Natural Violence

To supplement my point that video games CAN teach violent tactics, here’s an example of a practice among FPS “camping”. Yes this is also taught in movies, but with games, you reiterate the same thing over and over – sniping people in a bottle neck from an angle they weren’t prepared for. “It certainly works in paintball”  It’s not just “camping” though, it’s anticipating where the other guy is going to set up shop. Knowing that a melee weapon might not alert other members of the opposite faction that anything is out of the ordinary (the Assassin’s Creed franchise makes teaching this tactic a substantial portion of the game). No, I don’t think the average gamer is incited to go on a melee weapon rampage in the office/school, but if they were to do so, I think it’s safe to say they are a more “weaponized” version of themselves after playing 500 hours on an FPS with sprites programmed to behave more and more human.

[viewer discretion – depictions of death ‘R’ rating, it’s a scene from Saving Private Ryan]

Don’t get me wrong, I think the benefits of video games far outweigh the detriments, but I’m not going to pretend that watching a violent movie, or immersing myself fully in a highly realistic video game where I happen to learn advanced combat tactics doesn’t have any effect on me at all…

2 thoughts on “Natural Violence

  1. Merrick Cohen

    It might have an effect on you but I think the biggest effect it would have on actual warfare skills would be false confidence. I have put an embarrassing number of hours into counter-strike and know all about the various tactics used in the game. I submit that none of that has any correlation with real life whatsoever. Obviously hiding somewhere hard to see or shoot at is going to give an attacker an advantage but I think that is about where the similarities with a video game end. In counter-strike people will happily rush a well defended position confident that the worst case scenario is dying early in the round and being forced to wait a full 3 mins to respawn. In real life, the second after someone fires the very first shot, people will be screaming and running in all directions. There is no button to cry and pee yourself in counter-strike and I know that would be my reaction to a gunfight in real life!

    Tactics that work in paintball do not work in real life either. Even when soldiers play paintball, its hard for them to pretend that the paintball battle is anything like a real battlefield without the constant fear of death. I have heard of SWAT teams playing paintball and all putting in $100 each in winner take all tournaments just so that people will take it a little more seriously, but even then they know it’s just money on the line. Actual violent scenarios are so far removed from the sterile video game environment that comparing the two is pointless.

  2. Tyler Dennis Post author

    It may not matter whether the confidence is false. I feel like halfway through a killing spree of civilians if I realize “oh hey, I’m NOT all that great at this even though I’m a champion of first person shooters!” – the damage is done.

    But I’ll disagree anyway. Not all of the tactics are going to be transferable; but the more realistic it all gets, the easier it is to anticipate HOW a crowd panics and rushes to the nearest exit where you “camp” and shoot at a narrow bottleneck. I’m not too worried about soldiers in the army learning all of their skills from a realistic battle simulator (though I expect for financial reasons much of their curriculum IS digitized). Certainly flight schools have flight simulators as a huge part of their curriculum, is it all too sterile an environment to be useful even in the smallest way?

    And what happens when the environments are no longer sterile? Pong might not confer a large set of transferable skills to the average tennis player – but “Tennis Pro 2019” for the XBOX 1080 complete with tennis racket, Kinect technology etc… If comparing the two is pointless currently, perhaps the law ought to take a proactive approach for when the humanoid silhouettes you’ve been conditioned to shoot in game are indistinguishable to the ones in real life? We can blame the good fellows at E.A. and their motion capture studios for making the game sprites act in a realistic fashion.


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