… and yes, they can be beneficial as well.
But think about it. What we have here is a powerful technology running at high frame rates. It can be mind altering.
This is why we have the ratings systems. In Europe it is PEGI. It recently became a criminal offence  to sell rated video games to the under age, to someone who is under 18 if the game is rated 18.
After the recent school shooting in the United States we have seen this “knee-jerk” reaction against violent video games again. But maybe the issue is that UNDERAGE children are getting their hands on video games that are rated 18 ?
This is an uncomfortable subject for me as video games a very important to me, and I see them as a creative force for good. Battlefield 2 is rated 16 by PEGI. I regard young people over 16 making maps, sound effects or gun models and textures as pursuing creative interests. At least in my experience, I don’t see the majority of them being there for death and violence. This more like a glorified version of Space Invaders and role playing. Anyone remember playing soldiers as a kid ? Children tend to emulate what they see in the real world. I shot imaginary bullets from sticks and at one point even played a game of drug dealers in the school playground (I can see the those led by emotionalism going green now) with friends after watching Miami Vice. I must have only been about 9 or 10.
However I have never become a drug addict or got into gun use apart from an air rifle that I used to have. Maybe that’s just me, but I think the over all trend holds.
Saying that, there can be a seedy side to gun games. I do sometimes see some players who seem to have been attracted to whatever particular game simply because it has guns in it and is a way to inconsequentially carry out some kind of killing of, I have to say it, something that has simply been substituted there for what they really want to be a real human being. That is scary.
I treat these military shooters as huge games of chess. If it gives me any excitement then its the same excitement that I feel when I’m doing a good mix on my record decks.
The danger here is one of hysteria. Not surprising after children were killed in what is supposed to be a safe American school. It does not surprise me that the NRA are asking for armed guards to be put into schools. Yes, its sad. But it sounds like a wise, if hopefully only temporary, solution that should be implemented. Along with gun detectors around all entrances and exits and an alarm system, guards could respond rapidly to an armed intruder.
Curiously I had a dream about this about 20 years ago. I was walking around a school. It had some kind of healthy food restaurant in there. But I clearly remember dreaming about these gun detectors around the entrance ways (like the one’s you see in airports).
Of course it is awful that it has come to this. But are we going to allow ourselves to be paralysed by sentimental emotionalism when it comes to protecting children ? Up till now why on Earth have these school shooters not been shot where they stand BEFORE they kill anyone ? In a country filled with guns it just defies belief.
Maybe if people can somehow think straight about this then we might get to the root of the problem. One may be a drift away from the sacred in our (UK/USA) society. Another may be the almost unspoken of but documented problems with so called anti-depressants/anti-psychotics that have so often been involved in these kind of shootings.