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Thread: Playing violent computer games chills you out

  1. #1
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    Playing violent computer games chills you out

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    I found this to be true. When I returned from combat in Iraq, my anger-response was tuned to the battlefield; not to dealing with average Americans back home.

    Since I returned not to work, but to continue my post-graduate studies, I had all the free time of a student. A friend with whom I had served in combat and I played hours of Battlefield 1942- the Desert Combatmod - which simulates combat in the Middle East. The hours of play each week allowed me to vent my frustrations in a healthy way - rather than by raining all over someone else's parade.

    I credit the gaming with part of my rehabilitation to 'normal' civilian life.

    Links to other sample studies/articles:
    Link 1
    Link 2

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    I'm headed overseas later this year myself. Where we don't know, yet. SRP is next week. I like a good shooter, myself. Current favorite is "Enemy Territory: Return to Castle Wolfenstein". It's free, too, and a great game. Double win.

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    I have a lot of fun with the Halo series in co-op mode. My friend and I are good partners with the Warthog. He's a better shot, I'm a much better driver.

    I love playing with the tank, too, but I keep getting far too tempted to announce "Firing main cannon" in a friendly 'RedVsBlue' sing-song voice before I unload on something.

    He's not much good at stealth, though. He's kind of like a yappy dog trying to sneak through a cat show. Oh well, at least I had plenty of sniper rifle ammo left over for the next stage.
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DyerWolf View Post
    I found this to be true. When I returned from combat in Iraq, my anger-response was tuned to the battlefield; not to dealing with average Americans back home.
    The article seems to re-inforce my thoughts on the subject. For some people it's a good anger release, and they seperate the gaming life from the normal life. (in the same way Wile E Coyote is violent)

    I've always worried about those people who play the violent games because they like that kind of thing.

    Basically, the not-exactly-groundbreaking report doesnít really prove anything, except that if a person was violent to start with, games wonít make much difference to that, and if a person is a calm and easy going person, all that blood and gore is likely to just send them off to sleep.
    I like the last line about identifying those with everyday aggression...The ones stomping on their consoles after losing, perhaps?

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    Playing violent games can "chill me out"...playing non violent games can "chill me out".

    Other times, playing games can inrage me (if it's not going my way). I play World of Warcraft almost exclusively now...I generally stay pretty neutral emotionally...it's not exactly the most high-paced adriniline-inducing game.

    The effects of video games on people's emotional state is going to be different from person to person. But I never endorse the idea that violent games cause non-violent people to be violent. I'm not convinced in the least that there's been a single violent act commited by a person because of a video game, who would have not been prone to violent reactions if not for video games.

    Violent people probably are drawn to violent games...that doesn't mean the game caused them to be violent.

    Anyway to get back on topic, yes I think "violent"...or more accurately, exciting (whatever one finds that to be) games can certianly be a virtual punching-bag.

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    I find playing drums accomplishes the same thing.

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    The key for me is to immerse myself in the game to separate the focus of my attention away from what set me off in a rotten mood in the first place. So whether its setting up a factory run while ice mining in EVE or slaloming a stolen ambulance down the boardwalk, killing hundreds, in GTA San Andreas, its a clear break in the stream of comsciousness that divorces me from the trigger situation.

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    I've discovered that HL2 is great at getting you away from anything, and completely immersing you in the game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cjl View Post
    I've discovered that HL2 is great at getting you away from anything, and completely immersing you in the game.
    But for some reason, I keep wanting cake...
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    ...I've always worried about those people who play the violent games because they like that kind of thing.

    ...
    I play the violent (combat) games because I do like that kind of thing. It's part of the reason I stayed in the Marines as long as I did.

    Personally, I think its good for our society that we have big, dangerous guys who are willing to go into harm's way for everyone else. They let the soft, security-unconscious enjoy life and the antics of Paris Hilton (okay, we like photos and videos of Paris, too.)

    The people you have to worry about are the crazies and chemically imbalanced. They killed plenty of people long before Pong first entered people's living rooms - and as Fazor said - they're not committing violence or mayhem due to any inducement from the game; they were already unfit for society to begin with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moose View Post
    But for some reason, I keep wanting cake...
    The cake is a lie!

    I had a really bad day the other day. Lots of people at work that I think should be under close watch in a big room with little windows. When I came home, I logged on to my Brute (all melee damage and a bigger damage bonus the longer you fight) in City of Villains and went to town for a few missions. after a while I started to nod off.

    My opinion has always been that a "normal" person who plays a violent game might get just as much enjoyment from a non-violent one. A violent nut-case type will not find any joy in something like The Sims, so ALL games they play will be violent.
    I'm Not Evil.
    An evil person would do the things that pop into my head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DyerWolf View Post
    I play the violent (combat) games because I do like that kind of thing. It's part of the reason I stayed in the Marines as long as I did.
    The violence or the combat?... two different things in my mind.

