Violence in VR Video Games in 2019 | LambHoot

Published by Jan Heaney on

Violence in VR Video Games in 2019 | LambHoot

Video games make you violent… ouf… that
must’ve been a hard false reality to live under. I and assumably you are fortunate to
have grown up as gamer folk in a world where this expression had either already been or
was in the process of being disproved. We know today that this isn’t true and we’ll
get to some examples of why that is later… but what’s important right now is that I
disclose to you that for a long time, I’ve doubted this. I doubt that video games don’t
make you violent, or in other words I suppose that under certain conditions, it’s possible
that a video game and a video game alone could be the cause of a person’s violent behavior. Why’s that? Well, because of a personal
experience I’ve had with guess which hyper violent game your parents would’a never
let you played as a kid? Gather round losers, story time! It’s easy to forget the technological and
cultural impact of Wii Sports Resort. So remember the Wii? It was marketed as this incredible
machine who’s peripherals would translate your movements one-to-one into its games.
Turns out that was mostly bologna. I mean it still did some fun stuff, but it was mostly
bologna. So a good few years into the console’s life they put out this attachment: the Wii
Motion Plus. This butt-plug looking device encased a super accurate gyro sensor which
promised to, well, fulfil the console’s original promise. And did it? Heck yeah it
did. The Wii Motion Plus allowed for games to be developed in which the most minute movement
affected by a player could impact their performance in the game. And what better way to demo this
than to package it with a sequel to Wii Sports? Whereas Wii Sports’ scope was broad movement
and swings and waggles, Wii Sports Resort was chock full of games where wrist positioning
was critical. We weren’t in infrared-sensor-town anymore, we were in gyro-city! Now when you
go to gyro-city, you get what you expect: pita, fries, and a salad. But as far as the
game goes, this is the sorta accuracy they were working with. This joke cost me $20. There’s no coming
back once I take a bite, I can’t do another take. [loud chewing sounds] $20 well spent. For context, I tried last
weekend working this, like, this joke into, like, my actual diner. It failed. So I, I’ve
already had diner, and now I have all this food. I don’t know what I’m gonna do with
it. But um… I’m twentyfour fucking years old, I’m still doing this fucking bullshit…
I need to be put to rest. [cackling] Whoa what the fuck was that? One of it’s games though was the main reason
you’d wanna try this thing out. Freaking believe it or not, one-to-one motion controlled
sword fighting. And this is the game that made me mad. Everytime I played this game it was the same
story: I’d be fine for a little while and then suddenly once I reached a certain difficulty
level I’d just get pissed. I would start slamming stuff when I lost, I’d punch my
damn couch, I’d slam my controller against the table. It was like, it was like something
I couldn’t control. And worse, the same thing would happen to my little sister when
she played. For this reason, Wii Sports Resort took its place as the second game which my
mom ever had to ban us from playing, a spot it well deserved right next to Duke Nukem
for the gameboy color. Now here’s what never made sense to me about
this. So according to a lot of studies, games don’t make people violent or aggressive.
What are contributing factors to violent behavior though are things like a family history of
violence, substance abuse, some societal causes, stuff like that. And that’s why I’ve never been able to
wrap my head around this. I mean, I was a Canadian kid, that’s like the most non-violent
demographic you can imagine. This is how old I was, I made this video like 3 days after
Wii Sports Resort came out. Family history of violence? No, not really. I mean, shit
I don’t know how much reach into the future this video will have but I was born into probably
the last generation in which spanking your kids wasn’t socially unacceptable…. me
being on the receiving end that is. I got, as we say in italian, a little pac pac au
coulo from time to time when I was being a little too much of a, as we say in greek,
a malaka. But that was it. So that’s why, for a long time I’ve been
unconvinced that games are incapable of making us violent. Because unless I’m missing something,
this game made me and my family violent without any external factors. Unless… Here’s the external factor: motion controls.
Due to my personal experiences, I think in general games cannot be a sole factor in aggressive
or violent behavior. But for the longest time and in the back of my mind is where I stored
this little doubt that this also held true for games who’s take on immersion goes a
step further. And in the back of my mind is where this little doubt, this little thought
stayed… until I got an Oculus Rift this year. Here’s a dramatic reenactment of myself
playing robo recall for the first time: “Oh my god, this is incredible! Oh my god!
This is incredible!” More so than any technology, virtual reality
hereafter referred to as VR, is allowing for the most emergent gameplay video game players
have ever seen, to take place. That’s even if we can call these basic movements and interactions
gameplay, I don’t think that’s a strong enough word. While we’re here still in the introduction,
for the sake of this video, VR is a virtual reality experience which a user interfaces
with through a specialized headset which displays stereoscopic 3D images and includes head-tracking.
In VR the user experiences the world through the body of some avatar which they are viewing
through the eyes of. Additional tracked controllers for things such as hands or legs are optional.
So it’s VR if it’s 3D, its first-person, and there’s at least motion control of the
head. I specify this because by this definition
neither a plain 3D video screen nor a 2D projection of a game played with motion control are allowed
to be called VR. These distinctions will be important later. What is VR going to do? What is it already
doing? What are the impacts of this technology on us, personally? psychologically? But also
on a grander scale, societally? What kinds of conversations should we be having about
VR? Or what sorts can we be having before it’s too late? And in terms of those creating
content, aka games for VR, what are their ethical concerns and responsibilities? What
are ours, as a society that’s currently receiving this tech with open arms it seems?
Is it maybe time to reconsider Violence in Video Games in 2019? Now, before talking about games and their
effects on us particular to this bleeding edge technology, it’s important to take
a step back and see where when why and how this whole ‘violence in video games’ conversation
started. He was a video game player in the 90’s.
She, or they, rather, were his overprotective paranoid boomer or gen x parents… can I
make it anymore obvious? Past the point of novelty, when games started to be more than
just dots on a screen that you controlled with a stick and a button, when games started
moving closer to the living room and forward into depictions of more faithful action and
player input, adults of the world started flipping their shit. Sure, this is a new thing
that they didn’t grow up with and didn’t know what would be the effects of, seems it
should make sense they might react this way. Now, the hypocrisy here is that many of these
grown-ups had been on the opposite end of this rodeo before; be it with the movies,
comic books or godforbid rock-and-roll music that they loved but that their own parents,
priests orrabbis rallied against. But hey, to be fair, never before had any of form of
media tried to put realistic looking guns into the hands of kids… I mean come on…
look, neither side was playing with a full deck it looked like. So of course, public interest in the subject
of the effects of videogames on players drove tons of people into its research. Lucky for
me, just after the turn of the millennium, a couple of guys including one Dr Bushman
(stick a figurative pin in him, he’ll be important a few times throughout this video)
played cowboy to all these old pieces of Scientific Literature and wrangled them up into a single
Meta-Analytic Review, aka a summary of everything that was known about video games and their
effects on aggressive behavior at the time. In the end, their analysis of the massive
amount of existing research revealed that “violent video games increase aggressive
behavior in children and young adults”. Well, shit. And that’s kinda how the subject was left
for a while. Video games make people violent… fuck how’m I gonna convince my mom to get
me Hamtaro Ham Hams Unite now? Except then paradigms began to shift, duh.
Turned out a lot of the studies previously conducted on games and aggression suffered
from the same limitation: the correlation/causation issue. AKA just cause shit’s linked in some
way, doesn’t mean either’s the cause or consequence of the other. Many of them delved
deep enough to find a link between violent video games and aggression and assumed this
meant that the games were responsible for creating the violence in people. This however
isn’t logically sound as it could also be used to argue the case that people with existing
violent tendencies would be likely to seek out violent games. Basically, studies up until
then had shown that aggressive people play violent games, but the relationship between
the two wasn’t properly established. People, or, researchers at least, were no longer satisfied
with blaming games for violent behavior and realized that this didn’t paint a clear
picture. Here’s a good example of a work done during
these changing mentalities: Violent Video Games and Aggression: Causal Relationship
or Byproduct of Family Violence and Intrinsic Violence Motivation? Dr Ferguson coming out
here hitting us with a two-parter! Part 1: do video games cause violence? No! “neither
randomized exposure to violent-video-game conditions nor previous real-life exposure
to violent video games caused any differences in aggression”. Here he is checking immediate
AND regular exposure, now that’s a bro! Part 2: alright so what are some factors involved
with aggressive tendencies? “Results indicated that trait aggression [aka personal proneness
to aggressiveness], family violence, and male gender were predictive of violent crime, but
exposure to violent games was not”… well shit that doesn’t help my case… but hey,
neat stuff! Studies like this were extremely valuable
to the reception and recognition of gaming as a hobby and games as a medium for entertainment.
They not only refuted that “players of violent video games can be categorized as being prone
to violent criminal acts”, but they highlighted the true combinations of influences of this
sort of behavior. While playing violent games is a choice someone who is violent would likely
make, they don’t make you that way… is what people started to learn Now here’s what studies like this didn’t
rule out. The possibility that playing violent video games could have harmful impacts on
people with preexisting violent tendencies or mental illnesses. Maybe they can be used
as a contributing factor, a vicarious experience or way to prepare for a real life violent
act. This is the angle from which the anti-gaming crowd would most often continue to prod from
and still do today, and I guess you can’t blame them for that. That being said, there’s still a lot to
learn and a lot of people from both sides are continuously working towards answering
new questions. Here’s a snapshot of the conversation of violence in video games in
the modern age: In 2019, we believe that there is no strong evidence that games are a cause
of violent criminal acts. However, some links have been found between games and short-term
aggression. As important as it is to acknowledge that, it’s just as important to pay mind
to the murkiness of it. First of all, measures of aggression are weird and often criticized.
They include things like making subjects feed hot sauce to someone. As Dr Graham Wilson
from the University of Glasgow told me in an on-paper interview, (thank you again by
the way!), “there is a world of difference between hot sauce and criminal aggression
/ violence. [It’s] the player’s personality that matters more”. Now the issue here is that studies from the
other end of the line agree with this. They agree that violent behavior does have more
to do with someone’s personality. So instead what they’ve reported to show is evidence
that “cognitive aggression is [a] predictor of long-term aggressive personality changes”
and that repeatedly and regularly activating one’s aggressive thoughts by, I don’t
know, playing games can risk aggression becoming part of their personality (Mcgloin, Rory,
et al). And that’s a really interesting counterargument!
Or at least it would be if it weren’t for another study (Hilgard J.) showing publication
bias towards works which show positive links between games and aggression as opposed to
those that show none or other. That’s why I’m using the word murky to
describe the state of the violence in videogames conversation in the modern age. There’s
no evidence for the big scary and potentially ‘important-if-true’ claims, but people
are finding out some interesting stuff by poking around at the issue at a lot of different
places. For example, maybe it’s not about if games can make us violent but its instead
their addicting qualities that we should be worrying about. Or here, remember my whole goofy intro bit
with the story of how my family and I got angry playing Wii Sports Resort? Well in 2014
a group of researchers from the University of Rochester showed through the lens of Self-Determination
Theory (a psychological framework about how people make motivated decisions) that wholly
independent from violent content, a game could make someone aggressive by result of what
they call Competence-Impeding (Przybylski, A. K.). In their experiments in which they
pretty much explored the psychological processes behind rage-quitting, they took a few steps
to make subjects feel incompetent playing games that included re-mapping buttons to
un-masterable combinations and manipulating games to present a difficulty that can only
be described as unfair. They literally made a version of tetris that would algorithmically
determine the worst 4 possible pieces to dish out per-turn, and then pick the absolute worst
at a 75% chance. Talk about a Tetris effect, this is someone out there’s version of Hell!
