Football Violence vs. Videogame Violence: What’s Worse? | Game/Show | PBS Digital Studios

Football Violence vs. Videogame Violence: What’s Worse? | Game/Show | PBS Digital Studios

Why does our society laud
the violence of football but demonizes video
game violence? Got to be honest with you. I love football. Dun dun dun boom boom! The big plays, the
athleticism, the battle of wits between the
coaches, the sound of the offensive and defensive
lines cracking together. But let’s not
forget the violence. There are the
season-ending injuries, people getting knocked out,
and the always odd and awkward helmet punch. (SINGING) So happy together. And I also– surprise,
surprise– love video games. The rush of being in the
zone, the joy of crushing your friends in battle, the
journey and the fantasy, the storytelling. But also, there’s the violence. Massive killing sprees, running
someone over with your car, mutilating a crispy
fellow’s limbs– these are common ways
of interacting in games. On the one hand,
it’s kind of weird that society cheers the
aggressiveness and hard hits in football. But on the other hand, when it
comes to violent video games, we see congressional
hearings, copious studies on the effects of
violent video games on kids, and blaming
school shootings on “Doom.” So how is it that these
two violent types of games coexist in our culture but with
wildly different perceptions? And just to lay my
cards out on the table, this is a personal
question for me. I mean, aside from the fact
that I love video games, I played football for
a big chunk of my life. My brother played football
up through college. My dad played
football in college. He actually met my
mother in the band. So this really
hits close to home. Before we get
started, I want to be crystal clear about
what I mean when I say that these games are violent. It’s a phrase that’s
worth interrogating. I want answers,
and I want them now. We’re not talking about
real world violence, which the American Psychological
Association defines as an extreme form of
aggression, such as assault, rape, or murder. Clearly, not even the most
painful helmet-dislodging tackle counts as that. But we are talking about
a common understanding of violence as a form of
aggression and domination against another person
that takes place within the confines of the game. It’s in the game. And the reason
that one human being can tackle another human
being at high speed and no one calls the cops is because
games take place inside of what we call a magic circle. All that term means
is that we acknowledge that we’re playing, that
our actions in games only apply within
the game itself. In real life, it’s not cool to
blindside someone on the street or melee them, for that matter. So let’s start with football. As a sport, it has a lot of
great qualities– teamwork, discipline, performance
under pressure. And as any NFL coach
will tell you– You play to win the game. Football is
incredibly complicated and requires an extraordinary
level of intelligence to play at a high level. But regardless of the
positives, and there are many, football is a full
contact sport. And thus, the main mechanic
of the game is domination. And as a result, you
see a ton of injuries. ANNOUNCER: He’ll
get a shot at it. Whoa! Over 4,000 former NFL
players sued the league because of concussions. High school players have been
paralyzed, or even worse, have died. But in spite of
all this, we still celebrate great defenses, huge
hits, and brilliant stiff arms. We cheer football players on
and glorify their brutality in highlight reels on
national television. Obviously, people recognize
how dangerous football can be since we keep
updating the equipment and tweaking the rules
to make the game safer. So why is much of America
fine with all this? Football is as popular
as it’s ever been. There’s a couple reasons. One, the game is firmly
rooted in American culture and has had time to
weather complaints. In 1904, there were 18
football-related deaths, according to the
“Chicago Tribune.” President Roosevelt
actually threatened to ban the game because
it was so violent. This resulted in some new
rules, like the creation of the forward pass. Second, because of
growth over time and its foundation
in college athletics, there’s an
institutional acceptance of football at a
very broad level. Football earns the University
of Texas around $109 million a year, which funds all the
other sports that don’t really make money. And finally, it’s
socially acceptable because football ostensibly
says something about what we want young men to be. (SINGING) Mister, I’ll
make a man out of you. We celebrate the
indestructibleness of men who can take a hit. And we want them to be
leaders on and off the field. For Americans, whether
we like it or not, football is part of who we are. But if we’re so accepting
of this violent game, why are video games
perceived as so much worse? MAN (VOICEOVER): How do video
games affect your brain? As we’ve talked about before,
violence in video games is often feared, even though no
one is actually getting hurt. Unless you’re playing “Pain
Station,” which I have, and yeah, that really stings. And despite this, there’s
been congressional hearings, a recent Supreme Court
ruling, Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association,
and a mountain of academic research saying
how games make you violent. You can’t [BLEEP]. What’s strange though
is that video games have many of the same qualities
that we love about football. RTS games like
“StarCraft” demonstrate the same high level strategy of
professional football coaches in these do or die scenarios. And in multiplayer games like
“DotA,” “League of Legends,” and “Team Fortress
2,” each player is expected to perform
a very specific role, mirroring the same type
of intense specialization of professional
football and teaching the importance of teamwork. So why is it that people are
having a knee jerk reaction to video game’s violence
and not football’s? The first big reason
is that video games look a lot more
violent than football because the violence displayed
represents our society’s taboos. That could be running over cops
in “Grand Theft Auto,” dragging dead bodies and stowing them
in dumpsters in “Hitman,” or, I don’t know,
violating the Geneva Conventions in “Call of Duty.” So the fear of
violence in video games is almost always
centered around the idea that the repetitive in-game
actions will somehow breach the magic circle
that I mentioned earlier. And those actions will
leak into the real world and cause kids
not just to become aggressive and
domineering adults, but you know, murderers. These games teach a child
