Violence in Video Games: Good or Bad

Here’s a news story from the BBC website about the withdrawl of the game Manhunt, made by Rockstar Games, from selected stores in Britain after the murder of a young boy in the style of those seen in the game.


**A number of high street retailers have taken the violent computer game Manhunt off their shelves. **

The move comes after the parents of a schoolboy murdered by a friend blamed the game for their son’s death.

Warren Leblanc, 17, of Braunstone Frith, Leicester, on Wednesday pleaded guilty to the murder of 14-year-old Stefan Pakeerah in February 2004. Stefan’s parent’s claimed Leblanc had been obsessed by the game but standards bodies have rejected the link.

**We are taking it off the shelves with immediate effect **
Dixons spokesperson

Patrick Pakeerah, Stefan’s father, welcomed the decision to withdraw the game from sale.

He said: "It’s a video instruction on how to murder somebody, it just shows how you kill people and what weapons you use.

“If we can stop another family having to go through what we’re going through now, by taking this games and games of this nature off the shelves, then we would have achieved something and Stefan wouldn’t have died in vain.”

Leblanc had savagely beaten his victim with a claw hammer and stabbed him repeatedly after luring him to a local park.

Leicester Crown Court heard the defendant had planned to rob Stefan.

However, Stefan’s mother, Giselle, claimed Leblanc had been obsessed by the game, which awards points for savage killings.

“When one looks at what Warren did to Stephan and looks at the brutality and viciousness of the game one can see links,” she said

She said teenagers, who lack the psychological maturity of adults, play the games, even though they are aimed at over-18s.

And she said she was “ecstatic” about Dixon’s decision to stop selling the game.

A spokeswoman for Dixons said on Thursday: “We are taking it off the shelves with immediate effect.”

In addition to the Dixons Group Plc, which includes PC World and Currys, video game specialist Game announced that it had taken Manhunt off its shelves as a mark of respect.

Other stores including WH Smith are debating whether to stop selling the game.

A statement from the game’s publishers Rockstar North said: "We extend our deepest sympathies to those affected by these tragic events.

"Rockstar Games is a leading publisher of interactive entertainment geared towards mature audiences and markets its games responsibly, targeting advertising and marketing only to adult consumers ages 18 and older.

**Those aged eight years or below do in the short-term re-enact or copy what they see on the screen **
Professor Mark Griffiths, Nottingham Trent University

“Rockstar Games submits every game for certification to the BBFC - British Board of Film Certification and clearly marks the game with the BBFC-approved rating.”

A spokesperson for the British Board of Film Classification said the game had been given an 18 certificate.

It was also the board’s opinion that there were no issues of harm attached to the game and there was no evidence directly linking the playing of games with violent behaviour.

The Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers’ Association, the voluntary standards body for the video game industry, said: "We sympathise enormously with the family and parents of Stefan Pakeerah.

“However, we reject any suggestion or association between the tragic events and the sale of the video game Manhunt.”

Professor Mark Griffiths of Nottingham Trent University, a psychology expert, said more research was needed into how violent video games can influence the behaviour of adolescents.

He said: "Research has shown those aged eight years or below do in the short-term re-enact or copy what they see on the screen. “But there’s been no longitudinal research following adolescents over a longer period, looking at how gaming violence might affect their behaviour.”

Link to story HERE

I play games because they allow me to escape from reality for a while and allow me to do things which I can’t do in real life. I think realistic games such as Manhunt and Metal Gear Solid are designed to be more immersive, not to blur the boundaries between reality and fantasy. I don’t think Manhunt should have been withdrawn from shops because of this murder. The parents of the boy who was murdered are, in my opinion, trying to find someone or something to blame because sometimes having someone to blame makes it easier to focus anger or sadness on something.

