#1 Posted by mosespippy (4433 posts) -

I think I've come to the realization that shit doesn't faze me anymore. A few days ago I drove past a car accident that had happened a couple hours before. This dump truck had swerved across the road, cleared the guard rail and dropped a good 100 feet over the bank into the forest below. The chassis snapped in half as the load of the dump truck folded over onto the cab*. Upon stopping and looking at the wreckage I just sort of shrugged about it.

Then two days later I almost totaled my truck. A moose came out in front of me from the left hand side and stopped in my lane. I pulled off to the left and hit the brakes. By the time I came to a stop I was right next to it and maybe 4 inches to the left.

When I told my mother about it the next day she said, "Your heart must have been in your throat. Didn't you panic?" And the answer is no, I didn't panic. I wasn't freaked out by this near accident at all. In video games we are constantly presented with situations where we have zero time to make a decision and then act on that decision. Sometimes we even do it dozens of times per minute. After years and years of playing games these sorts of situations don't seem to bother or unsettle me like you would expect.

Have you ever been in any situation where you react differently because of the way video games have conditioned you?

*I would later learn that the driver is a distant cousin. He broke a couple bones but he will be fine.

#2 Posted by Akeldama (4257 posts) -

*I would later learn that the driver is a distant cousin. He broke a couple bones but he will be fine.

Weird

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#3 Posted by Zevvion (2340 posts) -

No, not really. Not that I know of anyway. I am pretty resistant to horrible news stories like everyone is: '3 innocents killed in shootings'... OK. But when I see someone get beat up it certainly does something with me.

#4 Posted by HH (625 posts) -

if a deer jumps out at me in a game i freak the fuck out.

exactly the same as in real life.

#5 Edited by TheManWithNoPlan (5977 posts) -

Nope. I've always maintained a healthy separation between real and fake violence and death. I've spent years watching violent movies and playing violent games, but whenever I see something horrible in real life it still affects me all the same.

#6 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4873 posts) -

I used to think like this.

Then my dog ate my kitten a few years ago, and picking up the remains of that cat (he was literally all over my kitchen. In pieces.) reminded me that nope, I'm not desensitized in the slightest.*

*I puked a lot

#7 Posted by tourgen (4542 posts) -

@mosespippy: that's a really interesting question. I've heard of studies that the high-stress competitive shooters make people better at pattern recognition/vision and snap decision making. The studies were fairly limited tho and I don't think they've been reproduced.

Training in stressful situations does make you better at handling similar situations in the future. pretty much the bedrock of training programs. but do stressful video games stand in for real training to some degree? I don't know. I'd doubt it by default unless there is evidence for it.

personally riding my suzuki for ~6 years in urban traffic did it for me. I'm way more conservative and attentive on the road now then when I was younger.

#8 Posted by ReCkLeSs_X (461 posts) -

Constant bombardment of bad news in the media is what desensitizes people. We live in a world where bad news is the norm.

#9 Edited by TheHT (11767 posts) -

@oldirtybearon: D:

@mosespippy: Why do you think having played video games is responsible for your reaction in those situations?

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#10 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4873 posts) -

@theht: I'll just say that you'll be surprised at how much blood is in a nine month old kitten.

#11 Posted by mosespippy (4433 posts) -

I used to think like this.

Then my dog ate my kitten a few years ago, and picking up the remains of that cat (he was literally all over my kitchen. In pieces.) reminded me that nope, I'm not desensitized in the slightest.*

*I puked a lot

My brother in law's dog tried to eat my grandpa's kitten during the holidays a few years back. All 9 people in the room at the time did nothing but stand there and scream. I came in from the other room, got on top the dog, pinned him to the ground, and pried open his jaws and the kitten escaped with a broken leg. Maybe I'm just someone who takes action in crisis.

@theht said:

@mosespippy: Why do you think having played video games is responsible for your reaction in those situations?

For the incident with the moose specifically I think I drew from racing games and watching motorsport. I know that if an accident happens right infront of you that you should drive into the point where the accident happened because by the time you reach that spot the accident will have moved on. I've put that into practice a lot over the years. In this moose incident most people would cut to the right because it's coming from the left, or skidded straight into it. I instinctively went where the moose was. I didn't have much time to react. I had worked through the night and it was 4:40 AM. I was rolling down the window to get some air to wake me up. By the time I saw the moose it was already at the center line.

@akeldama said:

@mosespippy said:

*I would later learn that the driver is a distant cousin. He broke a couple bones but he will be fine.

