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    Auto-Scroll: ONOFF 
    • 00:03

      NARRATOR: The question across America:do violent video games promote violent behaviorin young people?

    • 01:09

      NARRATOR: We look for the roots of the senseless violence--[OVERLAPING VOICES] --movies, music, video games.

    • 01:16

      KID: --because of a video game, or because of of a movie,or because of television, or because of music.People use violence because they really feel like they justcan't handle life.

    • 01:24

      DAVID GROSSMAN: Video games give youthe skill and the will to kill.They teach you to associate pleasurefrom human death and suffering.They reward you for killing people.They take healthy play and turn it on its head.

    • 01:37

      MICHAEL MORGAN: Success in a video gameis defined by mastering violence at heretofore, unimaginedlevels.

    • 01:46

      ERICA SCHARRER: I think that media violence and video gameviolence play a very important role, and in combinationwith a number of psychological and societal factors,can be very damaging.

    • 01:57

      EUGENE PROVENZO: I think the real challengefor the video game industry is to develop new scenarios,new games.And I think that this preoccupation with ultraviolence is something that they really ought to work away from.

    • 02:08

      NINA HUNTEMANN: The problems that we'reseeing in representations and violence in video gameshas nothing to do with the technology.It has everything to do with how we'vechosen to use the technology.

    • 02:21

      ANDREA HAIRSTON: Most of the discussionspeople have about media issues, whether the subject is violenceor sex, tend to focus on television and movies.And while these are still the dominant media in many people'slives, an important new technology, video games,has been introduced into the media landscape without muchdiscussion. [Professor Andrea Hairston, Smith College,Chrysalis Theatre]For young people especially, video games

    • 02:43

      ANDREA HAIRSTON [continued]: are perhaps the media technology they are most familiar withand enthusiastic about.Surveys and found that 90% of households with childrenhave purchased, or rented video games.And it's been estimated that kids in those homesplay an average of an hour and a half a day.Sales figures are another indicationof the popularity of video games.

    • 03:05

      ANDREA HAIRSTON [continued]: When Sega introduced the Dreamcast consoleit sold a half a million units in the first two weeks.In fact, in 1999 215 million gameswere purchased generating over $7 billionfor the video game industry.Which is more than Americans spent on going to the movies.Given how prominent video games seem

    • 03:26

      ANDREA HAIRSTON [continued]: to be the lack of attention paid to them is surprising.In this program, we're going to take a close lookat the role they play today.

    • 03:35

      VIDEO GAME: Shall we play a game?

    • 03:47

      ERICA SCHARRER: One way that video game violence is actuallyvery different from other types of mediaviolence has to do with how users interactwith the technology. [Professor Erica Scharrer Universityof Massachusetts, Amherst]I think there are two important ways that video gameviolence is distinct.One is the level of activity involved.In fact, to the point of interactivity.Obviously players interact with the technology

    • 04:09

      ERICA SCHARRER [continued]: so that their motions, their movements,control the character's that they are playing.Meaning they're very involved with what's going on.They're very, into the actions.They can get upset, they can yell, they can scream.

    • 04:23

      KID: Who's your daddy?Who is your daddy?

    • 04:27

      NINA HUNTEMANN: You know what's really excitingabout video games is that you don't justinteract with the game physically,you're not just moving your hand on a joystick.[Professor Nina Huntemann, Westfield State College]But you're asked to interact with the game psychologically,and emotionally, as well.You're not just watching the characters on the screen,you're becoming those characters.

    • 04:43

      RUSSELL KELBAN: It really gives everyonea chance to extend their relationshipwith these characters. [Russell Kelban, Disney Interactive]After you see the film, you can actually become Tarzan.

    • 04:50

      SHELLIE SAUNDERS: It's actually the game based on the podrace that's in the movie. [Shellie Saunders, Nintendoof America] And Anakin Skywalker's voiceis in the game.So as you're racing with his pod,you actually are him, just like in the movie.

    • 05:07

      SPEAKER 5: One of the ways in which videogames engage players as participants emotionallyand psychologically is through realism,and heightened sense of realism.You could say that realism is the holy grailof the video game industry.

    • 05:21

      DAVID KARRAKER: The key to Sega Dreamcast is the realism.[David Karraker, Sega] The fact that at a football game,if it starts to rain the crowd will put on ponchos.At a basketball game all the faces of the playersare actually modeled after the real players.

    • 05:33

      NINA HUNTEMANN: So for example, we see a new level realismin video sports games, where theyuse live motion capture to capturethe movements of real players.And this is important because in order for a video sports gamesto be popular, it has to give the player of the gamea sense of they're really on the court,that they're really on the field.

