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*Angelfish*

Games cannot cause violence, but what if....

36 posts in this topic

A while ago Geoff wrote an article about violence in games. Games cannot cause violence, and I utterly agree with that. But It gave me to think a lot... What if, like in Spain a week ago, someone commits a murder after playing your game, and everybody''s pointing fingers at your game? How do game developers deal with this? I mean, would you still be able to continue what you''re doing, and even if you and your company are juridically safe from penalties, and even if you yourself are sure that you''ve done nothing wrong, wouldn''t you Be more careful when putting violence in the game? Have sleepless nights over it? "I Can''t change the world, but you''ll hear my voice!"
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This comes down to responsibility. If you make a game that''s about breaking into houses and killing families, then you have to be prepared to deal with the result. You can''t hide behind a "games don''t cause violence" banner.
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quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster

This comes down to responsibility. If you make a game that''s about breaking into houses and killing families, then you have to be prepared to deal with the result. You can''t hide behind a "games don''t cause violence" banner.



I normally don''t get involved in these kinds of discussions, but I just couldn''t stop myself from remarking on this... I really, really, really, and I mean I *really* hope you''re joking Anonymous... Just in case you''re not, let me introduce you to reality.

It seems to me that what you are trying to say is that the developers have to take responsibility for their own actions. However, what you are in fact saying is that developers have to take responsibilty for somebody else''s actions.

Bottom line. Is it possible for somebody to go out and commit a criminal act that they wouldn''t have commited without playing a certain game, reading a certain book, watching a certain movie, ...etc.? Probably. Does the responsibilty for that act fall on the creator of said game/book/movie and not on the perpetrator of the crime? I won''t even justify that with an answer...

Have a great day! Play a game! Commit a crime! Watch the developer take your place in jail!
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I think the programmer is somewhat morally responsible for what he makes. that is the trouble with games, is that there are no bad consiquences for bad actions. in real life you would get in jail for life if you killed a family but in a game...

i think i am just trying to say think about what you are doing before you do it, and think about the consequences.
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imho,
people are responsible for their own actions. i like violent movies, heavy metal, violent games, etc. (of course, i also like happy games and comedy movies. i''m only crazy, not psychotic).
but just because i like to score 100 frags every day in unreal tourney, doesn''t mean i''m going to grab my plasma rifle and shoot from the bell tower. and i think that applies to most people.
if people start to control the media to eliminate all violence, then what will they blame when people still kill each other for their wallet or car?

that''s just my 3 cents.



crazy166
some people think i'm crazy, some people know it
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In the wonderfull United States of America, you can take anyone to court for any reason. And the sad part is, you can win.
If I were to write a game, lets say I had written Lemmings, then someone went out and walked off a cliff, and then the relatives took me to court saying it was my fault, we all know that it isn''t, but unfortunatly they could still win.

It''s not that we, as game developers, are responsible for others actions, because we are not. But we still need to be carefull because in the world that we live in, you can blame anyone for anything, and not only is it okay for you to do that, but you can get large sums of money for it!!!

So remember, we all know games don''t cause violence, and we are not resposible for others actions, but we still need to be carefull.

Shoot pixels not people!
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People are gullible, people are stupid, people are easily led. With that in mind, although you may never -cause- violence or any other adverse reaction, you may have -inspired- it, or made it appear more socially acceptable, or more interesting, or more fun, or a rational method of settling disputes, etc etc. It''s ok saying that an adult who buys your game has to take responsibility for their own actions, but then you''re just trying to pass the problem onto someone else. Violence is -everyone''s- problem - don''t blame the parents, or the police, or the gun makers, or the teachers, or the movie directors, or the game developers, or even the poor fool that ended up doing what somehow he believed was ok in being violent. Blame everyone. Blame society. And take some responsibility yourselves for fixing the problem. Lecture ends.
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BAH!

In the USA, your responsibility ends when you get your rating back from the ESRB. (responsibility as a game developer, that is)

Then, it''s the retailers responsibility to see to it that someone of inappropriate age doesn''t get their hands on it in your establishment.

After that, it''s the parent''s responsibility to see to it that their children don''t get their hands on inappropriate games in their houses.

It''s everyone''s responsibility to be able to differentiate between fantasy/fiction and the real world. If you can''t handle that, get institutionalized.

$0.02
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After columbine, some people pointed at ID software. But look at how they''re doing now!