Weird

This region has 13 towns with a combined population of roughly 1600 people. It takes up one side of one page in the phone book. It's not that surprising it's a relative.

#12 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4873 posts) -

@mosespippy said:

@oldirtybearon said:

I used to think like this.

Then my dog ate my kitten a few years ago, and picking up the remains of that cat (he was literally all over my kitchen. In pieces.) reminded me that nope, I'm not desensitized in the slightest.*

*I puked a lot

My brother in law's dog tried to eat my grandpa's kitten during the holidays a few years back. All 9 people in the room at the time did nothing but stand there and scream. I came in from the other room, got on top the dog, pinned him to the ground, and pried open his jaws and the kitten escaped with a broken leg. Maybe I'm just someone who takes action in crisis.

I'm pretty sure my indecision came from being at work when this happened.

#13 Edited by NTM (7540 posts) -

Video games do either nothing, or very little to change my perception of reality, and some may find it ironic, hypocritical, or whatever, but even in films, and I was just thinking about this, things can faze me. Like, I won't like a certain film, or it can hamper the experience if it's too violent in a certain way, but I can blast guys' heads and body parts off in games and have fun with it.

While I won't get all sad or angry if I hear another "man/woman got murdered today" news story, it's not because video games desensitized me, it's because it's not affecting me personally, though I may start to feel something if I stick around and watch the story, depends. So, no, games don't have any effect on me personally when it comes to that.

As for your situations, I don't think I'd be fazed that much either, but not because video games made me that way, then again, I don't really know your situations in detail.

#14 Posted by Hitzel (116 posts) -

Guys, I don't think the OP is at all talking about videogames changing one's sensitivity to violence, he's talking about videogame changing one's ability to quickly cope with a problem when under pressure.

#15 Edited by ShaggE (6692 posts) -

I know to counter assailants if a symbol appears above their head, but that's about it.

In seriousness: I'm certainly desensitized to a major degree, but not because of video games. More because of a lifelong fascination with morbidity and mortality. Thankfully I've never had to deal with a crisis situation, but I do hope my exposure to such things allows me to act in a smarter fashion than I would otherwise. Doesn't mean it will; the distance granted by a screen makes a major difference. But a part of me is ashamed of the things I've willingly seen (even actively sought out), and I'd like some good to come of it.

On the other hand, if I came home to what @oldirtybearon did, I'd have absolutely lost my shit, so... there's that. Then again, that's an animal, in regards to which I have a much weaker stomach. (a worrying thought on its own)

Really, it's impossible to say until it actually comes down to it. Most likely the only advantage I'd have is being able to not vomit as I panic, if that. I'd rather not find out.

Sorry if that's a bit rambly.

Edit: One other thing. Lack of reaction to news stories is just human nature, and perfectly normal. It's physically impossible to care about all people equally, as bad as that sounds. As I type this, numerous people died, maybe horribly. I defy anyone here to shed an honest tear over them. It sucks, but we'd go insane mourning every life on Earth.

#16 Edited by kcin (141 posts) -

I don't think it would be safe for anyone to say that playing video games has made their physiological response to crisis situations any different. How could one be sure? I, for one, am very biologically responsive to stress situations, and I have played twitchy video games for more than a decade. In fact, I can't handle playing some intense horror games, because my adrenaline spikes too high for me to enjoy them much. If I can conclude anything from these anecdotal examples, it's that I respond almost identically to crisis situations in and out of reality. It sounds to me like the OP is just very adept at handling stress, or at least at detaching from the situation, which in itself is a stress coping mechanism. If I had to judge from my personal experience, I would say that this wasn't the result of video gaming.

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#17 Posted by Gruebacca (570 posts) -

I don't think video games, or the media, have much to do with it. What I do think leads to desensitize behavior is regular contact with such events in real life. I've killed hundreds of thousands of video game baddies in violent, bloody, and gruesome ways; but in real life, I grow queasy at the sight of a little sliver of exposed tissue; hell, even the thought of that makes me sick! I will say that video games have taught me to be desensitized to violence within video games.

It's like the cop that pukes at their first dead body. I suppose that if I came more regularly into contact with dead bodies in real life, I would get used to it. The way our brain interprets video game dead bodies and real dead bodies is entirely different. Also, I'm sure that cops play video games.