to enjoy inflicting torture. And video games are a
softer target than, say, the equally violent movies,
because in games, “you’re” the one who’s doing it, or at
least that’s what I’m told. But even more importantly,
when you look at history, video game controversies
always seem to pop up when something
related to the game’s content is going really
badly in society. People like to
point at video games as a scapegoat instead of
looking at the real problem because, frankly,
that’s just easier. “Death Race 2000”
drew public ire because you ran over
pedestrians, even though it looks ridiculous. It seems like a very dumb
controversy in retrospect. But you have to
remember, the game was released in the mid ’70s at
a time when traffic fatalities were at historic highs. During the 1980s, there was
this weird satanic scare that people were blaming
on “Dungeons & Dragons.” Of course, the Satanic rituals
turned out to be a total hoax. But hey, it’s easier just to
point the finger at “D&D.” A teenager doesn’t
manufacture a desire to see blood or taste blood. The 1993 hearings on violent
games occurred at a time when violent crime,
manslaughter, and assault were across the board the highest. And when “Doom” came
out the same year, opponents called it a
mass murder simulator, while gun fatalities in
the US were at their peak. Because games allow us to
enact metaphorical violence inside of them,
naturally, some people fear that it will cross
over into the real world. Meanwhile, football, a game
that actually causes injuries to thousands of people,
has been greatly ignored. At least until recently. The concerns that we’re seeing
about the sport of football have to do with the fear that
the metaphorical violence of what’s happening on the
field in a full contact sport is now rearing its
head off the field in the form of domestic
abuse or long-term brain damage for the players. Overall, I do think it’s a
little ridiculous that we have this double standard
about games as games. And either violent
video games and football are part of the same acceptable
realm of human activity or they’re not. To be clear, this doesn’t
mean that we shouldn’t have concussion protocols
for player safety, or ignore what athletes
do off the field, or just throw away the rating
system that keeps violent games out of kids’ hands. But when we’re talking about
games, in this case, the rules and mechanics of football,
it’s important to remember that the violence of two players
hitting each other on the field isn’t real. At least, not in the same way as
two people tackling each other at a Starbucks. Because if it were, we’d
all be terrible people. So what do you think? Are video game violence
and football violence the same thing? Or are they
fundamentally different and should be treated as such? Hash it out in the comments. And if you like what you
saw, please subscribe. I’ll see you next week. Since I was away,
there are two episodes that I’ll need to
comment on, “The History of Horror Game Mechanics,”
and “What is a Game?” Let’s see what you had to say. So a bunch of you
pointed out that we didn’t have “Silent Hill” in
our “History of Video Game Mechanics.” Really sorry about that. It was in the original
script, but somehow got left on the editing room floor. So yeah, you’re totally right. You’re all right. Sam Rogers says that every
time I say “hash it out in the comments,” all
he can think about is hash browns, which is
completely intentional. That’s what I want you
to be thinking about. So a bunch of you
said that you don’t get scared by video games,
because they’re video games, and you know where, and it
doesn’t really frighten you. Some people, like me, get
really scared by games. Or loi, who got scared by this
particular sequence in “Kingdom Hearts,” which is totally fine. Fear is a relative thing. Not everyone’s
going to be scared by the same exact things. But we are moving into a
world with biofeedback. Recently, this Kickstarter
project, “Nevermind,” is using biofeedback. I mentioned it in the episode. So those of you who don’t get
scared by games, don’t worry. Your day is coming. So for our “What is
a Game?” episode, CiszHelion makes
an excellent point, which is that our definitions
of “game” and “play” are going to be
culturally conditioned. So in German, which
is the language that CiszHelion
speaks, there isn’t a word for “play” or “games.” So that question
of what is a game doesn’t even really matter. It’s completely moot because
that word doesn’t necessarily exist. So yeah, excellent point. Emil Danielsen quotes the
philosopher Wittgenstein, who said that games can’t be
defined in a classical sense, in large part because
there will always be things that fall
outside of the definition. You should read
the entire comment. He does a much better
justice to Wittgenstein than I’m doing right now. But regardless, he does
leave this last thought, which I agree with, which
is that this conversation about what is and
isn’t a game doesn’t need to be defined
in a binary sense, like there have to be two sides. I structured it that
way because that’s kind of how the
arguments rolled out. But it’s much more three
dimensional than that. And Emil says that
we can open up some new possibilities
about what we think about the relative
gameness of something. Remember, it’s not just
something is a game or isn’t a game, but there
are all these gray areas in between those two places. Jeremy Greenlee and a
bunch of others of you gave your own definitions
for what is and isn’t a game, which is awesome. Unfortunately, for every one of
the definitions that you give, there’s always going
to be a little bit of an exception, which I would
encourage you to work through. So for Jeremy, Jeremy defines
games where you have agency, or you have control
over the outcome. Control in games can be
kind of a tricky thing. Like how much control? So if a game’s on rails,
you don’t necessarily have control over where
your movement is, per se. Or, I don’t know, in
a storytelling game, you don’t have control over
every aspect of the story. You can’t just do
whatever you want. So defining what control
actually means in this context actually turns out to
be really important. So that’s why these definition
things, they get pretty tricky. And finally, thanks
for all of you who commented on my
recent trip to Holland. I had an excellent,
excellent time. The Dutch are wonderful people. I had a great time. And those of you
who came to my event as part of the Impakt
Festival, which was great, especially to the young
woman who, after the event, gave me an entire bag of
stroopwafels, which I loved. They’re delicious.

