Grossman on VA Tech Massacre: Blame the Games

May 19, 2007 -
While Jack Thompson's attempts to blame the Virginia Tech massacre on video games didn't go over so well, another critic of video game violence has weighed in on the Virginia Tech massacre.

As reported by the NewsMax site, David Grossman (left) and a colleague, Frank Borelli, seem to point the finger at violent video games. From the article:
Shooter Cho Seung-Hui was moving through Norris Hall methodically firing his weapon as if he were playing a first-person shooter (FPS) video game...

One of the world's foremost experts on the causes of violence, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, who has seen confidential information stemming from the investigation, tells NewsMax in an exclusive interview that Cho was "deeply influenced by media violence."

...Grossman forwarded an e-mail from Borelli... Borelli suggests that intensive extensive FPS gaming experience helped Cho fire with devastating accuracy...

Borelli cited an "anonymous reliable source" for the information that Cho fired three shots into nearly every victim. Some video games require the firing of multiple shots at each target.

GP: Anonymous source? The fact that Cho fired multiple shots at victims was widely reported in the mainstream press.
"The rest is quite obvious," Borelli wrote Grossman. "Even if [Cho] only hit each victim once, he had a 32 percent hit ratio, which is better than most cop shootings."

GP: But wouldn't most cop shootings take place under the stress of confronting a bad guy who is shooting back? Cho, an angry sociopath clearly unburdened by any sense of human compassion, fired his weapons into small rooms crowded with unarmed people at close range.

In fact, in this USA Today report, Virginia Tech victim Colin Goddard describes being shot once by Cho, who then goes around the room shooting those who were already down. He fired two more bullets into Goddard. It seems like it would be difficult to miss under those conditions, FPS experience or not.

UPDATE: Frank Borelli has posted in comments, clarifying some of what was reported by the NewsMax site. We greatly appreciate his taking the time to do so.

Comments

"I’ll bet you five bucks the anoyomus source was Jack Thompson."

Just five?

Someday, I'll learn to get all my ideas in before I hit submit. Until then:

I just finally read the last paragraph of the article (having given up after the first amendment thing earlier).

"I hope that I am wrong and I pray that I am wrong, "Grossman adds, "when [Cho's] generation hits the workplace and they hit the public domain, they are going to make the … shootings that we have seen so far pale by comparison. We will reap what we sow for many generations to come."

First, I don't believe him. He's a disingenuous liar. He needs this to keep happening or he goes out of business. Few and far between are people who would honestly wish themselves out of a job. Secondly, Cho's generation is in the workplace already. The gamers are already out there, busily not shooting people. And remember kids, the games Postal gets its name from something specific. Look at the first shooting there. Fourteen dead in 1986. That's Duck Hunt for you. The original home murder simulator.

"Cho fired three shots into nearly every victim."

That's what is called the "Beretta Reflex", actually. One bullet to adjust your aim, one bullet to hit the target, one bullet to kill the target. This is what kills my score at Laser Tag :(

SURPRISE!

It's weird how the only people so far who can confirm that Cho played games at all are Jack Thompson and David Grossman.

Nice to know that if I someday have to use a gun, I can already shoot it better than a trained policeman(Even tough I've never even held a real gun in my hand)! LOL.

Y'know, my friend got a BB gun for his birthday in January. I went out with him and his brother (the giver) that day, and fired some BBs at targets. Aside from that, I've never fired anything but a Super Soaker. I also haven't played an FPS with any seriousness since Doom II was new. My friend plays the Call of Duty and Medal of Honor games with incredible regularity, and frequently fires other BB guns. His brother plays fewer FPSes (but still more than me) and shoots less (but still more than me). However, unlike them, I am very athletic. I participate in many sports, including hockey and baseball. Both of those sports involve high degrees of hand-eye co-ordination. I am also an avid gamer, just not FPS games, so any gaming hand-eye co-ordination they have is likely matched by me.

I was far and away the better marksman of the three of us. And even considering that, I know I'd still wreck my arm and/or face if I ever tried to fire real guns without proper training.

These two guys are former military and police men. Surely they know that firing a gun is more than just point and shoot. Surely they know that well-planned and executed crimes and troop movements existed before games. Why then do these men choose to deliberately lie to the media and the population at large?

“Even if [Cho] only hit each victim once, he had a 32 percent hit ratio, which is better than most cop shootings.”

Err... didn't Cho practiced at an actual shooting range before the massacre... call me crazy but i think that's where the accuracy came from. For some reason these two seem to say that how Cho shot poeple is proof that he was influenced by FPS games, and yet the biggest piece of evidence, Cho ACUTALLY owning any violent video games is still missing... so far, the is no evidence that Cho played an FPs game since he entered college... what a couple of morons

Dave Grossman should shut the f*** up, he's out of his element.

If Grossman, Jack Thompson, and others of their ilk truly believed their own bull****, then they should adopt Ron White's method:

Donate a roll of quarters to every cop in America, and drop them off at the mall.

