Washington, D.C., once again turned its gaze to violent video games this week. Vice President Joe Biden, who’s leading an investigation into gun violence, met with video game industry officials Friday to discuss violent video games and their impact on the real world.

Politicians have been going after violent video games for decades. In the 1990s, congressional leaders held multiple hearings on violent video games, partly in response to the release of Mortal Kombat. After the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado, lawmakers and the national media honed in on violent video games, pointing to mentions of Doom and Duke Nukem in the shooters’ diaries.

Similarly, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has been trying to pin the blame on violent video games in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Connecticut. In their first press conference following the tragedy, the NRA said violent video games are part of “a callous, corrupt, and corrupting shadow industry that sells and sows violence against its own people.” The statements once again reeled violent video games into a national conversation about gun violence.

The focus on violent video games causes an uneasy clash between entertainment and politics with little justification. It forces normally apolitical outlets like IGN and Gamasutra to give the touchy issue attention, even though research on violent video games and real violence has been fairly inconclusive.

But with Biden set to make recommendations to the president Tuesday, that coverage and inconclusiveness may be more important than ever to the video game industry.

Public Discourse on Violent Video Games

On Friday, White House officials met with video game industry leaders to discuss violent video games and ways to curb gun violence in America. The meeting, which was met with some controversy from video game news outlets earlier in the week, seemed to go better than expected.

On the White House side, the meeting was headed by Vice President Biden, who was joined by Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. On the game industry side, executives from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB), GameStop, Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, and Take-Two Interactive attended the meeting.

The meeting left Chris Ferguson “cautiously optimistic,” according to The Wall Street Journal. Ferguson, a psychology professor at Texas A&M who’s studied violent video games, attended the meeting as a researcher. He said Biden went to the meeting to find facts, not engage in a witch hunt.

For his part, Biden seemed fairly impartial during his remarks: “We know that there is no silver bullet.” He added, “Frankly, we don’t even know whether some of things people think impact [violence] actually impact on it or not.”

For once, it’s nice to see a public official not make an impulsive judgment about violent video games. It’s a strong contrast to politicians quickly condemning games following the tragedy in Columbine. But whether Biden actually listened to video game industry leaders will be known Tuesday, when Biden will make his full policy recommendations to the president.

Prior to the meeting, there was some infighting between video game news outlets about whether the industry should attend the meeting at all. In an editorial following the meeting’s announcement, Kris Graft, editor-in-chief of Gamasutra, wrote, “If you’re meeting with Joe Biden about gun control, you’re stating that you are part of the problem, and therefore, you are part of the problem.”

That prompted a response from Casey Lynch, editor-in-chief of IGN. He wrote, “Do you really believe the topic of violence and gun control as it relates to video games is better left to people who have no interest in appreciating video games, no deep personal experience or understanding of the medium, and no motivation to help communicate the complexities of these issues to the most powerful office in the nation?

“There’s nobody else, Kris. There’s just us.

“Make no mistake, this conversation will happen, whether we’re a part of it or not.”

With the current situation, Lynch’s argument seems more practical. After decades of the national media and politicians bouncing impulsive thoughts in an echo chamber, the video game industry was finally given a real opportunity to defend itself. Not taking the chance would have only made it easier for the NRA to scapegoat violent video games, even though the research is not on the NRA’s side.

Research on Violent Video Games

The video game industry should have the objective advantage in the national conversation. Research on violent video games has produced no solid link between violence in video games and violence in real life. In all the studies looked at for this article, the only common conclusion was that more research is necessary.

In 2008, a study from Ferguson, the researcher who attended the meeting with Biden, found no connection between violent video games and aggression. The study was based on an experimental study and a correlational study, and neither connected violent video games and aggressive behavior.

In 2011, another study from researchers in Texas did link violent video games and increased aggression. But it also found video games decrease the occurrence of violent crime by keeping would-be offenders off the streets, creating what the study describes as a “voluntary incapacitation effect.” The study concluded, “Overall, violent video games lead to decreases in violent crime.”

In two studies, Brock University looked into the relationship between violent video games and aggression. In the first study published on Oct. 2011, researchers concluded competitiveness, not violence, is related to increased aggression. In a more in-depth study published on July 2012, the same researchers walked back their previous findings, concluding violent video games do seem to cause more aggression. But they also wrote more research is necessary to sort through possible culprits, including levels of violence, pace of action, and competitiveness.

The calls for more research shows findings are still too mixed to justify regulations on the video game industry. Besides, even if violent video games do generally make people more aggressive, that does not necessarily lead to real violent acts. That’s especially true if an increase in aggression is being overshadowed by the incapacitation effect found in other research. So far, the only safe conclusion is more research is necessary.

Free Speech and Violent Video Games

In a letter to Biden, the Entertainment Consumers Association brought up another side of the issue: the First Amendment. They argued the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly decided regulating media violates free speech rights and is unconstitutional.

The claim checks out. In a 7-2 ruling in 2011, the Supreme Court affirmed video games have First Amendment protections. The Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association decision told governments that violent video games do not meet the definition of obscenity.

It’s an important angle that is often ignored. Regardless of whether Roger Ebert agrees video games are art, they are protected under the First Amendment, just like other media. So if state governments and the federal government wants to regulate video games, they better prepare for expensive court challenges that could cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

Glimpse of Hope and Change

Biden’s even-handed comments could present a promising change in the national conversation about violent video games. If politicians begin looking at violent video games more objectively, there’s a good chance the inconclusive research and constitutional concerns will show there’s more important issues to look into. For now, gamers and the industry have small signs to remain optimistic.

