With the recent university shooting in the States, mainstream media once again has something to throw in the face of gaming, specifically the link between violent behaviour and electronic entertainment. Does it matter if the analyses are tainted with half-truths? Nope!
With all this controversy humming in the air, Atomic decided to have a word with Dr Guy Porter, a real-live professional in the matters of research, science and game violence.
From the article:
Large and well-designed studies have shown that childhood exposure to TV / film violence predicts subsequent aggressive behaviour in adulthood … These studies are widely regarded as the most convincing form of evidence for establishing a link between media violence and aggression. However, such studies do not yet exist for video games.
The interview goes on to cover Jack Thompson and game addiction. While recently we’ve heard much on the former, the latter seems to have dropped down a few rungs on the ladder of important issues.But first, Jack Thompson:
Jack Thompson is also against children being exposed to the sexual content in certain video games and is an advocate for correct classification and parental supervision. So he is not all bad.
However, I think that directly linking video games to school shootings is overlooking other more important factors – such as mental illness or psychopathy in those who commit the crimes as well as access to guns.
As for game addiction, Dr Porter is currently running a study on gamers and their playing habits to define what exactly constitutes an addiction.
The end of the interview has the good doctor admitting he used to play Ultima IV back in the day, and currently enjoys the odd whirl of a flight sim.
In short – the local angle plus a topical issue equals a good read.