Home Gaming A call to arms – Do videogames cause or lead to violent behaviour?

A call to arms – Do videogames cause or lead to violent behaviour?

1 min read


Quick family history lesson, my sister is an insanely qualified person who is currently lecturing a class on Criminology at a local University.

Every Friday they debate something and juggle the pro’s and con’s from either side (some of the topics are just downright scary and disgusting).

However tomorrow the topic is whether or not videogames are linked to violent behaviour which is where we come in.

She has agreed to take some of the logical comments posted here into account when giving the lecture tomorrow and then send back a brief (nutshell styled) report back on their ideas and findings.

So if you have an opinion on this and would like to have it heard by the people who grow up to make the big decisions now is your chance.

Just leave the ideas in the comments section below and hopefully we’ll get some decent points to throw across.

To help get you started, is there a difference in Real Life violence like we see in Grand Theft Auto compared to Sci-Fi violence experienced in Halo?

What about slapstick violence? Does that count?

What about sex in games? Does it affect you, is it worse than violence, who should police it?

Last Updated: March 11, 2010


  1. Geoff

    March 11, 2010 at 13:59

    I am, despite being a gamer for the past 25 years, one of the least violent people I know. I think people prone to exhibiting violent behaviour will do so, regardless of external stimuli – although those same stimuli may exacerbate, or hasten latent tendencies.


    • koldFU5iON

      March 12, 2010 at 09:45

      I didn’t know you could use such big words


      • Geoff

        March 12, 2010 at 09:51

        Sorry, it happens sometimes when I have my “serious hat’ on. I’ll try to keep it down to the monosyllabic grunts you’re accustomed to hearing from me.

        Also, boobs.


  2. Lupus

    March 11, 2010 at 14:05

    I’ve gamed since I could walk, and this is games like Soldier of Fortune etc… I would never commit a violent act against a person, or do anything morally ambiguous. In fact even in the game I tend to not try hurt civilians, keep as many men alive in an RTS as possible, though when facing an alien horde, they better watch out 😉


  3. fred

    March 11, 2010 at 14:26

    I’ve never hurt a single person through violence but have been gaming for 25 years , and most of my current favorite games are extremely violent. There is no connection in my opinion. What should be discussed is the addictive nature of games and the protection of the family members from it.


  4. uberutang

    March 11, 2010 at 14:33

    No connection.

    I game online, offline and play military sims on weekends… and I have never been convicted of a crime… :devil:


  5. Worm

    March 11, 2010 at 14:46

    I have to agree with the majority here. There is no connection, I do however think that, to a small degree, it depends on the person. Some people are just more easily influenced than others.


  6. SenatorTod_ZA

    March 11, 2010 at 15:24

    i like racing games and had to spend a night in jail for speeding with 208km/h on the highway – wonder if there is a connection 🙂

    No seriously… I’m the opinion that violent people tend to consume violent games and violent movies because they are fascinated by the topic anyway. But I don’t think that movies or games raise violence because adults are able to differentiate between virtual and real things. It might be different with kids – therefore age restrictions are needed.


  7. dislekcia

    March 11, 2010 at 15:27

    I get asked this a lot because of my job, so I have a standard answer:

    If someone played Fifa games religiously, would you expect them to be able to dribble better than Pele or score goals like Rooney does? But if someone plays Championship Manager religiously, would they be able to hold a conversation with Sir Alex Fergusson? The latter is far more likely.

    Games can convey certain systemic understandings and relationship between actions and consequences, but they’re not good at imparting actions and behaviors themselves. A gamer who plays violent games will understand the mechanics of violence in many ways: They’ll know the consequences of being shot in different parts of their body (roughly) but they won’t be able to do any shooting themselves unless they go out and physically learn. Game violence is actually so completely disconnected from real violence (because it’s designed to tweak our fascination with it) that people who plan actual violence need to physically practice it in other ways in order to get inured to the overwhelming stimuli that go hand in hand with real violence. That practice (harming animals and related behaviors, etc) is a far better indicator of future violent behavior than playing games or otherwise engaging in entertainment with violence as a subject.


  8. Tose

    March 11, 2010 at 15:53

    All the statistics I have seen show a steady decline in violence among youths over the past couple decades. If video games caused violent behavior, voilence would have increased. Parental care is what really shapes a person (with rare exceptions).