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    we have the newest Halo at my house. I play only to spend time with my brother. Otherwise I've never turned it on.
    My travel blog Mostly about riding a motorcycle across the US and Europe. Also has cool things that happen in between.

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    My personal favorite to get aggression out of the system is Postal 2, it is the epitome of inappropriate. . . well, everything.
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    There was a study out, or I think Penn and Teller's Bull**** show, that stated releasing anger makes one more likely to commit acts of anger.

    And violent video games don't really chill me out. Whenever I get fragged, I want to go and frag them back. I've even punched my keyboard out of fustration. Good thing I found it in the trash...

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    The violence or the combat?... two different things in my mind.
    A part of me likes both.

    However, I've always been in control of that part. The thing is; I'm good at violence and combat. People tend to enjoy things they're good at.

    Boxing, jiu-jitsu and hand-to-hand combat training have always been some of my favorite pastimes. Punching and being punched in the ring is excellent training. I'm also an expert shot and a good commander. My Marines typically out-performed their peers and other units we went up against.

    I enjoyed surfing, skiing and mountainbiking partially for the fact that sometimes you wipe out. Football too.

    Among the many emotions I felt in combat, satisfaction and enjoyment had their place along with the fear and anger. As did humor. A very black humor...

    Ask any tanker and most will admit that open combat from an M1-A1 has its joys. It's one of the things we try to help our returning veterans accept and deal with when they return to civilian life. 'How could I enjoy something that everyone thinks is so awful?' It troubles some people...

    Just not me.

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    Interesting perspective on the issue. As a long time player of violent video games I'm not sure that I'd say that it would chill the average person, but your assertions don't really suggest that do they?

    What certainly can be said though, violent video games never killed anyone, people have.

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    There are studies out there that relates catharsis to violence. Penn & Teller's show did cover some of it, and it is mostly right on. But what the studies showed was that being violent towards something else to express your anger - whether it be screaming into a pillow, beating a pillow with a bat, or breaking things - is only going to increase anger later on.

    What I see here is that people who are frustrated and angry are distracting themselves through the game - whether it be Half-Life 2, The Sims, Postal II, or the latest Tiger Woods golf game - that is, they do something they like to distract themselves and let the anger settle down and go away in a non-destructive manner.

    I do this frequently. If I've had a really rough day, I'll distract myself with Mario Kart or HL2, and soon enough I am no longer interested in being angry, and the feelings have gone away in place of the happy feelings I get when I cause havok on the virtual track.

    The problem lies in that when you vent in a destructive manner, you focus on that rage and anger. It goes away after a while, but it keeps bubbling up. Little things will spark it again, and it becomes a cycle.

    See, college psychology can be fun!

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    Quote Originally Posted by idav View Post
    Interesting perspective on the issue. As a long time player of violent video games I'm not sure that I'd say that it would chill the average person, but your assertions don't really suggest that do they?

    What certainly can be said though, violent video games never killed anyone, people have.
    I played RayMan once.
    Has to be the gayest game I've ever played. I was dripping pink by the time I tossed the controller to the floor.

    Yet trying to get the (cursed) character to do what you are trying to get him to do...(curse) (curse) (CENSORED)

    May as well take up a nice peaceful round of Golf.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    The violence or the combat?... two different things in my mind.
    For me it's the combat. Or rather, the puzzle-problem-solving aspect of combat. I like tactical planning and seeing a plan execute perfectly (and I've got some Red Alert stories, among others...) I like logistical planning (games like Railroad Tycoon 2 and similar). And I like strategic planning (games like Risk.)
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DyerWolf View Post
    Personally, I think its good for our society that we have big, dangerous guys who are willing to go into harm's way for everyone else. They let the soft, security-unconscious enjoy life and the antics of Paris Hilton (okay, we like photos and videos of Paris, too.)
    Ugh! I consider the idea that you're serving to cover us "soft" proles at home obnoxious and insulting.

    That you can face up to a personal need to shoot and kill and need an outlet, be it video games or real humans, is an admirable example of frank introspection. However, you're "ok"ness with being(based on the logical extrapolation of your post) a sort of weaponized sociopath makes me wonder how to feel with you walking down a local Main Street.
    Last edited by soylentgreen; 2008-Apr-04 at 10:44 PM. Reason: Wording tempered and Conroy reference cut out of respect for decorum

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    Bold Mine:

    Quote Originally Posted by soylentgreen View Post
    Ugh! That kind of wholesale elitist martial garbage may fly at the VFW, but for intelligent, thinking citizens, the idea that you're serving to cover us "soft" proles at home is obnoxious and insulting.

    That you can face up to a personal need to shoot and kill and need an outlet, be it video games or real humans
    , is an admirable example of frank introspection. However, you're "ok"ness with being a sort of weaponized sociopath makes me wonder how to feel with you walking down a local Main Street.

