Local view: Video-gaming convention not a good idea for DuluthA proposal to bring a Gen Con-like gaming convention to Duluth has some business owners fluttering with excitement (Local View: “DECC needs a gaming convention,” Dec. 4). But the violence accompanied with role-playing video games poses too high a risk for Duluth, despite the prospective economic profits.
By: Jo Cooley, for the News Tribune
A proposal to bring a Gen Con-like gaming convention to Duluth has some business owners fluttering with excitement (Local View: “DECC needs a gaming convention,” Dec. 4). But the violence accompanied with role-playing video games poses too high a risk for Duluth, despite the prospective economic profits.
Sure, Indianapolis has a turnout of 45,000 medieval-clad, game-playing enthusiasts at its annual Gen Con convention, and the annual event brings the city millions of dollars of profits. But everyone seems to overlook what should be obvious: the mental, emotional and physical whiplash of video games. Everyone seems to ignore what’s known as “behavioral violence.”
A study done by Craig Anderson and published in Glen Spark’s book, “Media Effects,” found the “exposure to violent video games is casually linked to increased aggressive behavior, increases in aggressive thoughts and feelings, higher levels of physiological arousal, and less helping behavior.”
We’re not playing Pong or Pac-Man anymore.
Instead, we’re playing the most popular, cutting-edge video games like Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls: Prepare to Die and the long-anticipated Soul Sacrifice, video games that probably will not make gamers want to volunteer at the Salvation Army. More likely, the games will increase desires to act and behave more violently.
As Lt. Col. Dave Grossman’s studies prove, “Video games that require the player to shoot a gun and react reflexively with the shooting responses are teaching an entire generation of children to associate shooting with pleasure.”
Bringing a scaled-down version of Indiana’s Gen Con convention to Duluth would only increase the amount of violence to which Duluth is exposed. Is increased violence something we really want to willingly welcome into Duluth?
The role-playing video games associated with Gen Con are only a catalyst to violent behavior. A study done by Norwegian psychologists Endestad and Torgsen reported that role-playing video games might lead to violent behavior because the gamer has identification with the main perpetrator in the game.
If playing video games really leads to aggressive behavior, I sure wouldn’t want to welcome that into Duluth, despite the prospective economic benefits.
Indiana can keep the Gen Con convention and the violence associated with video games, and we’ll stick to Bentleyville’s Tour of Lights.
Jo Cooley is a communication major at the University of Minnesota Duluth.