In class, it has been continually reiterated that individuals who lack the ability to differentiate between reality and videogames are mentally unstable or just downright stupid. The roles of sex and gender within videogames were deemed as having an insignificant influence on videogame players and the way in which women are viewed.
Yet, despite videogames having “no effect” on individuals divorce rates, eating disorders, and body image issues among women remain prevalent in today’s society. In today’s readings Simon Penny explores the concept of videogames in a different arena. Penny analyzes videogames as being capable of desensitizing individuals towards violence.
Penny introduces David Grossman, a retired Lieutenant-Colonel with an expertise in desensitizing soldiers in order to increase killing efficiency. Grossman strongly opposes violent videogames. He claims that the entertainment industry conditions youth in a militia-like style – that “they hardwire young people for shooting at humans”. Simon also argues that, videogame advocates do their best to downplay such associations.
When videogames are used in training soldiers to effectively kill the enemy, it simply seems ignorant to suggest that videogames do not alter the mindset of a given individual. Videogames cannot be ruled out as a catalyst for violence, sexism, and discrimination. We must honestly ask ourselves can/do videogames alter mindsets of individuals? Or, do they truly have no effect on individuals at all?
It must be realized that videogames do have an effect on people’s lives and that the extent of this effect must be questioned. On the other hand, is the extent of this effect really worth altering the current design, production, and marketing of violent videogames to more “ethical” standards? Probably not. But, if we are all currently being brainwashed by videogames, it would be kind of nice to know.