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Today, I spent 4-5 hours doing some work with a spreadsheet, looking at how prevalent things the media always says about violent games, are in reality. To aid me in this, I used the list of all 605 FPS games ever released that I got from wikipedia. I used this in a previous article into a trend following big video game controversies that I blogged about recently. This list over the last year has been invaluable for me in helping debunk claims about violent games that certain pro-censorship group and media outlets seem to put out.
An article on RockPaperShotgun that I dug up from last year is the source of the first claim I will use scientific evidence to debunk. Unlike the media lies that keep popping up, that I did studies on to see how much they were being spread, these claims have games that the claims actually make sense for, but the claims say that MOST or Many Games fit the description of the claim, but in fact the truth is far different, in most of these claims. So these aren’t lies at all, just over generalizations, really.
To help me to see how common these claims are in games I used the below spreadsheet to help me. It was basically a copy and paste job from the Wikipedia article. I took each claim and made a column for it. Then I made 3 rows, 1 for how many games fit the claim, how many Popular games did out of all 81 FPS games that I think are considered “Popular”, and how many games out of all 605 were popular games that fit the claim. The total number of games the wikipedia article lists is 605, from 1985 to 2011. Yes that’s right, FPS games were actually created as really badly done maze games back in the late 80’s. All these games have similar enough gameplay or movement to make them FPS games, and there are 28 before Wolfenstein 3-d. Looking at the Wikipedia article you can see that there are literally 100’s of FPS games that the attackers of such games never even know about, like “In Pursuit of Greed”, “Cybermage”, “Kens Laybrinth”, “Nitemare 3d”, “corridor 7”, “Blake Stone”, and 200+ more I won’t mention. All they see are either video clips of controversial games or descriptions. I on the other hand have played 100 of these games myself and have seen descriptions of hundreds more of them in the Media (from PC Gamer, to Video Gaming sites, to blogs, etc). I have literally been playing FPS games since 1992. I’ve played 100% of the popular ones in the 90’s and many of the popular and non popular ones in the 2000’s. Call me biased, all you want, when you read this article. I don’t care. Fact is, I am an Infinitely better source of what games have what features on them than some hack journalist trying (or succeeding) to make a million bucks on sensationalist claims to scare parents into talking to their representative. This leads to the Rep’s actually creating bills to censor violent games.
But… Let’s go into it shall we?
Claim 1 : Many games give you “bonus points” for headshots
(source – Parenting group the article on rockpapershotgun into the funding of brain scan studies)
This really overexagerated claim is the first I will debunk. It’s true, there are a few FPS games, 10 or so that reward headshots. Now 10 might seem like a lot. But there are over 600 FPS games ever released, so the % of quite low, really. In fact it’s only 1.16%! Tiny. It’s a bit bigger (8.64%) for popular games only, and those popular games only make up 1.16% of all 605 FPS games ever released! Games that reward FPS games include all Unreal Tournament games and Modern Warfare games plus Battlefield : Bad Company. All are popular, unfortunately. But.. Still. 10 out of 605 is a bit much for “many” isn’t it….
Claim 2: Many games allow the player to be a “gangster”
Source : http://twanajournalism.blogspot.com/2005_11_01_archive.html
This article makes several inflammatory claims against purveyors of thy video game violence (Gaming Companies), including how anyone who is saying they don’t cause “violence” is being paid by the game companies, and even cites the “Doom will become reality Hoax I debunked in the first post in this blog. The claim that Many games are Gangster games, is based on paranoia over GTA, and only that, because besides the 5 GTA games (which for completions sake, I put in the spreadsheet, even though they aren’t FPS games), there are very few other popular “Gangsta” FPS/Third Person Shooter games out there. Life of crime, true crime, that is like 10 tops. So at worst it’s 15 of 605, which is still FAR less than 10%! In FPS games + GTA only the % I got was 0.83% of all 605 games were “Gangsta games”. That’s LESS than 1%! Popular games were 7.41% out of all FPS games+GTA games that were popular. That’s a bit bigger, but far from overwelming. Those Popular “Gangsta games” make up only 0.99% of all 605 FPS games+GTA games ever released! So much for “overwelming” proof that “Gangsta” games are making kids want to join gangs based on a mere 5 out of 605!
