Poll Question 043 – Are Single Player FPS games too violent?

10th August 2007

I have a feeling that this week’s poll will divide PP readers. Without wanting to predjudice the comments and votes I have a feeling that the younger readers will say No and the older readers will say yes.
This week’s poll question is:

Are Single Player FPS games too violent?

Let Me Be Honest

I honestly believe that everything we see, read, hear and experience effects us. How much and exactly what effect will differ from person to person but I have no doubt it has an effect.

I don’t believe that videos games cause teenagers to rampage through schools killing other children but I do believe that society should control the amount of violence shown on TV, moive and computer screens.


  1. Sorry, I’m 16 hours late posting this poll. I had everything setup to be posted at 18:00 on Friday but was having such a good time I completely forgot what I planned to post it!

  2. Ryan "Quakis" Rouse

    but I do believe that society should control the amount of violence shown on TV, moive and computer screens.

    This I have to agree with. Extreme violence doesn’t make things any more entertaining either. Sorry I don’t have much to add, nothing much to say. =/

  3. Dufake

    It’s not enough violence.

    All the violence now is created for entertainment.
    There are more violence effects you can’t learn from video games.
    That’s how children enjoy violence.

    Treat it as an art.
    TELL some real violence, gore people don’t like.
    And children will hate violence.
    That’s human beings.

  4. Snowstone

    I think it depends form person to person.
    For example, a friend of my father’s says I watch very violent films and play very violent games, yet I’m very sweet and non-violent (her words, not mine).
    And her daughter who is protect from everything violent, her mother doesn’t let watch the news, because shows too much violence (war, etc) is a little devil, very violent to the point of hitting her own mother (the kid is now 10, she’s like that since 7)

  5. I play violent games and watch violent films but I’ve never felt the need to go bash someone’s head in for a laugh. Yet, living in the UK, I see gangs of kids of all ages who run around the streets emulating what they see and hear in games and on TV and think it’s acceptable behaviour.

    I don’t think it’s because I’m old enough to understand that games and films are make believe and these kids are too young to know the difference. I think it’s because no one is taught they are responsible for their own actions any more.

    The reason people like to blame games for the actions of these kids is because games provide an easy target and it’s just an extension of the “pass the blame” society we now live in. How many times have you been in HMV (or where ever you buy your films and games) and seen parents buying violent games and films for their kids despite the clear certification and warnings on them?

    So no, I don’t think games are too violent. If parents took their responsibilities properly and raised their children to be a civilised part of society then this country would be in a much better state.

  6. Ryan "Quakis" Rouse

    Yet, living in the UK, I see gangs of kids of all ages who run around the streets emulating what they see and hear in games and on TV and think it’s acceptable behaviour.

    One of the major reasons I never go outside these days. Groups of teens are always looking for trouble, and sometimes I’m the target because of my appearance (happened a few times)

    I think it’s because no one is taught they are responsible for their own actions any more.

    Parents are too soft, and Police do nothing. So it’s not going to get better unless they get with it themselves.

  7. bkadar

    the games are fine its the real world thats got the violence problem. the examples people see are lash out first kill,kill,kill then a little diplomacy to save face and not look like killers. just my rant good poll.

  8. Mel

    It may depend on what games you are playing. I play only HL2 these days and dont find the retail or custom games too Violent. I am old by the way.

  9. Jimbo

    HL2 and the various mods aren’t good examples of ultra-violence because they did not capitalize on bloodshed. They were in it for the physics and ideas, which I applaud.

    As I get older (23 now), I find violence to be a really stupid trend– each game or movie trying to top eachother with gore presentation. Didn’t we just have 2 horror films that dealt with torture? I even heard the reviewers say it was awful because of it. Afterwards people may act like it was amazing, but honestly in the back of your mind it makes you feel bad for watching it. Simply put, it’s dumb.

    “I think it’s because no one is taught they are responsible for their own actions any more.”

    A+ comment. 100% true to the highest exponent multiplied by 450.

    I know we’re talking about FPS’s here, but the question really dives into a lot of different things. I haven’t seen a good movie in quite a while.

  10. Jimbo

    Oh and now I will go through Phillips topic–

    “I have a feeling that the younger readers will say No and the older readers say yes.”

    I believe this too.

    “I do believe that society should control the amount of violence shown on TV, movie and computer screens.”

