video games

Beau

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Taking off from a discussion on QFS that revolved around the charateristics of modern video games and their affects on us, I thought that discussing this with members of this forum would be beneficial. It was very helpful for me to read of others who seem to be relating to how video games affect us. On a personal note, I grew up around them. Yes, I'm a member of the "nintendo revolution". I've owned all different types of gaming console since I was 10. For a while I was pretty high on them, I thought that it helped build problem solving skills and in comparison to TV did not program the young player. I personally loved them for a long time.

But now, it seems to have equaled programmed television in its ability to introduce psychopathic concepts to the user. Take for example all the online role playing games, which require long playing times (staring at the TV), self-serving actions to "advance", and from what others have said, make the user play for hours and hours in order to achieve relatively insignificant goals in order to advance or gain experience. Also take the game Grand Theft Auto, in which users can just run around and steal cars, kill people for their money, get in shootouts with the police, and all to build up "respect". All this seems to be saying to a young user that psychopathic actions can be quite rewarding in our world.

So, what I'm wondering, is how many of you out there do play video games regularly? Do you sit down and play for very long stretches of time (2 or more hours)? If you do, how do you feel afterward? Personally, I would force myself to stop (since their was a part of me that wants to continue no matter what) and afterward I would generally have that mushy brain feeling and I wouldn't be able to concentrate fully. I used to brush this off as effects of a cathrode ray tube blasting a strobe light at my eyes the whole time. But of late, if I do play games, I can play for only a half hour or hour and then will need a break from it. And no online gaming for me either, which is another monster in itself since you are competing against others in the real world for gaming domincance. I think this is a big factor in their attraction.

So, I'd just like to say that we should really try and cut down use of these games. If one is playing for two hours at a time, try cutting it down to one hour. Then be conscious of your mental state after playing them.

Make no mistake, our minds are the battlefield and these things are the weapons used against us.

Or so I think.
 
M

Marf

Guest
I sincerely and wholeheartedly disagree with you on that front. This is a topic that appears regularly on another forum which I frequent and I can't help but think of Maude Flanders from the Simpsons screaming "Won't somebody please think of the children".

I have played video games since I was 5 years old(25 now) and playing grand theft auto and similar games hasnt given me a desire to undertake a murderous thieving killing spree, nor desensitised me to real life violence.

Nor has sinking endless hours into playing Gran Turismo/Need for Speed left me a dangerous street racer.

I can tell the difference and I'm sure most kids would be able to as well.

But isn't that really the issue? Kids and Parental responsibility? There was a recent article in some of the UK Papers about a sex scene(god forbid) in the latest GTA game.

I really didnt understand the reaction of the parents interviewed in the article as why they hell would you allow your underage child to play an 18 rated game in the first place?

I do agree that playing games or just using the internet excessively should be avoided, mainly for health reasons i.e. sitting on your bum for hours on end, but also to some extent I think it may stunt kids social skills and for these reasons usage should be limited, but as to the content of video games desensitising people, I don't think so.

We have the Playstation generation out in Iraq right now, given the view that computer games desensitise us to violence, shouldnt we see a corresponding drop in PTSD as these kids should be used to killing? I very much doubt there has been such a drop.

In fact due to the precarious political nature of this war on terror it seems that more soldiers are coming back from Iraq/Afghanistan with PTSD than in previous theatres:

http://mentalhealth.about.com/od/traumaptsd/a/iraqptsd604.htm
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2005-02-28-cover-iraq-injuries_x.htm
http://www.bradblog.com/archives/00002293.htm
 

anart

The Living Force
It seems to me that the main issue is not a desensitisation to violence necessarily - but the way in which the gaming changes our brain functions. I must admit that several years ago I was a major role playing internet gamer, spending well over twenty hours a week online - and it was an addiction. Real life came in second, period. I'm finding it difficult to come up with the words to explain how my view of 'reality' was affected, but suffice it to say that the year I spent immersed in online gaming simply dissapeared. I would be interested in seeing what your imperssions would be, Marf, if you stopped playing any video game for six months to a year - how would your thinking change? I think you might be surprised. Occasionally, even now, I'll log on to see how my personal Work has affected my perspective on gaming, and I can't be on the game now for more than twenty minutes or so - very very different. I think this subject is one that can be really delved into on a lot of levels, because knowing what we know about programming and electronic waves affecting mind functioning, there is no way in Hades that these games aren't influencing the players in ways that benefit the PTB - even if it is merely to keep the gamers distracted and in their own little addictive worlds so they do not pay strict attention to what is going on in the world. Or so it seems to me.
 