    • 05:53

      NINA HUNTEMANN [continued]: And also to give them a sense that they're actually playingtheir favorite sports hero.This use of live motion capture in 3D modeling.We just don't see in sports games.We see in a lot of the other video games, as well.So for example mortal combat has traditionallyused live motion capture in each release of it's game.The industry is hooked on to something.

    • 06:15

      NINA HUNTEMANN [continued]: Realistic games sell.They're seductive.So we should expect to see increased use of technologiesof realism in video games.And we should expect that the experience of playing videogames will also become more and more realistic.

    • 06:28

      ERICA SCHARRER: The use of realistic graphicsand realistic animation is sort of a bragging rights of sortsfor industry organizations so that they can say,our game is most realistic.

    • 06:41

      DAVID KARRAKER: And then by Christmaswe'll have thirty new games for the system that are so real,you won't be able to tell if you're watching a movie,or actually playing a game.

    • 06:52

      ERICA SCHARRER: We've come a long waysince Pong, where there were just some rectangular shapesand a bouncing ball.Now we have whole worlds, and very realisticthree dimensional types of approaches to violence.

    • 07:06

      VIDEO GAME: Rainbow Six.So true to life, even the expertscan't tell the difference.

    • 07:10

      MICHAEL MORGAN: It's very easy for people to say,well, come on.What you see in a video game, you know that's not real.Kids know it's not real.Or what goes on in a cartoon. [Professor MichaelMorgan, University of Massachusetts, Amherst]Whether it's a road runner, or some super hero savingthe universe.People in the industry, and people who want to defend thiswill say, this is just make believe.It's just healthy, it's fun.Nobody takes it seriously.

    • 07:31

      MICHAEL MORGAN [continued]: Nobody believes it.Well, it's not as if we walk aroundwith a little switch in our headsthat we can turn off and say, fiction.Reality.Fiction.Reality.Over time the distinction between these two thingsis completely irrelevant.When it comes to media images it's all representations.It's all manufactured, mediated imagery.

    • 07:52

      MICHAEL MORGAN [continued]: It all goes into the constant nonstop stream of experiencesthat we store up about the world around us.

    • 08:00

      ANDREA HAIRSTON: When we look at the large amount of moneyspent, the amount of time kids play them,and the incredible level of realismthey've been able to reach-- realismthat movies and TV can't even come close to competingwith-- it's important for us to understand this new technology.And although the question of violenceis extremely important, we shouldn't let that limithow we understand video games.

    • 08:22

      ANDREA HAIRSTON [continued]: Because the stories of violence are alwaystold in conjunction with other stories about gender,sexuality, and race.So we have to understand how all these things work together.[PLAY LIKE A MAN Video Games And Masculinity]

    • 08:42

      MICHAEL MORGAN: One of the especially intriguing aspectsof looking at video games is that theyare such vivid illustrations of so many cultural messagesthat sometimes are difficult to discern.That permeate other media, but they're often more subtle.Video games have the quality of being so explicit,

    • 09:04

      MICHAEL MORGAN [continued]: and so blatant in their representationsof men, of women, of power, of control,that they lay out some of the key ideologies of the culture.In an absolutely unmistakable vivid way.

    • 09:19

      EUGENE PROVENZO: I think video games arealso important because we can seethe construction of our culture and the content of the games.[Professor Eugene F. Provenzo, Jr., University of Miami]And that in point of fact, video games to a large degreereflect what's going on in the culture of society.So they can be used as a means by which to read the culture,and how gender, race, ethnicity is portrayed in these games.

    • 09:41

      EUGENE PROVENZO [continued]: I think can be very revealing.

    • 09:43

      ERICA SCHARRER: A very common imagein video game representations is a very hyper masculine malecharacter.Someone who has an extremely imposing physical body.Someone who's very muscular.Someone who is certainly very aggressive.An effect of this hyper masculine characterizationcan also be to link being male with being violent.

    • 10:06

      ERICA SCHARRER [continued]: So male players particularly, whomay be trying to live up to, and maybe tryingto understand what society is saying about whatit is to be male, may very well link beingmasculine with being violent.With using physical force as a way to get what you want.

    • 10:26

      VIDEO GAME: Jax wins.Fatality.

    • 10:31

      EUGENE PROVENZO: I think power can be a good thing.You know, we're very uncomfortable in culturetalking about power, but in point of factwe want to empower people.We want to give them a sense that they can do things.That they can act, and be understood and listened to.And that they can change the world in good ways.But the vehicles for power that wegive to children in these games frequently,is one of a aggressive masculinity.

