!!!
ahh I hate helping to restart old topics but here goes...

You know all those FPS games? Yeah those. CoD, MoH, BIA, BF, CS, and many others? Well, some of you, like me, might know just how much parents hate them. The funny thing is, they will actually help us later in life if we are not an adult yet. How, you may ask? Well, it has been proven that playing FPS games actually HELPS us see certain shades of certain colors, and, of course, helps with hand-eye coordination. Yeah, we are "killing people," as my mom likes to say, but hey! They (FPS games) are not nearly as bad as the "killing people" and "suicidal tendencies" people get from GTA, is it? Also, addicted can be true if someone plays a game enough. I feel addicted to LOTRO right now (just recently downloaded it), but it's not like the 24/7 WoW players, or that Korean guy that died from playing StarCraft for too long.

Anyway, my point is, people think gamers are nerds, addicts, couch potatoes and stuff like that. Yeah some are one, two, or all three of those, but most aren't. I admit to being a nerd. Also, anyone remember Pokemon? I'm sure I'm not the only one here who did/still does play it (did for me). That game goes from the most talked about (around 1st-3/4th grade) to for nerds only (7th grade +). Video games, contrary to popular belief, can actually HELP people later in life (you know America's Army? Real life soldiers sometimes use it to help them train).
that's true; it really just comes down to the fact that anything in excess can be harmful. couple that with the tendency for bad news to be the favored news, and you have gaming cast in a poor light.

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