"Remember, I'm the monkey, and you're the cheese grater. So no messing around."
-Grand Theft Auto, London

"It's not whether I win or lose, as long as I piss you off"
-Morrigan, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo
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There have been bad seeds doing evil deeds all the time. Do you think the cowboys went around shooting up people because they read some story about it?? Or do you think those gunslingin cowboy stories were made because of what happened for real? I think Drew Carey said something along these lines when asked about the relation between computer violence and real violence. not an exact quote but you''ll get the idear ( it was in a Maxim magazine ):

Boy, I wonder how much axis & allies Hitler played before he decided to do what he did.

back to me now:

Violent entertainment or nothing, people do bad shit.

Another thing is we seem to be hearing alot more about this stuff going on around the world nowadays... well, that would be true because there are way more people than there were many years ago so this stuff will happen more often. Plus with all these fancy ways of communicating we get tons more information from around the world.

anyways...
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Books and movies have been showing violence and human suffering for far longer than computers have been around, so it seems pretty unlikely that game developers are responsible for making content where those other authors arent.

Because there are a ton of mafia mob movies, does that mean there are whole sections of people becoming mafia when they wouldnt have normally? Should those movie producers be arrested when the mob kills someone?

The face is that people have to be responsible for their own actions. Its not Hostess's fault even IF a killer gets "pushed over the edge from eating too many twinkees". Who had the mental imbalance? Who ate all those twinkees anyway? Who drank and drive? Was it the vodkas companies fault for advertising?

This is the exact same thing with games. If you are so unstable then its up to yourself or those around you (who are not liable, usually, but game programmers certainly cant physically restrain end users) from using material that may set you off. Even this, at most is still the person who commits a crimes fault, even if they aren't capable of being aware of it. No one else did it.

Finally, I think its important to remember that almost all murders have motives, and "pushed over the edge by video games" is not on the big list: greed, jealousy, revenge, psychopath.

All of the murders Ive heard about from the school shootings sound like revenge to me...

-Geoff

Edited by - ghowland on 4/12/00 7:14:47 PM
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Yeah, Geoff''s right. Violent things have been around for centuries. The world was based on violence in medeval times, and in ancient times people had to kill to survive. Also: Is it really true that school shootings have gone down since ''91? It sounds pretty far-fetched to me.

altair
altair734@yahoo.com
biggins.mit.edu/altair734
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If you ask me, someone who commits a crime after playing a game or watching a movie has a few loose screws anyway. I have yet to hear of a perfectly normal child turned psycho by a piece of media. All these people who commit crimes after playing or seeing something violent were already prone to that in the first place.

Censorship in games, movies, and books is simply not an option. Viva la revolution!

alex
atypical interactive
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Ok this is realy a sociological issue here. It''s easy to blame games, television, comic books, and anyother form of media for the changes that have occured in our society over the last 100 years. Yet there are so many other things that have effected our society over that ammount of time how do you narrow the search in on one specific thing? Womens liberation, "Freedom of expression" (70''s baby), civil rights, Non medical drug use, single parent famlies becomming socialy acceptiable, teachers loosing control of classrooms.

How do you keep order when touching a child can result in a law suit?

It''s completly absurde how some brain trust has narrowed a list of 200 million things that have happened over the last 100 years down to "Games, TV, and the media" for ruining our society.

I would love to prove them wrong but unfortunatly there have been no real studies of this, and real studie would take years to preform. Not to menchon the results will never be conclusive because they will only reflect more sociological changes that have been inflicted in that specified ammount of time.

Romans used to throw the christians to the lions, over time as a race we''ve become "more civilized" than that. For years we supressed our animal instincts to procreate, hunt for food, and dominate. Is it so suprising that it''s starting to blow up in our face? Examples: Road Rage, Children killing other children, etc.

What the hell has happened to our society? We are more reactive about what happens today than proactive about what could happen tomorrow. No one searches for a solution to the overall problem, only a bandaid to hide the wound.

It''s not the well reared child who plays quake that goes out and shoots his classmates.

It''s the child who''s mother had a little too much pot/crack/heroine/what ever while pregnant, who feels unloved, has little attention paid to them, alienated by his fellow classmates who picks up a gun and starts shooting.

It had about as much to do with a game as brunhilda the russian psychic has to do with football.

The moment fingers start being pointed at me or my company I''ll pull out a list of the sociological changes that have happened in the world, a list of crime statistics, and a family history of the person, as well as an emotional history of somesort. Then ask them to narrow it down to my game as the cause of his girlfriend breaking up with him, the kid getting beat up in school, having the crimerate tripple in the last 10 years, and for the child not believing in heaven or hell...the list could go on for days...the point is there are too many outside influences on a person to narrow it down to one as the cause.
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I think you guys missed something else.