"Shooter Cho Seung-Hui was moving through Norris Hall methodically firing his weapon as if he were playing a first-person shooter (FPS) video game…"

Is it possible that FPS`make you move methodicly, firing your weaqpons because people do that in real life.

"Devastatingly accurate"... Is shooting point plank devastatingly accurate? In that case most pasifists are pistol marksmen and I'm a top notch sniper (Note: I've never fired anything but a small caliber rifle).

right. video gamers are better shots than trained cops. why dont we fire every cop in this country and replace them with gamers that play shooters. or better yet, maybe we should send them to iraq, that way they can end this war.

Grossman on VA Tech Massacre: Blame the Games...

...

Oh dear hear comes more blame from idiots who have no idea what they are talking about.

I'll bet you five bucks the anoyomus source was Jack Thompson.

He's a bit late jumping onto the Massacre Chaser bandwagon, it must have taken a while for the memo to reach him or something.

Hmmm.. I wonder if there's a huge conspiracy where people like Jack Thompson and Grossman get together to decide which tragedies they are going to try and profit from.

Actually that's a thought, maybe JT WANTS a conspiracy, after all, if you're Batman, fighting 'evil', you want to be up against 'Evil Inc.' not one-off muggers. Maybe that's why Jack constructs his little fantasy world?

Why does anyone think this argument makes any sense? Holding a mouse or a controller is so co,pletely removed from the experience of holding and firing a gun. It seems that the only argument is that video games improve your "hand-eye coordination". Well so does Baseball, ar anything else. If these training simulations are so deadly, why aren't we banning all of the 13 year olds from paint ball tournaments? The recoil of a paintball, the joy you get from inflicting pain on your friends, these kids must be psychotic by now!

Learning how to handle recoil properly takes weeks if not months of practice to get down properly something FPS can never do,and it doesn't help this guys case that most of the wounded duck and covered and were shot at 5 feet due to them not making themselves a hard target.

Grossman is a moron and his theory's are bullshit and have even been put down by those in the military (as they have said games are not used to desensitize soldiers or to train them how to shoot, but to teach teamwork and coordination.).

Personally I'm still leaning in the direction of "no evidence of gaming found" rather than listening to someone who is a noted anti-gamer talk about secret, confidential info.

Frankly, I find none of his arguments compelling. Aside from what's mentioned int he GP article, Grossman talks about shooting through doors and how modern FPS games make clear the difference between cover and concealment. So does TV. So do movies. So does rational thought. All speculation aside, this Cho kid was off at a good tech university. It's reasonable to assume he's smart enough to think a bullet can pass through a door, regardless of personal experience - simulated or otherwise.

Of course, Grossman then goes on with more of these silly games marketed to children, not protected by the first amendment arguments. They're not valid, can people please move on to something new and relevant? Leaving aside the fact that I don't believe what he's saying, my primary rebuttal would be this: Many people and corporations can "hide" behind the Constitution and its amendments, should they all be gotten rid of? Personally, I ascribe to the idea that it's better for ten guilty men to go free than for one innocent man to be punished.

Our main story tonight: cops are more equipped to defend themselves than untrained civilians. Details at 8:00...

One fatal flaw with the argument: FPS are useless for teaching people how to shoot properly. At best they teach you the value of head-shots, but I'm willing to bet a massive percentage of gamers don't even know how to hold guns properly to avoid serious backlash, slide-bites, etc. Now, if the guy had used a robot that was controlled via a system similar to that of a game...

Oh, and lets not forget that the guy's friends say he never played games. This guy's fish story is getting boring, really.

Hey, I wanted to mention something: shooter games, even when played with a controller or mouse and keyboard (as most are), teach you a very important skill, which is to keep your cool under pressure. Even if they cannot condition you to know how to aim and fire, they will still condition you to be cold, calm, and alert in hostile situations. That, of course, goes both ways, because the ability to keep your cool can be very useful in emergency situations where you have to leave an area as quickly as possible without freaking out.

So, if we assume for the sake of argument (though there's no evidence) that Cho played Counter-Strike, it certainly would have desensitized him to the process of killing and allowed him to pull off his heinous act with deadly efficiency. That said, obviously, he made his own choice when he decided to be a killer, and a nuance that is often lost on the mainstream media is that Counter-Strike is a team-based tactical strike game akin to paintball rather than a mow-'em-down, rack-up-the-kills, shallow gore-fest like Black.

There was a problem with the link above because the URL contained a bad dot at the end. Here is the correct link : http://www.borelliconsulting.com/articles/gamesimulation.htm

The way I see it Mr Borelli is this. Even if games are an effective method of training to use firearms there are more effective methods that are not restricted. Going to the gun range for instance. We have many politicians trying to regulate our hobbies because they feel (unjustly)that games are training our children to be killers. Even if that were true though we don't prevent people from training to become killers. We allow people to take firearms classes and self defence classes and any number of trainings to hurt or kill other people. Why should games be regulated because they could be used for training when the actual training is not?