    They do, but it is degrading at a fantastic rate. And it’s pointless because do you know who’s censoring the stuff? Personally? It’s also because the norm onto what is/isn’t acceptable anymore is becoming WAY to broad.

  11. zeroth404

    Saying *any* piece of art is “too” anything is invalid.

    too violent to suit your tastes, perhaps, but that’s all one can say.

  12. Jimbo

    on the topic of games,it just depends on how balanced the game is. For example, if it is all bloodletting and has no puzzle-solving, storyline, exploration elements then I won’t generally like it. It also works vica-verca. Ideally an FPS should have all of these elements in balance. And violence is bound to get more realistic with all of the new video and audio rendering software and hardware. Also parents should keep a close eye on their children’s mental health, thereby possibly preventing an unstable person from doing something regrettable.

  13. Jimbo

    “Saying *any* piece of art is “too” anything is invalid”

    Tell that infront of the thousands of muslims who freaked out over those cartoon panels last year.

    btw, I didn’t write post 12. Who did?

  14. Darth Marsden

    I would voice my opinion but Jumbles just did it for me. It’s like he reached into my mind, pulled out my very thoughts and then threw them onto the internet for all to see.

    Or maybe he’s me from the future, I dunno.

  15. Dufake

    “Saying *any* piece of art is “too” anything is invalid”

    Tell that infront of the thousands of muslims who freaked out over those cartoon panels last year.

    btw, I didn’t write post 12. Who did?

    religion is no longer relevent, and to let blind faith control art would be a shame.

  16. Zeroth404

    I’m Dufake in that last post.

  17. Jimbo

    “religion is no longer relevent”

    Again, tell that to the muslims who freaked out over those cartoon panels last year. If they have a decent reason as to why they think it’s offensive, then I would not label it as “blind faith’. I just think they went overboard with it…

  18. No more talk of Muslims please. Let’s keep the topic on subject: Violence in computer games.

  19. zeroth404

    Phillip, I understand your concern for staying on topic, but it’s impossible to talk about violence in video games without bringing up morals, and it’s impossible to bring up morals without bringing up religion.

  20. Mel

    Difficult but not impossible.

  21. Jimbo

    Well I totally understand why he wants to keep away from religious examples– it’s a fact that 99% of religion-topics on forums get out of control and turn into a major slug fests (difficult, but not impossible. Though bordering on impossible!). I don’t want that to happen here.

    The main reason I brought up my example was it was the only big thing that came to mind when people take offense to imagery, and I thought it ran parallel to this discussion we’re all having.

    To get back on the rails here, I wish Phillip would have added an age selection next to that poll somehow. I’d really like to know if age mattered much. That, and if you do think games have too much violence, can you really do much about it?

  22. I wish Phillip would have added an age selection next to that poll somehow.

    That’s a good idea. I suppose I could have done something like:
    No, Age: 0-20
    No, Age: 21-31

    However, I would have had to have offered an answer where voters didn’t have to give their age.

    That, and if you do think games have too much violence, can you really do much about it?

    My ultimate objective regarding creating my own maps etc is to release a total conversion where there is no blood and nobody dies.

    The project is very long-term and is called Blaze Bolden.

    I truely belive an FPS can be interesting and fun to play without gore and violence. BB will be my attempt to prove that theory.

  23. Mel

    I think it will be very difficult to construct a game that will appeal to most PP viewers without any level of violence. In the main we like shooting and fighting contents in our game, although gore and killing need not be the end product. However, if you remove all levels of violence from the game, are you talking Sims?

  24. Mel

    This point reminds me of some very old “B” movie Cowboy films, I am going back some time, so not sure if PP viewers would have seen them or remembered them.

    These films when we were kids were great, lots of action, fights, shot-outs and horseback chases of cowboys to cowboys or indians. However, nobody ever got killed or had limbs removed. So as long as I can shoot at someone out there in software world, I am ok just putting them out of the game. However, the act of shooting is a violent one, even within the content of a game. I hate firearms I would like to see countries like the US enforce better gunlaw controll. Phillip will say that I am getting “Off Point’

  25. Jimbo

    Well let me just tell you that firearms are obviously the main cause of violence in fps’s, so I don’t see why it’s too off-topic.