What do you guys think? Should industry officials have attended the meeting with Biden? Did Biden’s comments ease your concerns? Are violent video games just a scapegoat? Make sure to comment below.

  • Drobu

    How about personal accountability for a change? I’m 38 now, been playing video games and listening to heavy metal since I was a teenager. I also have guns in my home and I have never had the urge to kill anyone. Humans are the problem. There have been violent acts happening long before video games and guns. But, politicians, and the media love having scapegoats.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Phil-Thompson/1646123599 Phil Thompson

      100% right.

      All you have to do is pick up a history book and see all the evil things man has done before Video games.It’s really starting to get old with all of these old men trying to tell me how I should live.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Hennies/758569654 John Hennies

         I agree with you both completely.

      • http://www.facebook.com/chadjacquay Chad Jacquay

        Politicians have been trying to blame anything and everything for tragic events like this for 30+ years, even D&D way back in the early 80s.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lord-Styx/1800631029 Lord Styx

    Why do the always ignore the real problems and point there fingers at such minor things.  Like the government actively working on breaking up family structures that has been proven in studies that people are less likely to comment such crimes.  Also they will never tell you that all these people that do these crimes are on drugs.  Often doctor proscribed.

    O and the reason the don’t take into accountability has to do with what people are.  Look up what the word “people” means in law dictionary you mite cry.  Anyways people doesn’t actual refer to what you and I am as real human beings.

    Anyways I am done politics is a stupid show anyways hate looking at it cause never deals with the real problems not issues (:p so funny).

  • http://www.facebook.com/kenneth.meagher1 Kenneth Meagher

    Well theres something that i really want to point out here. U.S isnt the only game company making “Violent Video Games” if they wanna have limitations. And they think the Columbine School and The Elementry school masecre, how do you explain the violence in other countries that we are at war with or allies with? It seems like to me, that Lord Styx is incredibly right, Video Games are such minor things. But the Fact that really remains, is how are they gonna look solely on our country when other countries are also apart of this as well. You know its really hard to just make a decision on this, when Violent Movies can do the same thing, and in the past it has been proven that Violent Movies can cause reactions like that.

    The Fact that they are to go against Constitutional Rights which is really why i think this government shouldnt really be concerned with this stuff at this very moment. I understand the Gun laws, but Video Games? Really? Come on……

  • Deathstar2x

    This is predominately a family issue, not games or guns. Almost always are the violence cause by people who lack the family structure required to foster an intelligent human being.

  • http://twitter.com/DaveyDiablo Davey Diablo

    It’s pretty easy for us to declare this as nonsense since we’re all gamers here and most of us, if not (hopefully) all, are not serial killers. However, we need to be better than the people who are pointing the finger at video games. 

    By blindly saying that games have no impact on potential killers, is really as ignorant as the politicians and media saying that it’s all the fault of video games.

    Let’s get some real research done, and get some comprehensive facts on the subject before we make any rash statements or decisions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/countryboylee Lee Holland

    This is truly sad . because now with the president getting involved we could actually loose the right to play any game which could be seen as violent which includes all mmorpg just so you know .   

  • Krzysztof Kotarba

    I’m not violent person, not aggressive .. I love gore games, kill everything, fatalities, head shots etc but I never attacked other person on the street.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JD5RIAPTFFZFIF3DCNYVVG7NIQ Kyle Bohannon

    theyll do anything to use as a scapegoat. rock music is the devil and books cause people to kill people as well. lets not look at the real problems at hand, like parenting or the fact that the people who do these sorts of things have mental problems, heavens no its got to be forms of entertainment or inanimate objects that are the problem

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Vanessa-Wilson/755259388 Vanessa Wilson

       popular previous targets:
      catcher in the rye-because everyone who’s read that becomes a psychopathic serial killer. duh!
      forget the track name, but one of the songs off of the beatle’s white album was said to make people flip their lid and need to shoot someone.

      though…. have you seen the youtube vid of the kid who freaks out after his parents cut off his wow account? On the one hand, it’s hilarious. On the other hand, that could be a precursor to someone’s child going over the edge. Maybe not.. but.. just depends on how the parents handle that situation.

  • http://TheInnerGeekZone.com/ Troy Blackburn

    What has every mass shooting had in common?  Guns, and mental health issues.  But that’s ok, we’ll just ignore both of those and blame video games.  Seems legit.

  • http://twitter.com/Deadalon Deadalon

    I dont think video games help anyone that is mentally unstable to become a better person.  Specially because most of those ppl play violent games.  But it does not explain the reason why it happens more in US than any other country.  The easy access to guns explains it tho.  hint hint.

    But I still feel that the laws about age restrictions in video games has to be honored much more.  Just last week Ghostcrawler answered a post on the official WOW forums said to be from a 8 year old boy.  You can not post on those forums without having a copy of a game that is 12+.  So a person claiming hes 8 is breaking the law and should be banned right away.  

    • Torguish

      All i’m saying is that if video games get banned or toned down a bunch because of ”increased violence” then ban religion while at it.

      It’s a miracle that the grannies in the US congress didn’t start spouting stuff like ”BIN LADEN MADE HIS PLAN IN BATTLEFIELD!”

      Lets put the bodycount of religion and video games side by side.
      Better yet: Political Stupidity Vs Video Games.

