Trend of Increasingly Violent Games Is "Disturbing," Ohio St. Professor Says

After E3, Brad Bushman says, "Unfortunately, I see no signs that it will stop."

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If you watched this year's E3 press conferences, you saw things like severed limbs in a demo for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, decapitation by guillotine in Assassin's Creed Unity, and graphic kill scenes in Mortal Kombat X. This trend of violence in mainstream games is "disturbing," and isn't likely to stop anytime soon, according to Ohio St. professor Brad Bushman, who has been outspoken about the effects video games could have on the people who play them.

"It seems, as time goes on, video games continue to become more violent, realistic, and graphic," Bushman, a communication and psychology professor, told The Associated Press. "This is a disturbing trend. Unfortunately, I see no signs that it will stop. The research evidence clearly indicates that violent video games increase aggression in players, and can make them numb to the pain and suffering of others."

"We know that war is terrifying" -- Sledgehammer Games co-founder Michael Condrey

The Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare demo shown during Microsoft press conference on Monday featured a soldier whose arm gets locked in a door and is later ripped off. Developer Sledgehammer Games co-founder Michael Condrey told the AP that the character losing his arm was meant to push the story forward, rather than to shock people.

"We know that war is terrifying," Condrey said. "The military advisers that we work with talk about the horrors of war. Call of Duty isn't just about gratuitous violence. The scene that you saw in Seoul at the Microsoft press conference, that's an impactful story moment. The loss of the arm is really part of the narrative. We showed that for a particular storytelling reason."

Dana Jan, creative director for the upcoming PlayStation 4 game The Order: 1886, is also quoted in the story, saying the graphic nature of the game is for a specific purpose.

"For us, it's more impactful if it's done tastefully," Jan said. "If you just throw blood all over the place, it's meaningless. ... We have to look at what we think is disturbing or scary and figure out how to do that masterfully without going too over the top."

Of course, this year's E3 also featured many non-violent games, including LittleBigPlanet 3, Ori and the Blind Forest, and Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, just to name a few. In addition, games like Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Mortal Kombat X, and The Order: 1886 are all likely to carry an M-for-Mature rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board.

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