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Antonio Lopez

Mrs. Connor
English III/5
14 March 2014
The Blame Game
Playing video games, for fun or just to relax, is probably the most popular form of
entertainment. From shooting games to sport games to racing games, people love sitting down on
their couches and taking control of the person on their TV screen. In fact, globally, people spend
3 billion hours a week playing video games. Though many genres exist, the most popular game
genres tend to be the ones of great violent and/or graphic game play, such as action games and
first-person shooters. The game franchisesGrand Theft Auto and Call of Dutyare examples of
those genres. Since violent video games exist, it is thought that they can cause aggression or
hostility. Additionally, the greatest thought is that they can lead to shootings for example the
Columbine School Massacre. Some people who oppose these violent video games believe that
the games actually make people want to or get inspired to go on a shooting spree. Lots of claims
and evidence are both for and against this idea. Some believe violent games cause shootings,
while the other side says they dont. Evidence exists that supports both sides. Studies show that
violent video games can cause aggression, but at the same time, the studies show that there is no
direct link between shootings and violent video games. Therefore, people should stop blaming
violent video games for shootings because there is plenty of scientific evidence that can prove
the opposition wrong.

Studies have shown that violent video games can make psychological changes in people
who play them, such as increases in hostile mood and aggressive behavior. In a 2012 study, 70
students were assigned to play violent video games for 20 minutes a day for 3 sequential days. In
the end, it was found that increases in hostile expectations and aggressive behavior [increased]
each day they played. Additionally, after playing a violent video game, [it was] found that
people expect others to behave aggressively, and this may make them more defensive and
more likely to respond with aggression themselves (Negative Effects Accumulate). In the
same study, however, it is not known how much this aggression can increase for people who play
violent games over long periods of time. The subjects only played 20 minutes a day for three
days, while most video gamers play at least 1 hour a day for months or years. Its believed that if
the players were studied for longer periods of time, more accurate data would be found.
Additionally, Brad Bushman who conducted the study stated that long-term exposure to violent
video games is just like how smoking cigarettes [over a long period of time] will cause lung
cancer. If there is long-term exposure to violent video games, it may have cumulative effects
on aggression (Negative Effects Accumulate). This shows that violent games can in a way
cause aggression, but that is only after having been exposed to their game play for long periods
of time, like months or years. Even with that finding, the aggression is only increased mainly in
people who already have tendencies for aggressive or hostile behavior. Now, because of these
small bits of evidence, people think that violent games would be at fault for violent tragedies.
Shootings of schools and other places are the main reasons that violent video games have
become under attack. The gunmen of such shootings were found to be avid players of violent
video games, including Grand Theft Auto. This is where the controversy begins. One of the first
incidents happened on April 20, 1999 when two students of Columbine High School, Dylan

Klebold and Eric Harris, entered Columbine High School, armed with explosives and highpowered firearms. They killed a dozen students and one teacher before they killed themselves.
Investigators later learned both teenagers were obsessed with the shooter games Mortal
Kombat, Doom, and Duke Nukem, all of which were violent video games of the time (The
Rating Game). The families of the mass-murder victims put the blame on the video game
company that made the three games. They claimed that the games encouraged Dylan and Erics
actions. However, the lawsuit of the company was later dismissed because the judge stated that
Dylan and Eric were the individual ones who did the crime, not the games. Another shooting
happened back in 2003 when the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice Citybecame under
controversial attack. The criminal, Devin Moore shot and killed officers James Crump and
Arnold Strickland, and then drove off in a stolen vehicle (The Rating Game). He was later
arrested. Later Moore stated "life is a video game. Everybody's got to die sometime." Because of
this, it was a without-a-doubt thought that his crime was inspired by the game Grand Theft Auto:
Vice City, which Moore did play. Most recently in 2013, another shooting happened in the
Washington Navy Yard, the gunman was Aaron Alexis. He killed 12 people before being killed
from a fatal shot to the head by a police officer. Of the many details discovered about Aaron
Alexis, one was that he was obsessed with military-style video games, and its thought that his
obsession with violent video games may have played a role in [the] shooting (Chang). These
are just more reasons for people to blame violent video games for shootings. However, many
studies on violent video games will prove them wrong.
Throughout all of the studies conducted to see if there was a link between violent video
games and shootings, just about all of them show that there isnt any link. Many include the fact
that the effects of violent video games on a players behavior are also largely dependent upon

other factors not related to game play (Video Game Violence). This means that players who
already exhibited a tendency toward hostile behavior would have increased aggressive behavior
after playing video games. It also means that factors,such as mental health issues, can play a role
in shootings, and therefore video games would not be a sole factor. Studies of violent video game
effects have also been mixed generating different results. Because of this, there is little to no
evidence that provides a clear link between shootings and violent video games being a main
factor. As learned by trials and tribulations from past shootings, it is the individual himself who
is the main element in a shooting. The ones who jump to conclusions and accuse violent video
games for shootings are mainly ignorant disputants who tend to oversimplify the issue and often
overlook many other factors that lead to violent behavior (Video Game Violence). These
factors of course include the many studies that prove its not violent games independently to
blame. People who have mental health issues and/or aggressiveor hostile behavior would be
another factor. These kinds of people could become somewhat inspired by playing a violent
video game though there is still no reliable data that proves that the game will make that player
want to commit a shooting.
From all of the different genres of games, the ones with great violence have come under
great attack and criticism in recent years. Shootings that shocked the world were blamed by
many on violent video games. Though there is no direct link between the two, it is possible for
violent video games to psychologically affect a player. Studies have proved this, showing that
playing a violent video game can cause the player to see the world as a hostile place, as well as
raising their levels in aggressive and hostile behavior. Having said that, there is still no
connection between mass-murder shootings and violent video games making the gunmen want to

do them. So therefore, people should stop blaming and accusing violent video games for being
the roots of shootings, because many scientific studies can prove them wrong.

Works Cited
Video Games and Violence.Gale Student Resources in Context. Detroit: Gale,
Student Resources in Context.Web. 30 Jan. 2014

More evidence that violent video games help spur aggression; negative effects
accumulate over time, study says. Consumer Health News[English] 27 Dec. 2012.
Student Resources in Context.Web. 31 Jan. 2014

Video Games and Violence.Video Games.Kevin Hile. Detroit: Lucent Books, 2010.
28-42. Technology 360.Student Resources in Context.Web. 31 Jan. 2014

Chang, Jon M. "How Violent Video Games Fit in With Violent Behavior." ABC
News. ABC News Network, 18 Sept. 2013. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.