The Big Question: Are Violent Video Games Adequately Preparing Kids For The Apocalypse?

from the things-we-need-to-know dept

With all of the stories over the past few years concerning the supposed “risks” of kids playing violent video games — often argued over soundbites on cable news networks, The Onion comes to the rescue with the perfect antidote, wondering Are Violent Video Games Adequately Preparing Children For The Apocalypse?

I wonder if Jack Thompson would like to weigh in on the debate… My favorite line: “The games all make it seem deceptively simple. I mean, in the future, a kid’s not going to be able to kill a six-foot irradiated beetle just by pressing a few buttons. He’s going to have to get down there with an axe, and hack and hack and hack.” Indeed. Violent video games need to be even more real. Otherwise, we’re all doomed.

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Comments on “The Big Question: Are Violent Video Games Adequately Preparing Kids For The Apocalypse?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Actually, my son learned percentages from watching the health status in DOOM. In our first grade parent teacher conference the teacher was amazed that he was completely familiar with percentages. I did not tell her where he learned them.

Perhaps I was a horrible parent for letting my son play DOOM at that age. However, he we played together and against each other. I have probably stayed a lot more involved in video games that I would have otherwise because it was a really good way to stay involved with my kids. The video games gave me openings to get all three kids introduced to SciFi (books and TV). That was another great link to my kids.

Despite their early introduction to evil video games all three have turned out to be amazingly well adjusted. All three have graduated from college with strong math and literature backgrounds. Meanwhile my friends who sheltered their kids from these evil things seem to have kids who are pregnant and/or know what the inside of a jail cell looks like.

Anonymous Coward says:

I am now convinced, based off this post, that the people that run this site are three years old. This is the last time I will visit this site, good luck to the editors, and wannabe journalists. But, the two day mirrors of slashdot posts and editorials like this, make this site pointless to visit anymore. It’s almost painful to read slashdot, but at least they come up with the news faster.

This is a sad day. You are all fucking morons.

Bulent Akman (user link) says:

Re: morons eh?

Dear Mr, Coward,

Thank you for your baseless unsupported and general rant whose unspecificity is only exceeded by it’s lack of humour and overall camp factor. Your words are banal to such an extreme degree that they have assumed the quirky status of cult object, I was unaware that a human being could spurt such vacant moral outrage. Finally, by your rhetoric may I understand you’ve concerned that if you hack pixels to pieces with a chainsaw you might be tempted to do the same to yourself? Play on dear coward, play on.

PaulT (profile) says:

I’m personally confident that playing House Of The Dead in arcades has given me the correct experience in shooting the zombie hordes, as long as I don’t need to manually reload…

The Onion is dead on with this parody, of course. It’s exactly as ridiculous as the “murder simulator” argument laid out by Thompson and is a great way of exposing such stupidity.

Unless you’re an anonymous coward on this comment thread of course, in which case such subtlety is apparently beyond you.

Arcade Games (user link) says:

Violent Online Games

I believe the games have an impact on everyone to some degree if they didn’t we would not spend billions on advertising every year. With that said I do not think it is preparing them unless we advance our society tripple fold in the next 20 years. It is new fighting that attracks the gamers or a ” New Skill” not ever learned that keeps them plugging away.

oldhawk777 says:

Be the satisfied prick, like Godddd!

Fuck the bugs, fuck the sheep, fuck the bitches, fuck the mares, fuck’em all to death be the apocalypse!

God causes/allows an apocalypse, I’ll fuck the freak before arriving in hell to spend quality time with intelligent friends.

God, as defined, in all religions is impossible, but the dogma [fantasy] is definitely possible for crazy and delusional fools.

Sanity is either an anomaly or flaw in the human gnome. Prior POTUS Bush (or Hitler, Napoleon, Stalin, Caesar…) proves the insane are respected and trusted by most humans, not locked up and treated for craziness, and frequently are (can be) world leaders…. DAMN! Looks like WWIII could finally be the last one… for humans on earth.

If as a species we survive for another hundred years, that will be the fucking miracle. A human-made apocalypse is obviously probable (Nuke, Bio, Chem…) for the first time in human history post economic collapse, dogma defined evil sources, wealthy entitled whiners and ghouls, insane demagogic megalomaniacs….

The very disturbing part is that Prior POTUS Bush was elected by US a supposed capitalist democracy full of nuts allowed to vote, own guns, and write laws….

“Reality is self-induced hallucination.” Dogma just justifies insanity in a more human palatable manner than mass murder.

gabe says:

If I notice the apocalypse approaching I will make sure to have three things: a samurai sword, sniper rifle, and shotgun. I think these would work best in a world where ammunition is scarce. Learning to reload quickly shouldn’t be a problem, as long as I can avoid heated firefights.

