Popular Video Games: Quantifying the Presentation of Violence and Its Context

  • Smith S
  • Lachlan K
  • Tamborini R
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Abstract

The aim of this study was to content analyze 60 of the most popular video games for violence from three gaming systems: Nintendo 64, Sega Dream- Cast, and Sony Playstation. Games were played for l0 minutes and videotaped for later content analysis. Adapting the coding scheme from the National Television Violence Study (Wilson et al., 7 997, 1998; Smith et al., 1998, the amount as well as the context of violence in games rated for general (e.g., "E" or "K-A") or mature audiences (e.g., "T" or "M") were assessed. The results show that mature games are more likely to feature violence than are those rated for general audiences. Differences also emerged in the context of violence. When compared to general audience games, mature games are not only more likely to feature child perpetrators but also justified acts of repeated gun violence that are graphic in nature. The findings are discussed in terms of the risks interactive violence may be posing to youth.

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Authors

  • Stacy L. Smith

  • Ken Lachlan

  • Ron Tamborini

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