Can you believe it? A bunch of sweater-vested psychologist and mental health types who will die virgins say Gears of War is mutating me into a desensitized, baby-punching cannibal!
I got news for them, though. The internet did that long ago.
Dr. Greg Snyder, a psychologist at Omaha's Children's Hospital who has never seen a "Tom & Jerry" cartoon, offers this piece of overblown common knowledge:
"Exposure to violent video games, even E rated video games, increases aggressive thoughts, increases pro-social behavior
and increases general arousal"
Wait, wait, what was that? "Pro-social behavior"?
That sounds like a good
thing. Let's discuss that.
"Prosocial behavior occurs when someone acts to help another person, particularly when they have no goal other than to help a fellow human."
Wow. Okay, so video games elevate my barely-contained blood lust to feverish levels while compelling me to love and help my fellow people. It sounds like the brain is stimulated, and maybe I'm not used to that! "General arousal," indeed.
Researches from a variety of important sounding universities and health institutes have of course conducted a bunch of crazy experiments where they closely monitor the intensity of the little light bulb that appears above your head when you think about violent video games, and they generally agree that exposure to violent video games makes teenagers respond less intensely to real (videotaped) violence. They have a lower heart rate and lower galvanic skin response after viewing, meaning that violence has been "normalized" to them, according to Sissyboy Snyder. The ability to stay calm in the face of violence is truly a horrible thing... I guess?
"The more normal it is, the more likely it is they're going to activate or engage in those behaviors when provoked or even unprovoked," Snyder said.
Man, Snyder is a fucking idiot, as evidenced in this beautifully constructed retort from Tyler White, age 17. "With a shooting game, you can't actually go out and shoot someone," White said.
You can't? These past 20 something years of gaming have led me to believe I was put on this earth to SLAY mortal man! Also, guitars are operated using five colorful buttons and squirrels are foul-mouth drunks that can use their tails like helicopter propellers. THAT is the reality I know. The article at least adds that White and his 16-year old friend said that they did not feel more violent after playing Gears of War for about 20 minutes.
Look, I'm not denying that video games probably slightly elevate your desire to be violent, but that's normal, and dare I say it's probably healthy? How many people here saw the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movie when they were younger, screamed "Cowabunga!" and karate kicked their little brother in the face? I know I did. That's normal. It's what people do. It's part of growing up, part of developing socially, and part of showing your little brother who's the fucking ninja master of the house. It does not mean Ninja Turtles were a warmongering demon sent from Hell to destroy the world.
I'm having trouble wrapping this up in a meaningful way, so I will leave you with this brilliant thought from Chuck Payne, a man who does not censor what his child plays, but imposes a time limit to his son's murder-simulator exposure:
"Then, when they're done playing, that's all that's on their mind. Kill. Kill. Kill. Well, one hour a day. Period."
My God. read