They showed that impeding someone’s confidence could result in them having aggressive and
violent feelings, and there’s no doubt in my mind that’s what we were experiencing
with Wii Sports. I mean, the sword fighting is really cool… for a while. The problem
I guess is intrinsic to designing automated challenges for a motion controlled game. With
every round won, the game kinda just cranks up the reaction time of the AI opponents it’s
serving you until you reach a critical point at which they’re able to counter your every
move with just frames to see ‘em coming. It feels unfair and you feel incompetent for
being unable catch them off-guard for a clean strike, the fact that those strikes are triggered
by the identical movements of your actual body and the immersion that lends make the
aggression even hotter. You get some spicy feelings playing that shit. So, while murky, the fact that people are
thinking outside of the box and examining this subject every which way is really important.
Some have observed that historically, most studies took a very unsophisticated view of
of video games (Madigan J. Psychology Today) which might be the reason for their weird
conclusions. I think I’d attribute this most recent shift in the way games are studied
to the fact that many researchers today are people who’ve grown up with games and like
you and me, participated in the establishment of whatever the hell gaming culture is. These
aren’t outsiders looking in, you know, trying to compare paper plane glider games to first
person shooters. These are gamers who treat the medium properly, don’t make goofy mistakes,
but most importantly are likely to pick up on subtleties that researchers of older generations
are unable to. I mean, it feels to me like we’re in the
golden age of psychological research on video games… which I think is cool for as niche
as it is. There’s still a lot to learn though, especially
when it comes to VR which in its commercially available state is still a very new thing.
So, let’s take a look at what relevant research does exist. So first of all, let me introduce to you a
problem I discovered. If you ever find yourself for whatever reason researching the psychological
effects of VR, you might be led to believe from your first search results that a small
wealth of studies already exist on the subject, which is really exciting! Then the further
you dig into them the less they make sense. I mean, they didn’t have this tech back
then did they? Turns out that before the head-mounted displays
of today, the term VR was popularly used to describe any sort of computer graphics application.
From interactive games to emulations and simulations to 3D videos, the term Virtual Reality was
used often to describe very broadly any visual stimuli which was produced digitally or was
some other way virtual. Other slightly more recent studies seem to understand what VR
is but then do a poor job of explaining how they got their studies to work. For instance,
one study that claimed to have players play Grand Theft Auto 4 in and out of VR… which
as a gamer I know is not a feature of that game and that mods for are pretty bad because
Grand Theft Auto 4 was not optimized for this sort of perspective or control. Then you take
a deeper look and realize oh, they somehow projected the game in stereo 3D… I mean
it’s not really VR but I get the point. These common occurrences unfortunately make
it a little bit difficult to delve into research on what it is that we call VR today. They
muddy the results which is a pain. But once you, who are for whatever reason
still researching this subject, discover these mirages and learn to look past them… you
don’t see very much left. Maybe one or two cactuses. Most studies I could find that proposed there
being a difference in how we consume content in this media were either about 3D projectors
or sole VR headsets. Other studies I found which I considered relevant were about motion
controls on their own, most a response to the Wii era of household gaming peripherals.
These might not be exactly what I was hoping for, but they were stepping stones technologists
needed to take towards the contents of the cardboard box I keep on my desk chair when
I’m not using it, the complete package that we call VR today, (you know, a headset, motion
tracking, and hand controllers) no doubt. But here’s where one of this video’s primary
cruxes is going to be; in the assumption that the studied effects of 3D displays and headsets
AND the studied effects of motion controls are both applicable when it comes to modern
VR. As you might remember, when defining VR earlier we mentioned that motion controls
are an optional component. That’s true, while some games require them, others work
without them. So, we’re basically gonna take look at their effects separately and
assume they add up when… well, added up. Here’s a good time to mention that I have
no background in psych. I’ve had experienced help writing this though. My background is
in software engineering… so while that means there’s undoubtedly gonna be a whole bit
towards the end of this about technological ethics, it also means that, for once, this
is my first of this kind of rodeo. So, from my perspective, as a technologist lets say,
I see no reason not to assume that the results of studies on general 3D display systems and
those on motion controls would both be applicable when it comes to VR. As far as I can tell,
they shouldn’t contradict or conflict with each other in any way. Nevertheless, I should be pointing out that
in the lack of any studies about the exact sort of VR games I’ve been playing, those
where I wear a headset and move my hands about, yada yada, I’m going to be taking what people
have learned about VR headsets and 3D and other immersive displays, and I’m gonna
be taking what people have learned about motion controls, and I’m gonna make the assumption
that both of these would hold true when paired. So you might remember that in the intro when
defining the technology, we mentioned that 3D movies are distinguishable from VR; that
while implementations of stereoscopic 3D are certainly a component of VR, they are not
the same thing. As far as what they do though, they both immerse the player or viewer, in
the most literal sense of the word, by providing you a perception of depth comparable to real
life vision. So here’s another assumption I’m making which should be easier to swallow:
I think when it comes to what effects a 3D display is shown to have on people, we can
assume that those effects would at least be true of VR displays as well. Why’s that?
Well because the actual source of those effects wouldn’t be either technology but rather
their byproduct: immersion. Now, VR displays should no doubt have immersive properties
and effects unique to themselves, but whatever 3D does simply by being 3D, I want to assume
VR also does for the same reason. So let’s talk 3D. 3D tvs, remember when
those were a big deal? No, me neither. But you know who does? Dr Bushman! In 2014, he and his associate published a
study on the mediatory effect presence has on violent video game play (Bushman and Lull).
Presence is the word researchers seem to like to use to describe the particular brand of
immersion available through VR. Presence is the combination of 3 phenomena: Place Illusion, the sensation of being in
a real environment. Body Ownership, basically how much you believe
that your avatar’s virtual body is your own. And of course, Plausibility Illusion, the
feeling that the events or actions occurring are actually occurring or could actually be
occurring. This one’s not unique to VR, it’s something you’ve probably seen in
any deep systems-driven game or immersive sim where you have freedom to solve problems
as you would, though VR definitely does help. Now no shit as you can tell from how roundabout
I’ve been at introducing this, Dr Bushman didn’t study how Presence affected violent
game play in VR but rather on 3D monitors. Why’s that? Well, as he explains, at the
time studies of HMD type VR were already cropping up but with mixed results. He attributed these
inconsistencies to the pairing of the awkwardness and novelty of this sort of technology. As he says, “These in-consistent effects
may be due to the bulky and unfamiliar nature of VR headsets, as relatively few participants
typically have experience with VR headsets compared with more popular immersive technologies
such as large screens and high definition images” I mean it makes sense, most people have not
experienced VR, and anyone’s first experience, whether it be after waiting an hour in line
at a convention or just in a laboratory setting, is bound to be weird. I can see how the lack
of most people’s exposure to VR and the fact that a first interaction with it can
be as incredible as it can be nauseating makes it really hard to study on a mass scale. There
more variables at play here than just the content of the games which could be influencing
the results. Not too dissimilar to that whole competency impediment concept with the remapped
controls and unfair difficulties maybe. So long-story-short, he studied 3D screens
instead which admittedly would have a much lighter Presence, but a sort of Presence nonetheless.
And of course, 3D media being something most people are familiar with from their movie
going experiences, there was less to worry about in terms of external factors limiting
the results. And so in the end what they found by having
participants play violent and nonviolent games across different sized displays in 2D and
3D was that violence in 3D had greater impacts on aggression which were attributed to its
immersive condition. Basically, the more present you feel in a game, the angier you’ll feel
afterwards if you’ve played violently. Or maybe another way to put it: if you’re a violent
player, immersion increases your feelings of aggression. Here’s as good a time as any to bring up
that Dr Bushman doesn’t have the most spotless record. He’s a controversial guy. He’s
had papers redacted, he’s been accused of fabricating moral hubbubs, he’s got some
beans. But at the end of the day he’s a doctor of psychology specializing in human
aggression. Maybe a lot of what he’s gone on about has been disproved but that’s fine.
Without a character like this we wouldn’t have the current discourse we have today which
is so great! Now that being said, when it comes to technology on the cutting edge which
it’s funny to admit 3D displays once were, this is stuff he hasn’t necessarily been
directly challenged on yet, as far as I could find. So there’s some uncertainty here we
need to consider. These results might be something worth worrying and learning more about. It’s a worry that personally I’ve had
making the rounds in my head for a while. It’s the ‘BUT maybe’ I think it might
be necessary to add at the end of every ‘videogames don’t make you violent’ argument. It’s
one of the reasons I’ve wanted to make this video for a long time. Here’s one of the
things that worries me… One of the earliest virtual reality experiments
people have ever done is the ‘walk-the-plank’ experience. It’s basically a height simulator.
A virtual plank exists high atop a city, and you walk across it. Simple enough. These days
you can buy a version of it on steam for like, 17 bucks. Outrageous! In cognitive science there’s this concept
of schemas: the way our brains organize information for storage and retrieval. As a kid when we
learn the schema for dog, it might include things like names of different breeds, physical
attributes like having four legs and a tail and others that make them distinct from, say
a cat, like the noise they make, and the fact that they’re better. As far as what we care about today, we may
for example have a real life schema which includes information about how we behave and
respond to things in the real world, and then a media schema which keeps track of how things
in media are to be interacted with. This helps when, say you watch a violent movie. You store
information about how those characters interact in your media schema because, well, you’re
smart enough to tell this is just a movie and it’s not how you should behave in real
life, assuming you’re a typically-functioning and fully developed adult at least, which
honestly is an asterix, I’ll mention here, is implied basically everywhere throughout
this video unless explicitly stated otherwise. Well, a few scholars have proposed that when
it comes to VR and the presence we feel when in it, our brains might be fooled into feeding
us information from our real life schemas rather than our media ones. “Is this real life?” “Yes. Na ah ah ah, uh huh, yeah. Don’t
touch it. Don’t.” Evidence of this can be traced as far back
they say as some of those earliest plank simulators (IJsselsteijn, 2002) and how players respond
to them under various levels of sensory feedback. We know its not real, we observe ourselves
putting on a headset to peer into this virtualization, but still we react to the height similarly
to how we would if it were actual. And raising the seamlessness of the simulation increases
those reactions. If we amp up the frame rate, we react to it more realistically. If we induce
haptic feedback by walking on an actual plank rested on the ground exactly where the virtual
one would be, we react more realistically. If we know none of this is real… why do
we respond with natural fear? And I mean… and pardon my language… but
no shit! VR is supposed to try to convince you it’s real, I mean otherwise what’s the
point? What’s its novelty? Like, as a commercial product I’m talking. But here’s what worries
me: for a long time our greatest guard against those suggesting that video games cause violence
is that we can tell the difference between media and reality. But VR, by its nature,
has as an objective trying to fool us into believing its real. As gamers, we see increases
in visual fidelity and immersion as progress, always. Does that mean though that the direction
we’re progressing will eventually surpass our guard? I don’t know. But when it comes to violence is where I personally
begin to have second thoughts. First of all, is violence really something we want to subject
ourselves to in this medium? And if there’s a chance that increased sensations of presence
give us greater feelings of aggression… aggression that our minds might be associating
with real life schemas rather than media ones, is that a problem? Is there a chance that
in its current state or the states it will no doubt mutate into in the future, will enactments
of violence in VR contribute to learning in parts of our brain responsible for interpreting
and operating within the real world rather than the virtual? I know that comes off sounding
super “moral panic-y”… but, we don’t really know, right? Before diving into that with only the ability
to extrapolate based on what we know about 3D displays in general, lets actually see
what studies about modern VR do exist, eh? Violent Video Games in Virtual Reality: Re-Evaluating
the Impact and Rating of Interactive Experiences is a study on, you guessed it, the impacts
of violent video games in virtual reality, by Dr Mark McGill and Dr Wilson (from before)
of the universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow respectively. The latter of which, as you
may recall, agreed to answer some questions for me in an on-paper interview. Unlike a
lot studies on games content though, these docs came at it with a tangible goal, a suggestion
to the industry. The twist in their study was that it was about game ratings, like,
ESRB, PEGI and the likes. Basically, like I’ve been trying to say in this video, proving
that VR games affect people differently than their non-VR counterparts should be sufficient
in getting them different treatment and consideration, and one of those differences, these guys propose,
should be how we rate them. At the center of their study is Resident Evil
7 for the PlayStation 4, a game selected for its ability to be played either regularly
on a TV like any other mediocre-to-bad first-person survival-horror game… OR in VR using a PSVR
headset. And very importantly, at least to these two researchers, these two versions
of the game are not rated separately but instead share one rating with nothing but a little
warning about VR creating a sense of presence and immersion. To the Glasgow boys, this is
insufficient. This paper is really cool, and it’s a good
read, unlike most of the old-timey game studies I’ve been checking out a lot. My one issue
with it might be their sample size which is pretty small and might not be generalizable
to population, but like Dr Bushman observed when he decided to study 3D monitors, the
elements that make VR VR also make it hard to study on a large scale. And since the people
used here are still the target demographic for these games and headsets, it might be
okay. In their study and on their quest to show
that there is what they call a “meaningful difference” (Wilson and McGill. 2018) between
VR and TV, they describe this concept of visceral realism. Games marketing has historically
used the term realism to describe advanced graphics and visual effects, so describing
VR as real alone “may only suggest realistic portrayals of events” and not tell the whole
story. They explain that “the effects of presence [and] body ownership are [for the
most part], subconscious and inherent”. They say that “the instinctive nature of
the player’s disposition and response” is the difference here and is what needs to
be highlighted when it comes to ratings. The term Visceral Realism instead they believe
better implies “that player experiences could feel instinctively, even irrepressibly,
real”. As Dr Wilson told me in his interview, they
“found [that] people felt more personally involved in violence when playing in VR vs
on a TV”, which is “compelling evidence that violence can *feel* different in VR,
[affecting us emotionally] and [feeling] similar to how it does in reality [which is usually
very unpleasant].” He believes that a more important real-world concern than whether
VR violence makes us act differently is “how [this] violent media affects us” and who
might be affected differently. As they explain in the study itself, when
acts of violence are committed against the virtual body of the viewer, their subjective
and physiological responses are correspondent to those they’d have were the attacks real.
