Latest developments in Information and communication technology paved an adventures life to the present generations. It created a brand new another world, made the fantasies happen and let the people feel or does what they wanted to. Of course, these words fit to the concept of virtual reality, an immediate exiting second world just a push of a button away. Specifically speaking, I am concerning to games here. Games play an important part in digital life of the people and since digitization is everywhere so are the games. It is gift of technology to its users. But who create these games and how they affect our vision towards our own society? However various studies have shown that even a brief exposure to video games does have its impact on children and youths, including college-age individuals
First video-games appeared in late 1970’s and violent one’s in 1990’s such as Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, and Wolfenstein 3D. Let’s take a 3D game as an example to address the game playing concept. You may be familiar with Grand Theft Auto (GTA) Vice City. It is 3-Dimensional action game released 27 october, 2002. It was developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games, Capcom, SCEA and ak tronic. The game presented a clear 3D setting of a city, similar to Miami, Florida. Clear roads, huge structures, stylish people etcetra, every aspect presented it as an advanced city. However, the city is full of corruption, exploitation and sleaze. Being an action game, the player is free to rumble.
GTA Vice City introduces a player to a lot of dynamic engagements including action-packed missions, fights, wreak-havoc, and blood-shed etcetera. The hero of the game is Tommy Vercetti, a very tough guy and the main plot of the game is to become the city’s resident crime lord. Killings, murders and smugglings are there in the game and the player has to be like this. It totally reflects violence. However, graphics and materialistic content describe its relevance with the cultural aspect of the game creators and players as they also belong to a certain community. But, consistent exposure of violence has had its impact on the behaviour trait of the player. According to Gee (2003), appropriately designed multimedia instruction facilitates the learning performance of children in various subjects like science, mathematics etcetera. So, what would be the expected result if the same principle is applied to the violent video games also? Does this game also encourage the violent behaviour of the players?
Game developers and researchers have started to investigate about the impact of video games on cognitive learning and behaviour of the players (Begg, Dewhurst, & Macleod, 2005; Squire, 2003;Vaupel, 2002). Like with every new medium, videogames also suffer from serious critics from the researchers. But, video games provide an easy, motivating and interactive mode of learning which is fruitful and a satisfactory element to the parents, educators and children or adults- the players. Vice City is definitely an action genera game that lets the users to experience adventures and accomplishments in the form of violence. Generally speaking, both aspects of the video games are proper.
In his article, The Multiple Dimensions of Video Game Effects, Douglas A. Gentile mentions (2011) mentions five dimensions on which video games can affect players: the amount of play, the content of play, the game context, the structure of the game, and the mechanics of game play. Violent content of a video game directly predicts aggressive behaviour among children (Anderson, Gentile, & Buckley, 2007; Gentile, Lynch, Linder, & Walsh, 2004). Also, the amount of time spent on games and other screen media induces health issues like childhood obesity (Vandewater, Shim, & Caplovitz, 2004). Accordingly, Vice City also affects the aggressive element and health of the player.
Many studies reveal intense short-term and long-term effects of violent video games (Anderson & Dill, 2000; Anderson et al., 2007). It concludes that violent content prompts aggressive notions. Conversely, pro-social concepts in a game can initiate social development (Gentile et al., 2009).
The social concerns of the game embrace the impact of the individual on the social elements of society. Perhaps, he constitutes the society and is accountable towards the growth of pro-social attitude in the society. However, playing Vice City may hinder him in one way or the other from inculcating the social etiquette.
Game playing, even the violent ones as Vice City reflects the theory of uses and gratification where an individual tries to release his/her stress and tension (although the game playing has its own concerns regarding stress). Nonetheless in the subconscious, the aggressive aspect of the individual might be developing.
The structure of a game has had its impact on its players. GTA Vice City is an adult rated game that deals with violence. The freedom of the player in avatar’s suit is unimaginable. He can get into a vehicle and just smash people and other vehicles, beat people to death and pick their money etcetera. Basically, this kind of attitude is enhanced by the freedom of violence provided by the game. However, the vision of an individual towards his society may not change but his attitude can get modified according to his consistent exposure to the violence. What can we predict from a 15 year old playing the Vice city game? May be increased aggressive behaviour (or playing it with other friends may enhance violent team skills), poor academic performance, more health issues etcetera. But, being the game ‘good’ or ‘bad’ cannot depend solely on a specific dimension of the game.
Anderson, C. A., & Dill, K. (2000). Video games and aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behavior in the laboratory and in life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 772 790.
Anderson, C. A., Gentile, D. A., & Buckley, K. E. (2007). Violent video game effects on children and adolescents: Theory, research, and public policy. New York: Oxford University Press.
Begg, M., Dewhurst, D., & Macleod, H. (2005). Game-informed learning: Applying computer game processes to higher education. Retrieved January 19, 2009, from http://innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=176.
Gee, J. P. (2003). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy (1st Ed.), New York: Palgrave Macmillan
Gentile, D. A. (2009). Pathological video game use among youth 8 to 18: A national study. Psychological Science, 20, 594–602.
Gentile, D. A., Lynch, P. J., Linder, J. R., & Walsh, D. A. (2004). The effects of violent video game habits on adolescent hostility, aggressive behaviors, and school performance. Journal of Adolescence, 27, 5–22.