Video game

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Video games are addictive activities targeted at teenagers, and, increasingly frequently, even younger children sometimes with tragic results.[1] Games are increasingly violent and offensive, attracting the attention of legislators in many states to protect the exploitation of children by them. Games such as Grand Theft Auto are very violent, sexually explicit, and feature criminal behavior. These games are rated "M 17+" for "Mature," but courts have stricken down laws preventing retailers from selling them to children, under an interpretation that the First Amendment protects offensive video games even for children.[2] After a Conservapedian filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to consider this issue, it surprised liberals by granting certiorari.

Some people point out that violent video games cause violent behavior in some children. The effects of violent video games on the developing psyche of children and adolescents vary greatly and of course have much to do with the mental stability of the subject in question. Serious crimes have often 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, all retail 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.

Violence

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.

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 playing some of the aforementioned video games.[5]

Sexuality

Although nudity is not prominent in western video games, there are various products containing sexually-suggestive material. One reason for the relative lack of explicitly sexual material in western games may be the refusal of Wal-Mart (the leading distributor of video games in the United States) to sell games carrying an "Adults-Only" rating.[6] One notable target of controversy is the Grand Theft Auto series after a third-party mod was released that allowed the player to engage in a mini-game containing explicit sexual material. Mods are usually "third-party", fan-made and are therefore not the responsibility of the game's developer. This notorious sexual mod for Grand Theft Auto, however, simply reactivated code that the developer had left in the game, but removed normal access to. 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 and advertised as a sex symbol.[7]

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. Bible Adventure in particular is infamous for it's poor design and playability.

The Bible, or other such religious texts, 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 a god as a main antagonist in many of its incarnations. Other games to use religion in some way include the Final Fantasy series, Left Behind: Eternal Forces, Black and White, Heaven and Hell, Xenogears, Okami, and the Tales series, particularly Tales of Symphonia. Unfortunately, many (not all) of the aforementioned games present religion (or it's respective church and followers) as evil, fake, or having ulterior and nefarious motives. Virtually no video games present faith in an honest or positive manner, as few conservatives or Christians work for game companies, then again direct content.

Games may include a fictional religion as part of the setting if the use of a real religion may invite undesirable controversy.

Video game reviewers have sometimes unjustly attacked and reviewed games where real-world religion plays a notable role. One of the most prominent examples of this is the game Left Behind: Eternal Forces.[8]

The video game "Bioshock" features a fictional underwater city, where the inhabitants have abandoned, among other things, faith. In the game, the city has almost torn itself apart, driven by the immorality of its residents.

See Also

External Links

References

  1. Some claim that 2/3rds of videogamers are over 18 years old, but far more people are over that age and a much higher percentage of minors are videogamers.Only a third of videogamers are under 18
  2. http://gamepolitics.livejournal.com/148962.html
  3. http://www.nj.com/starledger/stories/index.ssf?/base/news-5/1212467732102240.xml&coll=1
  4. http://wii.qj.net/New-research-reveals-kids-who-don-t-play-videogames-at-all-are-more-at-risk-of-violent-tendencies/pg/49/aid/118505 New research reveals kids who don't play video games at all are more at risk of violent tendencies
  5. http://www.apa.org/science/psa/sb-anderson.html
  6. http://www.walmart.com/catalog/catalog.gsp?cat=440903
  7. Ashley, Robert. "The Secret History of Videogame Sex." Official Playstation Magazine Feb. 2006: 96-99.
  8. http://www.gamerevolution.com/review/pc/left_behind