Destructive and unnecessary or harmless and entertaining? Beijing’s young gamers weigh in
How do you feel when you play a violent video game?
Thomas: When I play a video game, I feel like I am actually in the game – I take on the role of the character I’m playing. The violence doesn’t really bother me, it just makes me able to experience things that I would never normally be able to do in real life.
Runar: I have to admit that I feel that a game is more realistic and much more interesting if it has violence in it. Like Thomas said, we play games to be able to do the things that we normally would never be able to do. I’m not stupid – I know the difference between real life and the game, so the violence in games isn’t really an issue.
Anisha: I don’t really have any sort of feelings towards the violent games that I play; it’s just a normal part of playing them. I don’t usually even consider them that violent. There are different types of violence in games, from things that are ultra-realistic to things that look just like cartoons. It’s hard to criticize cartoon violence because everyone is exposed to that from a young age.
Ross: Like the others said, I really don’t have any strong feelings about violent games. I’m not troubled by the violence, because I see violence every day, in the news and around me. Just because it is in the game makes no difference to the world around us.
Do you think it’s acceptable for video games to contain violence?
Thomas: My reaction to violence in video games is that there is no such thing as a non-violent video game. If you look at a game like Pac-Man, you run around eating ghosts – that’s violent. What about Super Mario Bros.? You jump on turtles’ heads and they die. It’s all violence. I think that violence is needed in games to make the games better and more interesting. It’s the conflict in the game that grabs young people’s attention.
Runar: I have no negative or positive reaction to violence in video games. I think that violence brings some fun into the game, because it involves actions we cannot take in our real lives.
Anisha: I think games that contain really graphic violence shouldn’t be played by very young children, but I think that young people aren’t really given much credit for knowing when not to be influenced by the things that we are seeing. You hear a lot of reports about how susceptible young people are to the things that they see, but I think the majority of people our age are mature enough not to be affected by the games.
Ross: I think it’s fine for the games to contain violence. We see it in movies all the time, and to be honest the type of games without any of this violence just don’t sell as well as the violent ones.
How do your parents feel about the games that you play?
Thomas: My parents always bug me about the video games I buy and play because they think that they’re not appropriate for me and will affect me; I feel the other way. I feel that video games with violence don’t affect who we really are. I enjoy playing Call of Duty, but it doesn’t mean that I am going to get a gun and start pretending I’m in World War II and go out and kill people.
Anisha: Some parents think video games with violence poison our minds. A lot of people dislike a game called Grand Theft Auto, where you have to go around stealing cars and beating people up. In my family we have four PS2s, one for each of us. We all love playing games.
Ross: There is no need for parents to become all worried because we play video games. My dad is lenient with most games I play, but my mom holds me on a tighter leash because she feels a bit worried about the things that I see.
Does violence in the game make the game any better?
Thomas: Yes. When you are playing a first-person shooter or strategy game, violence is needed to make the game more interesting, cool and fun to play.
Runar: I agree with Thomas, though I think that sports games shouldn’t have violence in them because it ruins the sport. There are some dancing games and things like that, but they aren’t interesting to me.
Anisha: Violence makes the game better because it makes us feel different, because the action we take in the video game can’t be performed in the real world.
Ross: It really does make a difference in the game, because it’s much cooler and action-packed than life can really be. It’s just like in the movies.
Thomas Chan, from Hong Kong, is starting Grade 9 at the Western Academy of Beijing and claims there is no such thing as a video game without violence.
Anisha Budzinska, from the UK, is going into Year 12 at the British School of Beijing and believes violence in games doesn’t reflect the actions of today’s young. people.
Ross Williams, from Canada, is going into Grade 7 at the International School of Beijing and says that violence makes games more realistic.
Runar Kristensen, from Norway, is starting Grade 10 at the Western Academy of Beijing and thinks violence makes games more fun.