If the violent games are played by little kids, those little kids become de-sensitized to the violence. they have young impressionable minds that are quite volitile. a little kid might play a really violent game and then think it is alright to punch or kick his friends. if this keeps happening things will get worse.

just take for example, in Alberta, there was a 5 or 6 year old kid that shot another 5 or 6 year old kid, and killed him/her. this is not anyones fault but the blame could be put on games or tv (not to mention where he got the gun from).

i am trying to say make your games a little less accesible to younger children. retailers should ask for ID before they sell 17+ rated games. i am not saying this is the retailers fault, but everyone can help to end it.

''its all fun and games until someone looses an eye. then its a sport''
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Personally I would not give a damn if somebody went crazy after playing a game I had made.....As long as he paid for the game...hehe...But I´m a cynnical bastard..(hope my spelling is ok....)..
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quote:
Original post by Moe

I think you guys missed something else.

If the violent games are played by little kids, those little kids become de-sensitized to the violence. they have young impressionable minds that are quite volitile. a little kid might play a really violent game and then think it is alright to punch or kick his friends. if this keeps happening things will get worse.

just take for example, in Alberta, there was a 5 or 6 year old kid that shot another 5 or 6 year old kid, and killed him/her. this is not anyones fault but the blame could be put on games or tv (not to mention where he got the gun from).

i am trying to say make your games a little less accesible to younger children. retailers should ask for ID before they sell 17+ rated games. i am not saying this is the retailers fault, but everyone can help to end it.

''its all fun and games until someone looses an eye. then its a sport''


So its the games fault, and not the parents? Should we just erradicate all material on the earth that isnt meant for children just because their parents may be too lazy, stupid or criminal themselves to not have their children wallow in it?

Sorry.

Most of the people whose children went out shooting people had loaded weapons easily available in the house. One of the more recent ones father was in jail at the time for armed robery and had several stolen weapons in the house when the police showed up.

But this gets lopped in with all the others in a genralized sensational story. Almost no one ran the suicide note from Columbine which was quite clearly a state of revenge.

Could they have been desensitized by violent media and games? Maybe a little, but the majority of this problem was their parents obviously werent there for them (as they didnt even know they were building a HUGE arsenal of weapons over a period of time even though they were left in PLAIN VIEW in their rooms), and they obviously wanted revenge against the people who they saw as persecuting them, and seemed to also have a good deal of homicidal mania (which games obviously dont cause), and one of them was on medication for being unstable already.

Out of all those problems, the media concentrates on games and a band they didnt even listen to.

-Geoff


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Relax. This whole "violence in video games" thing will settle down eventually. TV and movies received the exact same flak from people who didn''t watch TV or movies. But their kids, who grew up watching the stuff, naturally thought it was OK, so as their kids grew up and replaced the older generation, TV/movies received less and less criticism.

TV still received some criticism (that no one really took seriously) until recently, when video games became the new scapegoat. But video games are new, so it''s not surprising that they''re being critized. But eventually playing video games will be as commonplace as renting movies; probably even more so.

~CGameProgrammer( );

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I''ve got something here that might be interesting: This is a website showing studies that have shown that there is not a correlation between gamers and violence. It also has links to websites that also support this:
http://www.ps.uci.edu/~jhkim/rpg/whatis/rpg_psych.html
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Hi, it''s me again. Seems that the discussion has gone in a way that I didn''t intend to go. A Large error in my first message is that I did mean "A boy in Spain has commited murder after playing Final Fantasy (dunno which one) "
Instead of : YOUR game (sorry )

Well, what I was TRYING to ask is:
How do gamedevelopers handle this?

What if someone commits violence after playing your game?
How will you react?
Would you feel guilty?
Would you take "politically correct" measures?

Also, I do not entirely agree with some people here. Some kids ARE influenced by TV. Or at least they appear to be. I remember in my youth, transformers and all such series. However they don''t explicitly show it, they DO have a hidden message, that in EVERY episode, there is a problem, and they ALWAYS solve it by using violence. Not all kids are affected by this but some kids might get the impression that violence is the way to solve ALL problems.
And then I am not even speaking about Pokemon, but that''s not Nintendo''s fault. It''s rather the spirit of society these days.

"I Can''t change the world, but you''ll hear my voice!"
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All please rise, I speak:

I look in disgust when I see children denied from a great part of knoledge and fiction. "It is too violent" or "it deals with human reproduction" are common excuses for the prohibition. Luckily the means of control are too weak and people learn about these adult things:
Imagine if in near future the computer empowered control would truly succeed in this attempt of control. The new age children growing up would eventually (for example in age of 16, 18 or 21) learn about the real world. Having a strongly distorted view of the world their behavior would be very unpredictable.

And even with our less perfect method of denying material from children we have gone already too far. USA with their no sex-education at all is a most damning example. It is a naive idea that something would disappear if we did not see it and talk about it. (Nobody talks about daddy''s drinking and it will go away. Ok?)

