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Do you think today's video games are too violent?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / June 6, 2012 3:49 AM PDT

To give you some context of this poll: Please read this blog:
Video game violence at E3: too far, and still not enough

Do you think today's video games are too violent?

-- Yes. (Please explain and tell us your age.)
-- No. (Please explain and tell us your age.)
-- They are just right. (Please explain and tell us your age.)
-- Undecided. (Please explain.)

Discuss the poll here.

Note: This post was edited by its original author on 06/06/2012 at 10:52 AM PT

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Violent games for a puritanical society.
by humorguy / June 6, 2012 6:07 AM PDT

Let's be honest. It's not about violent games. It's about puritanical societies in the US (where I lived for 12 years) and
the UK (where I was born.

They say our two countries have a special relationship and in this we do.

Our puritanical countries are offering very violent games to repressed gamers. This is what's dangerous.

Let me explain: Have you ever seen a murder on TV in the early (pre 9pm) market? Did it garner any news? Of
course not.

Now let''s take that murder out and put in it's place a beast feeding woman. Now what sort of complaints would there be? And how much news would be created. Exactly.

Where you have puritanical societies, you get higher crime, more drug use, more rape and more family
violence. The U.S. is No.1 in the world in these statistics - the UK is No.1 in Europe.

Conversely, Scandinavian countries are much more relaxed and mature about the human body and natural
sexual events, they also have very intelligent, rather than banal, murder mysteries. In survey after survey, these
countries have the lowest crime rates, the least rapes and the happiest citizens in Europe. There is a lesson to learn there.

So it's not just about violent games, it's about the repressed by society gamers that play them. This is what both the U.S. and U.K. need to think about if they're going to deal with the violent crime in their societies.

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Yes let's be honest!
by dmsprague / June 6, 2012 12:37 PM PDT

Humorguy I have to agree to a point with your puritanical analysis. We Americans remain plagued by spirits of purity and self-righteousness since the Salem Witch Trials. But the real point is the social effect violent games have on a significant segment of our youth.

Come with me to the Courthouse any given day and watch a juvenile docket. Time and time again we attorneys and judges see kids from broken homes and dysfunctional families who have been left to their own with little more than an Xbox to occupy their time. Crimes alleged may be petty level at first but all carry a similar undercurrent of disrespect for others and senses of powerlessness. Needs to act out and prove value in the only ways they seem to know become more violent as ages increase. Maturity levels though seem frozen in an undefined culture centered around taunting, destructive activities fed by totally uncaring families, drugs and self hatred. Violence acted out in real life just as acted out in the mythical world become real to these kids.

In case you might think I live in Harlem or East LA you should know my town is barely 15,000 souls, dead center in Kansas, free from organized gangs and touting a strong economic base with perhaps more organized churches per capita than any other area. Yet with all the advantages we have where "it takes a village to raise a child", violence and video gaming hits home. We who deal with it see it practically every day in a place where such things shouldn't be! Violence of any nature is a supporting role in defining a juvenile's character, and when coupled with societal failures, the results become our Court docket.

I am among the very first to speak out for First Amendment free speech rights, but gaming violence has surreptitiously passed the prohibition against yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater. Molly Wood is absolutely correct; a trip to her local Courthouse would, I strongly suspect, only strengthen her determination to chastise this greedy industry preying upon many who cannot resist its shallow enticements.

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by saint452 / June 9, 2012 10:33 PM PDT
In reply to: Yes let's be honest!

As an ex-soldier I must agree with you. There is much violence to be seen in the world itself and should not be passed on to our children, however, these games should be allowed and available to adults as it is a responsibility of the First Amendment and in the free choice of this society. I just wish more parents were more responsible in choosing what their children are being exposed to in video gaming, television, and on their computers and cellphones with Internet access.