      • http://twitter.com/DaveyDiablo Davey Diablo

        That’s just crazy talk.

        Everyone knows that Bin Laden made his plans in Minecraft with people that he met whilst playing League of Legends

        • Torguish


          Guess i’ve been living under a rock then :|

    • http://twitter.com/dularr Dularr

      It was the mom of the 8-year old that post to the forums.  Not the 8-year old.  The mom plays WoW and her child asked how to become a video game designer. 

    • Kagitaar

      You seem to misunderstand how ratings work. They exist as a guide for parents to make a decision, not to be a legal deterrent. A parent can let a 5 year old watch an R rated movie or play an M rated game; it might be bad parenting but it’s not illegal. In fact, the only legal issue is on the theater or store employees selling to under-aged kids, and that’s not even universal.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Vanessa-Wilson/755259388 Vanessa Wilson

         Actually, if you are a retailer in the US, and you’re found selling a M rated game to a minor. You can get fined. I’m not really sure though as to how often anyone tracks it. I know the store I work as is a big stickler for it. In fact, I believe my employer is rather ardent about that.
        As a gamer and parent myself, I try to really always talk with parents about ratings. If the child with them looks to be around 15 or under, I’ll go over the M rating with them, so the parent  understands.
        example: just the other week, I had a family in. The son wanted a copy of the upcoming GTA. I talked with the mother explaining the standard content in a GTA game. Her son with her looked only to maybe be 13 at best. Definitely not appropriate content. When I explained about some of the going ons in the game, she looked at him and told him he didn’t need to play that just yet.
        I commend her. There are lots of games to pick from. It is our job as parents to make sure our kids only play what’s appropriate for them.

        • Kagitaar

          Reread my comment, I mentioned that the legal issue is on stores, not parents; Dead was implying that the stores are the problem, when parents can buy whatever they wish. 

          I actually used to do what you did years ago when I worked at a game store, lots of parents had no idea what was appropriate.

  • Patrick Monteith

    It’s always seemed to me that it’s ridiculous to try to link video games and violence by saying they cause aggression. After all, I would say that frustration can lead to aggression, and video games can lead to frustration, I think that’s fairly self-evident, but people don’t blame Super Mario for violence.

    The link people ought to try to make instead is between video games and loss of self-control. I think that’d be a whole lot harder! If everything that makes you aggressive is to be banned, then surely everyone should have testosterone forcibly removed from them, right?

    Hell, I know I’m preaching to the choir here…

  • http://www.facebook.com/TreeCaT Jared McTigue

    Exactly, its as if many extremists are saying to their children that if you play video games, then you will inevitably become mentally insane just because you cast your magic wand, or sword, at another virtual 3D humanoid figure. There is completely no evidence supporting that video games cause mental illness, except from the biased opinions of middle-aged mothers who say they can’t discipline their children because video games have corrupted their children, when really it’s their own fault for not actually disciplining them when they do something bad. I do feel however, that parents should follow the suggested age and guidelines on what their children play more closely. I’ve seen children from the ages 10-5 playing video games that are suggested for mature audiences, which is recommended ages 17+, playing games like Halo, and of course Call of Duty. If any parent exposed their child to, lets say Dead Space, just because their child says its what all of his/her friends are playing, then of course your child is more likely to have a few mental issues and aggression to develop; but then again, that is just my opinion and their isn’t much evidence backing up my claim either.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/UA4P5ETW46Y6HG4E37B3Y27LF4 KS

    Like Kotarba, I go back to Atari and Colecovision. All I can say is that Politicians etc. are approaching the gun violence subject with a knee jerk approach that goes hand in hand with a PR to look good during the wake of the issues. Lets face it, a lot of parents do a !@#$$#$#$ job at monitoring and managing what their children’s activities. A prime example of this issue can be seen on a daily basis when logging onto your favorite Teen to Mature FPS game and quickly find in your match a squeaky voice from a kid that should not be exposed to violence and older gamer’s colorful communication. 

    In a related subject, I remember when it was cool to take toys to school. Half of those toys were cowboy colt cap guns and assault riffles with the annoying rapid clicking sound. We all played cops and robbers and faked being shot while playing. We are still here and our generation was not defined by gun violence such as the one seen since the days of Colombine. But now a simple hand gun gesture lands kids on suspension hours of psychological evaluation and even worst. 

    I can go on and on on this subject but let me leave it at this. As a parent what I see as part of the problem is the fact that in school 70%-80%of the time (if not more), the bullies are protected and little is done to the people they torment on a daily basis. Such tormented individuals can only take so much prior to reaching their breaking point. Such process may take years of constant abuse that molds the individual’s personality from an early age to something dark and hard to recognize.

    I find hypocritical to see a media campaign for kids to take a stand to intervene when in the presence of someone being bullied yet they get in trouble for taking a side as being part of the event.

    We live on a blame everything but the obvious kind of society where the best option is often a catch 22 solution.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Vanessa-Wilson/755259388 Vanessa Wilson

       I work in retail, and sometimes I work in an electronics area that sells video games. I cannot tell you how NOT UNCOMMON it is that some parents will come and buy Mature rated games for their kids.
      Sometimes the kids are with them begging their parents for a game. I’ll be discrete and mention to the parents that the M rating on that game is there because it has a lot of severe high level of violence and/or drug references etc. For the people who come to buy a game like that, only maybe 1 or 2 out of 20 parents will change their mind and tell their kid they can’t have it after all. Most of them will still get it. I still remember a time this kid wanted his dad to get him Scarface. I really tried to convince the dad NOT to get it as the boy only seemed around 11. The content of games like those are not at all appropriate for someone so young; but at the end of the day, what can you do if parents are giving games meant for people 18+ to their 10 year olds.
      THAT IS THE PARENTS’ FAULT. When you go to buy games for your kids, and you do not even read why that game has a rating. Noone else is to blame for that besides the parent.

