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Gaming: The Fuel To The Fire In Todays Society Of Violence?
Text by John Doe, photos by Doe Johnson

H E R E S P O N S E TO have been blamed for causing violence in society, Call of Duty and Grand
gaming is media panic, Theft Auto being among them. A report from the APA task force on
nothing but an emo- violent media claims that The research demonstrates a consistent rela-
tional critique of a new tion between violent video game use and increases in aggressive behav-
means of gaming, the iour, aggressive cognitions and aggressive affect, and decreases in pro-
source of enjoyment for millions. social behaviour, empathy and sensitivity to aggression.
Media panic is often counted as
an example of moral panic, which Call of Duty, a first person shooter game using weaponry such guns,
famous for its multiplayer gaming where people play to kill the en-
by its very definition means the emies. It has been held semi-accountable for a number of violent
process of arousing social concern episodes in history. An avid gamer, Anders Behring Breivik shot 68
over an issue usually the work of people dead at a youth camp, and bombed another 9. In court, it was
moral entrepreneurs and the mass discovered that he had in fact used CoD to train himself to commit
the violent murders..
mediaMany 18 age rated games

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Clearly, CoD has had an influence on this WHAT IS THE CONTEXT OF GAMING
man however it does lead one to wonder THE USES AND GRATIFICATIONS
what pre-vulnerabilities he would have had The Effects theory can come into play.
wired into his brain, to then notoriously kill This states that a certain type of media The Uses and Gratification theory, suggest-
so many people triggered by the influence has a direct and strong effect on passive ing that an audience chooses what to do
of Call of Duty. audiences. This theory enraptures a clear with the violent games they are presented
cause and effect argument, with the with, can be applied here to refer to what
Yet again, Gravnd Theft Auto, first catego- games content itself being the cause, then I previously mentioned, about those who
rised by critical government officials and a change in audience mind-set and their have the predisposition of how they will
journalists as a murder stimulator, has been reactions to the content is the effect. Within react to the game. This theory is much more
targeted as promoting violence against this theory, there is the idea of hypodermic related to the gaming world in my opinion,
women and sexual assault. Huffington needle. This is the theory that the use of because games are purely unrealistic
Post released an article on GTA V, describ- mass media directly injects a large group games, and the interpretation will depend
ing it as a continuation of supporting vio- of people with a message, that is designed on the rational or irrational thoughts that
lence and sexual denigration of women. to have a particular response. The extent then go through the mind of the gamer.
This article followed the shocking revela- to which this has an effect in the gaming Many people use gaming as an escape to
tion of the figures that on average one in world may be controversial. It is evident recover from a stressful day, therefore they
three American women will experience that, as with an injection, the response will react to the game in such a way that it
some type of abuse, may it be sexual or seems to be uniformly violent and irrevers- is only a method to release anger, and they
physical, in their lifetimes. Although GTA ible, as depicted by series of mass murders are evidently only releasing the anger in a
clearly cannot be purely blamed, the explicit carried out by people, who do not seem to game, and not in the community. However,
depiction of violence, in particular against show remorse. However, the theory of the due to the high incidence of violence which
women and girls, is extremely controver- hypodermic needle also doesnt seem to is blamed on gaming, it seems like this
sial, due to the heightened influence of such completely fit here, as if everyone is pro- theory may not be very solid, because it
types of media in our modern society. grammed to have an exact response, why seems shocking that so many gamers could
do the millions of people who play the respond to games such as GTA and CoD in
game have no response at all? There must such a uniformly violent way.
be some predisposition in the people who
respond so violently.

The responses to these games have been threefold; preferred, negotiated and oppositional, due to the excessive gaming fan culture,
drawing more people in by the minute. A preferred response to gaming is when the audience interpret the game as the producer
intended, in this case as a virtual reality game where violence is only to be on the screen, not in the community. Most responses are
preferred, however there are many negotiated responses. This is when the gamer will somewhat agree with the ideas behind the
game, however may twist and change its meanings to become relevant to their own life. This can be a cause of violence in the commu-
nity, as some may believe it is okay to react to unfortunate thigs in such a way that they would in a game. An oppositional response,
however, may have catastrophic effects. An audience will understand that this is a virtual reality, however will not accept this idea and
possibly bring the violent actions in to daily life as a response to minor things.

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