• 6, December, 2016

Video Games, War, Violence and Propaganda

Over the last decades, video games have been seen as having an influence on the way people think about violence, sometimes even affecting their political views. War themed video games especially have been put under scrutiny, accused of influencing young people’s sensitivity and opinions with regards to war related violence.

“…analysis suggest that the violent video game effects are larger than violent television and movie effects…”
[book] Anderson G.A, Gentile D.A, Buckley K.E (2006) ‘Violent Video Game Effects on Children and Adolescents’ Oxford University Press p.13

This feature article will show that some video games are now part of the tools that make the younger and older generations in modern capitalist societies less sensible to war and as such make war related violence an acceptable fact of life. The intention is to explore the “Call of Duty” generation of gaming and its link to real modern wars; putting forwards the argument that generations of people exposed to such games become de-sensitized to war related violence. The aim is to leave the reader with a balanced and comprehensive view on the subject.

The first chapter will take an in depth look at the concept of propaganda; which will be explained by looking at its origins and also by describing the work done by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis (IPA) with regards to the different methods which have been established as standard propaganda practice in the world. Herman and Chomsky’s propaganda model as well as Ross’ epistemic merit model will also be explored for a better understanding of the matter.

The second chapter will compare the different uses of propaganda by the media in the past wars of this century and will show how videogames where progressively used as a mean of passing war related political messages to the population because of their ever-increasing popularity. This chapter will show videogames such as the war videogame ‘America’s Army’ created by the USA army which are used by the army as recruitment tools. The use of those games will be compared with people’s use of casual war games such as “Call of Duty”.

The third chapter will then describe how videogames are used as training and real live-combat tools by the armed forces. This section will investigate at how videogame technologies (E.g. Xbox360 controller, Drones) are used by armed forces to control some technical aspects of live combat, as well as demonstrate the use of augmented reality in relation to skills development within the armed forces. This chapter will demonstrate how close casual gaming is to real combat training and simulation, accentuating the idea that fictional gaming and reality can be blurred into each other.

Following the idea that videogames can be associated with violence, the last chapter will focus at looking into the military population’s perceptions about the link between war, violence and videogames. A questionnaire will be issued amongst military population; it will be explained, compiled, analyzed and interpreted in order to show how army people really feel about the matter. The findings of this questionnaire will help to put some real perspective on the link between videogames, war and the idea of people being desensitized to violence.

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