      Also, as a side note, our family grew up with video games. When we were kids, my dad took us to the arcade with him for the classic days of pacman and Centipede. As we got older, we had almost every nintendo system, some sega systems, you name it. Noone in my family has randomly woke up one day feeling like they need to massacre a bunch of people. But, politicians have forever been trying to do the same with rock music and lots of other stuff. They’ll blame wrestling. They’ll blame anything because we live in a society that doesn’t like to have personal accountability or responsibility.  We need to stop looking everywhere else for answers and take a good long look in the mirror. Look at our own households and families. What can we do in our homes to ensure this isn’t a scene for a tragedy.

  • Torguish

    So when someone kills because ”God” said so it’s ”because he’s mentally ill and there was nothing we can do” but all of a sudden when someone goes nuts, shoots someone or punches played a game of CoD before that act it’s video games?

    I mean, people have been killed a lot more legal stuff like: Religion, Alcohol, Love and Money? When looking at the bodycount in which comparing those 4 things to video games, you can even COMPARE them.

  • Ravenstorm

    Would industry officials have actual numbers on which people are influential to agressive games or who is psychotic and would enact kill scenes irl?
    No. They’re ppl who try to make money from gamers and maybe have a passion for games.
    The world is full of people. Some of them are totaly insane. Restricting games isn’t going to resolve their mental state. They can also watch a movie and go berzerk. Or lose it in a supermarket cash register line.

    Obama can’t ignore the constitution. But all it takes is one psycho too many and it may be possible the government is forced to take some steps trying to dam in violence as mainstream people percieve it. Which is no solution.

    Democracy holds freedom of choice. Take away the choice to game, see movies or anything removes democracy. But rights can be afflicted when there’s proof and when enough people get scared.

    I can defenitely see ppl getting tence, even totally frustrated from gaming, more specifically in mmo’s when interaction with hundreds of unknown people can involve some pretty horrible behavior. If you played mmo’s long enough you’ll probably recognise that fact. If not, lucky.
    It can be addictive as much as any drug albeit probably just a soft drug.

    For me personally games work as entertainment aswell as regressively. But in no way should any adult put blame on external factors for their own decissions.
    If your kids play games it’s up to you to educate them, explain them the difference between the real and cyberworld. Keep an eye out for them. You know, anything a caring parent would know, hopefully. Not as easy as it looks.

    No I don’t think Biden would benefit from a sit down with industry officials. What they could do is make a big clear site and hold polls and surveys so gamers can make a contribution and make the government understand what gamers actually think. Make it so real numbers and facts are shown, as well as possible. Take the fear away from us ‘hardcore crazy gamers’.

    Then they’ll find out people are people, a small percentage of them get crazy, and sometimes shit just happens.

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.boss.14 James Boss

    Let’s blame Video Games, and not the parents. 

  • http://twitter.com/Vaayne39143 Donald Whitman

    its not the games that is causing it its the kids bulling each other and causing fights and stuff and its the parents for not teaching their kids right from wrong or getting involved in their kids lives to know if they are being bullied or being the bully or that they may not need to play some games i mean they have ratings for a reason 

    in short the blame falls on parents and the school admins for not policing the bulling and what their kids play/watch because its not just games their is violence in tv shows and movies that kids watch because their parents dont stop them

    which means even if games effect kids dont blame the game blame the parent for not doing their job dont kill the game jail the parents for neglect

  • http://www.facebook.com/fredrik.gardsio Fredrik Fronken Gardsiö

    The NRA…Seriously, The NRA?, What The F***??

    Because we all know that Video Games makes killing other human-beings alot easier, not the extremely easy access to Rifles and other firearms, that’s why countries with very high populations of gamers are extremely violent, like Sweden, where we’ve had…uhm, 0 school shootings, or South Korea, where there’s been a grand total of, uhm…0.

    But i guess the freaking NRA knows about the evils of video games better than people who have actually played a video game themselfs.

    • http://twitter.com/dularr Dularr

      Hmm, Sweden has a rather high number of guns per capita.   Can individuals still get a permit to own a fully automatic weapon?

      • Deacon1979

         Yeah but Sweden doesn’t worship the gun like the U.S does, U.S folklore is built around gun crime

        And you cant really deny that access to guns is a bigger contributer to gun crime than any form of media ever will be

  • http://twitter.com/NaamahNeko Anna

    No one cited the BostonU study that showed aggressive minors (aka, bullies), were less likely to be playing video games than any other bracket they checked for? Darn.

    • http://twitter.com/DaveyDiablo Davey Diablo

      To be fair, that piece of data is fairly useless without proper context. For example, were the bullies in the test pool from very low income homes that were unable to afford video games?

  • Monstercloud

    I forget where I saw this, and I’m paraphrasing, but…

    “Going to the Video Game industry to talk about gun violence is like going to Hot Wheels to talk about car safety.”