[...] When the effects of video games on children are discussed in the media, it’s all about violence, addiction and sexual content. Well, I’ve played a lot of games a kid, and I believe that these kinds of influence were pretty marginal on me. However, there’s one thing about video games that truly inspired me as a kid, so much that I was thinking about it at least once a day: The concept of a save-game. [...]

By the way, as this blog entry is getting old, I created a thread in GP forums to centralize all infos about Mr. Borelli's contribution to the debate. You can check it here : http://www.gamepoliticsforums.com/showthread.php?t=2418

So, I read this article, and it was interesting and well-written. Althgough it may lack an insight on a particular aspect of games and simulations : the teaching of team play and tactical skills. I'm gonna try to explain it the best I can, considering my limited knowledge and my raw English :

Many FPS games put the player into an unrealistic context, including fantasy, sci-fi or pseudo-sci-fi worlds, creatures and weapons. Examples : popular game series such as "Doom", "Quake", "Wolfenstein", Half-Life", "Unreal", "Unreal Tournament", "Star Wars Jedi Knight", "Serious Sam", "Halo"... and games such as "Prey", "Stalker", "Duke Nukem 3D", etc...

Other FPS games put the player into a pseudo-realistic military context, in the sense that real weapons and military uniforms are accurately modeled, but usually the gameplay is far too unrealistic. Various examples are game series such as "Counter-Strike", "Battlefield" and "Medal of Honor".

In the first example, "Counter Strike", weapons and counter-terrorist equipments are correctly modeled, but that's all. First, the maps in which players are put are sometimes very "unprobable" (aztec ruins, for example...). Second, as you can die by being hit repeatedly in any part of the body, you can kill your opponents by jumping relentlessly and shooting in the legs. Even if it's a game that separates players in two teams, I'm not sure it can teach any team fight skills. And anyway, the game, originally a modification of another game, wasn't made to be "realistic" : it's just cops and robbers replaced by terrorists and counter-terrorists.

In the second example, the first episodes of the "Battlefield" series (that is, "Battlefield 1942", "Battlefield Vietnam" and Battlefield 2 : Modern Combat"), weapons, uniforms and vehicles are correctly modeled, and the context is a real war. But although the maps are more "appropriate" than "Counter-Strike", there isn't a too big effort in realism, and you can still kill opponents by jumping like a frog and shooting in the legs, or even on the ground hoping that it would hit your close opponents. About team play, it may have a value in "Battlefield 2" with the commandment system (one player is the leader), but I haven't tried it yet and I don't know what it's worth. Anyway, once again, it's cops-and-robbers in a pseudo-realistic world, but this time with vehicles.

In the third example, the "Medal of Honor" series, especially "Medal of Honor : Allied Assault". I haven't tried the multiplayer part, only the single player part, in which the player is put in realistic WW2 context, with weapons and uniforms correctly modeled, but with a very "scripted" action : go there, kill opponents, then go there, etc... without many possibilities to get out of the script. It's much more an interactive version of "Saving Private Ryan" than an accurate depiction of WW2 fights.

The common denominator of all these pseudo-military games is that the only realistic thing is the modeling of weapons, clothes, and eventually vehicles. But the gameplay in itself is anything but realistic. I see maybe only one exception : the "Soldier of Fortune" series (that puts the player in the context of mercenary world) because of its very accurate and realistic hit points system. Another common denominator is that you can't do anything and fire at anyone. If you kill men of your team, you're likely to be kicked abruptly out of the game. And in "Counter Strike" in particular, you must not kill hostages when there are some, even if you're on the terrorist side, because it makes your team lose money (and it gives your fellow players the temptation to kick you out of the server, once again).

And now, you have a special subgenre of FPS games, called "tactical FPS". Like pseudo-military FPS games, they put the player into realistic context (be it military or terrorist and counter-terrorist world) and weapons, uniforms and eventually vehicles are modeled with accuracy. But this time, the situation is credible enough, and the most important of all, the gameplay, is very realistic. You cannot jump like a frog and shoot on the ground any longer. And they even may teach tactical skills. The best examples are the game series "Rainbow Six" and "Operation Flashpoint/Armed Assault" (I can also mention the "SWAT" and the "Ghost Recon" series).

In the first example, "Rainbow Six", "Rainbow Six 2 : Rogue Spear" and "Rainbow Six 3 : Raven Shield", the player is put into the context of counter-terrorism (hostages to rescue, etc...). You are the leader of a squad, but you also have the support of other squads. There is first a tactical part in which you must choose your equipment and the men of your squad, and you must also give instructions to other squads so that they can operate independently. In the FPS part, you can command men of your squad and give some orders. The tactical part is excellent, and some players enjoy playing only this part and skipping the FPS part, letting their squads operating alone.

