Doom Creator: "If Anything... Violent Games Reduce Aggression And Violence"

John Carmack is currently working on RAGE, a game that, from what we've seen, will feature a fair amount of violence. His resume, which includes legendary games like Doom and Quake, hasn't exactly been short of violence either - so when he speaks up about the impact of said violence, it's probably worth listening. Especially in the wake of the Oslo shootings.

"People just play games now and I never took seriously the violence in video games debate," said Carmack, speaking to Industry Gamers. "It was basically talking points for people to get on CNN and espouse their stuff on there."

Carmack also pointed to new research that linked the rise of video games to reductions in crime.

"I really think, if anything, there is more evidence to show that the violent games reduce aggression and violence," he claimed. "There have actually been some studies about that, that it’s cathartic... I think it’s at worst neutral and potentially positive."

Doom Creator: Games Are Cathartic, Reduce Aggression and Violence [Industry Gamers]


Comments

    Hi, Devils Adovocate here, why would the peddler of video game violence be an authority on the impact it has? He's not exactly coming from an unbiased standpoint.

      The way Australia is heading as a nanny state we will likely soon see "plain packanging" on video games.

        Plain packaging is fine, if anything, it doesn't give anything away from the game. A plain black cover with the game title in the same style as its displayed in-game would be ideal and wouldn't take anything away from the game - and really, how often do you look at the front cover of a game/book/movie...

        You don't exactly see women spreading their legs on the covers of the adult magazines at your petrol station do you.

        They already got that in South Australia for R18+ movies, thanks to Atkinson

          Clearly not everyone's doing that or it's not in place yet, I've seen a few displayed R18+ dvds/blurays with normal packaging....

      Better Question: Why is Australian Catholic Lobby considered an authority on games they have never even played? Atleast his opinion is somewhat relevant, if biased.

        If you're refering to the ACL, they have very little, if nothing at all, to do with the Catholic church. Their origin has actually more to do with the Pentacostal church.

        Now, while an organisation related to the Catholic church, the Australian Catholic Bishops, have entered the whole R-18+ debate, they were in support of introducing the rating.

      Surely though, if someone was to go bat shit crazy because of violence in a computer game, it would be the people who wrote it. Would not these people be the most desensitised to the violence. Therefore, would they not be the ones committing the most violent of crimes? As far as I know there has never been a massacre by a FPS game writer. Though I could be wrong.

      For the same reason that the acl are an authority there not exactly coming from an unbiased standpoint either

      And no scientists with any self respect have come out and said that games are evil

      Still pretty sure more people have been killed and injured from competitive sport than videogames have ever caused and thats even If you include the most minute connections which have much grander reasoning behind the killings such as in the Oslo case

      Came here to say the same thing. The guy may have worked in the video game industry for a long time and be a really smart bloke but if he's not a psychologist or someone who can impartially interpret information about anger/video game relationship don't treat his opinion with any more respect than Jim Wallace.

        This guy although biased would still know more on the topic than Jim Wallace, so his opinion is definitely worthy of more respect.

      More than likely he'd know more than the average person, because if he's going to delve into this industry, specifically this area OF the industry, he's going to educate himself on the particulars of it. Particularly the PR aspect, which people will use to sling mud at his games. Specifically, the crap that was thrown AT Doom. SO why? Because Carmack led the charge against the morons who claimed games led to violence and murder at one point. He's more qualified than most I would guess with quite a bit of confidence.

      He isn't being biased in the article, he is saying there are studies saying that games don't make people violent but less violent. He then says that he beleives that if anything they don't do anything but if they did influence people that he beleives that it would be cathartic, ie make them less violent.
      Alot of people don't seem to read these articles properly.. no wonder Aus is becoming a damn nanny state.......

    Second paragraph
    >Carmakc

    Also, what MasterCyl said.

    As much as I like Carmack and respect him as a master of technical magic that is the 3D game engine...

    What does he know about psychology?

      He is making an opinion of research he doesn't claim any knowledge on psychology.

      Well, games exist as a set of rules in the human mind, not as a tangible object - that's when they become toys. So, as a designer, he'll have a better understanding than the average person, but in the field of experience creation, rather than cylincal treatment. Given he's one of the all time best designers, has written a number of pieces on the subject and continues to work in the area, I'd say he is at least an expert opinion. Psychs are great if they know the subject matter, as they can look deeper than what the designers can and examine the inner workings.

      As we're still in the very beginings of the research stage of the effects of gaming on the human mind, I'd say he has just as much credibility as a psych(assuming said psych isn't one of those "GAMES WILL CAUSE HEP B!!!" types). Not all designers, of course, but the good ones like John Carmack, Sid Meier and Will Wright who consistently put out solidly designed rule sets, instead of just flashy interactive movies, probably know a thing or two on the subject.

      'cause I already over research game design so I'm probably looking deeper than the average person cares about.

    So this dude, creates violent games, for months on end. sees the concept art, gameplay, screenshots...for months on end. And not only one game. multiple violent games.
    I haven't heard Carmack going on a killing spree, except if Dexter the series is based on him.
    Maybe it just acts as a trigger in some, and not in others, who knows.

    I tend to take my anger out on games.

    But sometimes games make me angry (not in a violence makes me violent way, more of a 'these controls are shit and the AI is cheating' way).

    It's a vicious cycle.

    As someone studying psych (making no claims on being a expert here) I've bothered to read a good deal of the research available to me, and the only conclusion you can without a doubt reach without making at least a bit of a leap is that more research (and better designed research) needs to be done on the effects of video games on behaviour. That said, sorry Mr. Carmack, but if it was going to swing one way or the other it's potentially negative with a bit of positive, not flat out positive.

    Generally speaking actual research never claims that violent video games cause violent behaviour themselves, it's that lovely media/politicians that twist it that way, what they do conclude (not always at that) is that videogames MAY encourage violent behaviour in people that already have violent tendencies, which is VERY different to video games being the cause of said violent tendencies. It's also worth noting that while for some people it could reduce aggression, you can't just assume everyone responds the same to an identical stimulus. The most accepted conclusion on exposure to violence isn't that it desensitizes everyone who views it, it's that it will desensitize some who view it while making others even more sensitive to it, while on others still it will have very little to no noticeable effect at all, again, people react differently to different things, and while it can be useful to find the most common response to a stimuli, the more research is done on this topic the more obvious it becomes that there is no standard response, as has so often been found with exposure to violent movies/television.

    I play BattleField, I get angry. I goto bed a relaxed and happy man. Simple as that.

    Does this mean that Carmack can finally make us all his bit**es like he promised, in the lead up to that ever so awesome game Daikatana?

    I don't know about plain packaging, Id just like to see some sensical packaging.

    Ie I buy a game. It comes in a box. This box in turn has a plastic DVD case. Lots of 'Best game of the year 2009' stuff on it. Screen shots. Thats cool. Then inside that we have normally a single DVD.

    Is there no better way to package games? Its not like most games are coming with manuals nowadays. They are normally bundled on the DVD.

    So lets cut the waste. Keep a really wow pop visual copy on the shelf of the store but provide a simple protective case to the sellable versions of the game

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