    Honestly, it sounds to me like you'll end up with some suburban police department, pulling Great Santini's on the local youth...what with the absence of some real humans to shoot at.
    Soylentgreen has viewed the thread- Ignored my PM and moved on- so...[ETA: He Replied to my PM aggressively after filling in my post]

    First: Referring to any member of the Armed Forces as a "Weaponized Sociopath" is so wrong on so many counts that I don't even know where to begin.

    Claiming that someone who either serves in the military or plays a video game feels a need to literally Shoot Up Real Humans is disturbing at the least and not just insulting- but derogatory and filled with bitter spite.

    Asserting that any member of the Armed Forces is unsafe to walk down the street or you perceive a soldier to be a threat while walking down the street is appalling, disgusting and attributing characteristics to members of the military that seemingly exist only within the confines of your mind.

    Claiming that any member of the Armed Forces Or Police Force try to abuse, attack or assault citizens and Youths for the sake of venting aggression in the absence of real humans to shoot at is a jab not only at the military but the police as well.
    Last edited by Neverfly; 2008-Apr-04 at 10:19 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moose View Post
    For me it's the combat. Or rather, the puzzle-problem-solving aspect of combat. I like tactical planning and seeing a plan execute perfectly (and I've got some Red Alert stories, among others...) I like logistical planning (games like Railroad Tycoon 2 and similar). And I like strategic planning (games like Risk.)

    Exactly. I don't know many people that pick games specifically because of their violence. Of course most of the gamers I know will run out and buy a game because of the hype, but most people pick games for the content, not the level of violence. I like trying to figure out how to beat the level or boss. Yes, on occassion I turn into angry german kid but for the most part, when I walk away from the game, I walk away from the frustration, as do most people I know.


    Originally Posted by DyerWolf
    Personally, I think its good for our society that we have big, dangerous guys who are willing to go into harm's way for everyone else. They let the soft, security-unconscious enjoy life and the antics of Paris Hilton (okay, we like photos and videos of Paris, too.)

    Ugh! That kind of wholesale elitist martial garbage may fly at the VFW, but for intelligent, thinking citizens, the idea that you're serving to cover us "soft" proles at home is obnoxious and insulting.
    Soylentgreen, I respectfully disagree. First, it sounds like you are suggesting that anyone that agrees with Dyerwolf is not an intelligent, thinking citizen. While my level of intelligence may be debatable, I don't think I am alone in agreeing with Dyer. If it wasn't for "weaponized sociopaths" I wonder if I would be able to sit in front the computer, eating crackers and cheese, debating this issue at all. Call them what you want, they are braver than I...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Soylentgreen
    ...makes me wonder how to feel with you walking down a local Main Street.
    You should feel safe.

    I'm the guy who is going to intervene on your behalf, should I see you attacked by a true psycho/sociopath.


    All - Soylentgreen's response comes across as a bit of an ad-hom, but since he/she's never done that to me before: it's no big deal.

    For what it's worth, I didn't imply that everyone who is not a big, dangerous guy is soft and security-unconscious. Just that those particular folks enjoy the fruit of our labors.

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    PM replied to- Post no longer on hold and now filled in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    First: Referring to any member of the Armed Forces as a "Weaponized Sociopath" is so wrong on so many counts that I don't even know where to begin.
    You do know that some sociopaths do get in, right?
    And that they are issued weapons.
    And that they are therefore technically weaponized sociopaths?
    And that it would therefore be correct to refer to some members of the armed forces as weaponized sociopaths?

    Apart from that, I see it as an in-kind response to the equally insulting comment made in his characterization of everyone not military:
    They let the soft, security-unconscious enjoy life and the antics of Paris Hilton (okay, we like photos and videos of Paris, too.)
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    DyerWolf, we want you on that wall. We need you on that wall.

    Since I have no desire to pick up a weapon and stand a post, I'll just say, "thank you," and be on my way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeLeRoyTirebiter View Post
    DyerWolf, we want you on that wall. We need you on that wall.

    Since I have no desire to pick up a weapon and stand a post, I'll just say, "thank you," and be on my way.

    Quote Originally Posted by HenrikOlsen View Post
    You do know that some sociopaths do get in, right?
    And that they are issued weapons.
    And that they are therefore technically weaponized sociopaths?
    And that it would therefore be correct to refer to some members of the armed forces as weaponized sociopaths?
    By that logic, then since innocent people get on Death Row- then everyone on death row is innocent and should be freed.

    It took a great amount of effort to not totally fly off the handle on that post.
    I'm talking Donald Duck, Happy Gilmore, frustrated golfer type fly off.

    Frankly- I amazed myself with my restraint.

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    I agree that it is wrong to refer to all military personnel as weaponized sociopaths and apologize for giving you the impression that I think otherwise.

    I think we both missed tone of voice in our posts.
    I was trying to not generalize to all, while trying to complain about what I felt was a generalization to none where there are some.

    While trying to convey that DyerWolf's attitude of looking down on everyone non-military is also highly insulting.

    It looks like I failed.
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    I bought Delta Force a long time ago as a way to chill out when I was working at a stressful job...

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