In the second example, "Operation Flashpoint", its official sequel "Operation Flashpoint 2" and its officious sequel "Armed Assault", the player is put into the context of a recent hypothetic war (in "Operation Flashpoint", it was a war in Eastern Europe against a communist or ex-communist army). The uniforms, the weapons and the vehicles are modeled correctly. But this time, the gameplay is very realistic (I really had the sensation to be put into the context of military combat), there are serious battle plans with big battle fields and accurate topographies, and you also can give orders to your company. In fact, it is so realistic that some armies use an advanced version of this game as simulation.

This is all I know about Tactical FPS, their difference between fantasy and pseudo-military FPS, and the teaching of tactical skills. I may have forgotten some things, or misinterpreted other things, so I ask any reader of this post to correct me if I'm wrong, and add any important precision I forgot to make. Anyway, I hope my post was useful enough.

Unfortunately Mr. Borelli, that's a fact of human nature, and somewhat a product of our own news system. You were unfortunate enough to have been lumped in with the guys that took your message and twisted it. It is a lot easier for people to look at a quote in the light that others paint it in than to actually read the source material and understand where a person's coming from. I know I'm guilty of it too, though I try to be as educated as possible before I post.

This is not just something that is done here, or just by people passionate about games. It does not take watching a partisan "news" program for long to realize that you can hear a quote that sounds completely reasonable in context, given a hard spin for one side and the other, and if you didn't take the time to suss out how much spin was there, you could easily miss what the quote actually said, and get swept up in the rhetoric that the discussion tried to push.

Believe me, I think you've handled yourself extremely well. I just want to highlight one thing you said: "It does upset me that I was attacked for having an outlook I never held or expressed."

I think a lot of people who enjoy gaming can sympathize here, because that is our main complaint. Games are described as evil, immoral, murder simulators, etc. Most people have never had the mindset that the violence in games was something to be condoned. The violence on the screen is seperated from reality, which allows them to "enjoy" it because it's so far removed from the realm of possibility.

Yet our hobby is attacked, and we are all held to the outlook that a very small, very troubled minority has shown, and treated the same. It has made a lot of us upset because we cannot understand why people lump us all together and say things about our collective hobby and the people who play it. Many people can't express themselves in a rational manner, and sound like fools (though I say the same of many pundits in partisan media talk shows).

In the end, you've probably done more by talking here than you know. It brought the people who want to discuss this rationally out. I wish that those who mis-used your own words had done the same. I don't think we'd change their minds (just as we may not have changed yours) but I think it would give both sides a better idea of who they're dealing with.

You're absolutely right that there is no one proper stereotype of "gamer", since the sample of people that play games is drawn from such a huge range of backgrounds. Unfortunately, I don't think that many people know that, or care to acknowledge that. They choose to judge us by the company we keep, and just it upsets you, it upsets us. As I've said, nothing that you personally said has been directly against our hobby, and when given a bit of info about games, you were quick to clarify yourself. But sometimes, no matter what you say, you will be judged by the people around you, even if you have nothing to do with them.

Unfortunately Mr. Borelli, that's a fact of human nature, and somewhat a product of our own news system. You were unfortunate enough to have been lumped in with the guys that took your message and twisted it. It is a lot easier for people to look at a quote in the light that others paint it in than to actually read the source material and understand where a person's coming from. I know I'm guilty of it too, though I try to be as educated as possible before I post.

This is not just something that is done here, or just by people passionate about games. It does not take watching a partisan "news" program for long to realize that you can hear a quote that sounds completely reasonable in context, given a hard spin for one side and the other, and if you didn't take the time to suss out how much spin was there, you could easily miss what the quote actually said, and get swept up in the rhetoric that the discussion tried to push.

Believe me, I think you've handled yourself extremely well. I just want to highlight one thing you said: "It does upset me that I was attacked for having an outlook I never held or expressed."

I think a lot of people who enjoy gaming can sympathize here, because that is our main complaint. Games are described as evil, immoral, murder simulators, etc. Most people have never had the mindset that the violence in games was something to be condoned. The violence on the screen is seperated from reality, which allows them to "enjoy" it because it's so far removed from the realm of possibility.

Yet our hobby is attacked, and we are all held to the outlook that a very small, very troubled minority has shown, and treated the same. It has made a lot of us upset because we cannot understand why people lump us all together and say things about our collective hobby and the people who play it. Many people can't express themselves in a rational manner, and sound like fools (though I say the same of many pundits in partisan media talk shows).

In the end, you've probably done more by talking here than you know. It brought the people who want to discuss this rationally out. I wish that those who mis-used your own words had done the same. I don't think we'd change their minds (just as we may not have changed yours) but I think it would give both sides a better idea of who they're dealing with.

You're absolutely right that there is no one proper stereotype of "gamer", since the sample of people that play games is drawn from such a huge range of backgrounds. Unfortunately, I don't think that many people know that, or care to acknowledge that. They choose to judge us by the company we keep, and just it upsets you, it upsets us. As I've said, nothing that you personally said has been directly against our hobby, and when given a bit of info about games, you were quick to clarify yourself. But sometimes, no matter what you say, you will be judged by the people around you, even if you have nothing to do with them.