Claim 3: Many games reward “Deviant Behavior”
Source : A post that was linked in one of my studies into the natures of comments on News Articles attacking violent games
One of the quotes I highlighted in my studies (with a funny cartoon drawing) basically said that most games reward “deviant behavior”. For the purposes of this study I assume “Deviant” = “Law Breaking” (Aka, Stealing, Murdering in Cold Blood, etc). The thing is that there are more games in all 9 or so Video game genres that Punish “Deviant” Behavior than Actually reward it. I’m referring to crime systems in RPG’s, of course, like the crime system in Morrowind, Or Oblivion, for instance. For those who are unawares, Both games allow players to steal and kill… However there are “town guards” walking around the whole fantasy universe and if any of the characters in the game (any of them) see you doing the crime the guards will come after you and arrest you. Then you can 1) Pay gold – and get stolen items taken from you : or 2) Resist arrest (and get attacked by the guards who are much tougher than you no matter how good you are) or 3:) Go to jail and lose a lot stat points making you weaker. A lot of article writers take examples of games that don’t reward or punish “Deviant” behavior and use it as “proof” that those games reward “Deviant” Behavior, example : Some article said that GTA rewarded running over people, and killing them right and left. In fact the game actually punishes stuff like this. Believe it or not, GTA DOES have a crime system similar to Oblivion. Commit Murder, and you get the cops come after you. It’s not as bad as oblivion, but you ARE being punished for committing crimes, despite what the media always says “GTA rewards mindless killing”… Blah-Blah-Blah-Blah-BLAHHHHHHH! Another thing is that both GTA and Morrowind/Oblivion are sandbox games. All of the gameplay, any of it really, is OPTIONAL. Nothing is required. Killing pedestrians is something you never are FORCED to do. Same thing with running over old ladies. It’s something that isn’t required either. It isn’t even rewarded, despite what the media says. It’s punished. Morrowind and oblivion are the same way. No crime is encouraged, or required to progress in any story in the game, unless the player CHOOSES to do so.The problem is that 99% of GTA fans CHOOSE to do this stuff. Because honestly, the game’s story sucks. THAT’s the problem.
I played Vice City. Everything was FINE BUT the story. The story sucked so bad. The missions, were frustrating, annoying and aggravating. I gave up after the “save lance vance” crapola quest where he died over and over again. The only replay value was running over old ladies. That’s it. Did you know you can also be an ambulance driver, taxicab driver, airplane and boat pilot, and play real golf in GTA. Of course not. The media completely refuses to mention the things in the game that are ACTUALLY redeeming, or non-violent. SHYAH!
Like GTA, in morrowind or oblivion there are quests that REQUIRE you to commit crimes. But their all optional. The thing is that Elder Scrolls games like Oblivion and Morrowind aren’t much less “crime infested” than GTA. Yet GTA gets all the controversy for basically being a thug, and prostitutes. Elder scrolls games controversy has lead to 1) Someone complaining about topless mods for Oblivion, and 2) Some parody group ripping Skyrim for Gay Marriage, with fake but hellarious Claims. GTA’s controversy amounted to 1) Lawsuits, 2) Bans, 3) Constant anti-gaming propaganda directed at Rockstar, Nonsense claims being spread about these games, and 4) Controversy about 1 THIRD PARTY SEX MOD that happened to use SEX SCENES REMOVED by rockstar.
Don’t mistake my aim here. I HATE GTA games. But not for their violence. For their crappy gameplay, that locks you in one area until you finish X amount of shitty aggravating missions. NO exploration till you do the missions. Bah. I had almost no problems with the violence or sex because the game to me is a big parody. I could see through that. I didn’t take it seriously. Vice City, that’s the parody name for Miami. Miami Vice. Get it. Gotham city = New York City. But I keep seeing the media make up bogus claims about this serious endlessly. Even Doom (even after Columbine) Didn’t get the frequency of complaints GTA has gotten over a 5+ year time, that were bogus.
In the study I found 20 games (out of 605!) that reward “Deviant” behavior. This is mostly Blood, Blood 2, Shadow Warrior, etc. This might seem big but in reality it’s a mere 3.31% of all 605 games! Out of 81 of the popular FPS games only 4.9% actually rewarded “Deviant” Behavior. A bit bigger but still LESS THAN 10%!