About the Author: Garret Beatty


  1. They are the same in the sense that they're needed for the underlying mental mechanics required to be a carnivore or omnivore on this planet. All carnivores violently play. It's to hone their hunting skills. Humans are no different. I have no doubts that homos have been doing similar activities since the beginning of our lineage.

  2. Violence in football and other contact sports is much more "real" than violence in video games. Even though it is within a "magic circle," people are physically hurting each other in contact sports–they are giving and receiving real life acts of violence that result in real life injuries.

    Video game violence, however, is purely virtual. There is no direct contact between virtual characters. Some may argue that video game violence is worse because it crosses the line into assault and murder (something not done in sports), and that it desensitizes people to the horrors of killing. But no matter how realistic games today might seem, they are NOTHING like the real thing. There is a fundamental visceral quality to real world violence that video games cannot (at least not yet) recreate.

    I think that the violence and danger involved in many sports (not just contact sports) is a MUCH closer approximation of "real" dangerous situations simply because it takes place in the real world. Impact is physically felt and survival instincts kick in. Video games may try to simulate these kinds of visceral experiences, but there is still a wall between reality and the virtual.

    As video games become more immersive, this wall may become thinner and thinner, but until it is completely gone, sports will continue to be much more dangerous and violent than video games.

  3. I don't think as many people blame video games as we initially thought, I think it just gets the most attention from it because the idea is still fairly new. We're not used to video games yet because they're still evolving, they're getting more and more "realistic." You also have the media eating up the controversy and present it in a biased light to its viewers, thus further gathering more followers in the idea.

    I say that if you decide to kill someone because you've played some video game too much, there might be something wrong with your mentality rather than the game itself. I won't be closed minded and say that video games don't give people ideas, it's obvious they sometimes do. However, those same people that get these ideas to do things would have likely gotten the idea from elsewhere at some point, whether it was a movie, history, news, word of mouth, or even a dream. To blame video games for a much bigger problem is somewhat of a lazy way to go at it, not to mention incredibly dangerous.

    There is a real problem, but blaming video games will make things worse. Numbers don't lie, a lot of these people that do certain types of crimes have played certain type of games. This is, perhaps, because those games attract those certain people. However, the numbers show that is where the connections end for the rest of the gamers don't act upon what they've acted out in the virtual world. The people that play video games and decide to reenact what they saw from a violent video game are a part of the majority as a mentally unstable person is. To repeat myself, there is a possible connection between violence and violent video games: Violent people likes violent fantasy. That is where the connection ends.

    To blame video games on this is demeaning to the human brain and a dangerous approach to solve a real issue. We need to invest efforts into figuring out how to solve the issue without changing things or making laws to affect things that have a very minor and obscure role in the whole scenario. This goes to all topics, from gun control to video game censorship. There is a real problem, but stopping people from playing violent video games simply will not stop them from getting the idea of being violent elsewhere. Whether it's playing with airsoft/paintball guns or playing with something virtual, these certain people will get a high from somewhere until they finally cannot hold it in any longer and act out on it for real.

  4. This must be why I don't like either football or the aforementioned "scapegoats" that are violent video games…. 

    Neither are the direct cause for real-life violence outside of the games themselves — at least in the most cases — but the cultures that both feed into repel me. 

    The gamification of violence has never set well with me, at least when that violence isn't explored nor question within the activity itself and solely used for 'fun'.

  5. Wait, so this question entered your head and you didn't immediately know the answer so you think it needs a video?

    The one with real violence obviously. Anyone who doesn't know violence in games has nothing to do with anything is an imbecile.

    EDIT: Not to say either is "bad", of course. As long as the people you're hitting on the football field chose to be there knowing it could happen – that's their prerogative. You're not physically hurting anyone without their consent, which is what the only actual law should be.

  6. game violence & game ethics:
    when most public concerns, regarding sport games or digital games, are centered not around the violence displayed in the games but around the violent influence they may have on culture at large – one should examine not the actual expressions of violence in said games but rather the abstract expressions of ethics behind them.
    many violent videogames, actually most violent videogames, frame the player actions in a positive story of "overcoming obstacles for the greater good" – be it defeating the dark lord, saving the princess, or the world, etc. while immoral situations like GTA may sometimes be popular but still an exception to the norm. it also helps that any single-player game and a large portion of multiplayer games pit the players not against eachother but against the computer, a non-human entity, so there's no state of winner VS. loser at the end: only a personal degree of success, on no-one expense. all that leads to players coming out of a videogame experience with a feeling that they themselves did good and nothing bad was done to them.
    this is not the case with sports. competitive sport games are by their very nature a sublimation of war, when one side MUST win and one side MUST lose. there is no non-human, no computer to defeat. some people will always come out of a sports match as losers. this can lead to grudges. the losers may feel spite. the winners may feel that not only their side's success, but also the other side's failure, is a good thing. i believe this is the core reason behind soccer & football fan violence: they maintain this war mentality, which is inherent to sport games, and express it without the abstraction of the sport game itself.

