Video game

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Video games are electronic games commonly played by a wide portion of the population.[1] A large number of young adults, having grown up in the era of video games, also play. Some video games such as sports games and educational games are harmless fun and can actually be beneficial to a child's development, especially if they allow more than one player. Some games though are violent and sexually explicit and have attracted the attention of family groups and conservative Christians. Games such as Grand Theft Auto are very violent, sexually explicit, feature criminal behavior and some even encourage it. Laws have been passed to limit young people's access to these violent games but these laws are either rarely enforced or overturned by judges due to the First Amendment.[2] Some people argue that violent video games cause violent behaviour in some children, especially those under 16 whose mind is still not fully developed, but such a link has yet to be conclusively proven. Serious crimes, including murder, have been associated with video games. For example, a 14-year-old brutally murdered a video arcade employee one morning and his cousin stands trial for murdering the store manager when he entered the store shortly thereafter.[3] In the USA, the majority of games carry ratings from the ESRB, a video game ratings organization.

Various genres

Video games in the course of their existence have grown from the simple arcade style games, and have become more detailed and separated from one another. Genres can now include first person shooters, racing, simulation, role-playing, sports, action and many others. Even then, games can combine genres, such as "Mass Effect" (Role Playing and Third Person Shooting), or not fit nicely into any genre, like "Katamari Damacy".

Popularity & Controversy

Games have risen in popularity over the years, as is shown in the rise of video games sales from the 1980s until today. This has brought with it a various amount of controversy as the video game industry continues to grow with its original player base.


Most of the controversy comes from the rising trend toward violence in video games, as pioneered by Doom, Quake, and the Grand Theft Auto series. One man in particular, Jack Thompson, has imposed a one-man crusade against video games, which has made him a target of both the online gamer community and of the mainstream media.

At least one study has shown that, contrary to the position mentioned above, kids who don't play video games at all seem to show more violent tendencies. Of course, as expected, those who played violent video games for large amounts of time also showed violent tendencies, however the study claims that this is a "risk marker", not an actual cause. [4]

Multiple studies have shown a correlation between violent video games and levels of real life violence, caused by exposure to the aforementioned video games.[5]


Although nudity is not prominent in western video games, there are various products containing this kind of material. Additionally, a large quantity games contain overly-sexualized characters (for example, female characters wearing revealing clothes) or references. One notable target of controversy is the Grand Theft Auto series after a patch was released that allowed the player to engage in a minigame containing explicit sexual material. Other sources of this criticism relate to the game Tomb Raider as it was one of the first games where a female character (the protagonist) is depicted with large breasts and advertised as a sex symbol.[6]

Video Games & Society

As video games become more popular, their impact on society becomes ever more present. A prime example of this is the massive ad campaigns for the Halo series, as well as Grand Theft Auto. Advertising, merchandising, and even social pressures have changed in the ever-growing influence of video gaming.

Due to their popularity, various corporations have begun placing advertisements for their products within the context of the game. Second Life, an Internet-based virtual world, has blurred the lines between real-world and virtual world, and companies such as Adidas, Reebok, and Dell have set up virtual stores selling real-world products within the game. Reuters also operates a news bureau reporting news in the game.

Faith in Video Games

Faith in Video Gaming has, as a rule, either led to the creation of new and dynamic antagonists, or video games that are mediocre, such as Spiritual Warfare and Bible Adventure for the Nintendo, or The Bible Game for various systems.

The Bible, or other such religious texts, are rather used to tell a story spanning many different viewpoints. Turning these ideas into a video game, however, most often leads to games that tend to bore most video game audiences.

Religion has, however, taken a prominent place amongst the various heroes and villains in video games. The Breath of Fire Series and the Shin Megami Tensei games, in particular, use God as a main antagonist in many of its incarnations. Other games to use religion, in some way, include Final Fantasy, Left Behind: Eternal Forces, Black and White, Xenogears, and Okami.