    • 10:53

      NINA HUNTEMANN: This aggressive masculinitythat's prevalent in video games you can see very particularlyin wrestling games.Where not only do you have the signature movesof the wrestler, but also what isincorporated is their taunts and their bullying, as well.

    • 11:10

      VIDEO GAME: WWF Superstars.All their signature moves and taunts.

    • 11:14

      NINA HUNTEMANN: I think that wrestling, both on televisionand in video games, sends the message to, mostlyyoung boys, that control and violenceis the way to get what you want.And you do that through physical and verbal intimidation.

    • 11:27

      DWAYNE JOHNSON: The Rock is goingto take that little green bag, all those little video games,and stick them straight up your candy ass!

    • 11:33

      NINA HUNTEMANN: I think one of the reasons whymasculine images are so prevalent in video gamesis because if you look at who produces video games,the game designers, they're mostly men.So the images and the representationsthat come out of video games are coming outof a very male culture.There's a really good example of thisin an ad I saw for a game company.

    • 11:55

      NINA HUNTEMANN [continued]: And in the front of the ad were the game designers.And all the game designers were men.But in the background there were women.But all these women were wearing bikinis,and they were faced away from the camera.Their presence is sort of as a backdrop to the menwho are actually producing the game.So for example, in a game like Duke Nukem.We have a character who is there as the primary character

    • 12:17

      NINA HUNTEMANN [continued]: with females surrounding him for his edification.To show off his masculinity, his power, and so forth.

    • 12:23

      VIDEO GAME: Shake it, baby.

    • 12:26

      NINA HUNTEMANN: I think one of the most traditional rolesfor female characters in video gamesis the damsel in distress.Female characters often need to be rescued.And you see this in games featuringDuke Nukem, for example.In fact, women needing to be rescuedis the premise of many of the Duke Nukem games.One of the latest games called aptly, Planet of the Babes,

    • 12:50

      NINA HUNTEMANN [continued]: begins with the premise that all the men on Earthhave been killed, except for Duke.And he needs to come and rescue all of the womenfrom these aliens.So here you have the entire role of all of the womenon this planet is to be rescued.

    • 13:06

      VIDEO GAME: One man.One mission.One million babes.Duke Nukem.The king of hardcore action is back.Cocked, loaded and ready for his hottest adventure yet.

    • 13:22

      NINA HUNTEMANN: I think what thissays-- what it tells us is that the premise of DukeNukem rescuing these women allows him to be powerful,allows him to be the hero.And it reflects the fantasies of the male producersof this game.Through Duke they have the opportunity to be powerful,and to be wanted.And in these games the women are very grateful to Duke Nukem

    • 13:44

      NINA HUNTEMANN [continued]: for rescuing them.

    • 13:45

      VIDEO GAME: Oh, Duke!I knew you'd-- come.

    • 13:50

      NINA HUNTEMANN: One of the other roles for female charactersin Duke Nukem games in particular,is that of a porn star.In Duke Nukem's Zero Hour, it takesplace in a red light district.Where the streets are filled with strip clubs and porntheaters.And this looks completely normal.This is Duke's world.This is the world, the fantasy world that he inhabits.

    • 14:12

      NINA HUNTEMANN [continued]: What I think is important to think about,in terms of Duke Nukem, is that his world,this pornographic landscape, is not presented as extreme.It's presented as very normal.His environment, and his values that he embodiesare presented as absolutely normal.

    • 14:28

      RICK RAYMO: Duke's kind of an every man American hero.[Rick Raymo, GT Interactive] He's a Bondfor the 1990's and beyond.[BUXOM BABES The Female Heroine]

    • 14:43

      ANDREA HAIRSTON: While males are stillthe predominant characters in video games,recently the industry introduced a number of female characters,as well.Lara Croft is the most famous of these.But there are others such as Wren and Joanna Dark.While more girls and women are playing video games,these new female characters were introducedto appeal to the main consumers-- boys and men.

    • 15:05

      ANDREA HAIRSTON [continued]: And just as a very particular story about masculinityis told, characters, such as Lara Croft,also helped to define femininity in a very specific way.

    • 15:15

      EUGENE PROVENZO: I think there's some really interestingcontradictions operating in termsof how women are depicted into some of the most recent games.These contradictions have to do with the seeming empowermentof women, while at the same time wehave a situation in which, I think,women are really being exploited in terms of how they'rebeing shown graphically.

