Friday, 4 December 2009

Media Effect Theories Relating Violent Video Games to Violent Behaviour

From the Hypodermic Needle Theory otherwise known as the silver bullet approach to the Uses and Gratification Theory and the Limited Effects Model researches concerned with determining the link between media content and behaviour in viewers goes back in time -to the early 1930s perhaps. As it relates to Video games, these theories have been hailed as well as flawed in interpreting the social behaviours of game players.

In the first book uniting empirical research on and public policy options for violent video games; 'Violent Video Game Effects on Children and Adolescents' by Anderson, Gentile, and Buckley updated the traditional General Aggression Model to focus on both developmental processes and how media-violence exposure aggravated the likelihood of aggressive and violent behaviour in both short- and long-term contexts. Anderson et al. describe the reaction of the games industry to scientific findings that exposure to violent video games and other forms of media violence constitutes a significant risk factor for later aggressive and violent behavior. They argue that society should begin a more productive debate about whether to reduce
the high rates of exposure to media violence, and delineate the public policy options that are likely be most effective Anderson and Dill (2000:1) developed facts after a study that real-life violent video game play was positively related to aggressive behaviour and delinquency. Also, the study said graphically violent video games increased aggressive thoughts and behaviour.
However, sceptics built up a contrary school of thought which held that the approaches used were flawed and
suggested that gamers who prejudiced . Mackay (2002: 48) described those studies as weak and inaccurate.
According to Karen Sternheimer, sociologist at the University of Southern California games like Grand Theft Auto and Gears of War do not in any way cause youthf
ul players to commit real-life violence. 'Politicians and other moral crusaders frequently create “folk devils,” individuals or groups defined as evil and immoral. Folk devils allow us to channel our blame and fear... Video games... have become contemporary folk devils because they seem to pose a threat to children,' she said.

*This graph shows that as video game sales increased, the total number of violent crimes went down drastically.

Anderson, C. & Dill, K. (2000) : 'Video Games and Aggressive Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviour in the Laboratory and Life.' Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 78, no.4

Mackay, H. (2002): 'Media mania: why our fear of modern media is misplaced.' Sydney: University of New South Wales

Duke Ferris (2009): 'Caution Children at Play: The truth About Violent Youths and Video Games.' Available at (Accessed on December 4, 2009)

Violent Game Don't Cause Youth Violence Sayd USC Siociologist' (2007). Available at (accessed on December 4, 2009)


One of the methodologies of studying digital gamers according to Ricard Bartle's 'Four Suits' is the 'Spades.'
Originally, the Spades is a kind of trick taking card game originated in the United States at about 1930. But in Bartles context, it refers to players or gamers of digital video games who derives gratification from discovering a game's secret and hidden mechanics.
The vice of cheating in games has some what become a cultural practice. In recent times, game developers and their security companies have watched in agony as peripheral game industries grew producing information about games rather than games themselves. Sophisticated video game weapons that could take months of hard play to unlock can now easily be decoded in a matter of (how fast is your Internet connectivity?). There are even products sold that offers services to aid game cheats succeed, check out,, and countless others. has articles on top cheat codes, 'Fatal Frame cheats and secrets,' 'Resident Evil Cheats, Secrets and Unloakables for PS2' amongst others.
The question is why would people cheat on a game, doesn't that elude the whole concept and experience of gaming? I'm not an enthusiastic gamer- so what do I know?
Wikipedia explains it further though:

'Cheating in video games involves a player of a video game creating an advantage beyond the bounds of normal gameplay, usually to make the game easier. Cheats include advantages such as invulnerability ("God mode") or an infinite amount of some resource such as ammunition. Cheats may also create unusual or interesting effects which do not necessarily make the game easier to play, such as making enemies tougher, or giving characters (including enemies) different appearances, such as large heads. Cheats often take the form of 'secrets' placed by game developers, usually to reward dedicated players.

Cheats may be activated from within the game itself (a cheat code implemented by the original game developers); or created by third-party software (a game trainer) or hardware (a cheat cartridge).Examples of cheats in FPS games include the aimbot, which assists the player in aiming at the target, giving the user an unfair advantage, and the wallhack, which allows a player to see through solid or opaque objects and/or manipulate or remove textures, and ESP, with which the information of other players is displayed.'

References: (2009): 'Resident Evil Cheats, Secrets and Unlocakable.' Available at (Accessed on December 4, 2009)

Picture Souce:

Wikipedia: 'Cheating in Video Games.' Available at
(Accessed on December 4, 2009)