There is a phenomenon of culture that I’m not convinced has a name. Living in the UK, the vast, vast majority of the media I consume is from the US. And nearly always has been. While television was more localised, all my life the films and games (and indeed an awful lot of the TV) I’ve watched and played has not only come from America, but been set there, or created by people whose perception of life is based there. And, while we may share a decent proportion of a common language, we really are very different countries and indeed continents. The result of this being, the media I watch that comes from the US is in many senses alien, to the point where a film set in an American high school might as well be set on a spaceship for all the familiarity it will have to my own lived experiences. Which makes playing Forza Horizon 4 a really bloody weird thing. It’s… it’s British. Which is causing my double-takes to do double-takes. I’ve been to the US an … [Read more...] about Driving the uncanny valley: Forza Horizon 4 is befuddlingly British
Dialogue between teacher and student
In the wake of renewed debate about violence and video games, I suppose I should put that sociology degree to work and explain, roughly, the academic state of play. It’s worth noting that there’s next to nothing that supports what I like to call the “monkey-see-monkey-do” model of media influence. That is: a piece of media shows a violent act, and viewers/players go out and commit the same act. The heart of the debate in the social sciences is, instead, about “aggression.” And, indeed, in the words of the American Psychological Association, “all existing quantitative reviews of the violent video game literature have found a direct association between violent video game use and aggressive outcomes.” But what, exactly, are “aggressive outcomes”? As I often tell students, the simplest words are the most devilish in science (consider how a sociologist might have to confront the idea of “love” and you’ll see … [Read more...] about Opinion: So what *does* the science say about games and violence?