  7. 4:44 "A mountain of academic research saying that games make you violent."

    Please don't make this statement without qualifying it somehow. Either in the video or the description there should be at least a couple of citations. This is a very loaded statement/conclusion, and one that the supreme court has ruled against. 

  8. I am not from America and I think you SHOULD need to consider what your actions will do to the other person because no matter how many rules you put in their will always be those that break them but in game(I don't play multi-player games) you can just reset and practically nothing you do is irreversible but in football that's not how it works

  9. Its al about the money; football makes more money per violent act verses video game playing. That and the older generation that use video games as a political campaign because they see them as time wasting enabler when the players could be doing something more productive. Now couple this with that the older older generations still vote and understand video games even less we have the perfect environment for persecution.

  10. To answer the question in the title "What's Worse?", at least in the context of violence:Football.

    Now, while I understand the nature of your videos being centered around the social aspect of the question,when you mentioned injuries, I really had high hopes that you would address the issue of CTE or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. Its symptom including, but not limited to, early dementia, such as memory loss, aggression, confusion and depression.

    In other words, Football LITERALLY causes aggression/violence, but not as part of the simulation of (metaphorical) aggression/violence, but as a byproduct of the activities required to play football on a physical level.

    Also, just a minor addendum regarding assault as a crime, while the magic circle helps illustrate the nature of social acceptance for acts of aggression performed in the context of the game, from a legal standpoint, it is referred to as a context of implied consent.

    Assault, by most of its common law definition, requires as part of its mens rea (or the psychological component of the infraction) the knowledge of absence of consent. Because full contact sports requires the giving and receiving of assault-ish behavior, players, presumably of sound minds, agreeing to participate provide consent for the time of the game to other players and receive theirs in return so the game can take place.

    Anyway, to underline the minute differences between the "magic circle" and "context of implied consent", players make it acceptable, not society at large. It can be outlawed, but that would most likely come as a form of exception like "duel to the death" where the knowledge of consent becomes part of the mens rea.

    Sources: *(yes I am canadian)

  11. I would argue that while there is violence in video games, video games are not inherently violent.  There are many examples across gaming history that demonstrate a complete lack of violence and still have wonderful game play or story.  All the way from Pong to Flower and beyond, many games simply do not possess violence.  It is here that I wish to draw the line between football and video games.  As football is now, the risk of injury is simply unavoidable, while video games and violence can exist separately.  This is not to say football is bad, it is just a fact of the game in its current state.

  12. I think the problem is less about violence and more about practicing immorality.

    Yes, violence in sports is real, but it is contained in, as you say, this magic circle that says there is a boundary which the violence is not supposed to cross. And when it does, it's the fault of the persone who acts violently outside the circle, and not the sport.

    I think the problem people have with violent games resides the fact that this magic circle is not as firmly defined as in sports, and that the mechanisms to prevent young minds to cross the circle are fare less efficient. When a kid begins practicing football, the coach will never allow the kid to perform acts as dangerous as what adult players do.

    When a kid decides to play Call of Duty, say, at a friend's place with their older brother, there is no responsible adult to control what they do.

    And overall, violating the Geneva convention is not the same as brutally tackling somebody who also has the right to brutally tackle you. Really, it's all about morality and relatability, not inherent violence.

  13. I've been doing some psychological research and I've come across several evidences that leads me to this conclusion: I do not think that ACTION in games like Doom, Street Fighter and Super Smash Bros. or even real Football contributes to ones aggression in everyday life, but rather unethical, heartless experiences, like the upcoming "Hatred" will affect the player in negative psychological ways which will not only result in more aggressive behavior but also less compassion or consideration for others, although how much it affects the individual varies depending on how mentally stable that individual may be. Remember the brain is a sponge, EVERYTHING in our lives affects us to a certain degree. The question is: How far will games have to go to significantly affect those with less mental discipline? I believe "Hatred" has gone too far in that regard.

  14. I think part of the issue is that the older generations still see video games somewhat as toys and toys are for kids. So they are worried that these violent games are being played by kids.

  15. In the past video games were a solitary endeavor. A lone person with a PC or console. Football (and really all sports) are social and have elements of comradeship. For a chuck of their existence gaming was seen as a antisocial thing. It was "abnormal" to play them.

    Now gaming is much more social (multiplayer, Twitch streams, Let's plays) it's no longer part of kind of subculture. It's mainstream. BUT society at large has caught on to that. Video games are still viewed as solitary, therefore antisocial.

    That view is on the cusp of change and we older millennials enter into decision making roles in society. We understand that video games are the habitat of the antisocial.

  16. These are really good points. 
    I think that right now society at large is missing the cultural context in order to really grok portrayals of violence in video games. You throw out quite a lot of parallels to other forms of games, but I really do think that you missed a good chance to bring in the historical reactions to books and movies when they started portraying violent subject matter. Or even in the case of movies, when they started existing.

    I think as our culture comes to terms with the role of games and understands its own ability to abstract the portrayal of violence from the act we will see less and less of these sort of controversy. Notably ever sense around 2010 we've been seeing marked declien in academia and medicine regarding the train of thought that videogames may increase violent behavior.