vinny

The Living Force
I used to be a huge video game addict. And I still dabble from time to time, but I haven't switched on my PS2 yet this year. When someone says 'video games are bad' that can immediately generate an emotional 'defensive' response, that then causes me/anyone to switch off and disregard any rational argument for/against them.

Yes, video games can be good fun, entertaining, and also possibly beneficial in some ways. I love 'em! BUT there are a few serious problems which shouldn't just be waved aside. To ignore the problems would be to act like the alcoholic who insists that his daily bottle of whisky is doing him no harm. When really, it would be fine to enjoy the occasional glass of whisky, in the full knowledge of the effects of alcohol, and that an excess is harmful.

1. modern video game budgets are huge. They are no longer a niche area but have graduated to 'mass market'. this opens them up to the psychopathic manipulation of the giant corporate hierarchy: They become part of the pathocracy.

In the same way as happens with all mass media where large budgets are involved, the creative process is highly constricted by the 'money men', and so video games are easily coerced into portraying a potentially warped view of reality. While it is accepted that these games are not totally realistic, and are treated as 'fiction', there is also a certain 'subversive' social programming effort going on which DOES influence people's real-world view. Who do you think is one of the biggest investors in video games in recent times? Here's a hint: look at recent game release schedules, and see just how many 'military' or 'war' games there are.

2.
We have the Playstation generation out in Iraq right now, given the view that computer games desensitise us to violence, shouldnt we see a corresponding drop in PTSD as these kids should be used to killing? I very much doubt there has been such a drop.
I think that there IS evidence that show that the 'playstation generation' effect HAS been seen in Iraq. There are countless reports of various types of behaviour exhibited by US (and other) soldiers which can only be explained in terms of coersion and, well 'brainwashing' to put it bluntly.

The level of PTSD is reported to be VERY high also though, I guess this is due to the high level of 'cognitive dissonance' that occurs in an individual who acts in a way that fundamentally conflicts with his innermost principles. This also suggests a certain level of coersion, which is obvious really - what normally sane human being would willingly take the life of another? No, they have to be persuaded against their innermost instinct that such a thing is justified, and the right thing to do.

3. The flickering of a TV screen at 50/60Hz has been shown to trigger the alpha-wave brain state, which is a state of semi trance, increased suggestibility, and increased passivity. This is partly why TV and video games appear to suck in the viewer in such a powerful way, and it creates a very effective channel for 'brainwashing'. Given the huge level of propaganda that we are currently being deluged with, why would video games be especially immune to that?

4. The structure of many video games is an addictive and endless cycle of search and reward. But actually it goes nowhere. It simply uses up time, so that you don't do anything USEFUL. It is the equivalent of the 'circuses' in the 'bread and circuses' of the Roman empire, where the rulers' philosophy was that as long as the population was kept fed and entertained, they wouldn't bother the ruling classes too much. It is one of a large number of means of passifying and thereby controlling a population, and for the ruling classes to maintain the status quo.
 

foofighter

Jedi Council Member
As a long time gamer I was the one who, after a short blurb on SOTT, voiced my experiences and feelings about video gaming in the QFS discussion. And as noted above, it appeared that I was not the only one, and that a cautionary tale or two for others were indeed a good idea.