Claim 4 : Many games have x-rated content in them
Source : An Article attacking Duke Nukem Forever
Duke3d brought x-rated material into the FPS universe. However the total amount of FPS games that actually have such x-rated “Sexist” material is EXTREMELY low. Duke3d is the only popular game to even feature this material among FPS games! No other Popular FPS games even have “naughty” content like this in them. DNF was anything but popular, the entire gaming community was spending their time attacking the “sexist” content in the game without actually playing it (even though it sucked, not because of the x-rated material). Shadow Warrior is all forgotten (that’s why It’s printed in my previous article.) That’s it. No other Popular FPS games have this damned “X-rated PORN!” in them… At all. Period…. Serious… Anyone using DNF as an “Example” of how sexist FPS games are in general is an IDIOT. The % of all 605 games that have this “Content” in them is 0.99%! Yes… Les than 1%. Serious. % of Popular FPS games featuring dirty material is slightly higher, at 6.17%. However these 6.17% of the 81 popular FPS games are only 0.89% of all 605 FPS games ever released.
Claim 5 : Many games feature Decapitation
Source : The Amicus Brief of the group who using fake evidence in the said Amicus Brief for EMA Vs Brown
Since the above group started running their mouth over, and over, and over, and over again, about how FPS games with Decapitation in them are the norm, the claim has been spread all around the internet. The truth is very few FPS games even feature decapitation, at all. Many FPS games have blood and gore (62.96% of all popular FPS), most of the popular ones lack decapitation. Only 12.35% of all 81 popular FPS games even have Decapitation in them. Higher than the previous claims but still VERY small. Not even a third. Or even a 5th. Total FPS games that have decapitation is only 5.12%! And even more shocking, the 12.35% of popular FPS games that have decapitation only make up 2.01% of all 605 FPS games ever made.
Claim 6 : Most FPS games are “Realistic”
Source : Same comment poster as Claim 3
The commenter who mentioned that games that reward “Deviant” Behavior, also said that most were “realistic”. Visually graphic maybe, but people think that just because FPS games are “Realistic” LOOKING they are total realism simulators, with an 100% analogue to real life Military Combat. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Visual graphics have not been increased over the years at the same rate as combat realism, what people think when they read these claims. The truth is that combat realism is found only in 1 RARE kind of FPS games, “EXTREME” Tactical shooters. These games are NOT uber violent. They are Simulators of real life combat. And most aren’t even that popular because they are Insanely difficult. They should be. 1 hit kills you. No Health. Things like “marine Doom”. Most Tactical shooters are at most 75% realistic. They do bullet damage fine, and health not around every corner, but things like mimicking real weapons, that almost always fail, with few exceptions. Number 1, in these games, gunshot sounds are quiet. Real gunshots are DEAFINGLY loud. Number 2, real guns jam, break, and need to be repaired regularly. NO games do this accurately. Because that’s stuff that the military teaches. Number 3, as a gun degrades it fires worse. Accuracy and similar characteristics go down. No game mimics these 100% accurately. Some might have weapon degradation. Number 4. Armor in most FPS games, even some tactical shooters is 100% resistant to bullets. or Very resistant. In real life armor isn’t nearly that effective. There are armor piercing rounds that go right through armor. Number 5. In Realistic scenarios like Simulations, Getting shot anywhere can be deadly, not just the head and chest. Shot in the leg. You can’t walk. Shot in the knee or elbow, or fingers, you might be in so much pain that you cannot even move. Shot in the neck, risk of paralysis. Very few, if no games simulate this. Some games TRY to emulate real combat but most fail. The total of these games that come close in some cases in certain areas (like weapon physics, STALKER is a great example, or damage to the player (Far Cry)) are a small % of the total 605 FPS games ever made. MOST Fps games realism level is ridiculously low. For the first 10+ years of FPS games getting shot would just do minor damage most of the time. Not till Far cry come out did this change. Guns had no recoil in most old FPS games. Total % of TRUE “Semi-Realistic” games is 6.61% of all 605 FPS games ever made. But very few of these are even popular. Only 4.94% of all 81 popular FPS games are like this. These “Popular Semi-Realistic FPS games” are only 0.66% of all 605 FPS games ever made!
Claim 7 : Most FPS games are “War Themed” games (think COD) that make gamers want to join the Military.
Source : A commenter in one article surveyed in my studies into comments saying this
This claim was repeated many times in the comments I studied. Basically it said most Violent games are “Realistic” War games that are being used as recruitment tools by the Real Military. Only 1 FPS Game counts as this however, in reality that is. That’s American Army. No other FPS game is a recruitment tool, period. Many games use war as a thematic backdrop. However MANY of these simply lack proper realism. COD for instance has “points”, “Regenerating Health” while taking cover. Hardly realistic designs for the gameplay, in a true realism sense. So the claim that these games are “realistic” is coming from the visuals only. Gameplay wise Realism is only seen in a tiny sub % of all these games. Mostly Ghost Recon. Out of all 605 FPS games, 17.52% are “war” themed. That’s less than a 5’th! Out of 81 Popular FPS games, 19.75% are war themed. That’s still less than a 5’th, barely. These “popular war themed FPS games” only make up 2.64% of all 605 FPS games ever made. Less than 3%!