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video games are too violent
by grumpylady61 / June 6, 2012 6:11 AM PDT

For a start, a 6 year old shouldn't know what suicide is. My child would want to know what it meant.
Let kids be kids first. INNOCENT

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They are just right..
by Chuckroid / June 6, 2012 6:13 AM PDT

... at least for today. It's just like in the movies. The Exorcist scared the bejeezus outta me when it first came out. Now it's fun to watch and laugh at, with all it's obvious fakeness. This stuff has to evolve, or it won't sell. What's gory and violent today, will be comical tomorrow...

Charles Sanchez
Age: 49

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Evolving? Or gaining life experience?
by mach37 / June 6, 2012 8:22 AM PDT
In reply to: They are just right..

You are describing the difference between what you knew as a child versus what you have learned since then.

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I'm not asking for more violence
by mannsdan / June 6, 2012 6:14 AM PDT

I think the bigger issue is whether or not parents are taken a proactive role in what their kids are playing on video game consoles. I am 43 years old and love playing first person shooting games that are strategic in nature; games like COD's domination or Battlefield 3's Conquest; games that require teamwork and coordination. And sure, there is violence in these games - the kind that you would expect on a battle field, not the gratuitous, over the top unnecessary kind of violence. I am a big boy and can rightly handle exposure to this kind of violence and I certainly don't need any more regulations on video games to help me figure that out. The bigger issue though: My family is a video game family; all my children play video games, (15 year old boy, 13 year old girl, 11 year old girl and 8 year old boy). It's MY responsiblilty to make sure they are not exposed to graphic subject matter of any kind before they are old enough to rightly digest and discern it without any adverse affect on their conscience or psyche. It's parent's job, not the government's - to monitor all the video game activities in a household and to set the proper boundaries and parameters. That's why my 8 year old plays nintendo ds games, my 11 year old plays minecraft, my 13 year old plays warcraft and my oldest is allowed to play COD and BF3.

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My son said it best
by camerams / June 6, 2012 6:25 AM PDT

My son, now 19 years old, loves first person shooter games. When "Grand Theft Auto" came out years ago, I refused to let him play it. I objected to the idea of the game (less so, the violence). My son said to me "Mom, I know it's just a game. It's not like I'M going to go out and kill anyone!" That made sense, but I still didn't like what the game was "teaching". Now that he's older, I don't care what he plays. He's not going to go out and kill anyone, and objects to unnecessary violence in the real world. Still, I don't think that all the graphic blood and gore is necessary either in video games or in movies. In fact, even my kids have said that the scariest movies are rarely the ones with the most gore. They are the ones with the most tension. Because children don't really understand the finality of death, the violent games are just "fun". I object on principal, and will always object, to the portrayal of graphic violence without the accompanying repercussions. I don't like what they teach kids, and I just don't see the point.

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Yes - but let people decide what they want to play
by ESUNintel / June 6, 2012 6:29 AM PDT

I do believe games are more violent today, some games can't be played by a normal person due to all the blood and massacres that take place. At the same time, there is a rating scale, and each game lists why it was given that rating. As long as stores aren't selling "M" games to minors, let people decide what they want to buy and play.

Children playing violent games is a completely different story, that's the parents job to monitor and we should not place restrictions on the gaming industry because some parents choose not to do their job.

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by pworam / June 6, 2012 7:14 AM PDT

1. Don't worry about what I'm playing
2. If you don't like it, don't buy it
3. If you're stupid enough to buy a kid an M rated game, you have bigger problems than violence in video games
4. This is entertainment targeted for specific audiences, just like the movies; treat it that way
5. Don't tell me there are no good games for kids. There's a ton of games in mutiple genres for all ages; if you're spending $30-$60 on a game, you might want to do a little research first.