    As with any new medium or even genre of music; acceptance comes with understanding, Understanding comes with discussion, and discussion comes with controversy. Each time we field these sort of questions we are working toward the eventual understanding and acceptance of the medium.

  17. Well football is real violence and video games are simulated violence. So football is obviously worse. Plus studies have shown that there isnt a correlation between violence in video games and violence in society. But even in football, everyone has chosen to be there so its all fine imo

  18. Speaking as an eurpean (we don't got football but rugby):
    – One is a rappresentation: hurting people IS NOT the goal, violence is used to underline and express the physicality of the  challenge (BTW: this a things that totally lacks in eSports and greatly deprieve their value as "human expression though sport").
    – One is a simulation: hurting people IS the goal and expressing violence is the only mean to achieve it (usually because lazy mechanics design). Even in "stealth games" a non violent approach doesn't means "don't use violence" BUT "be sure no-one witnessed your violence".

  19. Because the media, the news, is via TV. Football is part of TV. Why would they shoot themselves in the foot. But the rivaling entertainment media of now is video game. So obviously tv will try to deface videogame.

  20. I think a large factor in this "double standard" is that Football is a singular game. It has it's own rules and a universal understanding that can more easily adapt and create new regulations in response to criticism. Games are a collective medium, not exclusively content. Yes, there are violent video games, but there are non-violent games as well. The critique of violence in video games is directed at the most extreme cases. These cases are more situational in that they were made as a reaction to fans; it was made for a specific demographic by demand. That being said, it makes it much harder to regulate something that appeals to a specific fan base than it is a universal one.

  21. To be fair, while I do agree with your point for the most part, I do disagree with the idea that video game violence is as big of an issue as it was before. If anything, the only cases that I've heard of where the content in video games was fundamentally a bad thing (within the time span of the 2010's) was with Six Days in Falleujah or with games like Mass Effect, and primarily those were centered on more representation than anything else. In fact, I'd go as far as to say even with games like Hatred and GTA 5, the controversy surrounding them is much lower now in comparison to if we were living in the 1990s around the Doom-era. I don't think that violence is so much of a problem now, but the representation of certain events and the revelation of new information. If I was to produce an action/rpg game with themes that explored sexuality and demonstrated it to some degree with a big name company backing me up, I'd get flak for simply attaching the label of sex to my game, I would be criticized for portraying people like this, and I would be crucified for touching on a matter that people, generally, didn't want to talk about. If I made just an action game without any themes or without anything stood for anything meaningful, whether it be related to real life or to real people, I would be just fine and no one would bat an eye, regardless as to whether or not I added gory death scene animations or not.

  22. I think the issue really is just that the older generation are not aware of the "magic circle" existing in video games. in sports everyone is aware of the agreement between sportsmen that the rules here are X,Y,Z and are different from the outside world. Their father told them that and his father told him etc.  however in video games that agreement exists between players however spectators (i.e. parents) are not aware of the agreement they have not been told about it, they do not know the rules of the game or the context of the world. The automatic assumption is that their is no agreement and that the child is not aware that the rules in the game are separate from real life as the parent does not know what the rules of the game are.

  23. I Think it's important to mention the flawed research that "proved" that video games make people violent. The experiment that was done on this one, only found correlations and two, broke an important rule of the scientific method. The way it was done was take some random game (maybe a puzzle or point and click adventure game) and then take another random game that's violent (a hard, or frustrating game or an fps or action game) but that's the only difference they pay attention to so there is more difference between the two than just the independent variable which should be the only variable that changes in a scientific investigation. Point being, they found a correlation between aggression and violent video games because of of the amount of differences in the two games they compared had different intensities and difficulties which create aggression.

  24. Football Violence vs Rugby Violence vs Aussie Rules violence – which has more incidents? If its American then clearly americans have no idea how to play the sport!!

  25. I believe the main difference is the physical affect the game has on the player. It's a natural human instinct to physically lash out when you are angry and competition can encourage anger. However, in sports you're already doing something physical and tiring so getting into a fight with another player is hard. But when playing games you are not doing anything physical other than moving your fingers (unless you're using motion controls). Therefore you either have to control your anger or let out that anger by throwing your controller or yelling at other players. Also, because gaming doesn't require that much physical effort you can play for very long periods of time without getting tired unlike sport. I'm an not claiming that video games cause violence. I am saying that video games have the potential to cause aggressive behaviour. Also, I am not saying that sport never causes aggressive behaviour because it can but the causes are different from games.

  26. It can be worse with hockey in Canada. I know there are rules against it in the NHL, but I remember going to some of the smaller league games as a kid and almost feeling bloodthirsty. It was like fighting made the game and you would go in expecting it. I remember the crowd cheering as a playing would hit another so hard in the head that his helmet came off. Fighting and Hockey have a long history together and it can get pretty damn brutal even without it, yet we glorify it as a part of our heritage. Maybe the reason why we like to see fighting or violence in sports is much like we play violent video games, it gets your adrenaline going and to you it simulates the real thing without actually getting hurt. 

  27. Guns don't kill people! People kill people. Because people make guns and then sell them with little in the way of legislative control or restriction.

