Diversity in Video and Computer Games

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Diversity in Video and Computer Games Ever since the Pong and Atari 2600 consoles became commonplace items in the American household in the 1980s, video games have been part of the world culture. One may be challenged to find a college dorm room without at least one (if not all three) “next generation” video game systems. Yes, video games are common methods of entertainment among college students regardless of race. So it seems logical that, since the games are played by all races, they should have content featuring all races, right? Well, that’s what I’m here to examine. Violence and Gaming Up to this point, the majority of research based on video games was directed toward the two major concepts of gender and violence. The existence of violence in games is not up for debate; from Donkey Kong throwing barrels and Pac-Man eating ghosts during the birth of home gaming, to samurai Samanosuke slicing up demons in Playstation 2’s Onimusha series, violence has been prevalent in gaming. In fact, a study claims that, on average, 89% of video games include violent content (Children Now, 2001).The question is: how does the violence affect young players? There are two rival camps with opposing viewpoints on the matter of media violence. One, and arguably the more vocal of the two, states that violent content is likely to make the viewer/player act out in violent ways. The other claims that violence in games acts as a catharsis, thus preventing violence on the part of the user. Research on this aspect of video games, and in fact all media, has been conducted as long as the technology has been in existence (Dominick, J.R. (1984). Video games, television violence and aggression in teenagers.). As of yet, results have been inconclusive. Gender in Gaming Within the gender-based subset, most research involved the roles of women within the games, or quite possibly the lack thereof. In the often-referenced article “An examination of violence and gender role portrayals in video games: implications for gender socialization and aggressive behavior,” Tracy Deitz (1998) found the portrayal of women in games to be somewhere between negligible at best, and harmful to the perception of females at the very worst.
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