My background in video gaming is that I've played games for over twenty years now, since I was nine. My specialities have been FPS's (Duke Nukem, Quake 1/2/3, Doom, HL 1/2, Max Payne 1/2, GTA 1/2, etc.) all of which I've played extensively in both single- and multiplayer modes. Been the leader of a 30-head Quake2 CTF clan. I've played MMORPG's such as Anarchy Online, Star Wars Galaxies. and (most recently) World of Warcraft quite extensively as well. I've observed both myself and friends (in LAN parties and similar), and how I/they react when playing video games. In short, I think I have quite a lot of experience with the topic.

There are good parts and bad parts about it, from my perspective. The good part is that video games is where I've gained most of my English skillz. That is the sole good thing that has come out of it that I can think of. And yet, if I had used all those thousands of hours reading books I would no doubt have had as good or better skillz.

The bad parts are perhaps more interesting. The violence and insensitivity thing is a tricky one. I have played lots of the more-or-less psychotic games such as GTA, and I have never felt that it has changed how I live my life, as such, or how I treat people. But I think this has more to do with who you are to begin with. If you are a person of a psychotic nature I can definitely understand that GTA can amplify such tendencies. If there are no such tendencies to amplify, well, that's that I guess. But what is decidedly the case, and this goes for me and everyone else I have met, is that jellifying effect it has on the brain. That lack of concentration, zombie-like sleepiness, slight headache, kind of thing. And the more recent games have had stronger and stronger such effects, mainly because the games makers have become exceedingly good at finding that 80/20 balance.

The 80/20 balance is basically about letting the player succeed 80% of the time, and failing the rest. This will keep the player interested, and yet provide a challenge to beat. If he succeeds more often it may become boring. If he succeeds less often it may become frustrating. The key is in striking that balance. This has traditionally been a little complicated, since the players are very diverse in their skillset. What is easy for one may be hard for someone else. The customary way to fix it is to have difficulty levels to ensure that everyone is challenged in some way.

The MMORPG's have dealt with this issue in a stupendously clever way. Basically, the game is so open-ended that the player has a huge freedom of choice, and can hence always decide where to go and what to do in order to find the most interesting 80/20 (or 90/10) balance. As long as many options are available the gamer will provide the proper dosage for himself. It's the ultimate high! And by providing a huge collection of repetitive emotional highs (also known as the "DING! Gratz!" phenomenon) in a community environment the player is ensured to immerse himself in a world of everincreasing timewasting activities.

Timewasting, not only because of the negative physiological effects, but also because when all is said and done and the computer is switched off absolutely NOTHING will have changed in the player. He will not have learned anything. He will not be more relaxed. He will not have better friends (online communities have ultrashort memories when it comes to such things, and am mostly related to whether a player can "enchant my Sword of the Wolf with +5 Sta" or not).

It is also often a good idea to conclude whether the gaming is the problem, or whether it is more of a symptom of another problem. For myself I used it as a way to run away from reality and forget about all the things I should do. All the angst and depression I felt from not doing what I should be doing could be easily forgotten by playing games like 6-8 hours on end. Like any other addiction used for such purposes getting back to reality is always a bummer, so it doesn't really work out in the long run. I've also seen other friends of mine who use it to "get away" from having to deal with bad relationships and such. Instead of looking at oneself and dealing with the issues at hand it is much easier to just escape into a fantasy world, which, coincidentally has been designed to be great at providing a dissociative state of mind. Marvellous technology.

That's what I think about video gaming. It was a hard lesson to learn, and it'd be sad if everyone had to spend 20 years as I did to figure it out. But such is life, I guess.
 

Windmill knight

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Hi. I consider myself sort of a 'video-game-dry-drunk'. That is: I haven't played habitually in the last 3 1/2 years, yet I know that I'm still vulnerable and that I may become addicted again if I quit paying attention to myself. Yes, 'addiction' is the correct term. Planning to play for half an hour but actually playing for 5 or more is definitely an addictive behaviour, and that's the sort of thing that used to happen to me.

I know without a doubt that video-gaming has a strong impact on the mind. It's like TV, only much stronger, since it is interactive. Here's a simple way of proving it: play for five hours and then go to sleep; see what you dream. Then, stop playing for, say, three months, and see what you dream. Compare and contrast.

