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September 20, 2013

Violence in Video Games Causes Controversy

by Leon Phanrana

On September 17, Grand Theft Auto V was released. The series contains brutal combat, and it raises a question: Do violent video games cause players to become violent?

Violence has always been present in video games, but it was not a problem until 1992 when the extremely violent game Mortal Kombat was released. Controversy for the Grand Theft Auto series did not start until the third game of the series, Grand Theft Auto III. Because the game allowed players to kill every character they wanted, some people blamed that feature when any mass murder occurred. It is not just the Grand Theft Auto series that people put the blame on; the Halo series, Call of Duty series, and Counter-Strike series are also blamed. All these games have the similar concept of grab a gun and go kill.

Mass media likes to put the blame on these games especially when the murderer is a young adult or a teenager. There is little to no substance for big media corporations to say that these video games cause murders, but that does not mean video games can not be a factor.

The Centinal asked Greg Stock, a social studies teacher at Centennial High School, his opinion on the correlation between violent video games and murders. “It could be a factor if the murderer had no positives in their life and if they had a mental issue,” said Stock.

There are several examples of Grand Theft Auto influencing real life. In 2008, six teenagers were arrested in New Hyde Park, New York for a crime spree, which included mugging and a robbery attempt on a woman’s car and a parked van, but no one was killed. Just this year, a boy only eight years old shot and killed his grandmother after playing a video game. The debate over violent video games will be an endless one.

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