    • 15:37

      EUGENE PROVENZO [continued]: You can see this, for example with Lara Croft in Tomb Raider.Where she is this highly energetic muscular,character-- highly aggressive.And yet the video game presents her as this extremely,I would describe her as pneumatic, very busty,over exaggerated sexual object.

    • 15:59

      NINA HUNTEMANN: I think that Laura Croftdoes challenge traditional roles of female game characters.She doesn't need rescue, for example, in her games.But she also is judged by the beauty standard.The same standard by which women and female gamecharacters in video games have always been judged.For example, we can look at most female game characters body

    • 16:21

      NINA HUNTEMANN [continued]: proportions.They're grossly unnatural.Laura Croft has a large bust size, and very small waist,and she weighs practically nothing.And yet these characters can flip, and jump, and run in waysthat anyone with that body proportionwouldn't be able to maneuver.And this body type doesn't even exist in the real world.

    • 16:42

      NINA HUNTEMANN [continued]: We know this is true because the company thatmakes Laura Croft hires models to represent themat promotional events, and they have yetto be able to find a model that has Laura Croft's same bodyproportions.Not only do we have a beauty standardof the ideal female body that's impossible to achieve,

    • 17:04

      NINA HUNTEMANN [continued]: there's also the sexualization of young women occurringin video games.And Laura Croft provides yet another example.In a recent release of Tomb Raider, The Last Revelation,game players can play Lara Croft as a 16-year-old.And yet her body proportions, the way that her body looks,is still that of a very developed adult woman.

    • 17:26

      NINA HUNTEMANN [continued]: The connection between male fantasy in a video game,and male fantasy in the real world,becomes really apparent through the modelsthat are hired to play Laura Croft at promotional events.At these events male fans of the video game Tomb Raider,and many other video games, have the opportunityto have their picture taken with the real life

    • 17:46

      NINA HUNTEMANN [continued]: model who plays Laura Croft.So the fantasy of being with someone like Laura Croftbecomes reality, at least for a brief moment,at these conferences-- at these promotional events.And this is really disturbing, I think,because one of the models that washired to play Laura Croft most recently is 16 years old.So the sexualization of a young female

    • 18:07

      NINA HUNTEMANN [continued]: is happening in real life to a 16-year-old model, whowill be at these promotional events,and have men putting their arms around her to havetheir pictures taken.

    • 18:15

      EUGENE PROVENZO: A lot of what these games are aboutis sexual titillation for young boys.If you look at a game like Gauntlet.We have portrayed a Amazon goddess- type.Maybe a Valkyrie.Very explicit in terms of her figure sexually.And with suggestions showing up in the advertisementsfor the games.Take her home, have her as your own.

    • 18:37

      EUGENE PROVENZO [continued]: Possess her, things like that.

    • 18:39

      NINA HUNTEMANN: We're not just seeing male fantasyin the sexualization of female characters in the video games.We're seeing it, perhaps even more so,in the advertising and the marketing for games,and on the packaging for video games.Even if it's a game that doesn't have any female charactersin it, there's an ad for a racing cargame called Destruction.Destruction doesn't have any female characters in it,

    • 19:02

      NINA HUNTEMANN [continued]: but the ad for the game shows a womanleaning over the hood of a car.Another example is for virtual pool.Again, no female characters are in virtual pool.But we see in the ad that there is a woman leaning over a pooltable, showing us her cleavage.And this is a game that's a simulation.There's an extreme example of this in an ad for Gameboy.

    • 19:25

      NINA HUNTEMANN [continued]: In this GameBoy ad you see a woman tied to a bed,and she's wearing a lingerie.When we see female characters most of those female charactersare white.There are black characters in video games,but they play a particular role.So, for example, in Kingpin we see an unusually high amountof black female characters.But these characters are prostitutes.

    • 19:48

      NINA HUNTEMANN [continued]: They're vagrants.[NARROW VISION Race In Video Games]

    • 19:59

      ANDREA HAIRSTON: In the debates around stereotypingin the media many people of colorfeel that their experiences are not being represented.That someone from outside the communityis telling their stories.So in the case of movies, for example,it's felt that the stories of the black and Latino experienceare being told by white script writers.To the extent that black and Latino video game producers

    • 20:21

      ANDREA HAIRSTON [continued]: are few and far between, the same thing is happening.But perhaps at an even more extreme and disturbing level.

    • 20:28

      NINA HUNTEMANN: You know, there'san interesting irony about color and video games.Hardware manufacturers and video game designers pride themselveson the rich textual display.But what I find so ironic about thisis that the range of colors that maybe available in the technology aren't used very muchby the game designers.And by this I mean most video games feature white characters.