I’m surprised no one has mentioned the essential survival and stealth tactics one can learn from playing Metal Gear Solid. The run-and-gun approach is only relevant if you can wield seven or eight large weapons simultaneously; I’ll be mobile enough to pick off enemies effectively from both long and short ranges.

Thanks to video games, I’m ready for The End. Are you?

Kevin (user link) says:

Video Gaming Doesn't Cut It For Preparation

I just took two incredibly good Call of Duty and Halo players to a “real” gun range. Their first time to use a pistol or shotgun with slugs. Had the guns been attached to a control pad, no doubt they would have done well. Actually, their aim was much worse than I had figured.

They have a new respect for me since I am the weaker old man on video games, but a dead-eye with a pistol.

The answer is without a control pad? No.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Video Gaming Doesn't Cut It For Preparation

Your arguing about interfacing…. which has nothing to do with preparation for the end of the world.

The gamers mind is an analytical mind, and they’ll quickly adapt their skills in a manner of hours to any situation required.

Instead of standing around asking how everything works and relying on being told what to do, instead they’ll tend to stand back and observe the proper execution and then emulate it.

Besides if you’re really trying to show a comparison between how well a gamer can adapt from a war simulator to the real situation it’s not about the single aspect of aim. If you really want some useful data, get a clan of guys who play any online shooter and put them up against a group of civil war reenactors and see who comes out on top in a paintball battle.

chris (profile) says:

too much contradictory information

the scenarios in violent games show that the premise of most games is based on junk science.

will the zombies be slow, like in halflife2 or move quickly, like in left4dead?

will the nuclear fallout create unintelligent, feral mutants like in the fallout series, or will people develop super powers like in comic books?

i think that real scientific inquiry could answer these questions so that we are better trained and prepared for the apocalypse.

Chris says:

what games have taught me

Video games taught me more about the real world than anything my inept underpaid elementary teachers tried to pass off as knowledge. I probably started to play them earlier than I can even remember, but they’ve been an integral part in my upbringing.

Most people seem to overlook the fact video games tend to require an incredible amount of critical thinking skills. Back in the good ole days of Nintendo games like Zelda, Metroid, Final Fantasy, etc… you essentially had to develop a photographic memory. If you couldn’t remember 4 words of text from some guy in a town halfway across a map that had to be memorized as well, you would never find the dungeon with 30 levels with hidden keys to unlock doors 10 levels back.. Point being, you have to recall on your memory to help guide you through problem solving sometimes with only the vaguest clues for assistance, sometimes no clues at all.

Online games such as MMO’s and FPS’s teach a great deal about team-oriented environments. How to deal with stressful situations, dissent amongst peers, resource management, data analysis, etc.. Everything that is required for any professional institution to remain successful is equally required for any team, guild, squad, or clan. You are required to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses among personnel, and allocate their skills evenly enough so each unit remains productive.

Online gaming markets and trade can teach anyone the fundamentals of economics, and also teaches fiscal responsibility. You can understand rather quickly how much work needs to be done in order to gain the currency needed to obtain whatever good is desired. You understand there is a limited supply and it’s demand is going to be directly proportional to how useful the good is for the consumer.

Leadership, critical thinking and analysis, along with excellent teamwork, resource management, and social networking skills can all be acquired and reinforced through video games.

Everything my High School tried to teach me (aside from specific dates in history, some chemistry crap no one ever remembers, and maybe wood shop) I had already learned by the 5th grade from playing video games. I could easily manage a team of 20 people, knew exactly what was required of each member, how they needed to execute, and what resources were needed in order for our goals to be achieved. That along with the amount I had to teach myself about computers to even run the games in the first place easily put myself leaps and bounds ahead of my other classmates. Dealing with a much older player base also meant my vocabulary and literacy skills had to develop at an accelerated rate to be taken seriously, along with excellent debate skills. Essentially on par with anyone in middle management, all at the age of 10 thanks to video games.

JesseJ says:

I think that more likely the simple re-injection of Darwin’s “Survival of the fittest” into human society will be the first major contributing factor to post-apocalyptic ‘live/die’ scenarios. Unfortunately while surburban white teenagers are learning how to ‘destroy the simulated zombie hordes’ in their parent’s basement by night while working at best-buy/applebee’s by day; there are in-numerable semi-warzones dotting our planet where 13 year old kids are learning these skills in real-time.
Chances that the World Champion of Halo3 (probably an extremely pale, over-weight virgin with carpal tunnal, acne and zero motor skills above his/her wrists) will fare very well against the kid that grew up in the West Bank or Haiti and was given an AK-47 for his 10th birthday (and had to learn how to use it just to be able to see his 11th)

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