“They made me do it.”

Simon Penny seems to articulate that games, as simulations, train users in skills that would be helpful to violence. Raessens also mentions the connection between simulation and reality before dropping to to go to his main point of documentary games. Do games really cause people to do violence?

That is the most pressing question every mother seems to have about video games. Penny does not suggest that games cause violence, merely create the necessary skill set. I think the best defense of video games comes from the defense of carrying arms, namely that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Similarly, games don’t make people do anything, people do it themselves. I think being trained in how to use a gun doesn’t mean you are going to shoot someone any more than using a simulated game will make you more willing to hurt other people.

Tying into this, I think there is a certain procedural rhetoric in most games that encourages the formulation of certain skill sets and thought processes. For instance, in the game Kan Zuan Penny mentions, the only action is to hurt the woman. This is clearly a strong statement meant to evoke an emotionally response from the user, but it is the communication of the creator(s) to the users. This isn’t mind control, people can decide for themselves how to use the skills they gain from games.

If anything, people are too quick to try to assign a cause for a person’s behavior. People are capable of independent thought and of realizing that this is just a game. What do you think about the ethics of interactive games where you commit violence?

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