Games my kids play;
Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction
Ratchet & Clank: Crack in Time
Ratchet & Clank: All for One
Little Big Planet Game of the Year Edition
Little Big Planet 2
Madden 10
Shaun White Snow Boarding
Madden 10
Madden 11
NBA 2K12
LEGO Pirates of the Carribean
LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7
Modnation Racers
Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
Trine 2
Super Stardust HD W/ Expansion Packs
Fat Princess
Ratchet & Clank: Quest for Booty
Rag Doll Kung-Fu
WipEout HD & WipEout HD Fury DLC
Pac Man Championship Edition DX
PixelJunk Shooter
Joe Danger
Wakeboarding HD
Sackboy's Prehistoric Moves
Angry Birds
NBA Jam: On Fire Edition
Angry Birds

Wii Play
Wii Sports
Wii Sports Resort
LEGO: Star Wars The Complete Saga
LEGO: Indianna Jones
Lego: Batman
Indianna Jones and the Staff of Kings
Mario & Sonic at the Olympics
Links Crossbow Trainer
Super Mario Bros. Wii
Lego Indianna Jones 2
Super Mario Galaxy
Super Mario Galaxy 2
LEGO: Star Wars The Clone Wars
Little League World Series 2009 Baseball
Club Penguin Game Day

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
Super Mario Kart
Super Mario Bros. DS
LEGO: Indianna Jones
Toy Story 3
Drawn to Life: SpongeBob Squarepants

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Games ???
by john3347 / June 6, 2012 7:37 AM PDT

I think that games are a waste of computer and waste of digital engineering skills; not to mention the waste of time spent playing games. The game time can be spent so much more productively. Violence is not even an issue that warrants consideration. Games are a HUGE waste, period!!!!!

That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

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Shoot-em-up Western Movies
by mach37 / June 6, 2012 8:16 AM PDT

I started watching movies around 1940, age five. People were killed but not all that violently, and not at all "graphically" ("graphic" - euphemism for sensational blood spurts and gore). It seems that, ever since "The Wild Bunch," (for me, age 30+) a milestone of sorts for on-screen depiction of violence, movie makers have tried to outdo themselves in showing human bodies being violently ripped to shreds in ever more "juicy" bloody detail.

I am not a pacifist, in fact I believe strongly in survival of the fittest, to the extent that I think that "some people just need killin'." But there is a need for moderating the exposure of children to violence. Ideally the parents of the children involved should be the arbiter of this, but IMHO today's adults/parents lack good judgement in determining what is best for their children. I am also strongly against the government or other third parties making decisions for these under-educated or poorly-educated parents. Let survival of the fittest rule; natural selection by letting the unwise, unfit individuals kill themselves off.

How does this relate to video games? Just like any other type of game, some individuals will just naturally die through accident - accident of poor health, physical weakness, poor coordination, or simple bad judgement. People die eventually, some just die sooner than others. It is all part of the Game of Life.

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Too much sex and violence on the VCR or games?
by Snipe / June 6, 2012 9:30 AM PDT

Well then, turn it off. If a parent needs video games to babysit their kids then they need to look at their own values. Teach your kids to read good books, play board games, play musical instruments and so on. I'm 61 and grew up fine without video games. I would worry more about what they are learning at school.
I agree with mach7 100%

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Violent Video Games
by Ron Geiken / June 6, 2012 10:02 AM PDT

When I was a kid, we played with Guns, and I am non the worse for it. We didn't have Video Games then, so not sure how it would have affected me. I suspect that most kids will play them for the excitement, and then forget about them and go on to something else. Of course, there are always a few kids that will adopt Video Games as a life style, and in the past people got addicted to Comic Books, or other things. I think that the vast majority of games are probably forgettable, but Parents should be aware of the particular game and not let their children use them. I'm not sure that any studies prove that the video games cause future behavior problems with the Child.

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Violent video games
by friedman-robert / June 6, 2012 11:03 AM PDT

The major problem with video games is not the content by itself. The ESRB rating means nothing if it can be sold to virtually anyone who is tall enough to put their money on the counter. Pass and ENFORCE laws prohibiting the sale to minors (such as liquor or cigarette sales) and the problem lessens greatly.

Granted, you can't totally shield kids from blood and gore. Look at the evening news as an example, or the movies that kids attend. When a movie is rated PG, just how many parents take the time to investigate the reason for the rating- or do they just use the theater as a built in baby sitting service? The theaters are just as guilty by letting the kids in.

