Many video games present violent and/or explicit (as some would say) situations that have been debated about over a number of years. As games become more visually realistic, they can make the gamer feel more immersed in the action/play of the game while it “desensitizes players to real-world violence….” (Croteau, 103). Even in games that are not violent or explicit, the gamer can be desensitized as to what is real and what is not. If you die in a video game, you will be able to retry the level with no harm done. In real life, we know that there is no such thing as a second chance at life after death. We only have this one life. Video games are constantly blamed for the violence in reality, such as the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado in 1999. Even though violence can occur in video games, that does not mean that the person playing the game is a violent person. Gamers who are able to “distinguish between fantasy and reality prevents them from emulating video game violence in real life.” link
A study at the University of Victoria in Canada suggested that “video games can make children more ethically and morally aware.” From their studies, they reasoned that children learn collaboration and leadership skills along with problem solving and strategizing skills. In some games where the gamer’s actions effect the outcome of the game, bad actions/decisions will result in a negative ending while good actions/decisions result in a positive ending. For example, in the game Dishonored, if the player brings about a high rate of chaos, then there will be more death and the ending will be negative. If the player has a low rate of chaos, then there will be fewer deaths and the ending is more positive. These actions could also teach “children to recognize the cause and effect reality of their actions….” A very popular game that engages the player in problem solving skills is The Legend of Zelda series. In every game there are many puzzles and problem solving tasks that the player must complete to be able to move on to the next task. This game requires the gamer to analyze the setting of the game and the tools that are available for the character to use.
Video games can present violence material, but it can also require the mind to critically think about how to solve problems and puzzles. However the player engages in a game they will learn from their actions. I grew up playing video games. But I was never allowed to play games that were rated Teen or higher until around high school. Personally, I dislike the games that reenact wars and that are too violent because I feel that the situations they present can mock reality. Everyone’s opinion on what is moral and what is not is different and it is up to him or her to decide and chose.
Croteau, David. Hoynes, William. Media/Society:Industries, Images, and Audiences – fifth edition. SAGE Publications, Inc. 2014