Dream Deceivers

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Matt Barton
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http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5636910946432086857

I know it's somewhat off-topic, but how does this video affect you? It seems that "heavy metal" has a lot in common (at least to some people) with videogames. My martial arts instructor has been dropping lots of hints lately that he thinks the school shootings were caused by violent videogames, even though I've pointed out that there were undoubtedly other factors.

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Bill Loguidice
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Fight Night
Rowdy Rob wrote:

Generally, I don't take games that seriously, but there are times when I do... "Boxing" games especially... One of the reasons I want to get an XBox 360 is so I can play (and go psycho over) "Fight Night." I'll probably end up in jail after playing that game!

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As you know, one of my favorite games and the only Xbox 360 game where I got 100% of all achievements for a full 1000 points. And with a gamer score of only 2500, that's a huge percentage.

I believe the Fight Night series is on the roughly every other year schedule for an update so a new version should be out at some point soon. I can't wait! I also have it on the PSP. Regardless of version, your hands WILL ache!

Vintage Games book!
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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Rowdy Rob
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Thoughts...
Matt Barton wrote:

Definitely not "always," but it's hard to argue it's not often successful. Look at the success of shock jocks, or Shane R. Monroe for that matter. I doubt he'd have 1/4 the audience without his rants. Indeed, it's usually more fun to disagree with these views than to agree with them!

Sometimes Mr. Monroe's "rants" sound so bitter over a trivial matter that I find it off-putting (to say the least), making me wonder what's really wrong with him. Other times, the rants are quite entertaining, and I agree with him. One of the things I enjoy about Armchair Arcade is that it doesn't seem to be about YOU guys exclusively. I enjoyed RR, but it seemed when the posts got away from centering on "the show," they shut down the forums. I still respect RR and Mr. Monroe, but I feel like I'm not stepping on toes if I post here.

Mark Vergeer wrote:

From a gut feeling I can say that I don't like these hyper realistic FPS with rag-doll physics on the corpses that you can actually drag around and do horrible things to even after they are dead. They could perhaps be a bad influence without proper guidance from adults. It needs to be studied though before it is possible to prove there is a direct connection.
I believe that hyper-violent and realistic video games could be bad for some. But certainly not all.

I agree, and well put. I recall, after playing "GTA:San Andreas" pretty steadily, that I was getting GTA images in my head while driving! No, I didn't run over anyone or drive at 100 mph, but the fact that the image popped into my head made me wonder.... what happens if some young, impressionable youth played such a game? Would more than "images" pop into his head? Or am I some repressed psychotic? :-)

Generally, I don't take games that seriously, but there are times when I do... "Boxing" games especially... One of the reasons I want to get an XBox 360 is so I can play (and go psycho over) "Fight Night." I'll probably end up in jail after playing that game!

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Mark Vergeer
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blame it on the rain.....
Rowdy Rob wrote:

...
As for holding the parents responsible, in my viewpoint it's not quite that easy. I've known many a family with good parents, but one child turned out "good," and the other turned out "bad." Why is that? Nature over nurture? What happened?...

Nature over nurture happened. Some kids/people just have it in them to go a 'though' route. Some are more accident prone some are more likely to make 'bad' decisions. If you compare me and my 2 year younger brother there is a world of difference. He's a successful lawyer now but he used to always make the decisions and life choices I wasn't. He even had more injuries and broken bones than I did. It could be part of him wanting to be different from the 'all good kid' I seemed to be. So there is a lot of psychological system/family dynamics- factors that need to be taken into account as well. As for the strict nature / 'genetic' part. This straying from norm-behaviour is built into the genes of a lot of animal species. It is necessary to keep behaviour-patterns as flexible as possible as there might come a time when what are considered 'bad' behaviours and choices are actually quite favourable in adverse conditions. It makes a species and it's social structure more adaptable.

Rowdy Rob wrote:

As for the subject of videogames, I certainly believe that they can influence behavior in youth, particularly the modern, realistic, amoral "you-are-there" games. Parental influence can of course counteract that influence, but I believe it is there, and left unchecked, could contribute in some way to delinquent behavior.

Parents and other adult role models showing kids what is right and what is wrong are vital here. Especially if this society chooses to keep introducing these types of exposures to kids. Is it a solution to have 16 year olds not play any FPS? Or video games being adult only? Perhaps the industry has evolved too much for it to be 'stopped'. Do we want it stopped? Is it necessary to stop it?
From a gut feeling I can say that I don't like these hyper realistic FPS with rag-doll physics on the corpses that you can actually drag around and do horrible things to even after they are dead. They could perhaps be a bad influence without proper guidance from adults. It needs to be studied though before it is possible to prove there is a direct connection.
I believe that hyper-violent and realistic video games could be bad for some. But certainly not all.

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Rowdy Rob
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Over the top?
Mark Vergeer wrote:

Perhaps these experiments with stating 'over the top' things to induce a nice discussion don't always work..... Have a nice thanksgiving.