  28. You could say that football, futbol and rugby are longterm compromises on the same bloodlust that allowed the Roman gladiator fights to ever happen.

    Pretty messed up. Also boring for me. I stick to games.

    Keep Keepin' Keepin' On

  29. I have a thought i can't quite pin down on this.
    Football can cause actual physical harm. But it doesn't look so bad, just guys running into each other. Video games cause no actual harm, but they can look very bloody and painful. It's as if we're more concerned with appearances than realities.
    (This may relate to an "it doesn't matter if you're evil, as long as you aren't mean" attitude, which is another concept I can't quiet pin down, but I digress.)

  30. I would argue that the variety in video game violence would result in a variety of results on the human psyche. I.E. Jumping on goombas and running people over in gta have different effects on your mind. Both are violent acts but there are distinctions to be made.
    Your victim is gta is a person, however the character you play is an anti-hero. In Mario your victims are all far from human, however you're the hero. What you're doing in Mario is to be considered morally sound. What you're doing in gta is supposed to be wrong.

    The conclusion of this point is that "video game violence" has a huge degree of variance and whatever it does do to you psychologically is going to vary not only from game to game, but from level to level, as well.

    Football violence is, to an extent, identical. One person runs into another person.

    Comparing football violence to video game violence is like comparing lady gaga to the entirety of classical music.

  31. When I first read the title of the video, I thought you were gonna talk about the violence of the public, and not the violence in the game. You know hooligan burning cars, and smashing bottle onto each other. I've yet to see this kind of violence from video game public. I don't know, It may already be hapenning at a really really smaller scale. And I'm pretty sure that in the future (when video game will be mediatized as much as nba/soccer/etc tournaments), video game public will encounter the same problem.
    I thought about that first, because IMO as you said video games and sports are both game. Maybe football has been accused too of "inspiring violence" during its early days. Video games are pointed out because they're the new kids on the block.

  32. What's with those fake eyeglasses, you look stupid. Are you imitating vsauce with your channel. Wearing just frames doesn't make you look smart.

  33. For starters the sport that you called football (you know with the helmets) isn't actually football as they hardly ever use their foot on the ball, if anything it should be called handball. Secondly that game is ridiculously over violent. I'm against contact in sport but I'm not a fan of meaningless violence. For example in soccer you can get a penalty if you go out of your way to trip someone, however if it's clear that you were aiming for the ball then it's okay, because the aim is to get the ball.

    I do agree with you about video games though. They get more hate then they deserve for their violence. It annoys me when people complain about kids playing violent games when the real issue is parents buying games that are rated R for their young children.

    However I will consent that video games do make people violent, that however has nothing to do with the portrayal of violence though. A good video game is challenging and challenges can frustrate people and when people get frustrated people get angry and when people get angry they get violent. So yes video games make people violent but so do all games. I've watch footy (Australian Football, a much superior game to American "handball") with my brother and he has punched walls when his team is losing. When I was a child and would lose at monopoly I will flip the board and walk away. There that's my take on this episode.

  34. Also look at hockey.  Fights are cheered at and encouraged it seems more than in football.  I've heard people complain about hockey games that have no fights in them but don't really about football.
    Kind of funny that we view Canada as so peaceful but their favorite sport is as violent, if not more so, than our favorite sport.

  35. This video remided me about a statement that someone said to me. It was something allong the lines of "If Fifa doesn't make my a pro feootballer and dance, dance revolution doesn't make a great dancer then why does GTA make me a killer."

  36. I do not think that violence is the problem,i think the gore is,i mean most games today are bloody and gory,and in football i doubt anyone has seen a player get decapitated or lose a leg in a tackle.

  37. I don't really see football being well compared to the amount of violence in certain video games (Postal for example). Football indeed would be a good comparison as a contact sport but you also got hockey and sometimes soccer where the injuries tend to get very bad. Injuries are something that usually written as a side effect that you know is coming if you participate in it. Meanwhile video games are still very "young" in this day and age and they are seen as a reason violence happens in schools and in the general public. Yet I don't see anyone looking at everything else that happens in the world such as drugs, war, and terrorism for reasons why some people are influenced to do violent things. Its such in this generation that video games take all the blame even with the variety of violent influences in this world.

  38. Football actually harms players.
    Video games harm nobody.

    They are not the same.  Football violence is worse.  If you think it's an acceptable level of violence… well?  1) Really?  And 2) Fine.  No one wants to ban Football… right?

  39. Even reading the title I had a concept I wanted to hash out, and you talked about it by the "magic circle." But, the circle really isn't magical per se given the activity. With football, the act of playing is done in a location you have to physically get to in order to play football, for the reason to play football. Most people would not go to a football stadium in order to play/watch something that does not need to be there. The circle is physical in that if you play football, you go to where you will play football and are subject to the rules and consequences of doing so. Football is also treated differently in terms of violence to its role in fulfilling stereotypical masculinity. The general physicality, intelligence, occasional feats of the "impossible," etc, all play into the traditional role of masculinity that society punts down every boy and man's throat to live up to. (The Lingerie Football league plays into traditional femininity as well, but makes an exception for the physicality in the necessity to ooze beauty/sex appeal and the lack of padding in doing so.)

