Only gamers know the joy of squeezing off that clean headshot for the win or brutally beating down an opponent in excessively violent ways in order to shame him. Violence is prevalent in some of the most popular video games, such as Halo, Call of Duty and Killzone. It is essential to the action of these games, as most of them are First-Person Shooters. However, have games crossed the line?
With new technology being developed that further enhances and adds realism to games, we step into an era of realistic video game violence. In the days of Super Nintendo, there would be animated spurts of blood. Now you can shoot an opponent and watch him bleed out and occasionally beg for mercy as he clutches his wounds. It is images like these that rally people against the intense violence in video games.
In Gears of War, you can take a chainsaw and saw through your enemies sending a stream of blood flying from their torso as you saw deeper into their chest. Violent? Yes. Fun? Even more so. It’s not the violence that most gamers crave; it’s the feeling of power that comes from it.
Video games allow people to be taken away from their daily problems and be transported to a world where they have power and are literally a one-man army. The feeling of accomplishment that comes from completing a mission or getting an exceptionally good kill against an enemy is exhilarating. Though extremely violent, the player is left with a positive feeling, associating their fictional accomplishment with real pride.
As humans we love to play-fight, just like animals. We get a sense of pride when we dominate an opponent. It’s just human nature to want to win and to obtain joy from doing so. Games allow for that joy; the best way game developers have found so far to provide that joy is through violence.
The book Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do examines this theory, discovering that children like violent games because they are more challenging, and offer more rewards for being skilled players.
Excessive violence may not be necessary, but it is all gamers really know to relate the challenge level and skill level to the rewarding feeling they get.