Well, here's the funny thing: I've never stereotyped "gamers". I've never even considered there to be a group of people classified sufficiently together to be stereotyped. I'm old fashioned enough that I'd consider anyone who regularly plays ANY game on a computer or other system a "gamer". That would include my wife and two sons.

Where that is causing me discord is when the course of the discussion leads down a path where someone who cares a LOT about gaming wants to discuss a technicality or detail that I'm not only not aware of but couldn't care less about. I don't mean to sound cold and calous, but it's just a game, ya' know? To me games have always been those things I play when I have absolutely nothing more important, pressing or interesting to do. That outlook, on my part, will probably keep me from ever groking your position.

And while it is certainly obvious that there are plenty of mature gamers here (not in age, but in outlook) you only have to read some of the above statements to see that some aren't. Like any other group, those who attack anything they don't like, show anger at an expressed opinion they disagree with, or simply "argue" by spouting a few colorful expletives insulting the person who said what they didn't want to hear - well, those folks don't make the rest of you look very good. True, you shouldn't all be lumped together but we know what human nature is.

And, just for the record, I had to go back and look at what I was actually quoted as having said. I still couldn't figure out why people were so angry with ME.

"Cho had limited experience with real guns, but had an astonishing hit ratio, rhythmic fire patterns, quick reloads -- and fired ‘tactically,' with three shots into nearly every student killed."

“Borelli cited an "anonymous reliable source" for the information that Cho fired three shots into nearly every victim.”

"The rest is quite obvious," Borelli wrote Grossman. "Even if [Cho] only hit each victim once, he had a 32 percent hit ratio, which is better than most cop shootings."

"Many video games today do make a difference between cover and concealment, but some also allow players to destroy barriers by shooting them enough times," Borelli writes. "Where was he in his head?"

Those four statements are all I said. Everything else around them is spin from NewsMax. Only the very last one even mentions games and, given that Cho was diagnosed with mental issues, I think it's a valid question to wonder whether he was "playing" in real life. That last comment was made because Cho shot into some doors but didn't otherwise try to penetrate that barrier. I was wondering if, JUST PERHAPS, he'd played a game that allowed him to destroy a barrier by shooting it - and when the real door didn't disappear he moved on.

I never said games were evil. I never said games make people evil. It does upset me that I was attacked for having an outlook I never held or expressed.

Welcome to Thursday.

Frank Borelli, I like many gamers(then again, I just found this site so I'm new here) would like to thank you for clearing things up about this. I was about to say you were going to be like Jack Thompson, but you quickly proved yourself not to be, just someone who's willing to make an unbaised view on tghe issue.

But I have to ask you, do you think violent games make mentally stable people calmer\less agressive? because from my experiance, cutting up demons with a chainsaw has relieved stress from a stressful day in College but I could be biased in favour of games. I know your not arguing about games making people madmen, but I wonder if it could go the other way.

yet again, thank you very much for comments.

Mr.Borelli

Thank you for your time,
Though to clarify a bit, despite how it may sound, we are trying to "convert" you, merely make sure your information is correct. Through our time of hearing from poeple like Jack Thompson and to a much less extreme extent Dave Gossman, we have heard alot of lies and misinformation being spread.... frankly, (combined with some personal bias) i think it's gotten to the point where we react a bit too harshly and defensivly (hence why it may come off as trying to "convert" you)... Really, it puts a bad taste in our mouths whenever we hear something that sounds blantantly false that is being told an accepted by truth. For instance, with Jack thompson's help in Lousiana, Roy Burrel tried to pass a law regulating video games and as a way on convincing his fellow politicans to vote for the bill, he talked about some of the more controversal flash games, even though these were games that would not be regulated by his bill since they are not sold in retail. Poeple like Jack also like to talk about controller based games training poeple how to shoot a weapon which is rather ridiculus (which is why i'm glad you make the distiction between light guns and Controllers when it comes to training... just wish it could have been in the newsmax article)

In this case, the Newsmax story has certain things that you said that sound very errored. Specfically how it mentions that you think that Cho used counterstrike as a method to increase his skills with a gun. The thing is this is something that is just very untrue. In these comments you make the distinction between "light gun" based games and "FPS" controller based games, noting, that while both can condition you, only light gun gamescan actually help train someone to shoot a gun and that FPS games would be rather ineffective. The thing about Cho is, that it is rather unlikely that he was often playing the light gun games. light gun games are only popular in arcades, not in the home, and i'm not even sure that if a light gun version of Counterstrike even exists (though if it did, and Cho had one, i would think the light gun would have popped up in the seizure reports)... If Cho played any kind of FPS game, then it is far more likely that it was controller based and not a light gun game... if anything contributed to Cho's accuracy its probably from the time he spent on the actual shooting range.

"In Cho’s case, his family and roommates have made statements that he was an avid Counter-Strike game player; that he played this game almost every evening and did so for hours on end."