Sure, it's not usually the case that someone plays a first person shooter and then goes on the street to shoot people. But it is a fact that the associations in the mind change with video games. Play enough, and people on the street will suddenly remind you of the very realistic 'bad guys' from the video games. Driving a car at full speed will suddenly seem so easy and natural. Or attempting a 360 degree Matrix-style flying kick.

I suppose that an internally weak person may indeed get carried away by this new set of mental associations under certain circumstances. Did you hear about the Chinese guy who had an item stolen in the virtual world and decided to murder the 'thief' in real life?:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1448600,00.html

Also, see 'Brain Sees Violent Video Games as Real Life - Study'

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8319023

where it says: "Mathiak found that as violence became imminent, the cognitive parts of the brain became active and that during a fight, emotional parts of the brain were shut down.

"The pattern was the same as that seen in subjects who have had brain scans during other simulated violent situations.

"It suggests that video games are a "training for the brain to react with this pattern," Mathiak says."

A training for the brain to react with a violent pattern!!! If that's not brain-washing, then I don't know what is.

Also, as with all addictive behaviours, this one may become seriously self-destructive:

http://www.breakingnews.ie/2005/08/10/story215457.html

As for the question: is videogaming the problem or a symptom? For me, I think it started as a symptom (I wanted to run away from my child and teenage frustrations), but afterwards became a problem in itself, one which would not go away by working on the original frustrations only. Although that helped a lot.

Finally, I'd like to say that for me, part of the solution has been finding other positive activites to replace videogaming, so that now I simply don't have enough time to sit and play a strategy game (though sometimes I'm still tempted). Also, it just so happened that I moved to another country and I lost my small but strong network of videogamer friends, and that helped a lot as well. Sadly, some friendships are largely, or even completely, sustained on a shared vice, and quitting the vice may imply quitting the friends.
 

Quantumleon

The Force is Strong With This One
HI, my experiences and opinions are again very similar to most of those here. I have played computer games since early childhood and been a huge fan. I have learnt things from playing them, without a doubt, and I have also been inspired to create through them, however I have found that as my studies into esoterism and the nature of reality/self have progressed, my interest in them has naturally waned, and this seems especially true with regard to MMORPG's. As someone else mentioned in an earlier post, if I log on to one now, I can not bear it for more than about 30 mins, the prospect of spending hours trying to find some particular loot/fit a new item onto your character etc just fills me with emotions similar to that of some incredibly drudgerous task.
Again, like others here, I have never felt any kind of violent impulse whatsoever due to playing any games, and I have played some of the most violent ones available. But I wonder, is there some quite important difference between the games that we grew up with and the equivalent that many children are being exposed to now? When I was 10 or 14, I never had access to something like GTA, or a MMORPG for that matter, what violence there was in the games that I played was so fantastical and cartoon-like that I don't think there could be any chance of relating it to real life, except in individuals in extreme dissociative states. But children today being are exposed to games that, even as part of their advertising, promote "disturbing realism" as you blast away enemies in showers of blood and gore, and some of the more violent games are so incredibly over-the-top in their promotion of psychotic behaviour (the most extreme example I know of being the "Postal" games), that I really can't imagine any possible creative impulse arising from these creations.
I remember as a young child, watching certain violent movies that I was too young to watch and feeling quite disturbed by them, after a while this faded away and I became desensitised to it, but there is a big difference between watching a movie and playing a modern video game, the level of engagement is several notches higher. For an example of what I mean, consider some of the recent big blockbuster movies that have been released with massive CGI budgets featuring huge hour-long chase/battle sequences in the middle. Boring aren’t they? The movie industry has not caught on to the fact that huge CGI sequences, divorced of plot-related content, are only interesting if you are in CONTROL of the action. Once this element is introduced (control), it's like some kind of psychic entrainment is activated in the user and you are drawn in on a level movies can not reach. Bearing this in mind, consider what effect a game like GTA or Postal might have on a child, and recall the stories of young soldiers in Iraq who compare the action there to being like a video game (of which there seem to be many), and the story some time ago of a soldier who had filmed some of his exploits (killing people) and put them to music to show to his friends and family, and when questioned about this said something along the lines of, "It's no different to watching a movie."
Yes, parents need to take more responsibility, but I know that if I was a child, and my parents tried to stop me playing/viewing such things, I would probably go out of my way to do it, and probably be successful too. This stuff will leak into vulnerable young minds whether it is intended to or not, and you have to wonder if, on some level, the PTB are not fully aware of that fact.
 