    • crothcipt

      I had a similar thought, when I read that in the article.  It’s like they want to fix something that is broken, when it isn’t broken just part of everyone’s psyche.  Just how we deal with it is learned.   

  • http://twitter.com/dularr Dularr

    Just the fact that Vice President Biden met with representative of the video game industry will continue to give credence to the link between violence and video games. Very few people seem to be discussing the content of the meeting, just they had one.
    I suspect this round of inquiries will lead to leverage on additional taxes on video games, I wouldn’t be surprised to see within the next year additional taxes on all rated video games. 

  • http://twitter.com/Luke_Malcolm Luke Malcolm

    Its not video games they have there rating. It the parents who buy the games for there kids, who should be at fault.

  • Jado Cast

    This is a  never ending argument   It use to be violent cartoons that were causing violence, then Rock N Roll, then Heavy Metal, then Rap Music, and Video Games.  Its all bull, and most of the Politicians are ignorant or just use this to get 15 minutes of TV time to rant about violence in America.  Let’s face it, America has been a violent place since this country’s beginning.  We glorify violence, we like violence, and always will.  That’s why UFC is so popular, we love our violent sports like Football, and yes we like to watch violent movies, listen to music that glorifies violence, and play violent video games.

    Many of us already have said it, but its up to Parents to teach their kids and keep them from being exposed to this at an early age so they don’t become de-sensetised.  We as parents need to teach our kids right from wrong, and what’s pretend vs reality.  As for the mentally ill, we have an obligation as a society to take action when we find someone with warning signs that a person may harm someone or themselves.  

    Video games and the asault weapons ban is nothing but a red herring, and this whole discussion will go away once they move on to the debt ceiling issue.  I do agree with Dularr that some of them will try to raise taxes on video games just like they have with alcohol  fire arms, and tobacco.  They’ll use this as an excuse to raise taxes thinking the public will be okay with it.

    • http://twitter.com/dularr Dularr

      Worse case additional tax would be a monthly federal fee to access the typical MMO or FPS.  With the idea we are protecting children from freely accessing violent F2P or B2P games.    

      If you don’t think this can happen, just follow the Obamacare “tanning tax” to protect people from the health risks of tanning booths.

      • Kagitaar

        Except tanning booths actually ARE a well-documented and studied health risk.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Vanessa-Wilson/755259388 Vanessa Wilson

         To me, this sounds like the actual most likely end result if they continue to pursue the issue. It’s probably the intent. Tax everything. What are they not taxing? Allow them to find a way, and they’ll eventually tax it.

      • Jado Cast

        They also attached a tax to Medical devices too.  Because we all know the MRI is so dangerous for the kiddies.  ;)  Just kidding, but I totally get your point.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001268656417 Joshua L Sant

    Guys, they have a point. I played Doom just a few hours ago and was so immersed in the incredibly life-like graphical quality that I flew into a violent rage, lightly bruising my hand and knocking over my drink. 

    If someone else had been in that room, heck, I might have politely asked them to leave.

    • Ravenstorm

      Ofcourse. Games sometimes make you angry if you are immersed in them, it’s normal. But you didn’t go out and shoot someone because of a game, right?
      People get angry at card games, tv shows, movies even. That’s normal. Hell, politics? Did you ever see real heated discussions in the senate?

      With you it was a momentary experience, in your room. Totally harmless except for the spilling of a totally fine drink.

      • Morturion

          Studies have also shown that religious texts that contain violence
        highly increase the agression level of the followers of that religion
        reading them. Like some parts in the Bible, for example. Does that mean
        they should ban the bible and all other religious books ? I don’t think that’s going to happen.

        • Ravenstorm

          As Inigo Montoya said: ‘I do not think it means what you think it means.’
          check out my post below, I think you’ll see I’m not out for the banning.

    • Ernie Kwok

      And I’ve seen people fly into rage because some guy was walking too slow in front of him. People get emotional for a lot of things. You need to prove that there’s a steady and predictable correlation between video games and violence and after all these years there is still no such correlation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002038208867 Dan Winborne

    This is just a bunch of ppl with awesome lives (great job, trophy spouse, rich) that cant see why ppl would just flip out!? I mean, my life is great and I feel perfectly fine, whats wrong with you? Oh, it has to be something else… has nothing to do with this country enslaving everyone with debt, or control.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=754168227 Len Hobbel

    I am caught on many sides of this one I. own rifles with 30 round magazines 2. I play violent videos games 3. I am very violent in real life 4. I own swords and I prefer them over guns, far more fun to hack and slash then pull a trigger. 5. Expert with a knife and again knifes are more fun then guns. 6. I spent 15 years fighting and have several times put someone down with my bare hands and never once used any weapon at all.  If i have a choice I prefer my bare hands over a gun. It is far more satisfying to just twist someones head till it pops. Bigger rush then a huge orgasm while sky diving hold a piss for 2 days straight.

    • Ravenstorm

      By your post here you seem like a ruthless tough killer irl. Did you ever feel need for real life violence after playing a violent game, and did you act on that feeling?

    • Revanhavoc

      You never twisted anyone’s “head till it pops” get out of your fantasy world. Your comment is disgusting.

      I know soldiers. Actual warriors who have fought and killed in Afghanistan. They refer to their confirmed kills only in private and only when I pressed to the point of making them uncomfortable.

      I’m not saying every person is the same, but I find it impossibly hard to believe you are anything more than a dude in a field slashing at the wooden post.

      No one who has seen real violence makes it seem like a past time, like a hobby, like a joke.