I was encouraged to play violent games, shoot with my family''s firearms and do all these cool things when I was a child. When I went to school I was told that violence is an acceptable method of protection, but it is dishonorable to be violent for any other cause. I studied later Judo and Karate and learned about their philosophy and it did not change much my earlier attitude towards violence. I think that children should learn about good violence: protecting themselves and the ones they care for.

In many video games there is of course an evil approach to the use of violence, but seeing that this is evil it will not corrupt the player, but this is a matter of parents to tell the children.

... and this idea "little kids become de-sensitized to the violence"... I think that it is better to become de-sensitized than be unaware or shocked by violence... Because people de-sensitized will still now the right and wrong, but people who are unaware or shocked are just easy targets for robberies and bullying.

-Osmo Suvisaari
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Nice debate you have here. My Opinion is that in a way all of you are right.

You see people are different.... very different. You can have a 14 (or less) year old kid that plays violent games and watches violent movies yet knows what is right and what wrong so those games and movies don''t make an impression on him and he uses them only to do and see things that he can''t do or see in real life.

On the other side you can have an 35 year old "adult" that isn''t able to recognise right from wrong. The fact thast he got that far can only be tributed to his ability to hide those tendencies or to the fact that people don''t take the time to get to know him and find out his tendencies and deal with him. People like these are tempted to do things the see on TV/Games .... in fact they are VERY tempted and soner or later they will try things and "normal people" would not.

The fact that some people can be so unstable and can''t differ from right and wrong can be tributed to many things but the main couse is their brain. They can either have an unstable brain (mentaly unsable) to a degree that they will never understand what is right. They can only be easily influenced and in that case parents and teachers have thre job of teaching those people what is right and what is wrong before they get the wrong impressions that can ruin theirs and other peoples lives.

These border cases are really the problem in the world. It''s hard to recognize these tendencies and if they are not recognized fast enough and the handling is not proper a person like that will soner or later try to express those trendencies in real life. Movies and Games can provide them with ideas but it''s not the fault of these sources of enertainment since if they wouldn''t find something they like there they would find it in news or even in real life.

Unstable people that are tought to contain their violent thoughts can also be very valuable to the society. They think different... they can look on things from different perspectives so they can be very valuable in research. Since they are so different they get hated or avoided from "normal people". We all know that if somebody is hated for no other reason than for being diffeernt you can get hmmmm... well angry. That state in an unstable mind can get VERY dangerous.

To summarize all of this:
People that think differently help the world evolve yet they can also destroy it. "Normal people" should help them to stay within the confines of certain rules and try not to destroy their lives with making them feel unwanted as that can push already unstable people over the edge.

thanks for listening
Tekumze

"The reason people blame things on the previous generations is that there''s only one other choice."
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quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster

It''s everyone''s responsibility to be able to differentiate between fantasy/fiction and the real world. If you can''t handle that, get institutionalized.

$0.02


Well, no. It''s everyone''s responsibility to -teach- others how to do this. Right and wrong are not necessarily innate. Some people are harder to reach than others, but this is society''s problem. If society as a whole believes that it is wrong to kill others, it is society''s job to ensure that this doesn''t happen. To reward pro-social behaviour and discourage anti-social behaviour. And if everyone wants to shirk their own part of the collective responsibility, you hear the developer say "well, it got rated such that they shouldn''t have got the game" and the vendor says "they shouldn''t be able to get fake ID" and the parent says "I can''t watch them 24hrs/day", then it''s pretty obvious that the blame/responsibility is shared. You never know what effect a certain stimuli might have on a person. If you don''t want to accept some small degree of responsibility, you have less place to complain when someone you know is on the receiving end.
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I am by nature a very violent person. And I gotta say , violent games dont make me wanna go out and do something , as a matter of fact they allow me to indulge my impulses without getting myself into trouble , They act as some kinda release .(thank God for small favours)
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Gentlemen,

I doubt that a virtual massmurder every now and then in Quake or any other game will encurage me to leave my computer (God forbid that! ) and slaughter every person I''ll meet on the street.

However, things always happens, and there is always something/someone to blame. No one are responsible for other peoples actions, unless, someone else pushed them or made them do it. Anyway, I would think that computer games/movies (or films as I rather say)/TV/books/comics and whatever else has at some point caused someone to commit a crime.

Our society needs scapgoats. When films (movies for the US) become available for renting, and the VHS became popular, then that was to blame for the violent youth. Comics has been there, TV is always there, now it''s the computer games turn to be the one to blame.

Just wait and see until VR gets into every man''s home...

Take it easy...
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