    But just so you know the US gunlaws have been a big topic lately around the world. My friends and I have got into some heated arguments about this and we basically concluded that the news in the US tends to put guns in a HORRIBLE light. If you do the research, a lot of crimes are stopped due to people carrying firearms here. But you never hear about those stories in documentaries or the news as those tend to focus on negative traits. And even if you do put stricter laws on guns, only the responsible people will follow them. The criminals won’t, so who’s going to have more guns then?

  26. Mel

    I disagree with your views on guns, more then words could ever convey. I live in Virginia, the killing of so many young kids at VA Tech was carried out, not by a criminal but by some lost sole who found it all so ease to get a gun.

    Sorry, but Phillip should end this thread.

  27. Jimbo

    “Sorry, but Phillip should end this thread.”

    What the heck? Stop trying to make this so personal. We’re discussing violence. I know that was a major tragedy, but don’t let a few rotten apples close the whole picking field. Stuff like that happens all over the world– especially in Africa, but yet you probably never even heard of any of those incidents. You know why? No news coverage. Let’s get back to video games…

  28. This is a very debatable poll. Violence doesn’t actually bother me in films or games. Although they may contribute to the occasional copycat (both myself and a friend used to talk like the character from GTA San Andreas – Homey, ni**er etc even though we are white, lol) but violence and torture have been around for thousands of years. Dr Crippin, Jack The Ripper etc didn’t learn from TV as it didn’t exist which meant they must have had a mental condition in which they enjoy their acts of violence. People are too quick to blame something trivial instead of identifying the root cause.

    I have grown up on horror films with unlimited gore but wouldn’t want to shove an axe in someones head for no reason, played GTA but never driven over someone for fun, used a shotgun at point blank range to blow a head off someone on Doom (or any FPS) but not wanted to replicate it in real life.

    We need to teach children from a young the difference between fantasy and real. I also live in the UK where kids are now terrorising the streets (night and day) without any respect. Government needs to blame something, so they pick something popular. If they were playing their games or watching their horror films, they wouldn’t be walking the goddamn streets, so stop blaming that.

    The only way gore should be used is if it serves a purpose. If I killed a Combine and nothing “splattered” out, it wouldn’t be real. Making it green or non-red is too childish. As long as they don’t build a game around the gore but build the gore into the game, then I’m okay with it.

    Great poll BTW.



  29. They’re not too violent for the proper age group if parents give any weight on the ESRB ratings.

    As Jumbles said, it’s the parent’s proper responsibility to raise their children to be civilized. Too much of late, parents seem to want to be more a friend than a role model or influential guide to their child. While this is certainly a necessity, there are parenting ground rules that have to be established.

    To get into gaming itself, there’s a lot to be said for a growing individual who is constantly rewarded in some manner after eliminating a target. This could possibly be a time when they don’t know any better because they’re not learning the proper and moral response to their actions outside of a game. They could just simply be an immature or maladjusted child whose parents really don’t care and can often become obsessed or addicted with emotional self-gratification and a type of personal self-esteem that killing a target instills. It’s an outlet into a world they’re trying to escape. The violence just makes their reality a bit less and fuels the fantasy world within. This isn’t the case for all children though. Just a point for some possibilities.

    I’ve noticed in latter years I’ve become more conservative in my views of a role model in society and recently discussed this issue with a good friend here at PP. What amazes us both is how different we actually have become as we’ve gotten older and how our views have changed once you see the ways of the world a bit more than when you thought you knew everything as an adolescent.

    There’s movies with ratings of PG-13 that I would find too violent or racy if it were my child watching it but I also wouldn’t want to limit or hinder their developing imaginations and thought processes. It’s truly a fine line. When is enough too much?

    Too much: I was visiting some friends of mine not too many moons ago and they had a 13 year old boy at the time who loved playing one of the Grand Theft Auto games on this humongous big screen TV, so it was on a grand scale. This kid took the greatest pleasure and even spent more time in doing it than anything else in the game. He’d take a chainsaw and cut the women to pieces. As many pieces as allowed and in any way he could come up with. I’m not quite sure what felt most disturbing. The repetitiveness and enjoyment the child seemed to receive from doing this or his parents cheering him on in the background.

    I really tried to sit down with this one and come out with something a bit smarter sounding to get my point across clearly, but I don’t think it turned out that way. I think I’ve been out of the loop lately and it’s just a bit jumpy and probably doesn’t address the true topic at all. My apologies. I hope some of it made valid sense.

