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Video games influence the morals and behavior of children in contemporary society, mainly since they are common in most households today. Most of them convey the theme of simulated violence, which is unhealthy to the thoughts, feelings as well as the thought arousal of the individual. The game, the god of war, will be the media text on which this essay will focus. It is not only fashionable but displays one of the most explicit scenes of horror and violence that represent the prevalent types of video games. The god of war serves as a suitable subject for study because it is one of the most famous video games and perhaps, among the most purchased around the world. Thus, it represents the extent to which this form of media has become a central part of society. The god of war is one of the sources of entertainment for kids today, making it one of the most important sources of information and values that eventually make up their behavior. The increasing popularity of violent-themed video games such as the god of war encourages aggression and violence among children, consequently eroding the morals and ethics of society.
Role of Video Games in Promoting Violence
Famous video games today such as the god of war present violent themes to their audiences to exploit the growing trend. Video game manufacturers are targeting the children in this generation because of their preference for action-based film. Because of their large numbers, they offer a significant market for these companies to exploit. Video games can meet this need better than movies because of their ability to immerse the audience completely into the scenes. Advanced technology has made it possible for game manufacturers to develop highly interactive games that allow the player to personify the main character. The unique experience offered by these games increased their demand significantly over the years, offering their manufacturers even more profits. This Marxist analysis, therefore, highlights the fact that manufacturing video games to generate profits is a primary factor promoting the growing popularity of violent-themed games.
This analysis of the video game industry, which comprises the media sector, supplements the Marxist perception of the media. According to Ott and Mack (2014), classical Marxism perceives the mass media as a means of production, which is usually owned by the ruling class within a capitalist society. While the world today is not capitalistic, corporations play a substantial part in ensuring the overall functionality of the community. The video game industry also consists of conglomerates such as Microsoft, Activision, Electronic Arts, and Tencent. Sony Interactive Entertainment Company is the manufacturer and publisher of the game ‘god of war.’ These organizations focus on profit generation regardless of the impact these violent-themed video games may have on the next and future generations.
The characterization in these video games communicates a theme of anger and violence, which is then adopted by the children that play them. The god of war features a vengeful Greek god (Kratos) who is humanized, and his backstory explained as the player progresses through the game. In all the prequels of this game, the presentation of Kratos is that of an angry and violent character that is willing and able to commit murderous acts to achieve his goals. He begins as a war instrument for the Greek gods until he finally ends up killing all the gods that ruled over Olympus and the whole of Greece during the period depicted. Kratos, as a hybrid of a human and a god (Zeus), was capable of such immense power and skill that he managed to accomplish what was practically impossible in the context of the storyline presented in the game. Therefore, it is highly plausible that the children that play this game view Kratos as a role model. His courage and a fearless attitude when it came to accomplishing near-impossible feats is impressive and awe-inspiring. Children are, thus, highly likely to take after his attributes and that includes violence.
This argument aligns with the concept of ‘equipment for living’ as presented by Ott and Mack (2014) as an approach to understanding the impact of mass media. This model perceives the press as a tool that enables comprehension, management, and negotiation within the social environment and in social relations. It operates on the premise that the media message offer the public with a symbolic resource that can enable them to address and resolve the challenges as well as complexities in their everyday life. Children will most likely try to use the things they learn from the game to try and overcome challenges in their lives. For instance, Kratos is a skilled fighter all through the game since it is this ability combined with a collection of mystical power that enabled him to defeat all the gods. Kids may try to copy some of the stunts that are performed in the game, and that will only lead to violence, if not injury.
The connection between video games and the behavior of children is evident. Games such as the god of war make violence seem acceptable in the eyes of youngsters, causing them to engage in it without anticipating the potential outcomes. As a result, the long-standing societal values that denounce violence are slowly being eroded by this medium. These video games are entertaining since they provide the player with a unique experience that typical movies cannot manage to give. Consider the god of war, for instance. It allows the user to revel in the knowledge of what it means to be a Greek god. The first-person interactive game allows the player to become the god of war and fight his battles that involve traveling across realms and fighting monsters and other gods. However, these exciting gameplays come at the expense of morality and ethical sense of young generations since they are the ones with the highest levels of exposure.
The media shapes the societal landscape in many small ways that have long-lasting impacts on society. If violence-themed video games such as the god of war continue to dominate the media industry, the young generations stand to be affected significantly. Following their levels of exposure to these games, their perceptions of violence are changing. Hence, their proneness to engage in aggression towards each other increases because they will consider it to be normal. Therefore, the ability of video games to influence the character of children across the world demonstrates the power of the media. It is an instrument that if wielded correctly, it could become a source of positive change in society. Focusing on profit generation, as classical Marxism depicts, is also not wise as it still encourages violence in the community.
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