At this point I don’t think we’re even in the realm of games anymore! I mean, what
are the harmful psychological impacts of having someone assault you? Having someone hold a
knife at you? Of subjecting yourself to a realistic fear of heights? The researchers then run with this to say
“hey! There’s a meaningful difference here and maybe slapping a small warning on
VR games isn’t enough to protect consumers”, which yeah holy shit it probably isn’t.
It sounds weird admitting it, but VR content, especially that with depictions of first-person
violence like Resident Evil 7, might harm the people who choose to purchase it. I don’t
know… — imagine paying money for a game and then having to go to therapy or something
because you experienced a realistic reaction to a virtual trauma. I mean, this isn’t
something unheard of happening even outside the realm of VR, like the case of the Mortal
Kombat developer who needed to be treated for PTSD following their work on the game
(Joshua Rivera. Kotaku). So yeah, it only makes sense to treat VR content differently
in the rating process to ensure that nobody gets hurt or damaged in any way. These ratings
are meant to protect consumers from things they might not know about the things they
want to buy. Now, all this talk of the negative impacts
VR experiences could have, it feels like the right time to mention some of the positive
effects it’s already been shown to have. By a function the same elements that might seriously
harm someone, (presence and body-ownership and immersion), VR has also been able to help
treat people suffering from serious phobias and anxieties. Immersion therapy is one of
the ways we currently treat these issues, by exposing someone to their trigger in a
controlled environment. One of the reasons VR treatment is said to work so well is because
it has “lasting effects that generalize to the real world” (Maples-Keller, Jessica
L, et al.), aka virtual experiences can impact our processing of the real world just like
real-world experiences. VR’s been shown to surpass traditional therapy in types of
situations where it might be impossible to expose someone to anything close to the circumstances
of their trauma. VR’s was super helpful for example in a case where it was used to
treat a 9/11 survivor’s PTSD (Difede, JoAnn, and Hunter G Hoffman) in a safe and controlled
way. In addition, VR’s been shown to help with
body image issues and promote exercise both in and out of games. This is something I totally
get: it sucks to fail at a video game because of a limitation of your own body, and I’ve
personally experienced how it can motivate you to work on improving yourself. “Oh, fuck fuck fuck. Yee yai yai, dude.
Guys hold up, I have a charlie horse”. I fucking screwed up my knee trying to play
a sniper in Onward, it sucked having to admit that transitioning in and out of a crouch
is not something my body and myself are very good at which limits the sort of combat roles
I can play in this game. But it was a serious motivating factor in me trying to get out
of the office more during lunch and just go for walks. So, types of VR content have already been
demonstrated to affect our psyche in a lot of different ways, not all negative like it
might’ve sounded like I’ve been saying. So let’s talk real quick about motion controls
before going any further. Like I said before, there’s not much I could
find specifically about motion controls paired with VR, but when the Wii came out and once
again put a gun-looking thing into the hands of kids, some folks were a bit peeved, as
to be expected, and this public interest led to a few studies being done. What folks/parents
were most concerned about were games which asked players to mimic violent motions. At
the center of attention for a while was the snuff film themed Manhunt 2 for Wii which
had players trigger all manner of murderous actions analogously through gesture based
control. After a lot of research, bing bang boom turns
out there’s nothing really to worry about. Playing these sorts of games and doing the
motions does not a violent individual make, or at least there’s no evidence for it.
You know, same as for games before the touch and motion generation. As before though, there are a few positive
links between motion controls and increased short term aggression, and once again, they’re
brought to you in part by Dr Bushman. In social psychology there’s thing thing
either called the Weapons Effect, the Weapons Priming Effect, or the Sight of Weapons Effect,
depending on who you’re talking to (Benjamin, Arlin James, and Brad J Bushman). Its something
monsieur over here has spent some time studying. Basically what it is is a description of how
people naturally experience increases in aggression when seeing or holding weapons. It’s pretty
much that old expression, “when you’re holding a hammer, everything looks like a
nail”, but extended to things like guns. Turns out, merely seeing an image of a firearm,
say, increases our aggression. Holding one is even worse. In 2015, a group of researchers published
a study about the effects of Realistic Gun Controllers for video games on Perceptions
of Realism, Immersion, and Outcome Aggression (Mcgloin, Rory, et al). What they found was
“compelling evidence that using a realistic firearm controller positively impacts cognitive
aggression”. They called playing a game with a controller like this a Triple-Whammy
in terms contributing factors of increased aggression, due to the Weapons Effect from
the weapons on screen, the immersive violence depicted on-screen, and the Weapons Effect
from holding the aforementioned realistically designed gun controller. Now, as a gamer, I have some problems with
this study. That is a great fucking line. But what it comes down to again I assume is
unfamiliarity with games on the part of the researchers. First of all, they mention first-person-shooter
games throughout the study but then in the experiment the have participants play Time
Crisis 4, a light-gun shooter. This is a different genre, this is a type of game that plays entirely
differently to the fps games they say they’re really worried about. And I don’t know if
you’ve played a light-gun game with a regular controller, but its ass. I think they went
the wrong way with this study: instead of picking a game designed for a light-gun and
then comparing the experience to the outright bad controller version, they should have taken
a traditional first-person-shooter which is also playable with motion and compared those
experiences. They could have used any of the Wii or Wii U versions of Call of Duty games
to do this with which all have extensive motion control support. I, as a true gamer, should
know! Do I think this shows a lack of attention
to detail in their study? Yes. Do I think it invalidates it though? Yeah probably not,
I just like to complain. The Weapons Effect is something with a wealth
of research validating it, no questions there. So when they say their results “raise concerns
about the harmful effects of […] realistic firearm controllers” (Mcgloin, Rory, et
al), they might be onto something. But, I mean come on, who’d go ahead and call what
we use in VR a realistic firearm controller, thing looks like a… looks kinda like a…
well, not really like much really. Well, here’s the issue we’ve never really faced before
when it comes to controllers. When you play the Wii and you grab this thing, sure maybe
it feels a little like a gun but it certainly doesn’t look like one. When you go into
the Rift though and pick up these mannetes, they don’t look like this anymore. The game
world overlays hands onto them, your hands. And with those hands, your hands, you grip,
aim, and squeeze the triggers of virtual guns. So I wouldn’t disregard a study like this
because, unlike the light-guns which they studied, the way a virtual gun is observed
can be described beyond realistic-looking. In VR your controller is not analogous to
the weapon you’re wielding in-game, you controller becomes that weapon exactly. The motion capturing technology effortless…ly
grants The motion capturing technology effortlessly… The motion capturing technologis… the motion capturing technology effortletless…
effort… effortlessly… the motion capturing technology… the motion capturing technology effortletle…
effortlessly… the motion capturing technologe… the motion capturing technology effortletlessl… Okay, this is the fucking, like, firth time
I’m trying to get this line down, so I’m gonna read it really really slowly, and you’re
just gonna have to put up with this, but the motion capturing technology effort… EFFORT…
effortlessly, fuck! The motion capturing technology… The motion capturing technology effortletles…
efforlessly, efforlelely. The motion capturing technology effortletlessly.
Effortletlessly, effortletlessly. I just fucking can’t do this. I can’t fucking do this.
Fucking hell… The motion capturing technology effortletlessly…
fucking hell! What the fuck! I’ve never had this much trouble with a line. The motion capturing technology effortlessly…
effortlessly…? Is that correct? Yeah, that! Wait that’s fucking right! The motion capturing technology effortletlessly,
fuck I can’t. The motion capturing technology… no but
now I’m in a weird tone, this isn’t how I ended the last line. The motion capturing technology effortlessly
grants you access to abilities no light-gun game or fuck, man, god, fucking damnit! The motion capturing technology effortletlessly…
uh effortletlessly… The motion capturing technology effortletlessly…
uh effortletlessly… effortlessly. the motion capturing technology effortlessly
grants you access to abilities no light-gum… light gum. The best part is, um, after flubbing that
line so many times I guess I didn’t even realize that it’s one of the lines I flagged
to do in person. So, that, this whole thing has been an exercise in futility. Hey, at
least we got a good joke out of it. But, as I was saying 10 to 20 times, the motion capturing
technology effortletlssly, effortlessly grants you access to abilities and… [laughing]
fucking, I can’t fucking do it. I hate this line. But as I was saying, the motion capturing
technology effortlessly grants you access to abilities no light-gun or fps game ever
has: you can accurately aim without using sights by simply pointing your hand, even
directions you’re not looking. You can lower and raise your weapons exactly as you wish,
manipulate and position them any which way, set them down, pick them up, throw them away,
anything! Included in the researchers’ original concerns
was how the effects of these sorts of controllers (and the mental link that exists for most
people between the guns they represent and aggression) could reach a large proportion
of people through the great market popularity of shooting games, among other genres. This
concern however was partly based I’d say on their misunderstanding of game genres and
the fact that light gun games are not first-person-shooters; not in gameplay, not in audience, and definitely
not in market share… Nobody really plays these things at home lets be honest. When
it comes to VR in its current state though, I’d say at least half the games with motion
controls out there involve firing weapons. Shooting games lend themselves really well
to the medium. The design of handheld controllers with grips and triggers are a response to
this, or maybe its the other way around. Implying I believe VR might have a stronger sight of
weapons effect because unlike light-gun games, you actually see your weapon in your field
of view rather than just a 2D reticle projected onto a screen… assuming this, I think it’s
easy to understand that VR shooting games can be considered a Triple Whammy risk factor.
