New Zealand studies video game violence

The Royal Society of New Zealand is funding a new study on video game violence that will allow gamers to speak for themselves. The goal of the study is to learn the reasons why gamers “choose, interact with, and enjoy videogames that include violence,” and the RSNZ has set aside $140,000 from its Marsden Fund for the purpose.

The money will go to Dr. Gareth Schott, a psychologist at the University of Waikato. Schott plans to open two gaming clubs for older teens in which he will observe xboxis juvenilis in its native habitat. In addition to watching the teens interact with each other and with the games, Schott hopes to ask players about the role that violent games play in their own lives and mental makeups. Do the powerful or the powerless want to play violent characters? Why would anyone want to bash hobos with lead pipes in a virtual world? You get the idea.

Schott has a long history of research on games. Recent projects of his have included work on girl gamers, fan-culture in gaming, and educational roles for video games. Schott left the UK and took a 3-year position in New Zealand in 2004 to help establish a “games studies” curriculum at Waikato, which he hopes can become a respected discipline.

Read the full story on ArsTechnica here.

One comment on “New Zealand studies video game violence

  1. tristanverboven
    March 16, 2009 at 8:25 am #

    We need a rating system that goes beyond the graphic nature of the game. It needs to assess the moral doctrine of the game, not just measure how far the blood sprays.

    Pacman for example seemed harmless enough, but the moral doctrine was very negative. The lessons were:
    – Consume without consequence, more is better.
    – Study the authority figures pattern and avoid them, until they are weak hen destroy them.
    – Work alone, accumulate more points than your freinds.
    – Repeat, react.

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