This is another statment that raises a few flags... So far the only mention i have heard of Cho's game playing habits was the very few reports like the one made by the washington post which mentioned he played counterstrike back in high school. How much he played was never mentioned... second of all, Cho's roomate in college said that he never saw Cho playing video games; every time Cho was on his computer it was to write something. the roomate also mentioned that Cho liked watching Wrestling and gameshows. Not once have i heard a report mention Cho playing Counter Strike after his highschool days. From what i can gather, Cho seemed to have stopped playing those games sometime after he left for college (not to hard to believe, seeing as college tends to leave less time for games)... Even the police seizure reports did not mention anything about games... i mean, overall, is that comment about Cho's game playing habits come from something i have not heard, new information that tells us that Cho was into playing counterstrike late into his college years, or is that all information of what Cho was like Prior to going to college.

Frankly, many of us just want the truth being told... if poeple are going to mention something bad about games, then at the very least it should be true. The truth about violent games just too often gets clouded by misinformation... Poeple like Thompson and a few choice politicans often makes things seem far far worse then they actually are... but ofcourse, being misinformed goes both ways, and we too can be wrong at times... so if what i mentioned about Cho's game playing habits is wrong, then please correct me.... Agian, thanks for you time to actually discuss and clarify your position on the whole matter.

@monte

I Thought I saw a video clip of Cho's room mate saying he never saw him playing games, but After a few reads, I thought I was going crazy. Thanks for telling me that either a)I'm not or b)I'm not the only one going crazy.

Mr. Borelli,

As others have said, thank you for the discussion. If nothing else, I hope that your percieved view of "gamers" might have shifted a bit. There have certainly been those who have been reactionary and not entirely pleasant, but there have also been those of us who've posted intelligent, mature posts. Gamers as a whole still suffer from the "angry nerd in the basement" stereotype. Does that stereotype exist. Yeah. Some comments here seem to reinforce that same image.

But I hope you also realize that there of us out there who, like yourself, are genuinely concerned about how to portray gaming to the next generation. Those of us who view gaming as an emerging art form, and yet another way to interact with people the world over. Certainly, a lot of bad can come from gaming. Not simply with tragic events, but also the hostility, poor health and other factors affecting children today.

Yet there is also so much good there. I don't expect you to convert to be a gamer. I don't like polka, and there isn't much anyone could say to change that. What I hope is that you leave here with a greater appreciation for the gaming community, or at least a sense that many of us are socially conscious, well-intentioned people. You look at an event like Childs Play, and it's harder to say that gamers are loners and individualists who care only about themselves. You look at a discussion like this, and I hope it's harder to say that gamers are all aggressive, juveniles unable to express themselves.

I'd love to see your articles in the future, wherever they may fall in terms of opinion. But even more than that, I'd love to continue discussing things. I'm not sure if you're familiar with the term grok (from Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land), but it's a concept we discussed in one of my political science classes. To grok something is to understand it completely, to the point you could present a case for that side, even if you disagree. I'm not sure I fully grok your position yet, nor sure if you grok ours, but I do know that discussion is much, much more interesting than debate and hate posts.

Keep us informed, and we'll be here to talk to. No conversion process at all. I promise.

Folks:

I don't know enough about developmental psychology to make an intelligent statement about whether saturation play of video games can cause any issues at all.

When I typed the email quoted by NewsMax I didn't know that CounterStrike wasn't a Light Gun game - and I don't see how anyone can think that playing an FPS using a controller can help with shooting accuracy. But I've learned a few things from my involvement here.

Thanks...

Remember this too as you read ANY news article about ANY topic:

News doesn't sell. Sensationalism sells. The reporters got so out of hand in Blacksburg, VA that the local eateries had signs up inviting the media NOT to come in. In the reporting world, it's all about the scoop and many writers have their own slant on everything. Hell, I do and I TRY not to.

For every news report you read about something having to do with VA Tech we can probably find a news report that says the exact opposite. The reporting of cold fact is an old profession that has gone by the wayside...

@ ooftygoofty (from a long way back but hopefully still relevant!) :

According to ESA figures, the average age of American gamers is now 33.

Much the same is true in the UK.

Mr. Borelli: I'd like to applaud not only your willingness to carry on a dialogue here, but also to learn from it as well as educate. It's a sad fact that far too many people, even people in positions of power, seem to function on sound bites and headlines, without taking the time to learn all of the facts; and likewise, to then go on to act like they know all of the facts.

I can't help but compare it to when I was a Blackjack dealer in Vegas... the majority of the people who stepped up to the table had learned what the rules of the game were, and stopped learning there, thinking that they knew everything there was to know about the game.