P

PR3D

Guest
Videogames, like anything else can become very destructive to one self when taken out of moderation.

I can go home after a day of work and have a glass of wine. No problems there. If someone who needs to go to AA meetings ends up with a glass of wine in their hand, it's going to be a big problem.

I can go to church every sunday and be fine. But then there are those people that go 3-4 days a week, preach on the corner, handing out cliche "Jesus Saves" pamphlets all day long while completely disregarding other important things in their life.

Anyone see the point I am getting at?

Human Beings have a very addictive nature. You discover something you like/enjoy, and you want to do it again.

I for one have been a HUGE gamer up until mid-high school, then after high school I got back into it again...Halo2 came out, and I was hooked. I played for about 6 hours a day everyday, and loved every minute of it. I noticed after a few months I felt a little uncomfortable going out to bars and what not...thinking it was so much easier just playing the game rather conversing with people out in the real world, and that is when I realised my social skills were declining. I stopped playing as much, and now I'm playing about 1-2 hours every other day or so.

Basically, the way I look at it, you can take anything you enjoy intensely and let it rule your life if you are not carefull. Vidoegames were fun when I was a child, but they are AWESOME now(technology on the rise), which is why Videogames and this topic have come up countless times in the past 5-6 years then ever before.
 
J

JuBee

Guest
I agree with Pr3d.

You wouldn't think that woman gamers go through their addictive nature when it comes to video games, but believe me WE do!

We put as much time and effort into it, as anyone would. I used to be a hardcore gamer back in the day, (kind of still am - but have limitations now) I admit, I let it rule my life, with the clan, website, forums, everything. I work, come home and play for hours, sometimes until the crack of dawn, then the whole cycle repeats itself. I even did the clan website/forums thing AT WORK!!! It's very addictive and it can rule your life if you are not careful.

Now I still play but I know how to balance it out. For me it's just the competitive aspect of it all. Not only that, but especially on live, you meet and build relationships with some of these people. It's also an escape from the real world - almost like my anti-drug (I know corballs)

I think the younger you are, the more hooked you'll be. As you grow older, and other priorites start coming up, then of course you limit your playing time. Either that or your friends start asking where the hell have you been?!?! lol..
 
A

atreides

Guest
My opinion is that video games are there to suck people into a virtual reality where they can fully express themselves in a directed way in order to engender in them states and processes of the base variety to make them less violent and more docile, by addicting them to a world where they are gods, and giving them a false form of interaction in order to cut them off from actual positive and functional networking, and causing apathy about the circumstances of the other reality, the one that isn't fun. At the same time, the ability to enter these states and processes is globally transmitted to all people, making the actualization of these actions have a higher statistical probability.

In actuality, it is the non-gamers who, in my opinion are the most adversely affected because they must deal with the same states and processes without the artificial reality outlet. This does not mean that you should start gaming, or necessarily that you should stop, only that you should be aware of what is occurring internally and externally.

By doing this people have surface level experience, without karmic solution, therefore they become trapped in the cycle, because they cannot play out the intended karmic destiny that their souls have chosen. Instead, they live in a fantasy that occupies the mind, and starves the soul, it is in essence a form of STS soul torture, in the hopes that when the time comes, all of these starving souls will give in so easily to anger and rage and desire that they will be guaranteed to be trapped into an STS dynamic, without the possibility of overcoming it.

On a higher note, I want to play the new DOA, that game is too phat.
 