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by Two_Feathers / June 6, 2012 11:37 AM PDT

Remember that the playing of video games was touted as good training for the military. Why? You are in an aircraft, ship, or tank at , for all practical purposes, is a game console. You "shoot and kill" enemy targets. It desensitizes the "player" to the very real killing going on. And we don't expect our kids to become desensitized to death and killing or hurting?

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I voted yes
by markandcheryl / June 6, 2012 11:57 AM PDT

I am old (by my kids standards) at 46 I am positively ancient.
I voted yes. I try hard to not let my kids see or play violent games or watch cr*p tv or nasty movies that depict real life events .(dont misunderstand me there or pick holes in that last statement, I am meaning movies and tv shows that have murder and violence and s*x in them as though they are everyday ocurrences and that they are ok to do take part in and see on a daily basis.) Fantasy and sci fi are exactly that and the children are getting to know the difference between what is real and what is a storyline. That is not to say we would let them watch say, Ghost rider or the Chronicles of Riddick, but, LOTR is ok because they are able to read the books.

That said There is a huge shortage of pc/ds/ps2-3 games that are family orientated games that dont dumb down the player to the level of a 3 year old. My 5 y/o is currently playing Strawberry shortcake, my 8 y/o loves Club Penguin and my 7 year old prefers to use my pc for drawing and art rage but loves Harry Potter.
I would LOVE to see games like some of the stuff on facebook (Farmville, bubble poppers, fairyland, bejewelled and the newer hidden mystery type games on pc and ps games for kids without dumbing down to Dora and the likes for older children and even for older kids into adult hood!
Not every adult likes blood and guts and car racing games ending in the same plastered across the pc/tv screens. I certainly dont. My husband loves all that stuff and I asked him why? he said there was nothing else out there which was exciting and a challenge for him and that says it all.We need a game developers to get their heads out of the gutter press and gang led soap operas in drug dens and start thinking a bit more intellectually.. or is that beyond them..? are all game devs tetosterone fuelled teenage boys with nowt better to do than try and out bid their mates with the next stage in graphic gore? really boys, grow up. I know in this day and age of rampant consumerism must have this that and everything else s*x sells, and so do drugs and fast games with the most realistic war game gore that they can come up with but actually, not all game players are spotty boys and frankly, its sexist and alienating that females get left out of the gaming world just because most (not all) dont want the gore or the pixel babe with the size 0 attributes plastered across our screens.
I loved Lara Croft when I was younger, and Civ 2/4, spyro and rayman, and I loved Colin McCraes Rally game, but since the late 90s, the gaming world has very little non violence in it and if the industry wants my kids to play games, then it has to get through me first and right now, there is very little I want to waste my money on for my kids.

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Yes, way too violent....
by Sunsetlover / June 6, 2012 12:47 PM PDT

....and 30 years ago, with probably more lax gun laws than today, we didn't have kids shooting kids.

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You should know what games to play...
by Godfather_199397 / June 6, 2012 4:34 PM PDT

The short and clear answer is, Yes. Yes, some games are too violent. But that's the point: it's only SOME games!

I am a heavy gaming enthusiast and played and completed to 100% many games-meticulously, with every achievement. But even I have encountered a bunch of games which I have not played (after watching a friend play it), or dropped it after an hour's gameplay, for the simple reason that the violence was unreasonable and unjustifiable. Not all FPS games are overtly violent-Max Payne series for example, has a cool story. COD has a clearly defined war background story. You can't expect a war-oriented game without gunning down men, and so it is justified.

But that's where it ends. I have a younger brother, 15 now. I didn't let him ever touch a GTA label. I made him play DotA, Need For Speed, Age of Empires, et al on LAN with me. When he turned 14 I showed him why I didn't let him play GTA-it shows a common guy to just go around the city, butchering people, killing neighbours, using drugs, and what not. Same goes for the blood curdling violence and mindless glorification of blood fountains that Molly points out-they are simply not justified. Whatever be the plot, you simply CANNOT let people have the twisted satisfaction of virtually killing a human being, and seeing his brains blow at point blank range.

