Violent Video Games Review on Kotaku
I wanted to take the time to write a bit about violent games research, as I have read a ton of the research (including most of Bushman’s and Ferguson’s works) and written numerous literature reviews on the subject. But honestly, I am sick of it, sick of having to explain it, and tired of people going crazy over violent video games. However, anyone that is interested, here is a good place to go and learn.
My opinion on the subject as a psychologist (formerly in schools) and game researcher:
Violent video games are a risk factor. Combined with a lot of other risk factors like trait hostiliy, mental illness, abuse, substance use, family problems, etc., it can contribute to violence. For the average person, it has virtually no negative effect whatsoever.
Link to article
An article I contributed to was recently published online for Computers in Human Behavior. This plays a little bit on my dissertation research on player types but not in the same way that I am attempting.
Gender and player characteristics in video game play of preadolescents
- Bruce D. Homera, , ,Elizabeth O. Haywardb, ,Jonathan Fryeb, ,Jan L. Plassb,
The present study explores the relation among different characteristics of preadolescents and their video game habits and preferences. Specifically, the predictive power of age, gender, and psychological adjustment on time spent playing video games and game preference was explored. Children ages 10–15 were given two surveys: a video game habits survey and the BASC-II self-report assessment of personality. Results confirm previous findings of significant gender differences in both time spent playing video games and game type preference. For preadolescents, males were found to spend more time overall playing video games, but for both males and females time spent playing increased with age. No relation was found between time spent playing video games and negative psychological adjustment, as assessed by the BASC-II. Game type preference was predicted by several psychological characteristics. For example, females’ positive feelings about the self were associated with increased likelihood of electing First Person Shooters as a favored game type, and males’ internalizing difficulties were associated with decreased likelihood of electing Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs). The current findings confirm previous results with preadolescents, an under-studied age group, and lend novel insight into the psychological processes that contribute to video game preference.
It seems like more and more video games are taking elements that used to be simple parts of the user interface and turning them into elaborate 3-D interfaces. This causes me to question whether or not designers’ and programmers’ time would be better spent elsewhere Let me explain what I mean.
An example of what I am talking about can be seen in Assassin’s Creed 2 and it’s armor and weapons systems. In the game, your character owns an estate called the Monteriggioni Villa. This serves as a home base and as you accomplish more in the game, the villa displays some of your accomplishments and can be upgraded with money you earn throughout the game. The Villa also has a weapon room which houses all of the weapons you own; the same goes for your armor. Whenever you want you can go to rooms and swap items from the displays. The issue that I have with this is “Is all of that necessary?”. I could just as easily play the game where I could swap items from an inventory by pressing pause or an inventory button and scrolling through what I own. Certainly having the rooms gives some eye candy and perhaps a sense of accomplishment, but how much effort had to be poured into making it. How much better could other aspects of the game been if time was not devoted to that. If you play the game all the way through, you realize that the villa is essentially pointless. It does not really matter if you upgrade it or use it at all because there are other ways to earn money.