The Bloodthirsty Gamer . . .

For those of you who did not watch the live Flash Gaming Summit feed, Brad WON Best Indie Game of 2008!! I’m sure he’ll post something when he gets back on Friday or Saturday. He’ll be at GDC until then. Here is something to tide you over though, I wrote this a while ago but had to wait to post it because of all of Brad’s news.

So here you go:

So let’s face it, the only reason any of us play video games is because we are all sick in the head. We look for blood. We try to find a way to let out the TRUE killer within us. 

Whether this is by playing zombie gamers where are victims are already dead or its a war game where we have true live prey . . . we all know the true monster within us all . . . 

So who actually BELIEVED I was serious when I said any of that? Be honest, raise your hand, it’s okay. I’m an amazing actress . . . er over text. 

I was going through some articles and I found this fairly interesting one from Psychcentral. It’s about how gamers play games not for the VIOLENCE but for the THRILL. Hm, wonder where they got that idea?

It’s a very different opinion from this (posted two years before). . . I will never understand the whole desensitization thing. A soldier becomes removed from gunfire in order to get the job done, but they never really get over the whole killing thing. So I refuse to believe that pushing a button to shoot a computer generated image is on the same plane as pulling a trigger to shoot an actual living, breathing person.  The major problem I have with that particular study is their method. They take people playing a violent video games and have them watch a video of real life violence and measure their reaction. Then they take people playing a non-violent game and have them watch the SAME videos.

“Participants in the violent versus non-violent games conditions did not differ in heart rate or skin response at the beginning of the study, or immediately after playing their assigned game. However, their physiological reactions to the scenes of real violence did differ significantly, a result of having just played a violent or a non-violent game.” 

I wonder why?

Honestly, in order to really have some kind of accurate study you would need to do a LONG term study. Even then you would have issues because every person is different. You can’t really pinpoint it to one thing. What movies are they watching at home? What kind of home environment? and so on and so forth.  

I’d also like a clear definition of “violence” and “aggression”. 

I wonder if they would argue that since I watch “Law and Order: SVU” that would desensitize me to crimes against children?

(Law and Order: SVU (Special Victims Unit) is a TV show that focuses on crimes against women and children for those who don’t know) 

Anyway, I guess you see my point on that sooo back to the FIRST study. Does anyone else find it fascinating? When Brad finally got around to READING it (love you sweetheart) he was happy someone had finally done the kind of study he was interested in reading. Soo despite whatever aversion you have to reading studies, check it out it is really fascinating. 

At the same time I’m sure that if anyone had actually ASKED anyone why they play a certain game they wouldn’t say “BLOOD!” . . . but if they did, we might have to look into that person a bit. Then again, I’m sure that someone might simply say that the blood hunger was merely a part of our unconscious (thank you Freud (PS-Ick)). 

This study pretty much says that if the violence involved is too overwhelming it turns the gamer off. Realistic violence is completely different from the gratuitous kind  which can get pretty darn annoying. It’s one of the reasons why some games give the option of turning blood off in certain games or just changing the options around. For instance, Brad gave that option in Nuclear Eagle. Some people thought the extra blood was okay, some people thought it was too much. It’s just like some people have sensitive stomachs while others can get nails and experience no problems whatsoever. (By the way, I in NO WAY endorse eating nails. In fact, if you bite your fingernails, stop, it’s not good for you or your fingers.) If you want an example of this take Brad and me. Brad just got Madworld, I can’t watch that game, let alone play it. Apparently there is a co op mode that Brad wants me to play with him but something about the whole premise of the game makes my stomach turn. Yeah yeah I’m a GIRL, so sue me, but it happens. (And if anyone was looking for a review on Madworld, let me know because I will force myself to play it or tie Brad to a chair in front of his computer until it gets written.)

Ok let’s go at it from another angle. What makes you choose a game? Honestly, think about. Would you buy a game that isn’t challenging? What about a game that hurts to watch (bad graphics)? How about character appeal?

If a game that is challenging, good graphics, and amazing characters would it really matter if there was no EXTREME violence? If it did matter then Zelda wouldn’t be such a big hit or Mario Bros or SSBB. Violence is NOT what sells a game, the GAME sells the game. 

Some people might argue with Grand Theft Auto, I was kinda iffy about the game because I thought it was one of “those” games. Then Brad told me the storyline and I actually thought it was quite fascinating. Mature, but fascinating. I do not think that playing one of those games will make someone want to go out and take a bat to some random stranger on the street. If playing that game has made you want to put a bat to a stranger, I suggest you get help immediately before you make things even more difficult for us gamers.


