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Do violent video games such as Grand Theft Auto, Manhunt and Call of Duty promote real world violence to gamers?

The presentation segment of my ongoing extended project unit in Year 13
by

Jack Duffy

on 25 October 2014

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Transcript of Do violent video games such as Grand Theft Auto, Manhunt and Call of Duty promote real world violence to gamers?

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The formation of the ESRB
The ESRB (Entertainment Software Ratings Board) was established in 1994 with the sole purpose to apply a rating system to video games, similar to the ratings TV Shows and Films receive.

At the time, the ESRB introduced four rating labels that they would give to games, they were:
Early Childhood:

Suitable for young children
Teen:

Suitable for children 13+ (include some violence and strong language)
Mature 17+:

Suitable for mature audiences 17+ (include strong violence, profanity, sexuality and
Nudity)

Adults Only 18+:

Strictly 18+ (strong/extreme violence, strong/graphic sexuality, drug use, strong
Language, gambling)

Night Trap (1992)
Night Trap

Released in 1992, Night Trap caused huge controversy because of the potentially violent outcomes of the game. If the player fails to save one
Mortal Kombat

The second major release in 1992, Mortal Kombat shocked arcade audiences with digitized "realistic" blood and gore effects. The original installment in the franchise became infamous for it's 'fatality' moves, in particular the Spine-Rip performed by character 'Sub-Zero'
Mortal Kombat (1992)
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The 1993 Senate Comittee Hearing
As a result of increasing nationwide attention on the violence appearing in games such as Night Trap and Mortal Kombat, a US senate committee was held in 1993. The committee was overseen by Senator Joseph Lieberman.

The committee recommended an independent board for the purpose of rating and categorizing video games depending
the amount of 'mature content' that the game features, in an effort to prevent the games from being accessible by children.
Do violent video games such as Grand Theft Auto, Manhunt and Call of Duty promote real world violence to gamers?
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Mortal Kombat

Released just a week before Night Trap, Mortal Kombat shocked audiences with it's 'realistic' depiction of blood and gore effects. The most
Mortal Kombat (1992)
Grand Theft Auto III was the first game in the series to be set in a 3D world. The game was a technological triumph for the time, but with this came fresh controversy for the series with the violence used.
The levels of violence were unheard of at the time, with the player essentially able to do what they liked in the virtual world.
Jack Thompson is an ex-lawyer and political activist notorious for his stance against violence and sex in video games but also against "obscene" modern culture (e.g. rap music)

He rose to prominence during the various cases against GTA III back in 2001/2.

The two most infamous cases were those committed by stepbrothers William Buckner and Joshua Buckner in Tennessee and 16 year-old Dustin Lynch
The second series by Rockstar games to cause widespread controversy, Manhunt was a survival horror game that was criticized for its extreme realistic violence and the fact that the player was rewarded for gorier and violent kills
Manhunt was dubbed one of the most violent games ever at the time.

But it was the extreme levels of controversy that followed in the UK that led to the game becoming infamous within the gaming community.
On July 28th 2004, the murder of Stefan Pakeerah hit the British headlines. Pakeerah was murdered by 17 year old Warren LeBlanc who "beat him with a claw hammer and stabbed him repeatedly with a knife" . For many in the UK, this was one of the first instances of violence that was blamed on a video game due to LeBlanc supposedly "mimicking behaviour in Manhunt"
While the Call of Duty series had gathered significant controversy in the past, it was a single level in 2009's Modern Warfare 2 that caused outrage.
The level "No Russian" is completely optional and can be skipped at any time, but it depicts terrorists assaulting a commercial airport.


Is it fair to blame Video Games?
Aaron Alexis & The Media
Alexis "began firing a shotgun and later a semi-automatic weapon in the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters at the D.C. Navy Year. Thirteen people died in the hail of bullets, including the shooter after a firefight with police"
The media reported that "Aaron Alexis played violent video games including Call of Duty for up to 16 hours at a time and friends believe it could have pushed him towards becoming a mass murderer"
Scientific evidence linking video game violence to the real world?
Scientific Evidence
Although scientific evidence providing a link between violent video games and aggression is rare, some studies do exist:
"Increased activity in the amygdala, which stimulates emotions, and decreased activity in the prefrontal lobe, which regulated inhibition, self-control and concentration"
Statistics
Statistics
Looking at statistics relating to the sales of mature rated games
While the sales of mature rated games rose in the Years 2008-11, the proportions of Youth Violence actually fell during the same time.
- Results with negative findings are rarely published in medical journals
- Poor measurement of aggression
- Potential Bias
- Small research groups
The media's reaction to video game violence and its hypothetical real world impact has largely been the same throughout the years. Overwhelmingly Negative.
Jack Duffy
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of the women the player is working to protect, the infamous 'Nightgown Scene' occurs
notable moment of controversy within the game was the infamous 'Spine Rip Fatality' performed by the character 'Sub-Zero'.
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