Claim 8 : Most FPS games Glorify Terrorism
Source : Some news article targetting Counterstrike after Virginia Tech
This claim comes from an article attacking Counterstrike and any other games that allow the player play as a Terrorist, Overexagerating most FPS games like they are Terrorist training Simulators. The truth is that this is the least prominant type of FPS game of all the claims besides the last. There are literally only 4 FPS games ever made that fit this description (0.66%!) out of the 605 FPS games ever made. Out of the 81 Popular FPS games only 3 of these 4 count as “Terrorism” Simulators (3.70%!). These “Popular Terrorism Simulators” only make up 0.5% of all 605 FPS games ever made! So any time you here this claim (not that It will be said much I think from now), Know that it is a pure, unfiltered, polished, Turd of a Bullshit claim!
Claim 9 : Most FPS games are Ultra-Violent
Source : MANY, Many articles saying this in many ways, basically all saying most FPS games are uber violentbased on descriptions of one game (good example is all the articles describing games like Postal 2 to attack the Justices who voted against CA in EMA vs Brown)
Ok… This isn’t so much a claim but a pattern among articles “damning” Violent video games. These articles use examples from 1 or 2 violent games that are what I call “Uber Violent” games as proof that “most games” are like them. Uber violent games are a rare thing. What’s the definition of “Uber violent games”? Games that are so violent that most people would find them tastlessly violent. Out of all 605 FPS games ever made, only 4.46% are “Uber Violent” like this. Only 14.81% of all 81 Popular FPS games could be considered Uber Violent. These “Popular Uber Violent” Fps games only make 1.98% of all FPS games ever released! (605)
Claim 10 : There are games with “Decapitation” of “Prostitutes”, “Pushing victims into big running saws”, and “Sodomizingvictims with Broomsticks”
Source : Same group who filed the amicus brief above.
Ok…… The claim is that there are Violent games that have “Decapitation of prostitutes” and “sodomizing victims with broomsticks”. The former claim is a meticulous misinterpretation of the GTA games that is absolutely false. Yes. There are Prostitutes in these games and NON-graphic (aka not shown) Sex scenes in cars. And you can run them over after. But there is no way you can decapitate them….. Proof is this forum….. I quote:
“It’s pretty bad, considering the game he describes does not actually exist. Could be it’s Postal 2 (doubtful), but the game doesn’t really give you much of a context for you to describe it in that sort of detail. They’re just trying to make it sound like the kid played GTA IV, but you can’t actually decapitate prostitutes in the game, so that’s bogus. ”
Ok… So It’s not any GTA games…. Name any other game with prostitutes… Hmm… DNF (came out after the claim was made = doesn’t count), Duke3d…….. No other FPS games or violent games feature prostitutes, at least decapitateable ones…. So guess what…. This is one of the 2 claims that IS an outright lie… Basically NO game allows you to decapitate prostitutes! Ok… So that’s bad enough. But what about the saws claim? Turns out there is games that have this feature. JUST 2 of them! Manhunt 1 and 2. No others…. Those are popular games sure, and sick ones too….. But they only make up 0.33% percent of all 605 FPS games ever made! But since manhunt aren’t FPS games…… That’s actually a much LOWER % of all types of violent games because there are FAR more than 605 total FPS/Third Person Shooter/RPG/Survival Horror/etc genre games ever made…. So EVEN though 2 popular games that ARENT FPS games have this feature, they are the ONLY ones….. Now… What about the “Sodomize victims with Broomsticks” claim? SURPRISE! NO GAME FEATURES THIS AS WELL! Doing a Google Search on this claim lead to 3 things. 1) The Original Claim… 2) My Blog Debunking the Claim and 3) Gamers saying it’s not true and making fun of it…. NO other proof that a game with this feature even exists….
So out of these three claims claimed up by the pro family Group: 2 are complete Fabrications, and 1 is only seen in 2 games. Wow…. Sheesh…. Since 99% of these claims aren’t lies but gross overexagerations of games, I can’t say that the media saying them is doing it on purpose, or are spreading “lies”. However, it’s really bad… Because People today believe everything they hear…. My research seemed to show the real truth in the matter….