    • 20:52

      NINA HUNTEMANN [continued]: Of the top selling action genre games,8 out of 10 of those games featured white characters.So we're not only seeing the video game worldthrough male eyes, we're seeing it through white male eyes.

    • 21:04

      EUGENE PROVENZO: I think it's very interesting for example,if you look at most of the first person shooters, which onlyshow you the hand on the gun or a weaponit's generally white, rather brown or black.

    • 21:17

      NINA HUNTEMANN: When we do see racewe see it in a very particular moment.Racial stereotypes are invoked to show non-whiteness.And that's when race becomes visible.Otherwise it's invisible, it's normal.But when racialized characters are introduced,it becomes quite significant, and quite poignantthat they're there.

    • 21:38

      VIDEO GAME: I am Turok!

    • 21:41

      NINA HUNTEMANN: An example of this in the game Turok.The main character, Turok, is Native American.And the way that you sort of know that he's Native American,is that he wears feathers in his hair.He carries a bow and arrow and he shoots at deer.Throughout the game his adventuresare serenaded by tribal drum beats.So his Native American-ness is made quite obvious

    • 22:03

      NINA HUNTEMANN [continued]: through these sort of tried stereotypical notions of whatit means to be Native American.I think an even more blatant exampleof stereotypical representations of people of colorwe can see with black characters.[VIDEOGAME THEME MUSIC]

    • 22:22

      NINA HUNTEMANN: In the game Kingpinwe see a lot of black characters, which is unusualcompared to most games overall.Most games have white characters overwhelmingly.But in Kingpin it takes place in an environmentfull of black characters.But there's a particular reason why thereare a lot of black characters.Kingpin takes place in an inner city urban ghetto.

    • 22:42

      NINA HUNTEMANN [continued]: Violence and crime is the way in which you get aheadin this environment.You steal, you mug, you fight, you're part of the gang.So there's nothing about the environmentof the inner city that really challengesthe stereotypical notion of the inner city already.Violence and crime goes right along with that.What's ironic about this is that even though you're

    • 23:03

      NINA HUNTEMANN [continued]: in a mostly black-charactered environment,you as the main character are a white guy.So what this conveys beyond just the stereotypesof the inner city being full of black criminals,is that this is abnormal.This is something that needs to be contained.That you as the protagonist and the lead characterneed to somehow beat this back into some sort of normalcy.

    • 23:27

      NINA HUNTEMANN [continued]: And what you do in this game as the main white character,is you try to get to the leadershipposition of the gang.You try to become the kingpin.This idea that whiteness is normal,and that blackness is exotic, foreign, bizarre.We can see, particularly in games like a Akuji and Shadow

    • 23:48

      NINA HUNTEMANN [continued]: Man.

    • 23:49

      VIDEO GAME: I had a dream Shadow Man, a real bad dream.A deadsight dream.The five are here.The heralds of the apocalypse.

    • 23:58

      NINA HUNTEMANN: In these games wesee the representation of Haitian culture, whichequates blackness with the supernatural.

    • 24:05

      VIDEO GAME: --wrath upon my enemies.

    • 24:08

      NINA HUNTEMANN: The character Akujiis different than most male characters.He has a cat like physique.He moves in animal movements.He's painted with tiger stripes.He looks unusual to most male white charactersin video games.And again, this becomes significant,because the game is saying something differentabout this black racialized character,

    • 24:29

      NINA HUNTEMANN [continued]: than other white characters in most other games.We see the same thing occurring with Mike LeRoi in Shadow Man.Also another game connected with Haitian culture.Michael LaRoi uses voodoo, as does Akuji.Again this just sort of emphasizesthe difference between the nonwhite charactersand the white characters in video games.And it re inscribes certain ideas about Haitian culture,

    • 24:51

      NINA HUNTEMANN [continued]: about voodoo, about the supernatural.

    • 24:55

      ANDREA HAIRSTON: Video games sell themselvesas being able to take us to fantastic worldsbeyond our mundane everyday lives.Places where we can have extreme experiencesand there's no doubt that there is a tremendous potentialto expand our consciousness.But many people have suggested we keep a number of questionsforemost in our minds as we journey to these new worlds.

    • 25:17

      ANDREA HAIRSTON [continued]: Who will be our guides?Whose eyes we see the world through?Whose fears and nightmares will we experience?Whose imaginations will we be trapped inside?[VIDEO GAME VIOLENCE]

    • 25:37

      MICHAEL MORGAN: Most of the time in public debate,or when people are concerned about the role of violencein the media, or video games, or anything else,the natural thing is to think only in terms of peoplebecoming more violent as a result of seeing these imagesor playing these games.