  30. Oopla

    I came down on the “No” side. I think that the games are no more violent than classical literature. It may be a bit more explicit (used here in it’s traditional sense of meaning clearer and understandable, rather than as a media short hand term for “objectionable”) in games. But when you compare shooting a representation of someone in a game to god sending a bear to kill and devour two children whom had made fun of god’s bald prophet Elijah, for … being bald. Think about it. The bear killing someone and devouring those two wayward children is going to be much more messy and gory than shooting someone. Instead we see Jack Thompson vernerating the bible for it’s “morality” while condeming video games.

    My parents about crapped a brick when they walked in one day after school and saw me gib a Strogg in Quake 2. However, even as I was being grounded from the computer, I made a point of making them understand that I understood the difference between fantasy and reality and that I would never harm my fellow man. I keep a strict wall between my fantasy and reality.

    As it is, I think the whole discussion is moot as there are so many double standards. I mean, the Hot Coffee is the best example, parents screaming about “How Dare Rockstar bring porn into our house!” (Real quote I saw, but I have lost the source, sorry) That she had a huge problem with “porn” that you needed to modify the game in violation of the End-User agreement to access, but seemingly had no problem bringing in a game where you can shoot people and get away with it in a virtual world. I just don’t think that there can be discussion in such a context.

    Erik Rudolph read the christian bible obsessively before carrying out a terror campaign against the Olympics, homosexuals, and women. That the bible played a role in these people’s crimes is never brought up, but people will not shut up about how the Columbine killers played Doom.

    People are going to do what they wish, they will shape the things around them, be it games, religion, morality, or anything else to support their choices.

    Most of the violent games are not popular for their violence, instead for their game play. Grand Theft Auto, Quake, Soldier of Fortune, Metal Gear Solid, these were some of the most violent games. But they were also something else. Fun and compelling.

    I see no problem with violence in video games. I do not think that there is to much violence in them, and that you cannot take the most violent games as a representation of all of them.

    And understand that video games are not reality.

    PS: To PlanetPhilip, in regards to the game you suggested, I think there was a game like that made one, H.U.R.L. a “children’s FPS”

  31. Oopla

    I think that Video Games currently have the best system of ratings, certainly much better than the broken, biased MPAA system.

    In response to the GoddessAlyria comments, I would say that too much is when you loose context of your actions. I had parents who explained to me what the world is like, I had teachers that challenged me and made me think, I took responsibility for my actions. The buck stops with me.

    The story of your friend’s kid did make me nervous also. I don’t think his parents should have let him play an M rated game. In the context that I see his parents cheering him on is saying to the kid subtly, Women are objects. I can see him sitting down a few times to test the game system, see how far he can go, but repeatedly doing this, it is not healthy in a kid.

    I think I would have asked the child, why was he doing that, and kept asking questions that would make him ultimately ask himself, “why is it fun? would I do this in real life? I this who I want to be/Am I proud of my actions” I would try to contextualize it for the kid.

    If I have kids, I think I would deal with this situation by trying to be as open as possible, not only can they talk to me about anything, I will talk to them and start the conversation. I would want to find a game, where the consiquences of their negative actions are reflected in a negative way.

  32. Jimbo

    Oopla just pwned this discussion. I applaud you, sir.

    The major reason why I don’t like violence in vg’s is because of that kid that GoddessAlyria talked about. If more people grew up with an open-mind like some of the examples Oopla stated, I would not have a problem with it. The thing is, I grew up with those types of kids around me and it ticks me off that till this day, they get boners whenever someones guts get ripped out.

  33. MarkSA

    Games are just a reflection of human beings and society.

    Human beings by nature are aggressive and seem to thrive on conflict.

    News and most sports are based on conflict, war and aggression.

    We spend an awful lot of time trying to ban nudity and sex, yet on the other hand saturate the media with violence, confict and aggression.

    We shouldn’t be trying to get rid of an inherent part of ourselves, but instead we should manage it

    There are many individuals who watch films and play games that are violent, but it doesn’t affect their daily life.

    The whole issue is complex and needs further debate

  34. Depends on which game. The pure shootemups, sure, but I prefer stuff like Metroid Prime and Half life that are really more First Person Adventure where you also have to shoot at stuff to survive to continue the adventure.
    Then of course there it portal, no real shooting at all in that one.

  35. There is an option to hide that in most games and lets not forget PARENTING.. Video games are NOT baby sitters..same goes for TV….

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