Video game reviewers have sometimes unjustly attacked and reviewed games where religion plays a notable role. One of the most prominent examples of this is the game Left Behind: Eternal Forces.[7]

Popular Video games

  • Assassins Creed - Taking place, after a fashion, during the Crusades. Play as Altair, and kill leaders from both sides to stop a deadly plot.
  • Age of Empires - A RTS in which the player leads an ancient civilization. Slightly violent.
  • Call of Duty - A FPS in which a player is either a soldier in World War II or a soldier involved in the War on Terror.
  • Civilization - A family-friendly strategy game in which the player leads a civilization from it's birth, and into the future.
  • Donkey Kong - An early platform game in which Jumpman tries to save his girlfriend from a barrel-flinging ape named Donkey Kong. Both Donkey Kong and Jumpman, who was renamed Mario Mario, went on to star in several other successful video games.
  • Final Fantasy - A very popular RPG series in both the United States and Japan. Some games may not be suitable for children.
  • Gears of War - Mankind has been utterly annihilated by unknown race of beings. Not suitable for children.
  • Grand Theft Auto - A game series about several different characters who perform missions to rise to the top by using violence and other methods.
  • Guitar Hero - A game where players play the role of the guitarist in a band. Uses a special controller in the shape of and played similarly to a guitar. Contains music and other themes not appropriate for children.
  • Half-Life - First Person Shooter series about Gordon Freeman, a luckless scientist turned hero-from-desperation. Contains violence
  • Halo - A trilogy of games following a super soldier during a future war. Contains violence.
  • Harvest Moon - Farm Life simulator, with many sequels spreading from various platforms. Character runs a farm, raises animals, and can eventually marry. Until recent incarnations, games had no violence. Rated E [6+] to T [13+].
  • The Legend of Zelda - A popular series of fantasy action-adventure games.
  • Mass Effect - A science fiction RPG rated "M" for blood, language, partial nudity, sexual themes, and violence.
  • Medal of Honor - Player is thrust into the front lines of World War II.
  • Mortal Kombat - Player-vs-player fighting game which introduced extremely violent, bloody and gory finishing moves called "fatalities" to the genre.
  • NHL Series - This series from EA Sports as well as other NHL series are very popular, especially in Canada.[Citation Needed] Most are family friendly with less violence as seen on NHL hockey on television (which actually can get quite violent). There is, obviously, no sexuality.
  • Pac-Man. An old maze game. It was very popular with kids and adults back in the eighties, and like most old video games it's a clean, family friendly, fun game for everyone.
  • Portal - A popular first person shooter/puzzle game using the same game engine as Half-Life 2 involving teleportation.
  • Resident Evil - Survival/horror video game series, revolving around viral zombies and the survivors of the zombie attacks. Copious blood, gore, and violence present. As of date, all games in series have been rated M [17+].
  • The Sims - A light-hearted life simulator with mild violence and some sexuality. Recommended for 13 and up.
  • Super Smash Brothers - Series of Nintendo Animated fighting games. Follows no specific story, mixing characters from different franchises in wide environments. Contains animated, no-blood violence.
  • Soul Calibur - A weapon-based fighting game. Revolves around the tale of two weapons, Soul Edge [Cursed] and Soul Calibur [Blessed], and those who fight for control of the weapons.
  • Street Fighter - One-on-one martial arts fighting game series, where a player selects one of various martial artists and battles other players or against computer-controlled characters. Since this game has mildly revealing dresses for the female fighters and sometimes a little blood during fights, though nowhere as over-the-top as Mortal Kombat, this game is recommended for teens.
  • Super Mario Bros. - Side-scrolling platform game series by Nintendo. Players play as Mario and Luigi, two Italian-American plumber brothers from Brooklyn, who explore the Mushroom Kingdom in order to rescue Princess Peach from the evil Bowser Koopa. This game has no violence (except in fantasy form) and no sexual content, so it is suitable for all ages.
  • Tomb Raider - Series of games following the adventures of Lara Croft. All have been rated "T" (Teen) due to mild violence.

See Also


  1. Only a third of videogamers are under 18
  4. New research reveals kids who don't play video games at all are more at risk of violent tendencies
  6. Ashley, Robert. "The Secret History of Videogame Sex." Official Playstation Magazine Feb. 2006: 96-99.