Duncan Barkes: Violent video games – what’s the attraction?

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IF you are a fully grown man who plays violent video games then I think you are unbalanced.

I suggest that you seek some form of help to kick this strange and dangerous addiction, particularly if you are gaming night after night for hours at a time.

There is no possible defence for this extreme compulsion.

Just take a look at the blokes (and it is ALWAYS men) in the queue last week, at a minute after midnight, when Grand Theft Auto V – a video game that challenges players to complete certain missions, often of a criminal nature – went on sale. You would be hard pushed to find a bigger collection of oddballs anywhere.

And then there are games such as Call of Duty, where the player pretends to be a soldier or mercenary and kills as many people as possible using a variety of weapons.

Normal behaviour for an adult man? I don’t think so.

Of course I get the appeal of playing video games.

When I was growing up in the era of the Atari and the ZX Spectrum, many hours were spent glued to a screen, but then I was a teenager.

And I was ‘killing’ spaceships and aliens – there was no sense of reality about the backdrop the games were played out on.

I find it impossible to believe that the constant playing of violent games does not somehow affect a person’s behaviour. At some point, the lines between reality and fantasy will get blurred.

Children should not be allowed access to these games, but some parents ignore the over-18 age guideline and buy the games regardless. And they wonder why their offspring then displays aggressive behaviour!

You cannot ignore the growing evidence that these games damage people.

The latest fact to consider is that the American who killed twelve people at a US Navy base last week used to play Call of Duty for up to 16 hours at a time.

My view is not a knee-jerk response. It is clear there is something disturbing about those who play such games regularly. Why they cannot read a book, watch a movie or go to the pub instead is beyond me.