U

UberSquid

Guest
My opinion on the subject of video games is similar to others listed above, but my background is slightly different. I am a computer programmer by trade, and I have had an interest in computer game development since the early-80s ever since I first encountered a ubiquitous little game called Pac Man at a bowling alley in Southern California. I still play computer games (I tend to shun the consoles) semi-regularly, and alternate between single player games of Civilization IV and Half Life 2, and MMORPGs like World of Warcraft and City of Heroes.

I will freely admit that there was a time where I could have fallen into the addiction bucket, but my spouse (love of my life) was able to show me that there were more important things than "sitting in front of that damned machine all day". I still maintain an active interest in gaming (both online and otherwise), but my "play time" is very much overshadowed by "family time", and I think finding that sort of balance is very important. My 14-year-old currently plays World of Warcraft almost daily, and if he were left to his own devices, he would play 4 to 5 hours a day, every day. Needless to say, it would be irresponsible of me as a parent to allow this to occur, so my spouse and I encourage alternative activities whenever possible.

I agree that video/computer games can be addicting, but I also feel that there is a measure of personal responsibility involved in managing how much time is spent playing games. As we all grow, it is important to prioritize what we do with our time and playing games, while an enjoyable diversion, does take a back seat to many other activities.

As a point of interest, I wonder if different people have different levels of natural susceptibility to the addictive qualities of video games. Just like some people are more likely to become addicted to alcohol or chocolate, is there some biological mechanism that could make one more susceptible to video game addiction? Or does personal responsibility play a larger role in video game addiction than in, say alcohol addiction.
 

Cyre2067

The Living Force
Love video games. Got my first nintendo when i was 8 or so, and damn they've kept me occupied. I think that was their primary intention, to keep young minds occupied, however i must admit that the affect they've had on my problem solving skills is great. The same with movies, combined they give me glimpses of possibly senarios in a post-apocalyptic setting. Also - i've stopped differentiating between video games and real life. Now, don't get me wrong, i understand the differences, but hear me out.

Artifical Universes/worlds are the basis of gaming. We create a digital environment to do whatever we want. I kinda view our reality as a similiar construct only (obviously) much more complex. I compare RL to MMORPGs (like World of Warcraft or Everquest) where we all log in (are born) and gain experience (live life). Some of us are playing characters (wakened) some of us are NPCs (masses/shopkeepers :-) So of us gain levels (increase awareness/skills/knowledge) some don't (those content with status quo).

Just a thought.
 
P

PR3D

Guest
Cyre2067 said:
Love video games. Got my first nintendo when i was 8 or so, and damn they've kept me occupied. I think that was their primary intention, to keep young minds occupied, however i must admit that the affect they've had on my problem solving skills is great. The same with movies, combined they give me glimpses of possibly senarios in a post-apocalyptic setting. Also - i've stopped differentiating between video games and real life. Now, don't get me wrong, i understand the differences, but hear me out.

Artifical Universes/worlds are the basis of gaming. We create a digital environment to do whatever we want. I kinda view our reality as a similiar construct only (obviously) much more complex. I compare RL to MMORPGs (like World of Warcraft or Everquest) where we all log in (are born) and gain experience (live life). Some of us are playing characters (wakened) some of us are NPCs (masses/shopkeepers :-) So of us gain levels (increase awareness/skills/knowledge) some don't (those content with status quo).

Just a thought.
The funny thing about what you said, is there are times when it blows my mind that I can do whatever I want in the real world, and if I wanted to, I could "level up" myself by reading, taking classes, going to the gym...I think after playing so much, and then going back to real life I remember...wow...I'm not limited in the real life! sweet!
 

StrangeCaptain

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
I think it depends on who you are, what you see, what you know... The sum total of what your experience, your yearning, your understanding of what principles you think are important to seek integrity within... For some, there comes a time when everything that you are or even could be says, "It's time to stop playing games." At that point, the game is no longer a social activity, an exploration, or even mindless fun. At that point, it is sapping. One feels more empty afterwards. If you reach this point and try to pretend you have not, video games really start to suck.
 
Top Bottom