      Only thing that’s a joke is you.

  • XlugonPyro

    I think the article is a little biased for antagonizing the NRA more than the politicians themselves just because one of them “seemed” to be looking at the debate with an open mind according to the writer’s perspective.  Then again I’m not too surprised given what I’ve seen from the gamer community and this site in general.

    That said, it does sort of shame the NRA who’s supposed to defend the Constitution to turn around and use it to try to deflect blame on “ease of gun access” when there are far better arguments to make for your position that don’t require compromising your own integrity and blame another thing or group at the expense of their rights in order to preserve the rights you want.

    The only thing that anyone can definitively state as a cause of violent behavior is the final action of the individual that leads them to the decision of doing violent acts against themselves or others.  Anything outside of that is purely hypothetical and I don’t think anyone in their right mind can intelligently conclude that the presence of a gun or the animation of some game character’s head exploding automatically incites people into violent behavior.  At best these things can only be suggestive, perhaps making violence a more pervasive thought in an individual’s mind but I don’t think any amount of research will find evidence for one thing or another given the sheer dynamism and complexity of human thought.

    Violence is a result of conscious decisions people make and nothing else, and I don’t think any amount of research can change this self-evident fact.  People need to learn to value human life and respect other human beings, even if they’re shitty people and offer no positive contribution to their life, even and especially if said people are a negative influence on a person’s life.  Character is the issue here, and to sink so far below your antagonizers as to resort to violence is the behavior of extremely self-centered people and probably ill people who haven’t been given the proper lessons of morality and coping mechanisms so that they may be more constructive with their lives.  As others have said, the source ultimately lies in parenting and early upbringing as it’s our values and worldview that often act as a basis for the decisions we make.  Without values and respect for other’s lives, violence will perpetuate endlessly.

    No matter how much you restrict access to guns, other weapons, or artificial violence on a TV or computer screen, if someone wants to hurt or kill someone, they’ll find a way to do it, even if its with their bare hands, because hate makes people do terrible things, and neither weapons nor the simulation of blood ‘n guts on a screen are a plausible cause of violence.  The only way to truly stop violence is to chain down every citizen, and again, good luck with that if you think stopping violence is THAT important.  All weapons do is ease the ability to harm others.  Maybe lessening the violent damage a person can cause is good enough for some people, but I see no good done from it.  One life is too many, let alone 20 or more, and instead our focus should be on dealing with the reduction of the decision to do violence, such as instilling respect for life and promoting good values.  There wont ever be evidence to prove that this works directly, but I think reasonable people can agree that behavior is mostly resulting from our beliefs.

    • Kagitaar

      Why would you say that removing the common factor (automatic weapons) would not help? I’d rather mitigate loss as much as reasonably possible than do nothing. 

      • http://twitter.com/dularr Dularr

        Automatics are already illegal.  “Reasonably possible” is the start of full confiscation of all weapons for home self defense.  

        • Revanhavoc

          That’s complete fear mongering and totally unsubstantiated. Just because some crazy left wing woman in congress dreams up a bill that would take all guns doesn’t make it any more legitimate than some crazy right wing congressman dreaming up a bill to impeach Obama for being “Kenyan”.

          The Supreme Court has already ruled the 2nd Amendment applies to individuals owning guns, so there is no possible legal way for anyone to touch guns legally owned by American citizens.

          Automatics are not illegal in every state.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bill-Gerrettie-Jr/1287578323 Bill Gerrettie Jr

            It is illegal in every state in the US to own automatic firearms made after (I believe) 1986, for those that were manufactured before then you need a special license to own them.

        • Kagitaar

          Reasonable is a weapon used for hunting animals, single action. Civilians do not need military weaponry.

    • Revanhavoc

      Your view is well written, but it is extremely insulated from the rest of the world.

      American history has been no more violent than any of the similar Empires of the past, from Britain and France, to Spain and Italy, Japan and China and Russia.

      Then why is gun violence so prevalant in the United States? NRA memberes would cite me numerous stats about other violent crimes – bulglary, muggings, etc, that are shown, always with incomplete data, to rise when guns go away. These crimes are punished much differently than murder or attempted murder with a firearm.

      To say that “if someone wants to hurt or kill someone, they’ll find a way” completely disregards studies that have been conducted showing, for instance, that cases of domestic violence are far more likely to end in death when a gun is in the home. If you take that gun out of the home, the instances of death due to domestic violence fall dramatically.

      I concede one piece of evidence does not make an entire debate, and I certainly don’t intend to carry out the debate through comments. I appreciate the well written nature of your opinion, though in all honesty I cannot respect the opinion itself.

      There is no need for chains or crushing laws or regulations. There is no need to go against the Constitution. There is no need to take weapons meant to defend a family out of American hands. The view of people like myself is this: 

      -illegal, unregistered weapons must be taken off the streets

      -universal background checks are absolutely necessary in all cases

      -weapons meant to kill human beings en masse should be illegal for civilian use, both automatic and semi-automatics with large magazines

      • avatar2810

         I agree with -1 and -2 but can’t agree with the 3rd.  The Constitution was originally created to protect minorities from the majority.  It is the same Constitution that leads towards progressive fairness within our country.  It protects us from being a “true democracy”.  If we had a true democracy in this country the majority could simply impose its will on the minorities.  The constitution ultimately helps to level the playing field. 