Believe it or not, a lot of Americans actually have what might seem to be "extreme" views to non-Americans. Matt, being an American, possibly feels just the way he said it, and is not just saying it to "provoke" discussion. (although I might be wrong and we're being "punked" by him.)

One of the interesting things about America is that it is a "melting pot" of all kinds of ethnicities, faiths, and cultural viewpoints. This is why we are often on the front lines of "ethical" debates.

With the rise of "liberalism" in America, we've also seen a rise in violence and failure, and many Americans connect the dots between "liberalism" and "problems" and see "hard-line" conservative solutions to correct these problems.

When you have kids shooting up schools in our country, questions must be asked! Where is the blame? What's causing this? What's the solution?

Holding parents responsible for their kids' actions is a quite attractive viewpoint in America. So is blaming popular culture (which includes videogames).

Europe doesn't seem to have these ethical dilemmas to the same degree that America does. For example, in America, the death penalty is a hotly debated subject. In Europe, the case is closed: the death penalty is archaic and cruel. The same seems to be true on several other ethical subjects, where the solution is, from a European viewpoint, obvious. ("Get rid of your guns!") Therefore, these "extreme" views on some subjects must seem tedious and idiotic outside of the American realm.

As for holding the parents responsible, in my viewpoint it's not quite that easy. I've known many a family with good parents, but one child turned out "good," and the other turned out "bad." Why is that? Nature over nurture? What happened?

As for the subject of videogames, I certainly believe that they can influence behavior in youth, particularly the modern, realistic, amoral "you-are-there" games. Parental influence can of course counteract that influence, but I believe it is there, and left unchecked, could contribute in some way to delinquent behavior.

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Matt Barton
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Definitely not "always," but

Definitely not "always," but it's hard to argue it's not often successful. Look at the success of shock jocks, or Shane R. Monroe for that matter. I doubt he'd have 1/4 the audience without his rants. Indeed, it's usually more fun to disagree with these views than to agree with them!

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Mark Vergeer
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Hmmm....

Perhaps these experiments with stating 'over the top' things to induce a nice discussion don't always work..... Have a nice thanksgiving.

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Matt Barton
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You know, I was just

You know, I was just thinking--they ought to throw abusive parents in the slammer as well when their kids end up as rapists and murderers. I daresay that might have an effect.

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Mark Vergeer
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Most abused children love their parents

When children are in an abusive environment they tend to blame themselves for it. With an abusive environment I mean situations that do not only include physical or mental abuse directed at the child but also situations where parents fight verbally or even physically in front of their children. It also includes parents - often divorced ones - that over indulge their kids out of some sort of guilt.
Even in sexual abuse cases a lot of kids tend to think its their fault or are even guilt tripped into thinking it is their fault.
Bottom line - kids have a tendency to be loyal to their parents no matter how rotten they are. It seems easier to be disloyal if you have over indulging or 'easy going' parents.

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Matt Barton
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I do think you can blame the

I do think you can blame the parents for most of these suicides/homicides and what-not. I bet if you were really thorough, you'd find that 100% of these guys have/had abusive parents (or siblings, teachers, etc.) I don't think people realize how prevalent this problem really is, mostly because the kids (or adults) don't want to blame their parents or condemn them for their behavior ("respect your parents," etc.) I mean who wants to admit their father sodomized them at the age of 7?? The very worst are the ones with violent, drunk stepfathers (or "mama's boyfriends") and insecure mothers (especially the ones on drugs). These kids hardly ever get a safe and productive childhood. If it were up to me, these kids would get taken away and raised by the state or adopted out; anything is better than being in constant danger and abuse.

Granted, I don't think punishing children is the same thing as abuse; it's more a matter of whether you have laid down rules the kids can understand or are making unreasonable demands. I think it's better to rely more on positives than negatives for this stuff--i.e., I'll give you $100 if you make straight A's on your report card, not I'll beat you if you don't make straight A's. If the kid doesn't make straight A's, no $100, and that "stings" in a more productive way because the goal is still there (chance at redemption). Then again, I think it's good to drop something after a punishment has been administered and not let it hang on.

So, basically what you end up with are lousy parents who abused their kids (or let them get abused). The kids turn to drugs, booze, develop a lifestyle of crime (or disorder in school, etc.) At that point, it doesn't matter if they like heavy metal, videogames, or are fanatical about their religion. The chance that they'll commit violence (suicide or homicide) is exponentially higher than a kid without these problems.

I like the signs idea--if a kid is obsessed with heavy metal, gruesome flicks, and violent videogames, those are "pre-incident indicators"). However, they are not enough in and of themselves. You have to look deeper and see if there are also things like a history of abuse, disruption in school, obsession with guns or knives, statements about "I'm going to kill" or "nothing ever changes," etc. When all that lines up, you better watch out.

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Mark Vergeer
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Child psychology and psychiatry

It is actually quite easy to spot accident prone kids at a very young age. Quite often they develop perfectly normal but some kids turn out to have AD(H)D or other disorders that make their lives a bit more challenging. Even in the case of AD(H)D it isn't always the best solution to shove Ritalin(r) down their throats...

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