In a video of the mother of the murdered child, she claims that it is mostly children aged between 13 and 17 who play violent video games. Most violent video games are rated 18 or 16 so it is the fault of the adult who sells the game to the child, or buys it for them, in the first place. The makers of violent video games prominently display age ratings on games and there is little more that they can do. They must rely on and expect the retailers not to sell these games to children and the parents not to buy them for them.

What are people’s opinions on video game violence? Is it really affecting young people to the extent that they think they are ‘IN’ the game? Is it to be cited as the reason behind murders? Why isn’t anyone attacking violent movies such as the James Bonds or Lord of the Rings? Why are so many people out to get violent games? What do YOU think?**

Some kids clearly should not be playing violent games. It’s not a problem with the video games themselves, it is just that some parents simply don’t pay attention to what their kids are doing. Some parents are very much involved in their children’s lives, but they miss the minor things (in their view) that could be potentially harmful such as violent video games.

I think there is a thread about a similar topic on this topic somewhere in this forum - I’ll edit this post with the link once I find it :slight_smile:

EDIT: If you want me to, I can merge this thread with that one.

Kirupa :stuck_out_tongue:

Merge them if you want Kirupa. They’re pretty much about the same thing. Just so long as you keep my post first. Delete this post when you merge them.

The merge put your post towards the end. So I won’t merge the two threads :slight_smile:

Okay no problem. I kinda like Having my own thread in ordered anyway. What happened to my title though? It used to say ‘Violence in Video Games: Good or Bad?’ now it just says ‘Violent Video Games’

EDIT: Gotta refresh more often.

I think it’s up the the parents/guardians of the child playing the video system to monitor what the child plays.

I love to play video games, although I haven’t had much time the past few months. Most of the games I play I don’t think young children should be playing… such as GTA, Medal of Honor, etc…

Problem is, video games are so advanced these days, you get people in their 20’s, 30’s 40’s + playing these games. So you can’t stop putting violent games on the market, because a lof of older people play these games.

I think the rating warning on the box of the video game is enough. Kids aren’t buying these games because they cost so much $$$. Therefor, the people buying these games for the young kids are the ones who should be held accounted for.

Anyone blaming the education of that young murderer? Learning to distinguish the violence in video games from reality isn’t that hard if you’re brought up properly (which most kids are, given the number of players out there…)

Like I mentioned in the other video game thread, you could just card people or enforce the existing guidelines that stores have to prevent underage kids from buying, for example, Doom III:

I think a simple solution would be to have stores check the IDs of kids who purchase these games. The store clerks could even include a small form for parents to sign that says "This game contains graphical images of…a snowman running around trying to get rid of other snowmen."

That could make parents somewhat accountable for their kids’ behavior :slight_smile:

There a number of thing you need to take into play.
The rating system is made for a reson but every time I buy a game they never look at the rating(Im 16). I bought manhunt no problem and no questions asked. The way it should be is when I buy a game the cashier looks at the case and tells me the rating and wont let me buy if its 18+.
Most kids who play games, the parents dont care what they’re doing with no supervision or telling the child never to do that in real life. The fist time I got my Ps2 my mom sat and watched me play and told me all games for this system are fictional stories and are NEVER to be try in real life.

regarding manhunt, it’s not a very good game for playing (the violence is done in movie format where the gamplay cuts to a cgi scene made by the developer) so you have less control so one might argue more that movies would contribute to the “danger” growing in our homes.

having played the game i found it boring and excessively violent for its playablility. kids shouldn’t play this game just because it isn’t fun 2) it’s nothing anyone under 16 could appreciate as just a game. gta vice city shouldnt be sold to anyon under 18 yet i know plenty of kids who are 12-16 who go and shoot whores and kill cops. my friend’s little cousin plays it all the time.

i am 19, a college student and ritually play halo and soul calibur II with friends. I like violent games and think there’s nothing wrong with blood and guts but i am desensotized to it (not like i care).

only people @#[email protected]# <censored by me not vb> in the head could claim a video game is responsible for someone’s actions so people should look at how well adjusted their kids are, not how violent the games they purchase for their kids are.

we have to stop blaming everyone else and accept responsibility.
(well they screwups do because everyone in kirupa is perfect :p: )

didnt mean to wonder

Oh yea thx for reminding me, the game sux I didnt like it, I found it repedative and at a serious lack of story not to mention it had the same graphics of vice city.