  1. WJUK

    Firstly, gratz to Brad. I didn’t catch the award show, but saw the session where he was on the panel. Then moving onto the topic at hand:

    You’ve basically touched on the premise of the “Media Effects Debate”.

    Will violent video games make people violent? Of course, it won’t – just imagine all the people who have played GTA IV or the GoW games, if violent games made people violent wouldn’t we see a HUGE increase of violence at the times when the games were released (there was actually a study to show violence in New York DROPPED when GTA IV was released – maybe everyone was playing the game). There’s also been numerous studies shown that many people use video games as a means of escape from the real world, and that they release anger and aggression in that harmless sand-boxed environment rather then the real world.

    But anyway, you’re right. No one plays a game for violence. Hell, that’s one of the stupidest reasons to play a game. I mostly play games for the accomplishment, multiplayer fun or for the story. But for different people, they want different things out of games. Maybe they just want to have something to do during lunch break (play flash games etc.).

    Fun fact: In Media theory, there’s one called “Uses and Gratifications of the media” concocted by Jay E. Blumler and Elihu Katz which generalises (to an extent) what people use/watch the media for (that includes video games):
    >Escapism (self-explanatory)
    >Personal Relations (To talk to others about/as a conversational piece)
    >Personal Identity (To identity their own problems with the characters)
    >Surveillance (To find out about the world around them)

    I just thought it was something to throw out there too.

  2. liphttam1

    Who plays games for the violence. I like playing games because… well the violence. Darn, now that I think of it one of the reasons I play halo is so I can kick my frends a** but not have him/her hate me in real life. But I don’t think it makes me wan’t to hurt him/her in real life. Violent video games in my opinion are a contest just like other games. Mano e Mano but without the Mano e Mano. (I have no idea if I said Mano e mano right).

    Then again I don’t only play games for violence. Because I play video games as a way to get away. Mirrors edge for instance brings me to a world that is the world but is not the world. Because I can’t jump roof to roof in real life, (well I can but thats not the point). But it’s the sensation that you are actualy doing somthing spectaculer that helps you thrugh the day. Not that killing is spectaculer but it sortof is because it’s somthing you can’t do in real life.

    I probabaly sound like a blood hungry savage througout this reply. Well I’m not. As I think I have mentioned before I am a vegatarion and like to activly protest animal crulty. All of my friends arn’t well in the “populer” croud because we all no how jerky they can be. we stick to our own group and enjoy a few laughs. And we don’t need to get them by pouring milk on eachothers heads eaither. Well I hope that clears my name a bit. Nice post by the way.

  3. WJUK

    Haha, I understand what you’re saying. The fact is that you can differentiate between reality and the world of games. The point that the line blurs so much that you can differentiate between the two; then you have trouble.

    I hate how the media uses games as a scape-goat, it’s troubling too that they don’t see the vast (educational and practical) potential of games – although the Wii has started to change that a lot.

  4. rawcru

    First, great topic, great replies.
    Just to add another thing: I think video games like war scenarios and stuff like that makes us realise the value of soldiers that served our country.
    For example, I’m currently playing Killzone 2. Amazing war simulation, crappy story, but meh. I mean, that’s a game, it’s still far from reality but we start thinking about it and start imagining the soldiers that got through similar scenarios and what they got through. It helps us realise their value and we start respecting them more. I think that’s a real lesson that can be only understood if we “try it”
    That’s my point 😉

  5. liphttam1


    Well I have yet to play a game that has not taught me somthing.

    Mirrors edge – Jumping around rooftops fun but dangerous

    Halo – Never ever sign up for the army.

    Mario – Sometimes you hafta take matters into your own hands. (and not call the mushroom poliece squad)

    FPA – its cool to be fancy

    Lost in the blue – How to survive (DUH)

    Cod 4 – when the pin is pulled mr granade is not our frend.

    sonic the hedge hog – somtimes…. err…. the laws of physics dont aply in video games. Example- the super bouncy springs

    Cooking mama – its Ok to be sexist about your mom being the one who cooks. (Just kidding)

    Well there is a bunchmore but I could realy care less. Anyhoodles Im going to read some harry potter. (dumbeldoore is gay OMG maby he will borrow harrys nimbus 2000 and use it to explore his chamber of secrets… yah, bad image there)

  6. FairlyObvious

    Sonic the Hedgehog – some time you feel like a hedgehog, most times you turn into a werewolf and annoy every sonic fan out there . . .

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