WOW. this shit is gettin fuckin RIDICULOUS. I'm an ex Army Ranger with 4 years of semi intense combat experience; ranging from search and destroy to hostage rescue to target aquiring and interrogation. I'm pretty fucking young too. NEEDLESS to say, i've played video games since the old NES system up through all current venues. i LOVE FPS games; consequently i'm really good at said games. but to even suGGEST that my abilities with actual weapons have been positively effected by my FPS experience.? like.. WOW. that's uhm, the most unfactual RETARDED thing i've ever heard. if ANYthing, the only positive bump i've recieved in military training relating to video games in ANY aspect, would be my religious playing of smash bros on the gamecube. the hand eye cordination the game requires to track 4 seperate charactes simultaneously AND their objects is intense, no doubt. but again, in NO way has that had effect on my shooting ability. perhaps in my ability to assess targets faster and to "threat identify" with better accuracy and time. if anything, the reverse effect has occured. i have been applying my technical combat skills to the FPS games i play now, and rocking alot more ass then before. to suggest that the intense and critical military training and skills i have learned and recieved in my service to this country are in some way a direct result of my video game playing.?? are you TRYING to cheapen the blood shed by my fellows soldiers and those who didn't come home at all.? you fucking FAGGOT assed politicians. you're basically insulting not only the very specialized soldiers of YOUR COUNTRY'S military, but every one in the 15-25 age demographic thats plays these games as a means to VENT those violent urges in a safe and controlled environment with friends. and you would attempt to take them away from us.? would you rather teens take DRUGS in a means to satiate their boredom.? do you have any idea how EASY it is for kids and teenagers alike to aquire drugs of ANY from.? are you fucking joking.? yet another example of a country run by people 20 years removed from anything they're talking about. video games, media, sex, drugs... they're all running on ideals and principles learned while THEY were growing up; in an age COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY different from today.

First off, were violent even found in the shooter's room?! I'm a college student from Bowling Green State University, so I was watching the news coverage fairly intently about the V Tech tragedy because that is something that no one could imagine would actually happen at their school. However, when these critics began springing up on my TV, I couldn't help but talk back to the TV to repress my anger toward their oblivious ignorance and blatant insincerity for the victims or their friends and families. I was asking these critics questions like:

"Was there a stack of violent movies and video games in Cho's room?"

"Did you just come from seeing his room full of said violent material?"

And "Why aren't you talking about the real issue?"

The real issue being, that even if there actually were such violent materials in his room, they still are not what killed or even lead to the killing of those students and faculty. The GUNS that were LEGALLY sold to the LEGALLY DECLARED PSYCHO are what killed those innocent students and faculty. News reports blared over and over again about Cho's recent visit in a courthouse where the judge said (paraphrasing) "Hey, you are fuck-crazy. I'm sending you off to be with other crazy fucks." Then bureaucracy kicked in and no one was informed that he was legally declared "fuck-crazy" by a judge as he went right back to the unsuspecting community.

And if we followed these critics methodology for thinking, we would stray down a dark and extraordinarily dumb path: {Thoughts of a video game critic} "Violent media (games) made him a psycho and he is Korean. South Korea has a lot of video gamers, their players win a lot of gaming tournaments. More South Koreans must be psychos too"

So that's it, I figured it out. Video game critics are not leading crusades to divert people away from their horrible personal track records or for attention. Nope, it is painfully clear that all video game critics are racist against the South Koreans. It finally makes some sense now. ...Maybe. [This is called sarcasm for the slow critics]

See this is the problem with this whole debate. We might get an expert opinion from a trained army officer or the like, or we might get an opinion from a gaming geek, but rarely do you get anyone who knows a decent amount about both.

In this case Frank comes out saying games teach stance, positioning, aiming etc. and Cho played simulated killing games (counter strike) for hours on end a few years ago therefore he was trained to kill. Frank later agrees that these things are actually only trained by light gun games, which Cho and most other gamers do no spend hours on end playing.

So Frank's comments are taken to heart by people like Jack Thompson that killing simulation games train people with all of these skills, when in actual fact on reflection Frank is saying that only a small minority of the games being attacked actually train people with these skills. Conditioning might be another matter, but conditioning can be linked to all sorts of other media while training is linked directly to games beacuse they are interactive. I think before coming out and claiming that games can train these important skills you should clairfy what type of games you are talking about and realise they should be seen as a different issue to games played with a keyboard or controller which are actually the type of games that have been linked to Cho and other school shooters.

(me holding a gun)

"WTF WHY DOESN"T THE "X" BUTTON RELOAD?"

@Dave Thompson :

I didn't mean to be offensive, but I do believe that it could be perceived as a a “threat” because I know people nutty enough to perceive this as threats. I'll just mention one name : Jack Thompson. Remember how he ranted after his Mortal Kombat skin ? Remember how he ranted after Kotaku ?

Well, his rants themselves are not that important, but what I've learnt from V-Tech tragedy is that there will always be people to believe these nuts. After all, Thompson was able to introduce himself as a "school shooting expert". And a Larouchite managed to be heard in an independent panel.

I know that talking about CS hostage skins was for fun, and in a private conversation, I'd laugh and bring some nasty ideas of my own. But we're not in a private place. I may have overreacted, I apologize for it, and I'll try to calm down in the future, but with Jack Thompson, and now the Larouchites, I have serious reasons to be scared.

