Violent games first appeared in 1970’s but it was not until 1990 that violent video games fully emerged. At this time the manufacturers of video games first experimented to see if the public accept violence in video games. It gradually became clear that most of the best-selling contained high levels of violence, and even today many of the games that sell the most are the ones that contain bloodshed in them. Prominent examples include the Call of Duty series, wrestling games, and other games related to gang wars.
Violent games are popular with people of all age groups, but the way each age group reacts to the violence is different. Children often try to imitate characters in video games, which has led to many incidents ranging from minor injuries to death.
Academic research has linked violence in video games to aggression and feeling of extreme frustration. In order to see the effects of violent video games on behavior a study was conducted on children and one hundred fifty male college undergraduates from the faculties of psychology and communication at a large midwestern university.
In the first experiment five video games were used including one nonviolent children’s game, two violent children’s games and two violent games rated T.
It was found that the subjects who player the violent games had higher scores in state anger ( ). The data collected from this experiment also revealed that the subjects who played violent video games were more hostile afterwards that those who played the non-violent video games.
Strongest counter-argument is that violent video games do not lead to aggressive behavior in most children, but there are enough documented cases to show that a small but significant number of children are affected by the violence, leading to a number of social and legal problems. For example there is a case of violence related to video games is the death of a homeless man at the hands of a nineteen year old named Steffen G. Steffen was playing WWE Smackdown vs. Raw a popular wrestling video game. He wanted to imitate the kicks and blows from the video game on someone. He was also motivated because, while playing, he lost every match. After losing yet another match, he left his house and found victim on the street who had been homeless for a few days. Steffen offered the homeless victim a place to sleep, but the victim refused. Steffen then kicked him down a stairway and started kicking him. He later confessed that he did so to find out how severely he could hurt someone. When the issue of the game was brought up, the company defended itself by saying that this game is just a simulation of a television show and did not simulate death. But the confession of the offender goes against the claim of the video game manufacturer and proves that the violence in the video game triggered Steffens aggressive behavior.
Another argument put forward to support that violence in video games does not lead to aggression is that video game violence is no worse than what is shown on to or in movies. But video games require player to actively carry out violent acts on screen, making them more harmful.
It is also said that the sale of the video games is regulate through violent video game legislation. In Illinois there is a law which states that a fine of $1000 will be imposed to the retailers that sell mature or adult-only-rated video games to minors. There is a similar law in Michigan that prohibits a person from selling or renting a violent video game to minors and if someone’s is found doing so they will be imprisoned for one year, a maximum fine of $5000 will be imposed or both. Similar laws exist in other states such as Louisiana, Washington, and many other populated centres. However these laws are not very effective.