Social impact of Computer games (Pavé spotted !)

En me baladant sur Clan Base et plus spécilement sur les colones, j’ai trouvé pas mal de truc sympa dont cette étude australienne sur l’impacte des jeux vidéos… je vous invite à en prendre connaissance pour pouvoir répondre vous aussi calmement aux “de toute façon les jeux vidéos ça rend violent !” et autre “les jeux vidéos ça isolent les gens, ils ne se parlent plus… tout est virtuel” etc.

Social impact of Computer games
by Skull, Sunday 16 November -

Dornbirn - In this column i want to write about a few positve and negative aspects of Computer games. The last part contains the Australian Government Study which is one of the best and instructive Computer game studies.

I want to start with the Negative Aspects of Computer Games :


Do computer games promote violence? This question was brought to the forefront of peoples attention after the Columbine Massacre in 1999. The killers were known to have intense interest in the computer game “Doom” in which you control a soldier who runs through a massive maze-like building shooting everything you see, which pretty much corresponds to the killers actions in the massacre. Was their penchant for violent computer games a factor in their real world violence or was it just a coincidence?
Psychological studies of the link between violence and computer games are inconclusive. After an extensive four-year study, the Australian Government concluded, “none of the independent research published to date has demonstrated serious effects of aggressive game play on young peoples behavior.” The position of those who state that there is a definite link between computer games and violence appears to be based upon individual cases and spurious connections rather than upon carefully conducted studies. The most that can be said is that a marked preference for violent computer games may be a manifestation of pre-existent violent tendencies in an individual.

Social Isolation:

If computer games cannot be blamed for violent behavior, can they be blamed for anti-social behavior? As was noted earlier, one of Walter Brights primary motivations in developing “Empire” was so that he could play a war game by himself without having to find other people with whom to play. Several science fiction stories have posited a future where people live in isolation, communicating with each other via computer on those rare occasions when they are forced into contact with other human beings. Do computer games isolate us from one another? Provenzo, author of Video Kids asserts that even when children are playing video games in a group, their attention is fixed entirely on the game, to the detriment of social interaction. However, more recent surveys oppose the picture of gamers as individuals isolated from society. “58.6% of those who most often use games say they play with their friends; 42% say they play with members of their families; 26.6% say they play with their spouse and 25% play with their parents.” So rather than promoting isolation, it would appear that computer games promote social interaction. With this in mind, I will continue my discussion of computer games and social interaction under Positive Aspects of Computer Games.

Positive Aspects of Computer Games :

Social Interaction:

Given that computer games do not isolate gamers from social contact, do games actually promote social interaction? At a time when pundits are bemoaning the death of the family, a survey showing that 42% of regular computer gamers play with members of their family is a startling statistic. When you consider that 58.6% of these core gamers play computer games with friends, the overall trend appears to be one of social interaction around the computer. Another important factor is the interaction of computer gamers via the Internet. The Internet supplies opponents for multi-player games at any time of the day or night. Gamers also use message boards, news services, web pages, and Usenet to communicate with one another across the world, whether that communication is help in overcoming a particularly recalcitrant obstacle in a game or swapping of taunts.


Christ Crawfords book, The Art of Computer Game Design, states that the primary motivation in game playing is to learn. In his column about the Columbine Massacre John Dvorak, a well-known computer columnist, stresses the educational nature of games. Whether its Doom teaching you how to do maximum damage in a “kill them all” situation, a racing game teaching you how to handle a car, or a skeet shooting game, skills can be transferred from games to real life situations. Dvoraks examples were all personal, but other studies have confirmed that dramatic learning does occur through computer games.

Next point is The Australian Government Study:

At the end of 1999, the Government of Australia released “Computer Games and Australians Today,” one of the most comprehensive, unbiased reviews ever done of all the research performed on the subject of interactive game play. After reviewing the academic research, the report concluded:“After examining several attempts to find effects of aggressive content in either experimental studies or field studies, at best only weak and ambiguous evidence has emerged…The accumulating evidence — provided largely by researchers keen to demonstrate the games’ undesirable effects — does indicate that it is very hard to find such effects and that they are unlikely to be substantial.”

Other key findings of the report include:

· Aggressive content per se has low appeal among computer game players. Very few respondents to the quantitative survey mentioned aggression as a feeling that they associate with their preferred games. “Players rate high-resolution graphics and multiplayer capacity as a major importance.”
· “Young players said that they perceive the aggressive content as fantastic and preposterous, with the result that they do not take it seriously: they do not perceive their own actions as harming others since they do not believe that the characters on screen are real or suffer pain.”
· Most people associate positive feelings, such as “enjoyment, happiness, exhilaration, relaxation and challenge,” with playing computer games.

In my opninion Computer games are not responsible for aggressions. Other reasons like a bad education or bad surrounding are main reason for such problems and not Computer games.

In the fifties of the last century it was the Rock’n Roll music which was a provocation to many people, in the sixties there were the comics, in the seventies the animated cartoons, and in the eighties the horror and splatter movies, and nowadays there are certain types of computer games which have caused harsh criticism among people. Concluding, one can state that the history of the media has always and at the same time been a history of the criticism of the media themselves, which up to the present has been due to a general mistrust of any kind of medial innovation.