I have played Counter Strike for countless number of nights with my friends, and have thousands of kills in Battlefield and Call of Duty titles. But have I been numbed to death, murder, and the grievous sin it is to kill (because of the games)? No. These games have melee knife kills too. But these games have the decency to have a background situation, which any non-psychopath knows is not going to replicate itself in real life. And if you DO find yourself in an enemy base tied to a chair, well I would advise you to grab a gun too!

I swore before I started writing this that I wont use names, but I think I have. So let me write this-if there is any reader who has played the Mass Effect franchise, or the Crysis games, he/she will connect with my point. All violence is not vile-only till it is backed by a justifiable, reasonable storyline and situations.

Prime time TV news and weekly shows display murder and rape as a daily eyeball-grabbing plot. Your only tool is to self-educate. The bottom line-please research what you are buying before you buy. Finally, if you buy your kid "Prototype", which nearly screwed up my mouse in 30 mins of gameplay with mindless clicking, as someone already noted, violence in games is not in the top 10 of your list problems, my friend.

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Too much violence?
by walkerdine / June 6, 2012 5:39 PM PDT

John Trevellian (a one time well known British Film censor) once told me where his main concerns lay. The normal sexual act was of little concern. It's how we got here anyway. However violence was another matter. He felt, as I do, that you can become desensitised to violence. That a dozen digital dead men lying on a digital battle field, was hard to tell from a dozen real dead men lying on a real battlefield. Especially for children. We are probably breeding a race of people who think that the only solution to anything will be a violent one.

Such games glorify violence as a viable way to settle disputes. I find them quite sickening, but then I am no longer a twelve year old!

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There are arguments for and against
by Zouch / June 6, 2012 8:21 PM PDT

It's a good question, Lee. On the one hand the violence adds to the realism of the game, perhaps but therein lies the problem, it breeds a more casual approach to the violence itself.

There is an argument that says the player will realise that it is only a game and it isn't really real and for a mature adult that's true, so why shouldn't those people be able to enjoy their preference? Why should we expect a "Nanny State" to shield them or prevent them playing these games?

But there are other categories of players, immature adults and kids, for example. The immature adult IS likely to become oblivious to the violence and maybe even accept it as a normal part of society today. Pour a few drinks down on a weekend and is there any surprise that gratuitous violence breaks out - not as bad as the deaths and "fountains of blood" that some games portray but random mindless violence none the less.

Kids are a different class altogether. They (or at least some of them) aren't old enough to separate the game from reality. When Tom hits Jerry over the head with a hammer, Jerry gets up and carries on running - what is a small child to make of this? If (s)he hits a sibling over the head, will they get up like Jerry? And therein lies the answer, I think. What (s)he is to think comes down to parental responsibility. It's obvious that Lee and his wife are always ready to coach or mentor their children, as I hope we were when our boys were growing up. But what about the other side of the coin (and put your "shock horror" look away, we've all seen it) where the parents give the child a TV or video game and just leave them to it? I believe in some quarters, this is referred to as "passive parenting". How is the child to form a value judgement on what is acceptable to society, if there is no guidance?

I'd like to think that all children had the care and attention that my parents gave to me and we did to our children, as do Lee and his wife but, sadly, I'm a realist and I know it isn't always the case. In that situation, yes, there is too much violence in video games.

There is an age classification system, like the cinema but unlike the cinema, where the classification is enforced at the box office, the video game industry is far more relaxed. If it were enforced, then that is the solution, when the classification says for a mature audience, that's fine, so long as the content is restricted to such mature audiences.

As I said at the beginning, there are arguments both ways. In all cases, except "passive parenting" it should be left up to the individual but then, how do you enforce it for the less concerned?

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Violent games.
by peek27127 / June 6, 2012 8:42 PM PDT

I play only fun games and brain games. So I really don't know if some games are violent.
I use AARP games and MSN games.