        The 2nd amendment was created for the masses to protect themselves from a government that fails to remember what the Constitution was created for and that we are not a democracy but a republic governed by a base set of rules.  We have become too comfortable in this country with political stability and relative peace in our lifetime, but things can change quickly. 

        Removing weapons from law abiding citizens, who can deter a well armed government from asserting its will on the public or the minority, is unconstitutional.  Its not worth giving up that particular constitutional right even if you could prove that removing guns would lead to less deaths (which you would be hard pressed to do seeing as how mass killings have been done with bombs in the past).

        • Revanhavoc

          I don’t think your fears have been worth their cost in blood. 

          • avatar2810

             Freedom and liberty has always come with a pricetag worth any amount, and as I mentioned before, you have 0 proof that removing semi-automatic weapons would result in less deaths.  It takes a couple of seconds to change a magazine clip, so against unarmed civilians, you aren’t saving any lives by removing semi-automatics with larger magazines.  If you would rather live in a society with complete govt control and are willing to sacrifice your freedoms for their “cost in blood” China is really nice this time of year (where they murder children in mass with knives vs guns).

  • theunwarshed

    you can’t legislate what goes on in people’s heads, nor should any person try to encourage politicians to attempt to do so.  i’m concerned about the number of guns, legal or otherwise, floating around in the U.S. and how easy it is to circumvent regulation.  however, i’m more concerned about tighter government control over the individual’s decision-making and personal freedoms.  there is a careful balance that needs to be maintained between the individual and the society that they live in.  we give up a lot of personal freedom for the good of the society/community as a whole, it’s called the “social contract”. 

    having said that, i don’t want to see the U.S. become like Germany or Australia where everything is censored.  hell, people in Iceland have to check with the government before they can name their own kid to make sure it’s a nationally approved name!  the second amendment is a right guaranteed to every citizen in good standing, however, it doesn’t specify what kinds of guns citizens can own.  that is an area where lawmakers can justifiably regulate. 

    you can’t keep people from thinking or acting on bad thoughts, it’s going to happen whether or not they play violent video games, watch violent movies, or engage in violent/competitive sports.  it’s so absurd that politicians are even entertaining the idea that regulating violent leisure media can have a positive impact on reducing violence.  it must be a ploy of some kind-whether to raise taxes, deflect attention or some other conspiracy theory of your choice. 

    human beings are violent creatures, it’s in their nature.  i’d rather a person satiate their need for violence by playing a video game, watching a movie or any other virtual/simulated source over going out and killing an animal or person.  i’m a firm believer that people need their outlets.  repression/oppression isn’t a successful recipe. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=575571931 Ryan Campbell

       exactly. You sir, hit it on the nail.

  • Oldschoolremag

    I found 24,700 murders for 1991 in the USA. The population for that year, over 252,000,000. 
    2011 had 14,612 murders. Population, over 311,000,000. For the mathematically challenged, our population has increased substantially and yet our murder rate has been in steady decline.

    Anyone want to take a guess how big gaming has gotten over that same time period? Bigger than Hollywood. They should be holding hearings on how to get kids to play more games. Little Joey is too fat, dumb and happy playing games on his couch to go vandalize the neighborhood, let alone go on a killing spree. The last thing he killed was a box of Hot Pockets and a 2 liter of Dew and he broke a sweat doing that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rasmus.nielsen.75491 Rasmus Nielsen

    I guess it’s a good start, that is in driving all the business the US gets from gaming out of the US, and driving those companies elsewhere, where people aren’t fucking idiots who blame their own mistakes on whatever new thing is about at the moment, rather than taking responsibility for their actions.

    • http://twitter.com/phasra Phasra

      I don’t think you understand how it works. Companies would not go elsewhere to make games – they would make games that are less violent (whatever that might mean). Which means, that not only USA would be screwed with their “stupid laws” – we would all be screwed.

      And even the companies that never were in the USA – they would try to conform to these new USA laws as well, because USA is a huge market – not being able to sell your game there would be a big deal.

  • DoctorOverlord

    Very good summary article. Thanks for posting it GBTV, this is an issue that should be on the radar of all gamers.

    And an excellent point that movies, books and even video games are protected by the FIRST amendment. It would be a sorry day if we sacrifice one liberty in the name of another.

    Also Japan has been producing violent games like Splatterhouse, No More Heroes and countless others.   They have violent TV shows where samurai decapitate each other and even comics that have blood and death in them.   

    All this violent entertainment has clearly made Japan’s whole society into nothing but sociopathic, violent murderers with the highest murder rate in the world and a population constantly killing each other in the streets so clearly video games and other violent forms of entertainment must be the cause.   

    Oh wait, that last paragraph ISN’T TRUE AT ALL.   So how that does that little fact fit into the brilliant deduction that video games are somehow to blame?

    Politicians and organizations need stop looking for an easy scapegoat they can attack to make it seem like they’re doing something constructive rather than trying to find real solutions.     I find it pathetic that both Biden and the NRA think looking at the entertainment industry will solve anything but they know many of the clueless public will react emotionally to such an effort.

  • valkilmer

    you can’t shoot someone with a video game

    • Morturion

       You ever had a game disk thrown at you ? Trust me, those things are rediculusly lethal *sarcasm*

  • http://twitter.com/phasra Phasra

    I’m not American and I do not live in the USA. This problem, however, can ruin gaming for the rest of the world as well.
    I think the officials did the right thing by attending. “Boicots” and “Protests” rarely solve problems, “Discussions”, however, work pretty well at solving problems.