By the way, I thank Frank Borelli and fellow GP posters for having such a healthy and constructive discussion together. We need many more debates like this.

Thanks. Sorry. That was a period ending the sentence... my bad.

I am in the process of writing an article about the similarities and differences between "games" and "simulations" and the applicability of each (or not) for training. Will keep all advised when and where it's available.

Hmmm...

A couple points here:

1) I don't believe politicians do anything except for votes or money. So I would disagree that they're trying to control your hobby for the sake of anyone's safety. If they're trying to control your hobby it's about votes or dollars or both.

2) Unless playing a video game can activate your sympathetic nervous system (accellerated heart rate, increased respiration, increase in body temperature, tunnel vision, auditory exclusion, etc) as can happen in a real life and threat event, then I would disagree that the games can teach you to keep your cool under pressure. The only true pressure existant in games - bearing in mind that I've freely previously admitted my ignorance - is that caused by time limits and loss of play. Now, if everytime you were "damaged" in the game you got an electric shock through the controller, THEN you'd learn to keep your cool under pressure.

FYI: the article I wrote about games and simulations for training is online at http://www.borelliconsulting.com/articles/gamesimulation.htm. It was distributed through my newsletter Monday, May 28th. The link for comments at the bottom currently doesn't work because it's supposed to go to my websites discussion forum, but the forum is down. If you read and want to comment, send me an email.

Thanks!

Hi...I found your site via Yahoo! when i was searching for world war iii, and this post regarding Grossman on VA Tech Massacre: Blame the Games really sounds very interesting to me.. Thanks.

Hey!...I Googled for my msn, but found your page about Grossman on VA Tech Massacre: Blame the Games...and have to say thanks. nice read.

Hi there.... i was searching for world war iii and i came across your post and it is definitely the most sensible thing i have seen in a long time, and in my opinion you got something good going here, i have to get my friends to subscribe to your post about Grossman on VA Tech Massacre: Blame the Games.
 
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Matthew Wilson@pm I doubt it. Google seems to be distancing themselves from G+07/25/2014 - 9:31pm
Papa MidnightGoogle+ Integration is coming to Twitch!07/25/2014 - 8:41pm
MaskedPixelanteThis whole Twitch thing just reeks of Google saying "You thought you could get away from us and our policies. That's adorable."07/25/2014 - 2:52pm
Sleaker@james_fudge - hopefully that's the case, but I wont hold my breath for it to happen.07/25/2014 - 1:08pm
SleakerUpdate on crytek situation is a bit ambiguous, but I'm glad they finally said something: http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-07-25-crytek-addresses-financial-situation07/25/2014 - 1:07pm
E. Zachary KnightMan Atlas, Why do you not want me to have any money? Why? http://www.atlus.com/tears2/07/25/2014 - 12:06pm
Matthew WilsonI agree with that07/25/2014 - 10:45am
james_fudgeI think Twitch will have more of an impact on how YouTube/Google Plus work than the other way around.07/25/2014 - 10:22am
IanCWelp, twitch is going to suck now. Thanks google.07/25/2014 - 6:30am
Sleaker@MP - Looked up hitbox, thanks.07/24/2014 - 9:40pm
Matthew WilsonI agree, but to me given other known alternatives google seems to the the best option.07/24/2014 - 6:30pm
Andrew EisenTo be clear, I have no problem with Google buying it, I'm just concerned it will make a slew of objectively, quantifiably bad changes to Twitch just as it's done with YouTube over the years.07/24/2014 - 6:28pm
Matthew WilsonI doubt yahoo has the resources to pull it off, and I not just talking about money.07/24/2014 - 6:15pm
SleakerI wouldn't have minded a Yahoo purchase, probably would have been a better deal than Tumblr seeing as they paid the same for it...07/24/2014 - 6:13pm
MaskedPixelanteIt's the golden age of Hitbox, I guess.07/24/2014 - 6:08pm
Matthew Wilsonagain twitch was going to get bought. It was just who was going to buy it . Twitch was not even being able to handle the demand, so hey needed a company with allot of infrastructure to help them. I can understand why you would not want Google to buy it .07/24/2014 - 5:49pm
Andrew Eisen"Google is better than MS or Amazon" Wow. Google, as I mentioned earlier, progressively makes almost everything worse and yet there are still two lesser options. Again, wow!07/24/2014 - 5:43pm
Andrew EisenI don't know. MS, in my experience, is about 50/50 on its products. It's either fine or it's unusable crap. Amazon, well... I've never had a problem buying anything from them but I don't use any of their products or services so I couldn't really say.07/24/2014 - 5:42pm
Matthew WilsonGoogle is better than MS or Amazon.07/24/2014 - 5:33pm
Sleaker@AE - I've never seen youtube as a great portal to interact with people from a comment perspective. like ever. The whole interface doesn't really promote that.07/24/2014 - 5:28pm
 

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