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View Diary: I am a Gamer (332 comments)

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  •  I'm also a gamer (4+ / 0-)

    I don't care for first-person shooters. They usually just make me sick to my stomach (from all the crazy motion).

    I don't think there is anything wrong with investigating what impacts violent media have on people. Science is science is science. I'd rather have real information from real studies than anecdotal information and feelings.

    I had an interesting experience when I was still into MUDs. For those who may not know, a MUD is a multi-user text-based game. If you have ever played the old hitch hiker's guide to the galaxy text-based game, it's a lot like that, only with multiple players and more flexibility.

    There are a lot of elements to playing a MUD. There are social interactions; there are quests; and, there are killings. Depending on the MUD, you can even kill other players, but most of the killing is NPCs or non-player characters.

    When you find something you want to kill in a MUD you type "kill [thing]" and the attack takes place. So, you might type "kill hobbit" or "kill squirrel." Then a fight takes place and someone or something either dies or runs away.

    Anyway, I was really into this one particular MUD. I played a lot, like sometimes more than 24 hours straight. In this MUD when you quit the game you dropped all your gear. So, if you had really good gear and no guild, you would tend to keep playing for as long as you could to avoid losing your gear. Anyway, the point is that I played a lot, every day for a couple of years.

    I played the MUD so much that I started dreaming in text and even thinking in text. I'm a visual person, so I don't usually think in words. I usually think in pictures, but for a while I was thinking in text, like streams of words on a screen in my mind.

    I finally slowed down on the mudding when a particular incident occurred. It wasn't anything really bad, in fact, it was something ridiculously silly, but it woke me up and made me realize I was too deep in the game.

    I was sitting outside smoking, back when I still smoked, and a bird flew up and landed on the ground in front of me. When the bird landed "kill bird" flashed in my mind. It made me chuckle, but it also kind of weirded me out a bit.

    The MUD world had been bleeding into my real life for quite some time, but this was the first time my brain had tried to interact with the real world in mud terms, if that makes sense.

    I don't think that a video game would cause an otherwise sane person to act violently. I don't think that if I had a sword nearby that day that I would have tried to stab the bird. I do think that if a computer game that isn't at all realistic could cause me to have an altered perception of reality, even just briefly, that there is no reason it couldn't do that for someone else. And, if the video/computer game in question is already highly realistic? And the person is mentally unbalanced? I think it could result in some very dangerous situations.

    Those just the things I think and feel, based on experiences. I put absolutely no stock in them whatsoever. I don't think, as a society, that we should be trying to feel our way through this. Let's get some real unbiased studies done.

    I want science. Behavioral analysis. Brain scans. Not what some people think or feel.

    We need to look at everything objectively, because something is turning young men into weapons and I want to know what.

    •  Your mileage may vary (10+ / 0-)

      Your story reminded me of a similar experience I had with Sid Meier's Civilization. Man, I played the hell out of that game.

      Anyway, speaking of science, the plural of anecdote is not data, and the leap from personal experience to the supposition of direct effect, video game --> murder is quite a large one (glad you didn't make such a leap).

      They have in fact studied video games and their effects quite extensively. What they found is they cause no rise in violence.

      As for why young men are turning into murderers, we have some evidence for that, too. It's largely a complex, interrelated series of factors involving upbringing, socioeconomic status, family history (mental illness and the like), and a variety of drug, alcohol, physical and sexual abuse. It is by no means a comprehensive explanation, but we have a number of very clear indicators.

      The problem with going with your gut as opposed to your head is that the former is so often full of shit. - Randy Chestnut

      by lotusmaglite on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 11:57:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  But your story illustrates an mportant point (7+ / 0-)

      To the extent that games might bleed over into our perception of the real world, they do so by causing us to reflexively try to interact with the real world in game terms.

      Your brain tried to kill the bird with a text command. Mine might trigger me to try to click on it with an imaginary cursor and execute a sequence of keystrokes. An FPS player's might make him want to face the bird square on and click frantically.

      Now, it is possible that the brains of people who have actual experience with guns/edged weapons/etc might be able to connect the abstract representations of 'shooting' in a game with the actual process of aiming and firing a weapon. I know that in the case of driving games, I have a lot more 'bleedover' between my game experience and real-world experience than I do in genres where I don't have real-world experience with the actions in question; racing games cause a lot more visceral reactions/physiological arousal for me than other genres do, and I'm able to carry over certain techniques and conditioned responses from them into real-life driving.

      But without that pre-existing connection...well, I don't play shooters much, but I have played some, and they did absolutely nothing to prepare me for the actual experience of firing a gun. Having the real thing in my hands, experiencing the weight and the recoil and the abominable noise...it was absolutely nothing whatsoever like Half-Life. I wasn't even a half-decent marksman. And I had absolutely no inclination to run around shooting people with it, not even in a fleeting fantasy thought sort of way (as compared to racing games, which totally did make me think about sliding through turns and shoving other cars off the road with my actual vehicle). The things I learned in games just didn't transfer. I think I'd have to spend a lot more time with real guns for my brain to make the same sort of connection.

      "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

      by kyril on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 02:22:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The MMPRPG community (4+ / 0-)

      has found as many different routes to fascination as a hive mind can handle. Certainly some elements of WoW are like being in an interactive animated children's storybook. The whole idea of questing and role playing is to live your fantasies and make them real and here that can range from starting a bar fight between goblins and gnomes at Fizzle and Pozzik's steambarge, to assembling mats so you can advance far enough in a profession to make something cool like a flying machine or a huge profit in the Auction House.

      There are also some subtle nudges to be more aware of the exploitation of the environment by corporate raiders like Venture Corp that pollutes everything it touches, along with the introduction of concern for species extinction all mixed in with things like easter egg hunts.

      In that same game you can equip with a fairly wide range of armor and weapons, buffs and debuffs to engage in wonderful melees with a role of killing monsters or healing, both equally valued.

      Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

      by rktect on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:17:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've had that brain-bleed on occasion. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ThatPoshGirl, FloridaSNMOM

      When I was deeply into Tetris, I used to stare at the ceiling while trying to sleep and unintentionally visualize Tetris pieces slowly dropping through my field of vision.

      These days I'm playing Walk It Out for the Wii, and I have caught myself visualizing the objects around me and their point value anytime I walk outdoors with headphones on and music playing.

      I also do a lot of roleplaying, and I frequently find myself thinking of my RP characters' likely reactions to things I see and hear in real life.

      It's never gone anywhere beyond that.

      I think the worst a violent video game could do is offer a scenario and/or a framing context for someone who, as you say, is already mentally unbalanced.  And for a person is already mentally unbalanced, that kind of scenario and/or framing context can come from literally anything.

      As you say: some serious unbiased studies are warranted.

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