I thought I’ve heard it all when it comes to stupidity in journalism. CNN is just like every other major news network. My favorite journalism teacher (I got my degree in journalism and public communication) called them “infotainment.” Meaning that no one is actually learning anything. They just shit out content that they think their ignorant masses want to hear. No surprise, the audience for this crap is old. The young are more and more going to YouTube. Hence why they will do anything they can to attack the platform. Just look at the Wall Street Journal doing a hit-piece video on PewDiePie. But now they have decided to go into the Jack Thompson foray with an editorial where this author decides to make the argument that video games are a “virtual boot camp.” I’m sure this will be just as stupid as it sounds. Here’s a link to the article so you know I’m not taking anything out of context, now let’s get started.
Last week, Dick’s Sporting Goods banned the sale of assault-style rifles and Walmart raised the age of all gun buyers to 21. While our politicians debate next steps, these companies took swift action. Virtual reality hardware and software companies, which design top-selling video games, should follow suit.
Um, no they shouldn’t There is a real connection between America’s bullshit gun laws and the amount of gun crime in this country. Look at all the other countries who have just as much access to video games. They don’t have NEARLY the gun violence that this country does. Meanwhile, there is ZERO evidence that video games cause violence. Zero. Jack Thompson destroyed his career trying to find it. To date, there has not been a single study linking video games to violence. So gaming companies have no obligation to do such a financially stupid thing.
Video games have one mandate: to be fun. But the companies that create and market them must also be socially and morally aware. They must consider the kinds of experiences they are developing, especially in first-person shooter games.
No, they shouldn’t. For starters, corporations aren’t moral or immoral. They’re amoral. There is no morality there. It’s all about what sells. Video games sell. It’s a billion-dollar industry that is standing with the giants of Hollywood. This industry markets in what sells. And first-person shooters sell. Regardless of the declining quality in AAA FPS games, they sell. Thank the dumb-ass consumers who apparently don’t have a problem shelling out tons of money for regurgitated crap.
There is at least one documented case of a killer using a first-person shooter game to improve his combat skills. According to the Guardian, the Norwegian shooter Anders Breivik told the court in 2012 that he used “a holographic aiming device” in the game “Call of Duty” to develop his target acquisition abilities.
What?! You have got to be kidding me. That’s it? That’s the best that you can come up with? Court testimony from one person?! What a joke. What an absolute joke, at the expense of an industry that has had a ton of ACTUAL science done to show has no connection to violence at all. Your rebuttal – this guy said Call of Duty helped him! Well, you sure showed all those experts!
Breivik played a two-dimensional game, but virtual reality can take skill acquisition to a new level. Players can look all around the scene instead of just staring at a screen. Handheld devices vibrate to simulate touch. Most importantly, players use their arms and body to engage in actual combat moves, instead of just hitting buttons. As a result, the brain’s motor system is engaged. Repeated movement while in virtual reality causes changes in brain structure, which in turn improves performance in the real world.
Okay. Let me see if I got this right. The argument here is that VR is going to train people to use real life guns? Am I following that? I think I’m going to let you keep going before I destroy your argument by rank and file.
The military has been using virtual reality to train soldiers for decades. Today, everyone from NFL quarterbacks trying to improve their play, to retail employees trying to hone their customer service skills, are using virtual reality training to enable an infinite number of mental repetitions.
And your evidence for this is…what, exactly? What programs are they using? How do they work? I’m getting the distinct impression that you have no clue what the fuck you’re talking about. How do I know this? Because I’m going to let you in on a little secret – no actual person is going to learn how to handle real life guns with a VR simulator. None. Just like how you can’t play CoD and suddenly know everything about handling military-grade weaponry. You aren’t going to learn about reloading a rifle, dealing with kick, hitting targets with an actual gun, or virtually anything associated with operating a real assault rifle in a game.
I’ve handled an AK-47. Kicked like a mule and I couldn’t hit shit. Those guns are ridiculously easy to use, but the ability to use them well is a whole other deal. This idea that VR is somehow going to be able to train someone to properly use a weapon is laughable at best.
Not to mention, VR for the kind of thing that this idiot is talking about is not sold in the mainstream market. To use VR to play a game where you’d be doing the kind of thing like in your average CoD, you need a huge amount of space to move. The best that VR has been able to do is games that work with controllers because the space needed to move is impossible. This person lives in a fantasy that everyone is secretly being trained by the government to be killers. It’s ridiculous.
My argument here is not that virtual reality games are going to cause people to become violent, or that law enforcement or the military, for example, shouldn’t have access to them. But if a possible mass-shooter wants to hone his craft, we shouldn’t hand him an over-the-counter digital boot camp.
The biggest gross hyperbole of all time. As I said above, you will not learn anything about handling real-life guns by playing video games. Nothing. Shooting actual guns is vastly different. I speak as someone who has done it. Notice how NOTHING here is cited. The only citation you’ve had to back up anything you’ve said is with your one reference where a guy says that CoD helped him aim. A contention that I call bullshit on in the first place.
This idiot goes into a list of things that video games can do better that reminds me of that guy in the anti-video game episode of Bullshit! where he says that instead of having shooters, why not have a guy with a magic stick to make people well. It’s ridiculous and nonsensical, and it all comes back to the fact that there is ZERO evidence that video games are linked to violence. None. This dude had ONE piece of evidence to back him up, because every single bit of the science is against him.
In a perfect world, perhaps we wouldn’t have virtual shooters at all. But for as long as we’ve had media, people have delighted in violent content. Some of my own favorite science fiction films and television series are gory and terrifying. The US Supreme Court has ruled that violent video games are a protected form of free speech, and for years the top selling video games have been first-person shooters.
Yeah, there’s a market for it. And something else you don’t like to mention is that as video games have risen in popularity, violent crime has decreased. Not to make the correlation equals causation fallacy, but it is REALLY interesting how that happens. Trying to have the Supreme Court rule that it needs to be regulated is just as much of an insult to the 1st Amendment as when the angry moms went after the music industry and Frank Zappa kicked their ass in his testimony. I’m sorry that reality bugs you so much.
Virtual reality is on the cusp of becoming a mainstream consumer product, and every year content becomes more and more realistic. Lucky for the designing companies, they have a little more time to think through some of the potential negative consequences of what they are creating.
VR is dying because it can’t be made mainstream. It’s cumbersome, the games coming out for it have a bad habit of sucking rather than being good, and hardly anyone is talking about it anymore. As for your argument, gaming companies have evidence telling them that mass shootings are not a potential negative consequence of what they are creating. What do you have?
Until next time, a quote,
“From 1931 to 2007, 665 kids died from injuries they got playing football. This is not video game violence. This is real violence done to real children by other real children, all encouraged by schools and society. Every parent worries about their kids. Every adult worries about all children. But you need to pick what you think is worth worrying about.” – Penn Jillette