    However, for videogames the circle is "magical" as you can play them, literally, anywhere being there is no strict locational aspect to it as for football. (People don't play full-contact football indoors, e.g. a house, to its fullest extent as one would outdoors.) Videogames don't require any locational aspect to participate: you sit down and move your hands in some fashion and do so anywhere you please. Except for the possibility of carpal tunnel, there really aren't any physical consequences (VR will change that aspect) of playing videogames, they are primarily emotional. The lack of a locational restraint can produce a lack of separation that some cannot realize, and could normalize experiences felt by playing a videogame to equating them as "normal" behaviors to be used in public.

  40. They aren't same IMO, but I don't feel that either should be shunned when experienced within certain constraints. I think that both likely benefit in some similar ways. A video game allows you to participate and live vicariously in a world that you couldn't normally do the game's various actions in. This, I feel, is a way to release stress in some cases, but more so a means of experiencing emotions and events that you may not normally be able to. The old Need For Speed tagline said it best, "Cars handle the way they should so you can drive them like you shouldn't", or something along those lines. I want to experience the rush of pulling off a high dollar heist and blowing up a military compound. That doesn't mean that I don't understand right from wrong and impact on others' lives if I were to do either of those things in reality.

    With football some may argue that you can release tension by leveling another player, thus relieving stress. You may also feel gratified at the actions taken as a warrior of sorts on the playing field. I think that a mixed range of emotions can be experienced in playing football, but I also feel that the game should be played as intended and injuries should be avoided when ever possible. I know that in itself is a difficult task, but you get my point.

  41. Videogames and football aren't comparable, especially the things you outlined. You talked about sideline aggression for football, so if someone was in a video game tournament, someone might rage a bit but hitting someone or shoving them would probably be a bit excessive, however, when people do that in sport it mightn't be considered that much of an offence as they are built for taking hits. In-game "violence" though is hardly a problem, it's a set of rules and isn't linked to anything negative (how many times have you seen "crazed murderer tackles people to death" on the headlines?) but in video games people are offended because you smash someones brains out on the floor or cap them in the head, life-like scenarios that are definitely linked to negative emotions. Even paintball can't be compared properly as you don't use replicas of sniper rifles, grenades, knives, etc. and there isn't fake blood.

    Really, I think a better question could be why are movies violence tolerated but video games aren't? I mean, seriously, the imagery you can find in movies are far worse than any game I can think of. There's many reasons, I think a video on it would be nice though 🙂

  42. I've been under the impression that the outcry against video game violence isn't all that…present. And there's a lot of criticism of football violence. I wonder if your impression of this depends on what circles you run in. We glorify video game violence and criticize football. 

  43. Americans ARE terrible people. First steal rugby rebrand it with a name to a game that already existed, because america sucks at football. What you are doing there isn't football. It's handegg. Football is called football because you hit a BALL with your FOOT. On a side note: baseball isn't original either you just added a stick to hit the ball with.

  44. I played football in high school and I've played video games since I was little. Video games didn't make me like hurt or tackle people it was football. I think that people just need something to complain about and I'm willing to bet that people that think video games are violent played foot ball in high school.

  45. I want to talk a little about effects of sports not on the players, but on the viewers:
    the german nation wide football (soccer…for all the americans) pro leagues have problems with hooligan-fans since ages. they even start fights in the stadium. many of those are nazis. the organizing association puts charges on the clubs to pacify "their" hooligans.

    and for the players:
    in germany, a single city of 40.000 has at least like 3 different football clubs.
    some local derby matches for teenagers suffer from similar problems where the players start fighting mid-game or wait till it's over to get rid of aggression.

    In the case of football, it's not the sport itself that forces players to be aggressive but the confrontations between players that are disrespectful to each other induce aggression.

    So in consequence, whether football is violent or not depends on the players characters and the behaviour of the fans. And I kinda feel like I missed the point because the topic was about sports that, as a game mechanic, contain violence.

  46. I played violent video games my whole life and I find it strange to be a calm person …..
    In my opinion the diference between the videogame and American football is that america football is sport with institutionalized violence like boxing, a kind of violence that is sufficient for public release its intention without exiting the parameters imposed by society of what is acceptable or not, as videogames give a freedom and simulated reality that apparently upsets many people for no reason
     Moreover if a videogame of golf, cooking, construction does a professional golfer, a chef or a civilian engineer then why would a videogame about war or spys  would make us a soldier or a professional killer?

  47. well one is real violence with real people getting injured in and off the field and the other one is what we could call moral violence (not sure about the studies you are talking have any ground to stand on as they are usually about aggression and not real violence correlations)

  48. I feel like videogames are going through the same thing American football went through when it first started, however, this has been persisting in videogames much longer than football (I think mainly due to a bigger population talking about it which drags it out longer).

  49. ive noticed that football players tend to be more violent and aggressive towards people than gamers. sure everyone knows playing a game of league or cod and you get killed a lot of times they rage but footy players will just drop people. also considering football players are stronger than most people. I think its a power trip for them

  50. Ok i need an answer. People say that game causes violence but why do parents allow 5-6 y/o kids to play games for 18+ ?????

  51. Yay! Stroopwaffels. Good subject but I would argue that evidence for violence in sport translating into real life violence is far, far greater than for video games.