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Video game violence
by Fred Bushor / June 7, 2012 9:11 PM PDT

First of all, I'm an old fart. I'm 70, yes seven zero. I have a son who was born with a number of physical problems, including a lack of fine motor control and a vision problem. We were reluctant to get him any games because we thought it would only lead to frustration but, in fact, it has lead to him getting more control over his fine motor skills and he is able to look ahead to determine the course of action. He has gained from his experience with video games BUT, he seems to favour Grand Theft Auto. The violence is incredible and unnecessary and I would like to be able to get a game that would require more thought that would hold his attention. I don't want it to be a challenge that defeats his efforts but lets him progress as he gets better.

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by kenny555 / June 8, 2012 2:24 AM PDT

Yea they're too violent. It's all about bang bang shoot em up. I don't care if they are aliens or car thieves, it's still violence. If I had kids I would insist they play pinball or golf, something practical and peaceful.

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lol then make your kids stop watching TV.
by lursmani / August 17, 2012 9:11 PM PDT
In reply to: Duh?

its human nature, it love violence. dont you love watching bang-bang shoot em up movies? or you just watch romantic comedies?

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keep it on the slipstream
by astrumtourer / June 23, 2012 1:28 AM PDT

yes, I think they are too graphical as they detract from the silver screen, but appropriate for their rating. I find the best violent games are Ma. R rated games should be restricted to online, with adults only having access to such sites.
My age is 43 and I have played many electronic games, one of my first pc games was ultima 3 on an apple.
Hopeful that most of the regular games (too many to mention, halo, killzone, shattered galaxy etc) will keep their current layout.

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they are just right.
by lursmani / August 17, 2012 9:09 PM PDT

to be honest, movies are much more violent then games today. this can be explained: movies use very high quality efects, so you cant see difference between fake and real. allso they are more realistic, with all the emotions and human body parts...

games could not use such high quality graphics, coz they would instantly crash. at least no PC today can handle that. so graphics and emotions are unreal, you may see some blood like cloud somewhere in horror games, or see how a monster cuts hands of his victim, but they are not as real in movies, and less scary.

but most importrant thingis that both movies and game have age restrictions, which are often ignored. that is the main problem. in my opinion, it does not matter if a man sees violence in movies or games. both have same efect. so just like movies, games are just fine. im sorry for people who think games are for children only and let their kids play whatever the heck they find on market with cool cover. they should pay more atention.

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not bad,,, I think.
by fp35wj0 / November 28, 2012 5:13 PM PST
In reply to: they are just right.

not bad,,, I think.

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Absolutely not.
by babyboomjeremy / September 21, 2015 3:52 PM PDT

I've play atari and up to xbox one numerous hours logged on console's practically every version. I never started any fights in my lifetime every.they are a outlet for anger and stress / unfair judgements. I see more violence watching the news. everyday a muder.not related to video games. money cause's more murders then anything besides authority. are country has never been invaded America invades and attacks. look at the Indians genocide land stolen numerous stories told how one cheif traded all native land for beads....really. socialized groups cause more deaths. im the best gamer around first person shooters 3d environment.leading a loner in reality cause of stupid people being greedy only caring for only themselves. drugs and no morals degrade communitys. no breathalyzer at bars b4 someone leave causes drivers to drink n drive. absolute irresponsibility is also a factor. I have anger issues n problems but none related to a fantasy world. if video games created killer id be one of the worst opponents the world ever faced. I donate have helped people being assaulted 3 vs 1numerous things people steal from me left n right yet they all are alive and well...society removed all authority from the public with police...all this violence stems from earlier ages as children or acting on impulse cause everyone has their limits and will break. like drugs you make a choice you choose to do it.

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Of course they are...
by the1truelegend / October 3, 2015 2:03 PM PDT

Yes, they are more violent because they are more realistic. Just like movies are more violent because of CG and better special effects. Television is more violent, comics are more violent, books are more violent, sports are more violent, etc.

It's just the evolution of things.

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