Parents have the responsibility to know what their kids are doing and what they’re involved in. That’s their job. If I ever have kids you can bet your *** that the computer and game console will be in full view of the rest of the house. I’m not gonna have my kid lock himself in his room and spend hours on line talking to weirdos in chat rooms, looking at nudie pics, or shooting virtual hookers in a video game.

oh actually we had the same discussion a week ago for this class “modern art n popular culture”, well it was a long debate anyway. I must say both parties that argued about this do make sense with their opinions.
For example, some put the blame on parents with the reason that I’m quite agree, but at the same time, those who opposed this also had a very good reason, and I’m totally agree with that too. They said that they loved their kids but you just didn’t know how tough it was to be a parent, and you couldn’t watch your kids for 24 hrs.

From my opinion, playing that game does effect you in one way or the other, that’s my opinion though.

As someone in this thread (I think it was guinness?) said, people are desensitized to violence. Actually, people are desensitized to a lot of things, but that’s another story.

The way I see it, we have to ask ourselves these questions:
[indent] 1. Is desensitization good in any way?
2. Do we want to undo our desensitization somehow?
In my opinion:

  1. Desensitization sucks. People are bored with what they have, and they constantly try to break boundaries to make things interesting. 10-20 years ago, if there was as much sex and violence in the media as there is now, people would be shocked. But now it’s the norm. “This may hurt a little but it’s something you’ll get used to.” It’s that kind of thing. Is it good? I don’t see how it can be. Desensitization is equivalent to apathy. People just don’t care anymore. Sure, people know the difference between reality and video games, but what happens when people get bored of video games?

  2. Well, I do. But I don’t claim to have a solution. We’ve already had violence in video games for years, and the public won’t allow us to remove it all at once. But I think we should cut back on the amount of new violent games being made. Focus on storyline, and try to show people that things were just as interesting before we were all desensitized. If that works, we can gradually cut down on all the sex and violence, and go back to how things were before everyone went crazy.

Again, just my opinion. And I know, I’m probably very alone in thinking this way. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m not gonna have my kid lock himself in his room and spend hours on line talking to weirdos in chat rooms, looking at nudie pics, or shooting virtual hookers in a video game.

I wouldn’t want to be your kid…

I talk to wierdos in flash-boards, I watch **** sometimes when I’m lonely and I run over kids with the porsche I just stole in GTA Vice City. What the big deal, I’m still not going to go get a hatchet and throw them at people because I saw that in a video game… Educating your kid doesn’t mean he can’t have privacy. It’s about trust and talk. But hey, different views, different paths…

I actually agree with you. Sex and violence sells, but then again, so does a great story and interesting characters. The problem is that it is a lot easier to get a few buckets of blood and scantily clad computer models to run around with a machine gun than it is to write a good story that engages the player.

There are still a good amount of very popular games that do emphasize story over violence, so that’s a good thing. The problem isn’t your well-adjusted gamer who knows not to do the same things he/she sees in the games, and game companies taking advantage of kids’ interests in violence don’t help.


I think it’s a mistake to let your kids choose whatever entertainment they want to fill their time with. I consider those things to be bad influences, and it would be my job as a parent to protect my kid from that. You’re right, educating your kid doesn’t mean he can’t have privacy. But if he’s doing something he shouldn’t, I want to know.
Sitting back and waiting for him to come to me isn’t going to work.

I think this should be a per-kid decision on part of the parents. If your kid has a history of being violent or agressive, I wouldn’t let him/her play 17/18+ games. I had a friend when I was little (we were about 8 or so) who played games like Diablo, and I’ve never seen him do anything violent in all my time of knowing him.