You see detailed 3D imagery of weapons; your own and those of others, you’re fully immersed
and present in a world of 3D violence, and a couple of dongles you hold shape a corporeal
feeling of holding a firearm. But again we’re talking short-term self-reported
or convolutedly measured levels of aggression, spicy, not progressions towards or links to
serious violent criminal behavior. This isn’t enough reason for the people who’ve called
VR an “over-the-counter digital bootcamp” (Bailenson. CNN) to be suggesting that. Afterall,
as we’ve learned, the fact that violent individuals tend to play violent games doesn’t
mean the games make them that way. But one of the points the confused gun-controller
researchers have might stick, I don’t know. So right away they admit that yeah, that “cognitive
aggression [short-term aggression] is not a measure of current or future behavioral
aggression” (Mcgloin, Rory, et al), but they bring up that “other researchers have
argued that cognitive aggression is the most theoretically useful predictor of long-term
aggressive personality changes” and that “aggressive thoughts that are repeatedly
activated in [a] person can lead to aggression-related knowledge structures becoming a part of [their]
personality”. Having aggression be part of your personality is trait aggression. So
what they’re arguing basically is that repeatedly exposing oneself to immersive violent motion
controlled games and the Weapons Effect with realistic gun controllers can lead to the
development of trait aggression. Now to be CRYS-TAL FUCKING CLEAR, they’re
not proving this, this isn’t evidence. This is a concern they’ve risen and have justified,
that these sorts of games could lead to “aggressive knowledge structures and, potentially, subsequent
aggressive behavior” in people. And as a consumer of this sort of media, and more generally
as just a person living in this world, this kinda concern me a bit. But like Dr Wilson says, “seeing a sad film
may make us temporarily sad and we may cry, but it does not induce clinical depression,
and so why would violent [media] make someone go out and repeat those acts?” Alright so let’s wrap things up and do a
little recap of what we’ve learned so far about the gaming specific impacts of VR related
technologies. Important question: does VR media impact us
differently than other media? Yes, due to its distinguishing factor which sets it apart
from other media, Presence (composed notably of Place Illusion, Plausibility Illusion and
Body Ownership) it would seem so. Though as Dr Wilson mentions, “none of these
are inherently problematic in a way that would cause more aggression than TV [or] monitor
games”, and it probably comes down more to the personality of the player rather than
the game itself.” “We don’t know yet” whatever effects
will (and are) being had on human behavior either in or out of VR games, as he says,
“there’s not really any research in the area.” There’s the good, the positive impacts of
this which can be leveraged for applications like therapy and healthcare. There’s the
bad of course, impacts which most would perceive as negative. Most importantly the unintended
consequences of visceral realism which improperly expressed to a consumer might cause them mental
and psychological harm. False memory acquisition making us suffer physiologically to fabricated
and virtual yet vivid events. Digital trauma with real life consequences. And then there’s
the ugly, the real spooky stuff that, unlike the good and the bad, isn’t quite proven
as of yet sure, but I think the risk of which deems them worthy of some serious scientific
scrutiny. This is the ugly learning of violent knowledge by VR’s potential to bypass media-schemas,
our previously thought best defense when it comes to how much influence media can have
over us. This is the ugly potential for regular exposure to immersive VR motion controlled
violence, games and experiences where the weapon is put in straight into your hands,
to encode aggression within our personalities and change who we are. We don’t really know, conclusively, much
about this. Not many people are really looking at it to be fair. But what I think is that
if virtual events and experiences stand to have similar effects on people as real events
and experiences, what the various stakeholders involved in this technological ecosystem might
need to be more considerate of is the gaming content ethically permissible on these platforms. But gaming isn’t the only domain in which
VR exists. I mean, not even is it just in entertainment. Outside of that industry completely,
VR, and AR mind you, have for a long time found roots someplace a little weird: training. Now, the training industry is a little hard
to visualize. Every company, big or small, has to train their workforce for the particularities
of their job, and for a long time training, head-to-toe, was a completely internal process.
But developing and maintaining training material, issuing it, collecting and distributing it,
this is a lot of work. That’s why a few businesses dedicated to this sort of stuff
have cropped up to serve this market. If you’ve ever worked for a large company, you’re
probably familiar with those horribly acted weird HR videos you have to watch from time
to time. Well, unless you work for the sort of place with the means to produce video content
like that, odds are the clips you watched were part of a training service package that
your employer bought or had commissioned from one of these businesses that makes them. Now
that being said, in certain industries, often in extremely complex domains, there’s still
a need for on-premise internal training material. So the training industry, if you like, can
be seen like this. It encapsulates every company creating its own training and all companies
producing training content and/or offering training services to other industries, businesses
or individual clients. Why are VR and AR such good pairings for it?
Well, partly for the same reasons we’ve discussed relative to the impacts they can
have on people from games. The fact that we may perceive and interpret virtual experiences
as real in terms of our responses to them and our memory formation means they can have
a very similar influence on us as compared to real-world training. Then of course there’s
the cost factor. As I’ve learned, the hotel industry is big on VR training, particularly
for its higher ups to experience what it’s like to work on the front lines. There’s
these intricate VR workspace demos they have for customer service roles with paid voice
actors and all sorts of gnarly stuff. VR’s across the board for workplace safety training;
much more impactful interactive safety demonstrations taking the place of simple video presentations.
These cut costs by not having to spend resources building training environments or spending
to have people travel all over the place to it do on-site. You can put a headset on in
the comfort of an office and just be transported anywhere else to do anything else, it’s
practically magic! And of course, though not real, you do get a sort of hands-on experience
similar to the real thing that leaves more of an effect on you than watching a clip or
not doing it at all as the case may be when costs are too high. Then of course, especially when it comes to
AR, augmented reality (you know, stuff where additional details and graphics are overlaid
atop a user’s view of the real world) there’s a lot of medical stuff. There’s definitely
a lot of what you’d call medical AR apps, just plain applications used for diagnostics
and treatment, but there’s also a wealth of education and training specific stuff out
there. Now to give you a sense of the scale of this
industry from the developer perspective, XRDC, one of the largest VR, AR and MR conferences
in the world runs a survey amongst developers and publishes the results as a report every
year prior to their event. Its kinda like a nice little annual snapshot of this very
young industry, and it’s interesting to see the progression of it. This year, it turned
out that when surveyed about the focus of their current or potential work, education
came up as a target of a third of developers. Almost as many mentioned training and over
a fifth specified that their work was medicine or healthcare related, and a few more said
they were doing something for workplace and public safety projects (XRDC Innovation Report). Like I said, this industry is kinda hard to
put one big cap over, it’s very dispersed. Just, a rundown of the titles of articles
announcing presentations at this conference make that clear. But the point I’m trying to make I guess,
what I’m trying to expose is that to most people, especially the audience I expect to
be watching this video, gamers, VR is gaming. Like, it seems like most people are aware
of VR games and maybe some other VR entertainment like 360 video and oooooouh spooky spooky
VR porn! And like, maaaaaybe a few more people know about the industrial design and visualization
applications. But like, nobody I’ve spoken with knows about the training aspect. And going back to what we’ve learned is
a possibility when it comes to how immersive violent VR might affect us… holy fuck!?
I mean, okay, this is just me talking, this is nobody else. This isn’t even necessarily
my opinion, this is just me trying to explain what I’d call the elementary mental gymnastics
my brain does whenever I think about this. “Okay, so video games don’t make us violent,
sure. Violent behavior has more to do with the individual, badabing. Can video games
make us aggressive in the short term though? Yeah. Do immersion and presence and plausibility
and all that shit amplify that aggression? Some people say it does, so maybe. We know
at least that we respond to it realistically, and that’s a danger, but whether it can
affect how we act, eh, we don’t know. Now can we be tricked into thinking it’s real
and processing what we do in it like it’s real? Eh, maybe. And eh, how about uh, if
we keep exposing ourselves to this, is there a possibility of personality change? That
regularly playing VR games can turn us into more aggressive people? Well I mean, there’s
no real evidence but some people have suggested that could be the case… so I guess, uh,
maybe. There’s uh, a lot of uncertainty around here? But I mean, come on, learning
to be actually violent from video games? Come on. It’s, it’s not like, you know, we’re
using this same technology to teach anybody anything else right? It’s not like there
are serious benefits when it comes to, like, training people to do things… right? Oh
fuck wait.” I know its dumb, but I think, I—- think…
there is something really fucked up about the same devices I use to transport myself
to some unnamed middle-eastern warzone where I use guns and shit to kill bad guys… being
also used to train workers how to keep their asses safe, and aspiring doctors how to perform
surgeries, and hotel chain directors how the day-to-day work of their employees looks and
feels. Look, I don’t think video games make you violent, and at least in their current
state, despite how the fuck this video sounds, I mostly doubt that VR games are an exception
to that rule. But I think its fucked that I think that despite looking at the training
industry and its potential implications. I don’t know, I don’t know what analogy
to make, I don’t think there is one for this. It feels like we hold games and entertainment
to this different standard because unlike an industrial application, we see them as
art. I don’t know. I just, even the thought of this is really dissonant to me. I can’t
run through the flow of thinking about this without feeling like there’s something wrong,
like I’m putting the wrong shaped block in the wrong shaped hole. Especially when you think about the development
of these games and applications. VR expertise is not super common and it takes a lot of
time to acquire, so I’ve heard. So often developers will have had experience across
the board, in training, in medicine, in games. Realistically, last week’s fire safety demo
could be built by the same team making next week’s hyper violent power fantasy. Isn’t
that strange? Should that concern us? Given that the two largest industries in which
VR technology is applied are gaming and training… is it maybe a little weird for game developers
to be making violent content on this platform? Or is it incorrect for us to think this way
or be worried about this, there’s not much evidence. And afterall, a teacher can use
chalkboard to teach a class a lesson, and serial killer can use one too to keep track
of their murders… or whatever the fuck weird-ass shit a serial killer might want to do with
a chalkboard… this is a terrible example. But, like, maybe VR is just a tool? Let’s ask some important questions. Can violent skills be learned in VR? In other
words, can I go into a violent game and learn something I previously didn’t know about
committing violence which then I can take back with me into the real-world once I remove
my headset? Personally, I think so. I mentioned before, I’m Canadian. We don’t really
see guns so often up here, they’re probably afraid of the cold or something. My experience
with them goes as far as the pellet guns I’ve shot. Uh, I also used to collect airsoft guns
which I disarmed in order to take to conventions for cosplay, and I used to make goofy films
with them my friends. I fired an assault weapon once at a family friend’s home out in the
country but in Canada automatic firing weapons are banned and magazines are limited to only
5 rounds, so it wasn’t anything crazy. And It even jammed right after my first shot and
I didn’t get a second. So maybe it’s just my lack of knowledge
and experience, but when I play any of the shooting-range or military simulators which
are extremely popular on VR marketplaces, I feel like I come away from them learning
something about guns. Like, small things I couldn’t’ve ever gotten by reading about
them or watching videos. I feel like I don’t think I could honestly say that I don’t
believe that violent skills can be learned in VR because I once had to google how a certain
gun actually operated in the real world in order to reload it in the game. Even though
that’s the other way around, it’s weird. But stuff like becoming accustomed to how
holographic optics work, or just, developing the muscle memory to reload a gun. In Onward, one of the games I play a bit,
my favorite weapon is this heavy machine gun whose complicated and time consuming reload
I’ve seen animated countless times from the first-person perspective in other video
games at the simple press of a button. Before having to do it in VR I didn’t really understand
the intricacy of it, and when I first started I fucked up constantly. But I’ve gotten
to a point where I can do it pretty quickly now. I mean look at this shit, that’s impressive
ah? If I didn’t tell you I was doing all this with my own hands, you’d probably think
this was a Call of Duty animation or some shit. But no, that’s what a few hours of
experience looks like; I’ve learned how to realistically reload a machine gun, and