    • 25:53

      MAN: In the wake of all the violence perpetratedby young people lately there is an important questionon the table.Do violent video games make for violent kids?

    • 26:02

      MICHAEL MORGAN: But there are some more, perhaps significantand more subtle, consequences on peoplethat have to do with the way they think about the world.When you spend a great deal of timebeing exposed to violent video gamesand playing them hour after hour,over long periods of time, you begin graduallyto think of the world as a much more violent place.And to have the images and the concepts of violence

    • 26:24

      MICHAEL MORGAN [continued]: permeate the way you think about things on an everyday basis.

    • 26:31

      ERICA SCHARRER: There are a numberof elements of video game violencethat make it most likely to lead to a negative or anti-socialeffect.Video game violence tends to be consequence-less.There are often no types of portrayals of grief, of sorrow,of regret, or remorse that may very well characterize

    • 26:51

      ERICA SCHARRER [continued]: real life violence.Which a lot of social scientific research suggestsit's the one that's most likely to be emulated.

    • 26:60

      GAME CHARACTER 1: Wait!Stop!Don't shoot!Do you have something less painful, maybe?

    • 27:06

      GAME CHARACTER 2: Uh, a crossbow?

    • 27:08

      GAME CHARACTER 1: Uh, too messy.

    • 27:09

      GAME CHARACTER 2: A grenade launcher?

    • 27:10

      GAME CHARACTER 1: Uh, ouch.

    • 27:11

      GAME CHARACTER 2: How about a taser?

    • 27:12

      GAME CHARACTER 1: Yeah, you know, a taserwouldn't be bad-- it might leave a little rash mar-- [BUZZ]

    • 27:20

      MICHAEL MORGAN: In playing video games,the violence is not only the whole purposeof the game in most cases, but it'sthe rewards one gets for it are very gratifying.They let you play longer, they let you go to new levels.They let you explore new dimensionsnew territories, new worlds.The only way to advance and to achieve the goals of the game

    • 27:42

      MICHAEL MORGAN [continued]: is to kill ever increasingly larger numbers of people.When you reach the end of every level one of the main thingsit tells you is, well, how many of these peopleyou've killed, how many of those you've injured.So at every stage in the game you have a continual reporting.You have a continual reinforcement.Doing great.You're killing more.Keep going.Here's how many you killed this time.You're ready to go the next level and kill some more?

    • 28:04

      MICHAEL MORGAN [continued]: So there's never any compunction against using violence.There's every stimulation-- everythingis conducive to using it.The more it's used the more effectively it's used,and the more competently it's used, the better you're doing.

    • 28:19

      VIDEO GAME: You win.Yeah!Impressive.

    • 28:25

      ERICA SCHARRER: Another reward associated with doing wellin terms of actually executing violent assaults on charactersin video games has to do with the weapons that you use.Low level weapons.Things like pistols, arrows, swords, etcetera, are used on the first sorts of levels of video games.But the more adept you get the more sorts

    • 28:46

      ERICA SCHARRER [continued]: of successful you are with those low level weapons,the more you get to increase and have escalated, and more hightech weapons.Larger weapons, as well.So you go, for instance, from a pistol to a machine gun.To maybe having grenades, or bombs that you can throw.And so again, the reward is sort of giving youother toys, so to speak, with which you

    • 29:08

      ERICA SCHARRER [continued]: can execute your assault.Video game violence is also very graphic in general.The types of portrayals that occur in video game violenceare maybe unparalleled in other types of media violence.Scenarios like decapitation, severed limbs,spurting and splattering blood--

    • 29:29

      ERICA SCHARRER [continued]: [YELLING IN PAIN][SPLAT]--that level of extensiveness and graphicnessis very troubling for desensitization type purposes.Again, if we are exposed to these sorts of very high leveland intense-- and very graphic violent representations,it may take more of the same in order for us

    • 29:50

      ERICA SCHARRER [continued]: to have the same sort of response.We become accustomed, and maybe even sometimes bored,with merely shooting people.We have to blow them up next.We have cut off limbs next.So it's sort of a one-upmanship that the video game industryfeeds on.[YELLING IN PAIN]

    • 30:11

      VIDEO GAME: Sub Zero wins.Fatality.

    • 30:18

      MICHAEL MORGAN: With the images of violencethat pervade most other popular media,one of the main consequences is to just makeviolence seem normal.Make violence seem everyday.So that we don't notice it.And it's not simply desensitization to violence,it's where violence becomes assumedto be part of the everyday fabric of life.

