Why Do Violent Video Games Really Cause Violence?

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Violent video games don't exist -- in fact, nor do nonviolent video games. That latter point may actually be easier to demonstrate. Given the way the term "violent video games" is defined in the scholarly community, almost all video games are violent video games, including Pac-Man, as a scholar had to admit in one recent court case. My point is that the concept of "violent video games," which society has been debating as long as video games have been around (yes, politicians and scholars once seriously worried over the impact of games like Pac-Man, Centipede and Zaxxon), is so vague that it has little real meaning.

We'd all agree that a game such as Grand Theft Auto 5 is a violent video game, but where exactly do we draw the line between violent
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Supreme Court in its 2011 Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association decision. As became apparent in that case (and in cases before it), much of the scholarly community has come to consider media violence an all-encompassing whole, such that a picture of a gun is as likely to increase aggression as is a violent video game. Much time has been spent debating the merits of the aggression measures used in this research (and see the Supreme Court's majority reaction to them, which was less-than-impressed, to say the least), but the vagueness of the term "violent video game" (or "media violence," for that matter) is also problematic for how the construct is measured in research. Many studies continue to settle for dubious approaches, such as allowing kids to rate how violent the games they play are, then asking them how aggressive they are, an approach that can cause spurious correlations. Other surveys assume that entire genres of games can be reliably scored as violent or nonviolent without even knowing the individual game…show more content…
But here too, a game such as Bioshock Infinite is very different from one such as Grand Theft Auto 5, which is very different from one such as The Walking Dead. The game narratives and the context in which violence occurs are very different. So does the concept of "violent video game" have any meaning at all? If Pac-Man is a violent video game just as Grand Theft Auto 5 is a violent video game, the whole concept is absurd. When we use the term "violent video game," we make an assumption that all games that contain any violent content, no matter how minor, and no matter the context, share some kind of conceptual space that is
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