a few assault rifles, and handguns, this sawn-off shotgun, which by the way feels is reeeally
fun! I mean, sure it’s not real, but I’ve learned to get into the swing of things. Is
that something I should be happy about? Or is that something that should worry me? Most people though tend to disagree with me
on this point, which is why I think maybe it’s some of my own personal bias. Dr Wilson brought up the issues of motion
“tracking not always being perfect”, weapons having no weight, and that a lack of force
feedback being limiting factors to the transfer of skills. “Yes, you can aim down sights,”
he says, “but the guns have no weight, no kick back”, and unrealistic things like
auto-aim and auto-spread are still present. I talked to a few friendly players I met in
Onward who agreed to share their thoughts about this as well and they echoed the same
points. Turns out that the game attracts a large milsim crowd, (an abbreviation of military
simulation traditionally used to describe variants of airsoft or paintball) and they
were quick to point out the limits to skill transfer with current VR. Still, it’s enough for now to point out the current limits of this platform
and be reassured by them, but VR is an evolving technology. Compare where it was a few years
ago to now and you’ll realize why critique and judgment passed on those old things wouldn’t
necessarily apply today. VR is going to get better, no doubt about it, and as it does,
the fidelity of performing any sorts of acts, not just violent ones, will get better and
come closer and closer to reality. “So [it’s] important that we understand if and how any
transfer might work” says Dr Wilson. “If there was theoretically a 1:1 recreation of,
[for example], a famous monument, and an individual was able to practice moving through it and
shooting with a highly realistic gun, then [there’s] scope for risk. But [we’re]
some distance away from that.” He’s referring here to the concern some have raised that
VR could be a digital bootcamp which aspiring mass shooters might use to virtually hone
their skills in preparation for the real thing. Unfortunately, if it is, there’s not much
we can do about that. None of the suggestions the proponents of ideas like this make any
sense at least, but this shouldn’t matter so much because as Dr Wilson tells, “this
claim is simply unfounded based on the research, there’s no evidence of transfer yet”.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, more on this in a moment. So on the topic of bootcamps, let’s flip
the script for the next question: Can violent skills be taken into VR? This is hard to answer, there’s no real
research around this I could find, probably because of how new VR is and how busy people
with violent skills typically are. I don’t think it’s as controversial though for me
to say that I wholeheartedly believe this. Do I have any non-anecdotal evidence for this
though? Nope not at all. In my decent time playing Onward I’ve noticed a cultural similarity
among the player base which is that a lot of players think very highly of military service
members. Often players who perform really well will be asked in the waiting lobbies
whether they’ve served, others will try to point out behaviors in their teammates
from the spectator screen and try to guess when and where they were trained. It’s stuff
that mostly goes over my head, but something I’ve noticed a lot of. “You see, is there snow all on my butt?
Is there? Ha. This is next, this is gorrila… do I still have it? It’s not? It’s done?
Oh yes! We did it everybody, plant our flag, welcome to death strand- oh this is very tall!
Oh my god, this is like a whole tree! This is, this is gamer country now folks. You heard
of donkey kong country? Well this is gamer country! I can’t put this down without it
making a big mess. Be ready.” The only other story I have is that a very
close person in my life who’s actively serving tried out my VR setup last time they were
around to visit. And when they did they played really freaking well. I had set them up in
Robo Recall because it was the only game I owned, and I accidentally loaded them into
the first boss-fight instead of the level I meant for them to try out. And much to my
surprise, a level that took me 3 tries to beat when I did it and for which I had already
learned the ropes for by clearing the previous stages prior, they were able to take out on
their first attempt… their first attempt in their first real triple-A VR experience.
It wasn’t just that, but the way they played was really interesting. I mean, Robo Recall
is kinda meant to be played with a Keanu Reeves kinda energy, you know, dual wielding, not
looking where you’re shooting, total ninja matrix mayhem. But they played this with cold
precision, almost never holding more than one gun at once, aiming down sights, picking
off targets one-by-one despite the enemy’s hoard approach. It was really impressive,
and not a question, one of the reasons I think real-world skill and training for violent
situations can be taken into VR and used effectively in games. I’m not even talking about tactics
or strategy or anything, I think just having some sort of real combat experience and weapons
training can give you a measurable advantage in the second-to-second action gameplay these
sorts of games serve. It doesn’t really make sense to me that it wouldn’t. So then, back to what in my opinion is probably
the most important question related to violence in video games in 2019 (or 2020 by the time
this fucking video comes out): Can violent skills be honed in VR? Can someone with pre-existing
violent tendencies and abilities and skills apply these to VR in order to improve them?
To train? To learn? Can someone fulfill that sensationalist headline we’d all dread to
see one day? This week’s mass shooter prepared for attack by practicing in Virtual Reality
video games. As a player of these things whose observed
personal physical improvements in these sorts of games over time, it makes me wonder. Would,
for example, having some sort of muscle memory, no matter how loosely related to the real
experience of carrying out the motions of reloading a particular weapon, have any impact
on the damages done by such a malicious shooter? I don’t know. Like we said before, if the
technology keeps advancing (which it seems like it will) the feeling of performing violence
in VR will trend closer and closer towards the real thing. Will it ever meet it? Or is
there some close-but-no-cigar limit it will infinitely converge towards? I don’t know.
But will it get to a point where, for the same reason companies buy VR training programs
for their workers’ safety formation, will it get to where it’s more cost effective
and immersive for a malicious individual to pick out a cool new gaming headset and motion
controllers to prepare for this sort of act than to do it any other way? If things keep
improving… I don’t really see how not. I’m not really prepared to answer whether
violent skills today can be honed in VR. Based on my own exposure to the games I’ve played
in this medium, I think these sorts of experiences could be able to desensitize someone to violence
and fear, and maybe prepare them mentally, but physically? Could playing VR improve whatever
skills are necessary to carry out acts of violence like a sort of training program? Well, remember when we talked about how VR
is used in training for various purposes and domains? One I left out is military. Depending
on your role and location and responsibilities, as a military trainee it’s possible you’d
be exposed at one point or another to some form of VR training. As a training platform,
VR has benefits where, you’ve probably guessed it at this point, it can stand-in for otherwise
expensive practice environments or situations that are impossible to recreate under control.
In particular flight and vehicle trainings are good applications. But there are, however,
less frequently used boots-on-the-ground training simulations which modern vr fps games might
be proportionate to (Virtual Reality Society). Now, when it comes to the nitty gritty, stuff
like weapons drills and field exercises, these are done in real life. We’ve already brought
it up, but the weightlessness and lack of feedback inherent to the general purpose peripherals
packaged with most headsets doesn’t allow them to very accurately emulate the experience
of operating a weapon or doing anything really, which then limits the transfer of knowledge
back into the real world blah blah blah. So VR’s very limited military use for soldiers
is instead focused on team dynamics including things like tactics and planning for combat
scenarios and also adapting to variable conditions like environment and casualties. So while there’s an evident line that protects
us right now from a reality where specific violent skills can be practiced in virtual
worlds for the sake of their improvements in the real one, this technology, albeit in
a moderately mutated state, can and is being used to acclimate people to certain experiences
they’ll be meant to have and to train them on the softer skills required for operating
effectively, violently, as a team. An anecdote I have which occurred while I
wasn’t recording gameplay so don’t assume what you’re seeing is what I’m talking
about, but one time after spectating the last surviving member of my team in a round of
survival in Onward, one of the other spectators who’d said he recognized one of the tactics
this dude was using, asked him if he had served. The guy answered that no, he hadn’t, but
he’d picked up some army field manuals and had been practicing the techniques and tactics
he learned from them in the game to get better and achieve the sorts of miraculous results
the rest of us had just witnessed. Dude was a monster, straight discipline. Which, and I mean to a lesser degree, holds
true for my experience with the game Onward in particular as well. Most of my best VR
victories in this tactically focused game were won through communication enabled teamwork.
There are clearly some dudes in there bringing in real-world tactics and commanding their
teams to victory, and I’m just happy getting to be a player in those people’s game because
its always a blast and you learn a lot. In my experience, it’s regularly made a difference
in terms of the outcome of every round. So, these were interesting questions to ask,
but let’s go back to what we had discussed the research saying and see what implications
there might be now. Does VR violence create violent individuals?
No. It’s fun to worry but there’s no direct evidence of this and so, much like with their
non-3D video game counterparts, violence likely has much more to do with the individual. However,
studies of technology within the range of VR have shown that increased immersion can
lead to increased aggression which has been suggested that in excess could lead to personality
changes. Still, like regular games, this is mostly only a risk for people with existing
violent tendencies or at risk of developing violent tendencies. Now, something we’ve yet to bring up directly:
there’s a difference between learning violent acts and developing violent tendencies. We
can learn the motions to draw, aim, fire, and reload a weapon to great effect, but that
doesn’t come with it violent tendency changes. Same as how we can become momentarily more
aggressive without developing a violent personality. So research pertaining to games and immersive
technology and our exploration of the use of vr in other industrial settings have shown
that, to this point, the effects of this platform can make people more aggressive… and that
it can be used as a learning and training tool for real-life scenarios. That’s as
far as it goes. There is no established link here. Do I want to be the guy who tells you in a
youtube video that because the two main applications of VR are gaming and training, that playing
violent games is effectively training us to be violent? That VR is, in fact, an over-the-counter
virtual-bootcamp? Well, quite frankly yes, fucking absolutely! That’d probably go viral
as shit! But am I? No. We can’t draw conclusions from this because this isn’t evidence. The
media men might beg to differ, and you or I or your dog might have strong feelings about
it, but this isn’t proof… judging by the hole in the satellite picture. This is as
close as it gets, this is just a fun and interesting story about a certain technology and its potentially
conflicting effects and applications relative to our social values. But if you’re asking,
yes, in my opinion, it’s probably a good argument as to why there should be more research interest
here. All this story reveals to me, personally,
is that there’s barely any inquiry here into a device I paid a few hundred bucks for
that’s sitting in a box next to my computer when I’m not using it. So there’s no evidence or anything and that’s
all fine and good, but for a moment (before looking at any new research and without any
evidence)… let’s assume the worst. VR is used for training purposes, and it’s
also used for games. And when gamers play games, just like in training scenarios they
pick up skills. We don’t or might not actually, but let’s pretend that we have reasonable
cause to believe this. Considering this, as a creator of any sort
of vr content (whether a game maker, a film maker or whatever) you’d probably have some
ethical concerns or considerations surrounding your work and its impact. From an audience’s
perspective, there are probably kinds of content and subject matter safe to project when viewed
on traditional displays which would be off limits in VR given the unique ways in which
it affects us. Subject matter that, as we’ve learned, might either cause people psychological
harm… or as we’re imagining, teach them certain skills we’d ought not. From a creator’s
perspective, if a link is made between their content and harm to or the behavior of their
players, perhaps it would be best to avoid these sorts of things all together. I mean, forget imagination, this is something
the artistic medium of gaming has seen before. Over the years, many game developers have
demonstrated a certain awareness or moral responsibility towards producing certain content
which they considered too-far. For instance the designers of 2009’s Call of Duty Modern
Warfare 2 who had the sensibility to make completely optional an emotionally intense
part of the game where the player’s character, for various narrative reasons I won’t go
into, is asked to participate in the shooting of a public airport. Not only did they make
the entirety of the level No Russian skippable by choice, but they designed it in such a
way that if the player does decide to play it, they aren’t forced to actually participate
in the shooting themselves. The player can just walk through and view the graphic scene
being composed by their teammates without actually participating in it if that makes
them feel uncomfortable. Games of the last few generations which have
begun to touch more on these kinds of mature subjects have done well to show awareness
of the limits they think their medium should have. There’s a reason No Russian is optional.