    • 30:40

      MICHAEL MORGAN [continued]: It's how we think about ways of solving problems.Where it's difficult to conceive of everyday realityin a way that is not permeated by floods of violence.[SIM VIOLENCE Teaching Kids To Kill]

    • 31:02

      DOUG LOWENSTEIN: There is nothingin the academic research that supports the conclusionthat violent video games lead to aggressive behavior.[Doug Lowenstein, Industry Spokesman] Period.

    • 31:11

      ANDREA HAIRSTON: Is it true that thereis no evidence linking video games with violent behavior?Luckily we don't have to speculate about thisbecause over the last 30 years the U.S. Military hasundertaken perhaps the most elaborate study ever conductedon video games and violent behavior.

    • 31:28

      DAVID GROSSMAN: It is extraordinarily difficultfor a human being to kill a member of their own species.[Lt. Col. David Grossman, U.S. Army,Westpoint (Retired)] They have to be manipulated into it.And when you look deeper into the battleyou'll see that the history of warfareis ever more successful mechanisms to manipulate peopleinto killing.What we studied in World War II, were the individual riflemanfor the first time in history.

    • 31:49

      DAVID GROSSMAN [continued]: And we found out that only 15% to 20%of the individual riflemen when left to their own deviceswould fire their weapon at an exposed enemy soldiers.This is not a good thing a 15% firing rate among your riflemenis like a 15% literacy rate among your librarians.So what we did was we went about the processof making killing a conditioned response.

    • 32:12

      DAVID GROSSMAN [continued]: And World War II we taught our soldiers to fire at bull's eyetargets.And that training was tragically flawed.Because no bull's eyes appeared on the battlefield.And what we converted to were pop up man shaped silhouettes.If you want a person to be able to kill a human being

    • 32:32

      DAVID GROSSMAN [continued]: they have to practice shooting at human beings.A few hundred repetitions of thatand now on the battlefield when an enemy soldier pops upin front of us, boom.A soldier kills, and he kills reflexively.It is an extraordinarily effective mechanism.It is basic operant conditioning.Now we use large screen TVs, and soldiers

    • 32:53

      DAVID GROSSMAN [continued]: stand with plastic M16's that fire laser beams,and when you hit the target on the screen the target drops.The law enforcement community extensivelyuses a device known as the F.A.T.S. Trainer.Firearms training simulator.You hold the gun in your hand, you pull the trigger,the slide slams back, you feel the recoil, you hit the target.The target drops.

    • 33:13

      DAVID GROSSMAN [continued]: You miss the target, the target shoots you.It is a very effective law enforcement training device.But if you go to the local video arcadeyou'll find an almost identical device.A game such as Time Crisis, for example.In which you fire the pistol, the slide slams back,it recoils in your hand.If you hit the target the target drops.If you miss the target, the target shoots you.

    • 33:35

      DAVID GROSSMAN [continued]: The only difference is, in the F.A.T.S. Trainer,if you shoot the wrong target you'll be reprimanded--ultimately even fired.But when the kids are playing the gamethere is no adult supervision.There is no standard.There is no control.The Marine Corps uses the game DOOM as a training device.It is such an effective and efficient tactical trainer.

    • 33:59

      DAVID GROSSMAN [continued]: There's limited skill involved with this game.There's a great deal of rehearsal and willprocesses involved here.A lot of people when we talk about DOOM,or Quake, or the first person shooter games,they say, well, all you're doing is playingwith a mouse or a keyboard.

    • 34:19

      DAVID GROSSMAN [continued]: How can that be teaching you killing skills?Well, understand that DOOM all by itself, even usedwith a keyboard, is good enough that the Marine Corps uses itto script killing in their soldiers.It provides the script, the rehearsal, the act of killing.We have to understand that the military around the world

    • 34:42

      DAVID GROSSMAN [continued]: and law enforcement organizations around the worlddo not use these killing simulatorsand spend billions of dollars on these simulators for fun.They do it because it works.It is their job to condition and enable people to kill.They know what they're doing.They are the professionals.

    • 35:04

      DAVID GROSSMAN [continued]: They have had experiment after experimentto show the value of these simulators,but the greatest experiments are things like World War II, whereonly 15% to 20% of the rifleman fired, in Vietnamwere 95% of the riflemen fired.It is a revolution on the battlefield.And we know it works.And those whose job it is to enable people to kill

    • 35:27

      DAVID GROSSMAN [continued]: use it extensively, and they do it for a reason.Because if they didn't their soldiers would die in combat.One of the questions that rises very commonlyis how do soldiers take what they're given,and distinguish from killing in combat to killingin the civilian community?