  • John Doe

    So the american politicians think that videogames are to blame for this shootings?
    What about taking a look at the movies that holywood is making those are 10 times more violent.
    So you think that after playing 12 hours a FPS the poor (wanted to use the f word but ….) nerd will pick up his AK-47 and start killing students at the local highscool instead of going to sleep ? Nerds dont even know where to pick up a real AK, let alone go to the highschool and start shooting. 
    Man sometimes i really think politicians are idiots.
    What about making some laws for firearms in the US hmmm ?
    I dont think that in 2013 you need to live like in the 1700 really you killed all the indians you dont need to carry any firearms anymore. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507687881 Kyle Schmelzer

    Kris Graft is an idealistic tool. Here’s hoping Biden can pull his anti tech attitude out of his ass long enough to make a real decision. Gotta love the NRA though, they get some heat, and just redirect it onto the gaming industry so they dont have to deal with it. Fucking hate politicians.

  • http://twitter.com/vgfreak2008 Justin Munyer

    “Should industry officials have attended the meeting with Biden?”

    I’m not so sure that I agree this is even a question. I’m leaning more toward the IGN rep’s view of it, and here’s why: They are meeting to discuss things about the video gaming industry. Of course representatives of the said industry should be there to be able to give their say and explain their viewpoints. I mean, wasn’t this country founded because of similar problems, decisions made about the colonies (taxation) without a representative there to give our side?

    • http://twitter.com/dularr Dularr

      The idea in many peoples minds, by having the meeting between this administration and the video game industry, it affirms the link between school shooting and videos games.  Very few are talking about the content of the meeting, just they had one.  This administration will now take a tax and regulate position on video games.  Or leverage the business leaders for the eventual confiscation of individual gun ownership.    

  • Fomorian82

    NRA representatives keep saying that people who don’t know much about guns shouldn’t be making decisions regarding gun control. Well, people who don’t know much about video games shouldn’t be making decisions regarding video games.

  • http://twitter.com/cipero Matt Cipriano

    I think entertainment as a whole has the ability to influence
    someone who is emotionally unstable and lacks the proper cognitive toolset.
    After all, it only takes one person to cause a massacre like the ones we’ve seen
    recently. To say that absolutely nobody in this country is susceptible to being
    influenced by depictions of violence is at best being very naive.

    There are always going to be guns in the country, that we can be
    absolutely sure of. Now, the question is whether there will be legal guns or
    illegal guns. I say first things first we clean up the streets and enforce a
    minimum 5 year sentence for anyone caught with an unregistered gun. Trust me,
    even if they illegalize guns I won’t be walking anywhere near Southwest
    Philadelphia because people who don’t follow the law aren’t going to begin. And
    while these unfortunate massacres are highly publicized by the media, the truth
    is illegal guns on the street is what drive the crime rate high…not these
    rare-psychopathic rampages.

    Anyway, just my opinion on the matter. Hollywood and the NRA both
    have strong lobbying groups so I doubt any headway will be made there anyway.
    Just fall back asleep puppets.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZUMSTRMNBZR3HNDMIVO23SXK3E ArizonaBigD

      There`s already enough gun laws on the books…several thousands of them. Yet, with a lot of mandatory “go to jail” clauses, the COURT system fails…giving slaps on the wrists for crimes. Judges are way too soft anymore…

      • http://twitter.com/cipero Matt Cipriano

        Oh yea I completely agree. People need to face consequences or they’ll never learn. Shouldn’t be soft on them at all.

  • disqusted1234
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=575571931 Ryan Campbell

    People kill people. Minds think. Bodies act.

    If we have to ban everything that hurts another person and put everyone in a damn pillow room it’s going to be a sad life indeed.

    When people start to take more accountability for themselves instead of having the government baby coddle them throughout their lives then we might see some progress.

  • Dekin


    I think back in the 40s People said comic books caused
    violence in kids, in the 60s & 70s parents actually thought dropping ACME
    safes on coyotes synced to classical music caused violence in kids, in the 80s
    dungeon and dragon kids were going to grow up and sacrifice babies to their
    false gods, in the 90s it was power rangers and the start of video games, and
    now its video games. 

    Here is the thing all of what I listed above were things and activities
    expected to be found in every modern household of the times. Saying that they
    cause violence is like saying….every house hold that has a gallon of milk and
    loaf of bread is in danger of producing violent kids…There is no logic behind

    I played mortal combat, read comic books, watch cartoons….I am a well
    adjusted married 25 year old with an under graduate degree in sociology and
    working on a masters degree in mental health….


    Will I let my kids play mortal combat at 4 years old?-No…When
    they reach the age on the box and they want to play it-sure.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/JefHawk Jeff Hawkins

    Everyone knows guns don’t kill people,
    Video games do.

  • Tim greene

    I think of a time where fathers taught there 8 year old son how to hunt for food with a gun. How to kill with a gun and be able to bring home food for there family.

    I don’t mind Gamestop  asking for ID when an M rated game comes up. I don’t mind having to put my birth date in to website when i want to look a game.

    As a parent ( of a 9yo ) I don’t let him play some games. Its a parents job not the governments job to censer what the kids are playing. It make no difference when it comes to Music, Movies, TV shows and yes even Video games. Its the parents (my) job to do this. Is there an M rated game that i will let my son play when he might be the age of 16. Maybe, maybe not. But it is my decision (and my wife’s) not anyone else to make that call.