There’s a reason there are no children in open world sandbox games like Grand Theft
Auto. Violence against children, as a good example,
is not the sort of subject designers probably want players to experiment with and make their
own stories about in these kinds of sandbox games where the draw is that, well… it’s
a sandbox and you can make whatever good or bad choices you want to fulfill whatever weird
and possibly violent or chaotic and power-driven fantasies you might have. No, that’s not
something even the creators of a totally open game like Grand Theft Auto which is constantly
getting flak from the popular media for its sheer raunch, are very comfortable with. Instead,
this subject is reserved in the rare instances where it IS brought up in games, for telling
specific messages. Often, the presence of children in a game is surrounded by restrictions;
an open world game that otherwise treats everything, every mechanic, every system as a toy for
you to experiment and play with, when it comes to children the game stops and says “no,
this is how you play with this one, there are rules now”. That shows some serious
maturity, that this medium is evolved. There are certain things we can expect these
days. Games which cover certain topics like sexual violence or mass shooting anywhere
close to insensitively are bound to be rejected by the general public and banned from digital
marketplaces (BBC). Most people don’t see these sorts of subject matter and the interactive
medium being things which can really shake hands, even when discretion is advised. And
so what we can expect from developers is not to cover these. We can expect them to know
that there’s a line that they can’t really cross or even dance around without getting
some hate. And so when it comes to VR, we’d expect the same sorts of restrictions apply,
the same sort of awareness from its developers, right? Well, as someone who owns one of these
headsets and often performs searches for games to play on it, lemme tell you… it doesn’t
seem that way. When we say that games don’t cause violence…
I don’t feel like we’re talking about stuff like Blood Trail, a VR exclusive game
which prides itself on being called “The most violent game in VR” (Blood Trail).
What sets this game apart from most VR shooters is its focus on realism. Simulated laws of
physics rule the game world, waves of bodies tear apart and ragdoll by the intense forces
applied to them leaving behind blood splatters of the most supposedly true to life shapes
and sizes. There’s a sandbox mode of course, basically a virtual torture chamber where
you can experiement with whatever you want and learn the best ways to off your foes…
I guess… in preparation for the main game in which you shoot people… but it’s okay!
It’s okay! Because they’re not JUST people, they’re fanatical cultists! See! They’re
bald and everything! And they’re also mostly unarmed… and this guy would really much
like to be able to snap their necks… A brief scroll-through of this game’s steam
reviews will reveal that… well a lot of people aren’t super pleased with it. But
to a few people… it’s fulfilling something that I’m not really sure I’m comfortable
talking about. This is just a dumb game, a really stupid fucking game, but its clear
its trying to be, without outright saying it, a murder simulator. Its ability to be
that draws in people, and that’s fucking freaky business. Look, I’m all about artistic freedom and
I don’t think video games cause violence, I think most of us feel the same. But when
we say that we’re not thinking of things like this… this realistic physics and gore
driven cocaine cult shooting game with a torture room mode that’s probably giving a few people
out there their kicks. If you want it to be, this can be an approximation of mass shooting,
it can be an approximation of torture, and of murder. I don’t know what playing something
like this, going into it thinking its just fun entertainment, might do to you if you’re
not aware of the unique ways vr can fuck with your mind. It makes me uncomfortable that
a game like this would be made and released and sold with the lack of research that exists.
Sure, there’s no evidence right now for us to worry about… but I don’t think that
means developers should go all the way to extremes and assume everyone’ll be safe.
It seems pretty unethical and irresponsible. Dr Wilson and associate bring this topic up
briefly and less slippery than myself as “Impermissible Content” mentioning that certain red lines
might exist for virtual reality content and that we’ll need to do more research to determine
if, at all, portrayal and interaction with a certain level of sensory fidelity and realism
will be unacceptable for whatever reasons. This research will be necessary to determine
what guidelines or restrictions might need to be made. They mention this is important
in order to protect creators as well as consumers. “Content creators”, they say, “should
be able to push the artistic and aesthetic boundaries of their medium without potentially
harming their consumers or being falsely accused of causing harm” (Wilson and McGill. 2018). This isn’t the only game like this. I’ll
spare you the slew of pornographic vr games that you know exist and instead show you the
absolutely ridiculous intersection, or, inter-sex-ion, if you will… of sexual and violent content
in Sex-&-Gun-VR. This is not a joke, this is an actual game where you have straight
male sex & gun down bad people…? I don’t know, I have not played it. It’s just fucked
to me that something like this could exist so openly, like not even try to hide itself
or anything. How is this shit so easy to access? Why is there so much VR content out there
that seems to disregard the socially enforced content rules we’ve established, as a community,
for games? Is it just because the VR market is so small that there’s a lack of awareness
of these sorts of things being built? And what are the ethics to consider from the creative
side? Well, it turns out it might be more a cultural
thing. I spoke with Dr Stuart Thiel, an old professor of mine who on the side of his faculty
responsibilities had at one point been in charge of Concordia University’s games research
lab. A point that kept coming back up in our interview was that Dr Thiel was concerned
with how creators in this new technology might believe that any old rules would not apply
to them, that they could do whatever they wanted and explore uncharted territory in
this medium. The excitement of a new technology like this could have a liberating effect on
people who wish to try new things previously considered a little weird. Dr Thiel: “People learn what they wanna
learn. Tricking people into learning things is, I mean I have some experience with that
as a university professor. But generally speaking people learn on their own what they wanna
learn. You show them a door, they walk through. If you make that door video game shaped and
kinda fun, then you might get a few more people to walk through it. But these are people who
are actively choosing to learn a particular skill and take away some idea of how they’re
going to apply that skill, and that’s true in the classroom, and its gonna be true to
some extent in a video game as well. But I, but that’s, I’m not making the, you know, ‘guns don’t
kill people, people kill people’ argument.” Denis: “Yeah no. But you’re, yeah, no,
I get it. You’re basically saying like, if people are actively trying to learn these
sorts of things, this is something they can use to learn it, and they will seek it out
but people who are just generally looking to have a good time playing a video game are
not necessarily gonna picking up on these things.” Dr Thiel: “No no, but I, I see that, it’s
just I’m not necessarily convinced about all, all that, um. I’m more convinced, or
more concerned about the fact people feel that they now have a opportunity and a conduite
to communicate a message that doesn’t have the cultural barriers that we’ve put about,
put up about violence in our other art forms and our other media. So, video games, and
in particular VR video games that are newer, the fact they’re new means people could
break the rules, something like these sketchy VR porn games you were referencing. This is
a new technology, its quote unquote disruptive, and so people feel that they don’t have
to follow certain social conventions. And I think that’s a bigger concern, but that’s
not about the game perpetuating the idea of something problematic necessarily. Its about
the people who want to perpetuate these things having, you know, a way to express these things
in a way that I think probably isn’t healthy. I don’t think it helps people deal with
it, I think it helps them spin up and become angry. And I suspect that’s more about creating
a message and creating a group around a message than any actual game itself. Uh, what is the
video game they made about the columbine shooting? I mean that was new when RPG Maker just came
out, that was a big deal. You could make your own game about anything, so someone made a
game about that! And, I mean, not really VR, this is as far from reality as you can get,
but, like, it was around this is someone said ‘I can express this thing that I’m feeling
in this way and advance that’ instead of walking through it in society.” And I agree with his point. You have to look
no further than another disruptive gaming technology to see the same pattern we’re
seeing with VR now. Flash had major influence on our perception of what gaming was back
in the 90’s to 2000’s and probably is to credit for some of the foundation that
the industry sits on today, especially the indie scene. Prior, games were for the most
part physical things you needed to go out and buy, products controlled by ratings boards
and sold over the counter by stores willing to sell them. Now, games could be published
and played directly on the web with nothing but the most basic browser installed on, say,
the machines in your grade-school’s computer lab. The ease with which flash games could
be developed and reached made this a double threat. Not only was it easy to distribute
them, but anyone could make them. Flash was a liberative creative force that showed the
world the likes of Heli Attack 2, of full-fledged series like The Last Stand, of countless archery
games, (what the fuck was up with all of the archery games!), but also, on the darker side,
things like the Torture Game where you’d point and click on a dangling body to use
various torture weapons on it and cause as much damage as possible while seeing how long
you could preserve the victim’s life. There’s even, get this, an option to upload an image
of someone else’s face to the torturee… hahaha that’s cool right? No that’s fucked.
But despite that we used to play it all the time in the computer lab at school. See, anything that frees us to produce more
creative works, or any sort of disruptive technology linked to entertainment will no
doubt lead to the development of some fucked up shit. In the case of Flash it’s ease
of use was unfortunately paired to ease of publication which is why a bunch of canadian
grade-schoolers were able to spend hours peeling skin off a half naked man’s body… Reflecting back on vr now, maybe it’s easier
to understand how by granting tons of people access to a whole new medium of entertainment,
their creativity is naturally running wild. Freedom to make art also means freedom to
make shit though, and so that’s probably what we’re seeing happen here, something
that’s happened many times before in entertainment, even in gaming. Ultimately though as the markets
mature, the ranges of content we should be seeing coming out of vr devs’ heads and
studios should normalize out the extremes. So while this is some real fucked up shit,
it’s probably a necessary phase. So long as it doesn’t persist too long, it shouldn’t
be something to worry about. The bigger issue I see with vr is that while
there’s little to no evidence to suggest that we actually worry about anything, there’s
also basically just one study about anything close to the kind of VR I’m talking about
and even it suggests that we need more research on this shit! You know, the kind of vr that
I’ve seen is very much alive given the online multiplayer lobbies I’ve had little trouble
finding. The kind of vr that, myself semi-included, many people are enjoying on a regular basis. There isn’t just the ethics of the creative
side to consider when it comes to controlling the progress of VR however, there’s also
the role of society at large. At the moment, gaming culture is universally
and unconditionally in-support of graphical advances and immersive tech. You’ll hear
people discuss and argue design and mechanics ‘till the world’s end, but you’ll never
hear someone wish the graphics were worse or that the experience was less immersive.
Graphics and immersion, these sorts of things even get the attention of non-gamer folk,
they transcend the medium’s regular boundaries. When companies show off their latest cutting-edge
ray tracing engines or whatever else they’re cooking up, we all clap, always. This view
of technology is called Technological Determinism. Basically, it’s the belief that any technological
progress is progress in-and-of-itself, in terms of… like, the human race and our advancement.