    • 35:47

      DAVID GROSSMAN [continued]: When we provide the soldiers with the ability to kill,we also provide them with a powerful set of rulesthat are ground into them.And so the soldiers and the law enforcement officersare taught only to fire at the appropriate targetsat the appropriate time, under orders,under the right circumstances.The soldiers go out in the field,and we carry our weapons around with a blank loaded

    • 36:09

      DAVID GROSSMAN [continued]: in that weapon in our exercises.And we'll go for days on end and never fire our weapon.And that's part of that discipline.Carrying that weapon for days, and months, and year on end,and only firing it under the exact precise situationthat you're given.But as soon as you put a quarter in that video game-- you never,never put a quarter in that video game and don't shoot.

    • 36:31

      DAVID GROSSMAN [continued]: And the very first thing you shoot atis the first human being that pops up on your screen.And you shoot, and shoot, and you shoot.So the safeguards are completely absent.And all of the enabling that the military and the lawenforcement gets are provided, plus the rewards,the pleasures, the cheers, the laughter, the learn

    • 36:53

      DAVID GROSSMAN [continued]: to associate it with pleasure, is also there.And so we must think very, very carefullyabout who we provide this operant conditioning,this training to.And if we provide it indiscriminately to children,it is the moral equivalent of putting a military weaponin the hand of every child in America.

    • 37:15

      DAVID GROSSMAN [continued]: [CONCLUSION Virtual Violence]

    • 37:24

      ANDREA HAIRSTON: As we've seen the experienceof playing a video game is already quite realistic.Force feedback technology for example,gives players a real sense of touch,as well as the visual realism of the screen.Game pads vibrate in the players hands,steering wheels give players resistanceas they turn corners, and joysticks shake.

    • 37:44

      ANDREA HAIRSTON [continued]: But we've only scratched the surface so farin simulating reality.

    • 37:50

      MICHAEL MORGAN: These technologiesof virtual reality, and other thingswe can't even imagine now, can take usto amazing places we've never imagined going before.But what are we going to find there?What's at those places?

    • 38:04

      DAVID GROSSMAN: The screen today seems like reality to you.You become sucked into that screen.And the large screens you become sucked in more.But what if it was complete?What if you turned and moved and shifted?And wherever you turned there was your enemy,and you would kill.What if we made killing not some two dimensionalprocess, but a three dimensional process in which you

    • 38:24

      DAVID GROSSMAN [continued]: were constantly involved?

    • 38:26

      ERICA SCHARRER: So virtual realitymay well have very important implications for media violenceand its effects.Certainly more of a heightened type of interaction effectwith the technology.And absolutely identification with that characterthat really has not yet been paralleled in any other sort

    • 38:47

      ERICA SCHARRER [continued]: of media scenario.

    • 38:49

      EUGENE PROVENZO: Now again, that can often be very beneficial.I get to fly an airplane, that's kind of neat.I get to fly a jet fighter in the appropriate videogame, that's kind of neat.I get to murder somebody.Is that very neat?

    • 39:04

      NINA HUNTEMANN: I think at the momentvideo games are advancing very limited notions of masculinityand femininity.They're reinforcing the sexual objectification of women.They're reproducing the same racial stereotypes.They're teaching young boys that violenceis an appropriate response to any situation.And it's my hope that that's going to change.That video games will challenge our stereotypes

    • 39:27

      NINA HUNTEMANN [continued]: and really push us ahead, in terms of how we thinkabout each other and ourselves.

    • 39:36

      ANDREA HAIRSTON: Like all media, the questionof whether they're good or bad, whether they havepositive or negative consequences,can't be answered by looking at the technology itself.There's nothing inherent about video games that makes themviolent, sexist, or racist.What's holding us back is not the technology.But the values we've privileged as we've designed,

    • 39:56

      ANDREA HAIRSTON [continued]: produced, and sold it.So if we want video games that are trulycutting edge, that really give us new experiences,we have to privilege alternative valuesthat will genuinely liberate the technology, and possiblyourselves.[GAME OVER]

Game Over

View Segments Segment :


This documentary explores violent video games and whether or not they promote violence. In video games, players have the skill and will to kill, and they learn to associate pleasure with human death and suffering. Issues of sexualization, masculinity, and violence are also discussed.

Game Over

This documentary explores violent video games and whether or not they promote violence. In video games, players have the skill and will to kill, and they learn to associate pleasure with human death and suffering. Issues of sexualization, masculinity, and violence are also discussed.

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