Thought this was interesting..

Article on violence and video games… the results may surprise you!  http://www.gamerevolution.com/features/violence_and_videogames

Just noticed it’s three years old.  Wonder if the trends continued, especially since Grand Theft Auto 4 was recently released.

One of the reasons I find it interesting is because the boys’ really like first person shooter games.  Generally if the game is rated for violence, I give them a little quiz about violent behavior and for the most part let them play.  I’ve not seen a game get really out of hand yet.  While sometimes in-game ‘deaths’ can be violent and overdone they’re hardly ever absolutely morbid.  And most games have settings for levels of gore, and I put it on the minimum.  I also put restrictions on them from playing these games in multi-player mode, because I don’t want them hanging around teenagers.

One game in particular Tyler requested is an environment called ‘Garry’s Mod’ for Half-Life 2.  It’s actually a pretty neat tool, where they can build environments, machines, and little games of their own.  I’ve blogged about it before.

Tyler’s currently building a 4th of July party, putting people around and using grenades and guns for fireworks.  Cameron likes to line a bunch of people up in a row and then shoot them.  One scenario had a plane flying overhead and Tyler was making people in the plane fall out and watching them fall.  Sounds absolutely horrible, doesn’t it?  What kind of father am I?

When I was about 10 I got a stuffed frog for Christmas.  He had a crown on his head, like the frog prince.  I called him ‘King Frog’.  He had dangly arms and dangly legs.  I used to toss it around and down stairs because it was rather cool to see it bounce around and his legs and arms would flail and I’d laugh.  I’d toss it into the ceiling fan (sorry Mom & Dad, I did) and watch it bounce around.  In video-game terminology this is called ‘rag-doll physics’.  This Garry’s Mod is pretty similar to that.  It’s a ‘sandbox’ type application where you are just given a bunch of tools to use it as you’d like.  Some like to toss people around like ragdolls.  Some make crazy videos (I’ll leave the search on Youtube as an exercise left to the reader).

Tyler was complaining this week because he was trying to download new tools that can be imported and they wouldn’t show up.  I told him I couldn’t help him because I thought he was trying to do something fairly advanced and he needs to learn other simpler things first.  I did give him He went down and figured out how to install some of them.  YES!!  Not YES!! because I didn’t have to help him, but YES!! that he wanted something badly enough to keep at it until it worked, no matter how frustrated he was getting.  I’ve often wondered if showing them how to do things too much would get in their way of figuring it out.

It’s nice to know that the I’m not really training them to be violent by letting them play with this ‘game’, but that, in fact, I’m teaching them how to figure things out for themselves, and learn how to customize computer games to get what they want out of them.

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