Any new developments and any new learnings are always considered inherently good. “Progress
towards what?” is not a question you ask because it’s the belief that you can’t stop
progress, that technology is the key driver of social change and then that it shouldn’t
be stopped. A hard determinist view of technology would
for example lead us to construct things like nuclear weapons and allow them to determine
the way we live. In reality though it’s much more complex. It’s neither technology or
society that determines the other, but rather a broad set of multidirectional influences
that allow them to co-shape one another. Nukes didn’t make the Cold War, just like the
stirrup didn’t make feudalism, and neither the other ways around. But when it comes to gaming and immersive
technologies like vr, any new tech that can sell enough to cover its own costs seems welcome
at the table. The way we dance around gaming tech to me looks a lot like technological
determinism, and I think this might be a dangerous view to have, culturally. I mean, I don’t
think you could argue that it’s a sustainable way for us to view games. I hate to go all
best-case futurology for a minute, but if the world doesn’t end, what we can expect
is that this technology will keep improving and improving. I mean even just in the next
10 years, what will vr look like? And now that modern smartphones are being used for
AR and VR, what’s gonna happen? Rumor has it that the next generation of VR is gonna
be a lot about hand tracking, eye tracking, foveated and varifocal displays which have
the potential to drastically improve graphical performance and immersion on current-gen machines.
Little innovations with large impacts like that will just keep happening as time goes
on. Someday far far far into the future, unless something halts it, this technology’s final
form will probably be close to what we’d call indistinguishable from reality… at
which point we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that violence in it will have negative impacts
on people and society. What I’m saying is that we’re not there
yet, but we’re heading in that direction now, a direction where we know eventually
we’ll face an issue. Yes, there’s a lot of things that could go wrong and stop us
from getting there, but, optimistically, if we do… and I’m not talking 20 to 40 years,
but if humanity is still around a century or two from now and this tech keeps progressing
the way its trending to, I think eventually there will be a point along this line at which
time violence in this medium will be a problem. Now why does this matter? Why am I talking
about this now, in 2019? Or fucking 2020 probably by the time video comes out… Well, because
I think there’s also eventually going to be a point at which it will be too late to
start establishing any sorts of rules or guidelines, which are probably what we need. There’ll
come a point where if we haven’t already considered the way we’re progressing, if
we haven’t already asked ourselves “progress towards what?”, we won’t be able to stop
it once we realize that maybe we’re not heading somewhere we like. Who’s to say that point isn’t now? Or
won’t be in the next 20 – 40 years? Maybe it’s foveated rendering that’s the domino
piece that seals in the deal. Maybe it’s more advanced haptics. Maybe it’s portability
and hand tracking which we have now. Maybe it’s some special combination of these which’ll
seal our doom. I don’t know. But what I do know is that with momentum building it
can at some point become too late to give things a little bit more thought… it can
never be too early though. So let’s ask. Should we be treating vr differently,
socially? And how could we? Well one way, as Dr Wilson and associates
suggest in their study, is to rate vr games differently. As they determined when comparing
VR and non-VR play of the same game, “the two formats led to meaningfully different
experiences”, which most importantly presents the case “that current game ratings may
be unsuitable for capturing and conveying VR experiences” (Wilson and McGill. 2018). They go on to explain basically what I’ve
been saying throughout this whole video but much less sensationally, that “issues of
sensitive or extreme content in video games, particularly violence, are a recurring social
concern [despite] there [being] no strong evidence that playing violent video games
leads to long-term violent or anti-social behaviour [or] cognition”. BUT, “because
of the demonstrable effects [its] experiences can have, VR introduces a new angle to this
debate”. When it comes to ratings, they explain that “as VR increasingly tends toward
realism”, it’ll be necessary to know how players and users will be affected in order
to “provide accurate and robust content ratings and descriptions”. So of course, the call to action is to push
more research into this direction. We currently don’t know much about this subject, and
if I may add some of my own opinion (not that I haven’t throughout this whole video) but
it doesn’t seem like we’re on the right track to know more right now about this subject.
It would be a terrible event for them commercially, but maybe creators of VR headsets could be
held accountable to fund research into how their disruptive technology might negatively
impact us. Maybe like cigarette companies, they could be forced to label their packaging
with the potentially ugly consequences the use of their products can have. I mean side note, but even the just the nausea
and motion sickness issue. Could we force oculus and htc and the rest of em to fund
research on that? One of the biggest hurdles in finally making the purchase of my own headset
was knowing there’d be a chance I’d be one of those people who never quite gets used
to it, that I’d constantly feels sick while playing. And honestly I’m not really out
of the woods there yet. I’ve gotten better… but I can still easily and suddenly get whacked
into a cold sweat and belly ache by the most innocuous situations. And it’s baaaad fucking
nausea, it’s debilitating, fucks you up for a whole day. Gut pain, dizziness, weakness,
sweating, dry mouth, and vomit and loose poos to write home about. It’s gotten better,
but it sucked paying so much money for something that I just couldn’t find any decent statistics
on. Just gimme a percentage, that’s all I ask. I feel like they should be obliged
to tell during purchase, “hey there’s an X percent chance you’ll feel incredibly
ill when using this product”. Fuck me, man. This is stupid money for something that might
not work! When it comes to console stuff, VR isn’t
really vibing. For PlayStation VR, ratings of special-case games like Resident Evil 7
which can be played in and out of VR include a little disclaimer which isn’t enough.
Any VR content should be reviewed as a standalone experience, no matter if the same material’s
been rated before for a different platform. The bigger fish though is PC, where most hardcore
VR game playing occurs. Steam for instance doesn’t have expert game
content ratings. Anything similar is either added at the discretion of the publisher themselves
or generated by the community, like content tags. However important to note, unlike other
retailers who might be restricted from selling physical games to children below the age suggested
by the ESRB or PEGI rating on the box, nothing stops a child from just clicking ‘okay’
and getting whatever they want on Steam (Will Freeman, And trust me,
a lot of them do. I’ve seen a lot of kids making a mess of things in tactical military
simulators. Sometimes it’s just a harmless kid frivolously charging forward into battle,
not having been weathered long enough by this world to fear death yet. And sometimes it’s some Lord of the Flies
fucking shit: organized kids teaming up on you and endlessly spawn killing you. Aka,
hell itself. So another option aside of rating them differently,
should we maybe be selling VR tech and games differently? Sure. But does that then turn
sale of VR headsets into a gun-control sort of conversation? No, because unlike weapons
which, no matter what light you shine on them are always weapons, it’s the content which
is played on these headsets that could be the problematic cause of harm. So if this is the approach we take, selling
VR differently, it shouldn’t be on the sellers of headsets but instead the salesfronts of
games that we focus. Should we ask them to take more control over what they publish and
sell for VR? Or otherwise find some way to control what certain underprivileged users
like children are allowed to buy? Or are simple content warnings sufficient? Keep in mind,
these are games folks don’t just watch from a couch, they wrap them around their whole
heads which makes vulnerable their psyche. In general, I think a lot of headaches would
be avoided if more awareness were made about how VR experiences are different than traditional
screen-based ones. And since this is the case, since there’s evidence to prove it, all
parties involved in selling the VR experience (whether they be stores, publishers, rating
organizations or even developers) should be held accountable to properly inform their
potential customers about what they’re getting into. This of course is just my opinion, but we’re
already seeing some of this sort content awareness among some VR stakeholders and it seems like
it comes from a place of good intention. For example, a developer of a VR horror game who
implemented an out-of-ammo fail-state because of what they deemed an otherwise really uncomfortable
and frightening experience (Ben Kuchera, Polygon). So what can each of these groups do to better
redirect VR into what’s probably a better track then it’s on now? Well first of all, rating orgs could develop
a new ratings system specific to VR. The console-based roots of some of these organizations has meant
that VR has up until very recently flown outside of the scope of their purpose. With the current
and next-generation consoles dabbling in it though, this might be the right opportunity
for someone like the ESRB to establish a dedicated framework for rating VR content which we could
then later apply to the slew of currently unrated PC VR games. At the very least, as
VR is currently looking to straddle the gap between console and PC, these organizations
can put more effort into rating separately such bifunctional hybrid VR games like Resident
Evil 7. Publishers could do more to disclose the intensity
of the realism of their games. Its been shown that the disclaimers currently posted might
not be enough. This is especially important when the games being published contain sensitive
content like violence or anything else that might hurt or disturb someone. Also, gonna
sound like a broken record here, but they could distinguish more strongly the differences
between their games which are playable in and out of VR. Simply including a description
of the non-VR mode with a little blurb about VR attached might not be enough. As far as
publishers go, it’s their job basically to make sure the players see all the signs
before heading down the road to VR. Stores, physical and digital, could disclose
content warnings on VR games that stand to disturb some players at the point of sale
or even enforce restrictions all together when it’s clear a certain person shouldn’t
be getting their hands on a game whether by age or some other factor. This is something
we’ll never be able to eliminate entirely, but stores could definitely enforce policies
of informing parents of minors who come in to buy a headset or a VR game for their kid. On the more extreme side, marketplaces on
which VR games are sold could outright ban titles with subject matter unsuitable for
entertainment that common sense would tell you are impermissible for VR… at least until
some proper studies come out that show the all-clear. I’m not for artistic censorship,
but I don’t think we need to be selling a fucking VR torture room game anywhere. I
don’t really care what anyone thinks, judge me, whatever, I don’t think this is right,
I think this should be taken down, like, fucking today. It makes me uncomfortable to think
that people play this. I happen to know a lot of people who are into VR and it would
make me uncomfortable to know that any of them played something like this. This sort
of shit, people either are only playing for shock value or to make a point in a fucking
video essay… or for some sort of dark fucked up reason I don’t think a sales platform
like Steam should be catering to. Again, at least not until we have actual studies out
telling us that this shit is fine. Which… fucking good luck ya bozos. Developers, probably one of the most important
groups, can do a lot. First of all, to mitigate the potential harm,
they can include safety modes in their games. Many already do offer such accommodations,
which was something really surprising to me entering the VR party so late into the game.
Often these are referred to as ‘comfort’ settings and most have to do with physical
and physiological limitations. Most of these displays and locomotive options are they’re
there to prevent you from bumping into your surroundings, tangling yourself up in cables,
or getting too nauseous by sharp unnatural movements. But there are some games which
on top of considering the physical also deal with what might be mental health comfort controls. The best example is VR Chat which enables
a personal-space option by default, preventing you from seeing any other players who approach
too closely. Turning it off and letting something like this happen can be a deeply uncomfortable
and claustrophobic situation to say the least. VR Chat has a lot of other nice-to-have comfort
and safety options that other games would do well to follow as a standard. Basically
what I’m saying is I’d like to see more of this coming from VR devs. Just like I’d
like to hear more stories of designers acknowledging the unique impacts of their medium and changing
experiences that would’ve been been fine to have on a regular screen but are a bit
too much on a headset. Look, basically, there’s a difference between
seeing someone holding a knife to what’s implied to be your neck but is really just
the bottom of your tv screen a living-room’s distance away, and seeing someone hold one
to your actual neck. And since this is the case and not everyone will be cool with that,
there should be a way to turn that off. You know, have maybe alternative less-threatening
animations for players who still wanna play a game in VR but don’t wanna have to seek
therapy after. So, here we are, we’ve made it to the end
of this video. Let’s WRAP things up with a little recap. Thank you Matt, for the joke.
That’s another 20 bucks. This video’s got a budget. [gross eating sounds] No this is chicken. They got the order wrong.
Who the fuck wants… okay. Who the fuck wants a chicken souvlaki? Chicken, lowest level.