  9. Fox1

    March 11, 2010 at 15:55

    Look there’s the flipside to this. There are situations where being a gamer actually improves ones reaction time, skills and knowledge base overall. If anything, violence in games teaches you the consequences of bad behaviour 😉


  10. Reaver

    March 11, 2010 at 16:10

    Right, time to stir up the pot a bit.
    If an individual has an inbred psychological defect, resulting in him/her not being able to distinguish real-life from fantasy, right from wrong, etc, then any medium – whether it’s videogames, movies, music or even books – in which a particular strain of behaviour is sensationalized, and to which the individual is continuously exposed, it will more than likely influence the individual to exhibit extreme cases of said behaviour.
    Now in this situation there really are 2 things to look at: Firstly, the fact that the individual already had a psychological defect before coming into contact the medium, which upon contact was just aggravated. This would imply that gaming was not the cause of said behaviour.
    Secondly though, is the fact that this medium is sensationalizing behaviour which is considered by many to be abhorrent. Because let’s face it, as much as we love gaming, it is populated by a fairly large amount of titles that glorify violence.
    I’m not saying that this glorified violence is turning all ordinary Sunday-school attending kids into katana-wielding psychopaths, but it’s also not helping when it comes to these already disturbed children.
    Now would it be fair to ban all violence in videogames, when its clearly only the vast minority of gamers that are being affected negatively? Of course not. We are all individuals, we cannot be painted with the same brush. However we also can’t defend our hobby with such blind patriotism that we ignore the pitfalls of it as well.
    This is nowhere near as easy a debate as most well-adjusted gamers make it out to be. Just saying “I’ve been a gamer my whole life, and I’ve never killed anybody.” cannot be our sole argument. There are aspects of this hobby which are blatantly exploitative, and in most cases, unnecessarily so. Think back to a game like Soldier of Fortune, where the entire selling point of the game was the ability to dismember your opponents with bullets. Or a game like Manhunt, where you were rewarded based on how gruesomely you dispatched of people. Poster-children for excessive, gratuitous violence.
    Now look at the Call of Duty franchise. A game that when it’s stripped down to it’s core, is really just about shooting hordes of other people with large caliber fireams. But the difference between this and the previous 2 games is that it isn’t simply violence for violence’s sake. The violence is there to draw you in to the reality of warfare, not simply as a vehicle for pent-up bloodlust. To remove the violence of a game such as this, would actually detract from it. Would the famous Russian Airport scene in Modern Warfare 2 really have had such a strong emotional impact if you were firing foam darts?
    Now I know that I spoken ambiguously in a few places, with an ever-wavering standpoint, but that is unfortunately the reality we are faced with. There are pros and cons to both sides of this debate, and it will take some fairly agile mental gymnastics to eventually boil down to an answer that satisfies all parties. The only way we can reach this answer is if both sides start to listen to each other, which unfortunately is something that happens very seldomly.


    • bboy

      March 11, 2010 at 16:30

      (P.s. I did read it, good points all round)


    • LazySAGamer

      March 11, 2010 at 21:38

      Nice post, you raised some excellent points 🙂

      But you can’t really have a vast minority can you?


  11. Bboy

    March 11, 2010 at 16:18

    Mine EYES, too much text to read! must… find… game to play.


  12. mitas

    March 11, 2010 at 17:08

    well no… there is no connection , get over it buy a ps3 and get little big planet and then become the sandbag killer and prove me wrong….
    ps all really good posts up here , although my 20 odd yr old brain struggles to comprend all this info….ah where did i leave my copy of MAN HUNT now ???


  13. GoldenSilver

    March 11, 2010 at 22:46

    ok fair enough most of us have been gaming since we were little…. but look on we started on, 8 bit red pixels splatting from a rather blocky guard.. If you even could make out that it was a guard. These days its rather realistic…. and a young mind that likes to imitate what it sees might end up hurting a family member after prolonged exposure.

    But there are measures put in place with the age restrictions and is at fault of the parent if it is not enforced properly especial if the child is easily imprinted by media.

    So far most if not all the off the where games where to blame the child had a history of violent behaviour and/or a mental disability.


    • Reaver

      March 12, 2010 at 08:48

      Yeah, Age Restrictions always somehow get overlooked in these “Gamez-R-Evul” articles. Stop asking whether or not GTA4 turned your 12 yr old son into hooker-beating devil worshipper, but rather ask why the hell your 12 yr old son is playing a game that’s made exclusively for adults.


  14. Kurt Goranson

    March 18, 2010 at 23:35

    Very good read, several strong points were made.


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