#18 Edited by benspyda (2050 posts) -

I can watch endless amounts of comical violence in films and games (Blade, Robocop, Kill Bill, Gears of War etc.) but still any mention of real world violence or movies that depict very realistic violent situations and I still cringe. I wouldn't have what it takes to be a surgeon or... a real life mass murderer like we all kind of are in violent video games, Nathan Drake I'm looking at you. So no I don't think I'm at all desensitized to real life situations because of video games.

More relating to your actual topic, I'm pretty uncoordinated in real life but still pretty decent at video games. So my reaction time in real life still sucks.

#19 Posted by TheHT (11767 posts) -

@mosespippy: That's reasonable. Practising a certain tactic over and over digitally and it effectively translating over to the same sort of scenario in real life. Like how pilots or the military use simulators to practice.

What about the other situation? The one with the dump truck accident. That's more to do with an emotional response rather than a quick physical reaction. Why do you think you having played video games in particular had anything to do with how you felt about the crash?

Seeing the aftermath of an accident alone doesn't illicit much of a response from me either. It's just contorted metal and scattered glass. Do you think you'd have felt differently if you learned someone died in the accident? Or if you had seen a dead body with the wreckage?

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#20 Posted by believer258 (12176 posts) -

We can't react to every tragedy we hear about or we'd all be insane.

As for the moose, maybe you hardly reacted because of a lack of sleep.

#21 Posted by Christoffer (1914 posts) -

As I've become older accidents, close calls, natural deaths etc doesn't faze me as much. It has nothing to do with video games though, you grow accustomed to it, as sad as it sounds. On the other hand, I've become more emotional when I hear about random injustice, cruelty, deceit, racism etc. The kind of screwed up shit people do to other people. The more personal the story is the more infuriated I get.

#22 Posted by JuggertrainUK (211 posts) -

The only way that I think video games have affected me is that I feel that if there actually was a zombie apocalypse I would feel slightly more prepared for it. Not saying I'd survive till I was old and grey, but I'd at least grab a weapon, some food and barricade myself somewhere high to begin with.

#23 Edited by Veektarius (5010 posts) -

Sometimes I wonder if the lack of consequences in video games leads me to underestimate the consequences of things in real life (even if at a conscious level I know them)

#24 Posted by Yummylee (22506 posts) -

@themanwithnoplan said:

Nope. I've always maintained a healthy separation between real and fake violence and death. I've spent years watching violent movies and playing violent games, but whenever I see something horrible in real life it still affects me all the same.

This. A good example is how I relish comically hyper-violent gore in games & films, but real actual wounds and such I still find revolting. Not that I seek such stuff out of course... but should I somehow invariably come upon a ghastly image--maybe from a documentary--I will most certainly still reflex in disgust.

Oh, and empathy. All dat empathy.

#25 Posted by Marcsman (3285 posts) -

No no no.

#26 Edited by ZolRoyce (830 posts) -

@hitzel said:

Guys, I don't think the OP is at all talking about videogames changing one's sensitivity to violence, he's talking about videogame changing one's ability to quickly cope with a problem when under pressure.

That''s kind of what I understood from his first post too, but it's pretty cool reading about the violence discussion too.

I don't think games have effected me to much in any major way when it comes to either problems under pressure or violence. Although I do have pretty fast reflexes which some say games can help with, hand eye coordination and all of that fun stuff. But just because I react fast I don't always do the right thing while reacting, such as, if the moose thing had happened to me, chances are I would have reacted super fast and spun the car right into the ditch. But it would have been so super fast you guys.
If I have a few seconds to take in what is happening I can calm down though and take care of it, but I need that initial "Oh no what?! Oh wait okay" to happen first.
Which if I think about it is exactly how I play games. When a quick time event appears my usual reaction is to HIT ANY BUTTON OH GOD MAKE IT GO AWAY. But once I realize a QTE is happening I'm pretty on the ball after that point.

As far as violence goes, I've grown up around a ton of animals, therefor a ton of dead animals eventually and I've seen some pretty mutilated bodies, so although I'll have a quick reaction of 'aw' when I see violence it usually does nothing to me. I still feel bad, I'm just not freaking out.
Then again that is with animals and shit I see on the news/t.v.
Haven't ever really come across a mangled human body in real life yet so who knows.

#27 Posted by Dasacant2 (240 posts) -

I am terrible at handling crisis situations. I tend to very emotional when these situations arise and can't think straight, I wouldn't say videogames have helped or hurt in these situations but then again I tend to go for slower paced games where I have a lot of time to think things through.