  52. i think that the only way for this thing to blow over is when all of the politicians get replaced by people that have been playing video games there whole lives. but that wont happen for a long time because video games as a form of entertainment is still very young while football has been around for longer, and rugby is similar to american football and has been around for even longer then that.

  53. Videogames are often blamed as the cause of violent (young) children. This is true, if the parents don't look after them. Too often, games are viewed as a babysitter, then the children will take the videogame as an example. However, if parents would from time to time play along, or at least talk about the game, children can learn what is wrong and right. I've played videogames since I was 4, but no real violent once until I was 11, which is also good ofcourse. But, if I watched a somewhat violent movie or tv show, they'd, from time to time, watch too, and say what was wrong to do (It isn't good to hit people, etc). Making games a family activity can be fun too!
    If parents would take the time to look after the children, rather than giving them random stuff that can keep them entertained, the world would be a much better place.
    EDIT: I just read a story about a boy who developed a depression because of ages of bullying. He got "addicted" to videogames, and because of that, he stabbed a girl to death. In this tragedy, the boy was mentally unstable, thus it wasn't a good idea to play violent videogames.

  54. While I am farthest thing from a football fan and love videogames with all my heart, I do believe that double standard stems from a fundamental difference of how the audience is in involved between videogames that draw controversy and football.
    Where football has the broad audience simply view the violence, games have the audience committing the violence, and make it very clear that what is being done is in fact violence.
    I honestly hope that one day gaming culture will be able to leave its attachments to combat based gameplay and have other subjects and mechanics become mainstream.

  55. Here's an interesting fact, you know how "every school shooter" has played games?  well seeing as (according to this 99% of boys and 94% of girls play video games it is actually VERY likely and probably a coincidence, also most of them commit suicide before the police get there, and probably planed on it from the beginning, and seeing that mentally health people never commit suicide, they probably were depressed.

  56. what is more dangerous alcohol or marijuana.  same with football and game violence.  Idiots think games and marijuana are harmful.  Reality suggests alcohol and football are extremely dangerous behavior patterns.

  57. I think the dead total by firearm crime and traffic accident that skyrocketed during the 60-70s is because of technological advancing, Live television and portable cameras and recorder, popularity of mass media and TV at Home just make things more exposed than ever before .And some how some problems (E.g .Gun contraband , narcotic abuse and local gangster problem .E.T.C )that are obscure and never hit the surface of the general public got exposed on television and radio .

  58. The answer to your opening question is quite easy. Football does not involve shooting, knife work, robbery, rape, or mutilation. Of course, football (and boxing, and WMA/kickboxing/cage fighting) should be deeply scrutinized and modified to reduce trauma, even if that means outlawing them.

  59. yeah…football and blowing someones head off is not really the same.
    With that said, I dont think its a matter of 'worse' in video games but more about the quantity of it. Games can be pretty much anything, but the vast majority of games in one form or another are just a murder simulator

  60. Every generation has its 'scapegoat'. Before, radio was evil. Next, the TV was the mind-warping machine. Following that, the more aggressive music like heavy metal and mid to later rap/hip hop was blamed for criminal behavior. This age, its video games. People are always looking for things to blame because they don't want to take responsibility for their own actions, or for the actions of their children who they are supposed to raise and teach. People treat these external factors as 'easy-outs'.

  61. The same argument could be used to say that the misoginy in videogames doesn't affect us at all… As a fan of videogames I think we should think more about it, not because other medias do the thing wrong, but because we need to do it right.

  62. in some ways there the same but in most they are different so i think they should be treated the same in some ways but different in others but overall they should be treated the same.

  63. The difference is that in one people actually get hurt, but the other looks more violent and makes an easy scapegoat.

  64. The way I see it, they're both "aggressive" games. Football however has a more physical enforcement, Videogames don't.

  65. Something you inadvertently touch on is how you believe football still "ostensibly says something about what we want young men to be" (4:00). I know you've done a video about masculinity in video games and how hypermasculine playable characters often extend beyond just fantasies for players, but also act as a form of gender policing. That said, like gamers, in 2013, almost half of NFL fans were female ( The NFL will even have Sarah Thomas as its first full-time official ( 

    That makes me wonder your thoughts on gender in sports video games. I think our sports teams and characters, whether custom-created or not, are our avatars. And in some new sports games, you can play as characters and teams that are not the "big leagues" so to speak (ex. in EA's NHL franchise, you can even play as junior hockey teams and players such as the CHL). But I'm unaware of games in which we can play in all-women's professional leagues as an option (ex. WNBA), nor am I aware of a game in which we can create a female avatar to play in the "big leagues." We know women aren't appropriating video games, sports, or other predominantly or traditionally male spaces. We also know that gender really isn't a bad thing.

    When will I get to create a female avatar who wins me the Rose Bowl?

  66. things dont make people violent. people make people violent. i study ninjutsu. and that makes me not want to hurt people. i play gta. and again irl i dont do the things irl that i can do in games.

  67. you know this is the one thing I agree with it is strange how society demonize games when football has actually caused real life aggression vs

  68. virtual agression when foot ball has caused brain damage , paralysis, and sadly death but games have caused no statistical increase in violence and the studies that actually do ignore other stimulus like movies and real life events like school shootings have many other causes like terrorism

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