Here’s, okay. This is the official souvlaki pita ranking list, okay, tier list. Chicken,
okay? Beef, okay? Lamb, okay? Gyro! This fucking, when you order gryo and the fuck up your order
and they don’t give you something but, they give you the lowest possible denominator…
assholes. Give me free potatoes I didn’t order. Thanks! That makes up for getting literally
the, like, three fucking notches down the worst fucking souvlaki, dumbasses. This is
the dumbest fucking bullshit. This ruins the video. The whole video is fucking trash now
because they gave me the wrong fucking souvlaki. The potatoes are better than the fucking pita.
It’s like, it’s, and it’s co- you know what? Gyro? That’s why I put them in the
fridge! Because we got them and I was like, oh lets put em in the fridge, gyro is great
cold. Chicken is bullshit cold! Okay, it’s not so bad. But like, it’s not as good as,
like, gyro. What’ve we learned? Well, first of all,
violence in video games is a very popular topic, even today. Though we’ve shown more
ways than wednesday there are no strong links between violence in games and actual real
world violence, virtual reality is possibly standing to change what we think of as games.
Studies of past immersive technologies have demonstrated that what weak influences violent
games did have on aggressive thoughts and behaviors were amplified by them. They attributed
this to sensations of presence and immersion, both from the visual and motion-control side
of things, which when you buy a VR kit these days is exactly what’s in the box. These
feelings of presence and body-ownership and realism crafted by VR technology and it’s
content developers are exactly the things that can also leave harmful effects on us
psychologically. They can make us respond to virtual experiences as though they were
real… which is why they’re a really good match for both therapy and training. From
workplace safety to military applications, treatment of PTSD, VR’s ability to convince
us of its unrealism can be a powerful learning tool. So the questions reads: if this technology
is used for learning in other domains, does that mean people will learn from the violent
experiences they have gaming with the same technology? Will players of violent VR video
games become violent people? Pick up violent skills. No, or probably not, or maybe… but
not yes. Consider the worst case, lets ask ourselves
what we can do about this. Creators can be more concious of what they’re making and
try not to make horrible fucking garbage. And we, as a society, can be more aware of
the direction vr is progressing and stand up and make noise when or if we don’t like
it. We can talk to all manner of stakeholders about treating VR a little bit differently
than other games, show them the evidence as to why they ought to. Developers seem to already
understand this, but the places games are sold and those who publish them there aren’t
putting in the effort quite just yet and probably need to be addressed by us. Hopefully sooner
rather than later, before anyone gets hurt. In case it wasn’t clear, this video is mostly
my opinion. Don’t take my word as shit, I’m just some dude. Yeah I did-
[gunfire interrupts] I’m gonna get somewhere safe. Ah, damnit! Yes, did a lot of research and yes and had
a lot of people help me out with either writing or answering interview questions, and trust
me there were originally gonna be a lot more interviews… I just got ghosted by a few.
But that doesn’t change who this video comes from: me. I’m not a journalist, I’m just
some dude, some dumb fucking dude, and this is kinda just a big, hopefully well structured
editorial made to raise awareness of something I think more people should be thinking about.
My goal isn’t to convince you that VR is gonna fucking ruin the world, it’s just
to make you think about it a little bit more. I’m here talking so that the next time someone
blindly regurgitates “video games don’t cause violence”, you can offer a “BUT
maaaaybe”… “BUT maaaaybe VR”. But… that’s all it is, a BUT. I’ll be
honest, its been hard playing devil’s advocate throughout this whole discussion when most
times I entered VR game lobbies expecting to capture some hardcore violent gameplay
footage to use in the video, I’d come away with mostly just… hope in humanity. LambHoot: “If you don’t mind I have a
few questions I could ask you guys?” Dude: “Sure, let me just kill my friend
here.” [gunshot] LambHoot: “Perfect” [gunshot] LambHoot: “[laughing], good, good, good
stuff.” We’re a weird animal. We can spend exuberant
amounts of money to put virtual guns in our hands and wear goggles that transport us to
non-existent battlefields where we can lay waste to our enemies in gory immersive bloodbaths…
and yet we’ll still take the time to make complete goofy asses of ourselves for the
sake of having fun. LambHoot: “[laughing] guys look, we can
get a couke! You wanna have a nice cold couke?” Dude 1: “a couke?” Dude 2: “aaay anybody got any quarters?” LambHoot: “Nice” Dude on left: [grunting sounds] Dude on right: [belly laughing] Dude on left: “[laughing] I’m working
out” Sure, screens and the depthless view they
present may keep us protected from harm as they’re an easily perceived border between
a game world and reality. But as VR permits us to pass through that boundary (or at the
very least look into the screen rather than at it), it’s clear that what a lot of people
see on the other side isn’t harmful. Instead they’ve found the means to be more creative,
more expressive, and to make a total mockery of their surroundings, which is what I think
are some of the things people do best. If you’re interested in any of the materials
I used to prepare this video, I’ll have a list of resources in the description. This project has been no doubt my largest
and I couldn’t have done it without all the help I received. I’ve never actually
had writing help on a video before, but this one necessitated it. There are too many people
to thank so I’ll try to include as many of you willing to be acknowledged in the description
as possible. Thanks again of course to Dr Wilson and Dr Thiel who agreed to let me interview
them. And thanks to those who were willing to take a few minutes out of their games to
be questioned by me in Onward. That’s actually how this whole video began… I wanted it
to be like a battlefield reporter sort of bit, but I figured its a topic that deserves
a little bit more seriousness. That’s all I’ve got. From my reality to
yours, have a… a decent day? You’d think a decade in on this damn website I’d know
how to end a video. How about a poem? [distant caugh] Virtual Reality is red,
Virtual Reality is blue, Virtual Reality in bed?
Virtual Reality 2!?!?!?!???!!?!!?!?! That’s it. hello and welcome to the end screen!
[Hi, just wanted to let you know that I no longer
fully caption my endscreens anymore. It takes a really really
long time and I typically don’t say much of any importance here.
If really would like to know what I’m saying here though, please
feel free to reach out and I’ll be happy to let you know. With that, here are the
automatically generated captions, I hope they’re okay. Thanks!]
this is um it is 1:18 a.m. on Christmas Eve at
this point December 24th I’ve been just kind of working on this video basically
all day today and yesterday and every day
this video has almost killed me and that’s a joke but you know most I don’t
a few people know this I’ve said this before but actually what I do if it’s a
little bit if you’re like prone to very quickly add to a dark headspace maybe
just like pause right now but basically um sometimes I get a little bit paranoid
when you’re working on a big video project like this I’m worried like you
know it’s it’s like a year you’re slowly building it up and then I wonder like
what if like one day I just get hit by a bus and the video it just doesn’t
fucking come out there’s like thing that I want like I wish like at least like
the work in progress can be released so what I actually do is just in case the
video does actually kill me I pre-render every basically every night
that I work on it I do a pre render and I upload that to my second channel ram
hoot or now I believe it’s called lamb who are H and I I scheduled it for the
future so basically for for this whole video I was scheduling all my backups to
upload and like when I say all my backups I mean 30 fucking 50 go back up
to upload on May 1st I just a number of months away just in case I got hit by a
bus and I’m saying that I I joke about that but literally like a few days after
talking to some friends about that I saw a lady get hit by a bus on my way to
work and I was like wow if I had left early that could have been me because I
had left late that day and then that actually I thought about making this
video episodic after that some people thought it was episodic after the intro
it’s it was never meant to be it was always meant to be just one big-ass
fucking one fat log so to those of you because I
know there are a lot of new people who’ve recently joined for those of you
who are not in the loop typically at the end of the video I do a little thing
called an end screen where even at this point we don’t have annotations on
YouTube anymore but I still just show up and I just talk about some shit that
couldn’t really make it into the video but given that it’s now what a 1:21 a.m.
on Christmas Eve and I have plans tomorrow I’m not gonna talk about
anything and and not actually just because of that but I did have a plan
for this so basically there is a lot of stuff that I did want to originally I
wanted to just do in the end screen there were things that didn’t make it
into the final video because either I couldn’t work them in or I couldn’t find
any sources for a lot of things for instance there’s gonna be like the
violence aspect then on the social aspect but one of the one of the things
I wanted to talk about on the social aspect was virtual reality sex and not
like with like the robots like I talked like I did to show that one weird sex in
gun VR but this was like more like people having intimate relations with
with each other and there’s this thing called the the phantom touch which
basically like until VR it was really sure like how many people actually could
like could feel this experience this phenomena but anyways was like it was
just a really awkward conversation as you can no doubt tell and I could I
could not find a single source on VR sex you’d think it’d be a hot topic I don’t
know what I was talking about but what I wanted oh yeah other things I want to
tell you I wanted to talk about sports how basically a lot of the shit that you
can you can say about VR and how you know these these physical activities
that you do can like make you temporarily aggressive basically all of
this applies to sports also but I these were just discussions that didn’t really
fit in by the video hopefully if you watched it this far you saw that it had
kind of an air of path that I was driving it through
and there were detours I could have taken but they would have detracted from
really the road I wanted to take I’m so tired
so yeah anyways there are a couple of things that I have a list of other
things that I can’t remember them for the fucking life with me right now but
basically what I plan to do is instead of adding them all here because this
video is long enough it’s fucking long enough what I’m gonna
do is is actually the same thing I did for actually kind of a very similar in
tone to this video the what I call the gen-x video please don’t watch it I
don’t think it well maybe does a few people tell me it’s pretty good but like
I can’t watch that without cringing and mostly for some video editing hiccups
that I did that I’m really really not happy with but anyways but it was what I
did with that one what I’m gonna do with this one is make I kind of leave this
video out for mmm excuse me for like a week or two oh my got some phlegm in my
throat and then once it’s had a moment to sit I figure I’m probably gonna
really receive a lot of feedback some positive some negative there are
differently things that I will be corrected on like I’m publishing this
video knowing that there are a couple of mistakes a couple of inconsistencies a
couple of things I say that are there could be interpreted as outright wrong
but I have a reason for the way I’m saying them but I’m not I’m not gonna
sit here like this is a video it’s meant to entertain you really really quickly
I’m not gonna sit here and explain to you why I’m calling a certain thing a
certain thing when really someone else might call it anyway I’m talking about
the fact that time crisis for does actually have a first-person mode
basically is what I’m saying and I know people are gonna give me shit for that
but that it it’s not like like I’m sorry fuck you if you think time crisis force
first-person mode isn’t a light gun shooter it’s just a fucking light gun
shooter it’s a light gun shooter where you move a window it’s fucking dumb but
there are a couple of other things like just the fact that this video took over
half a year I don’t even know the original start date but the fact that it
took so long it was like every day I was working on it they were like new
developments and you are an AR that I was like god
fucking dammit like I had like extrapolated this idea and then suddenly
there was like this clip of maybe you’ve seen it but like that clip of like the
pass-through technology they were using for the the AR helicopter pilot
simulators I was like fuck like if only the like I can’t I could show the
footage but I can’t it’s too late for my script so I can’t and there’s a lot of
shit in this video that I’m definitely it’s very time-sensitive it’s not just
the fact that it had the year in the title it’s there was a it’s a very it’s
a very relevant topic right now VR has never been as relevant as right fucking
now so yeah just so basically all that to
say if you’re interested in whatever the fuck follow-up I might make to this go
ahead and check out my second channel or don’t don’t subscribe to it if you don’t
want to because it’s a fucking mess as I regularly like upload just like dozens
of videos in like a day and it ruins anyone who subscribed Twitter subscriber
feed because I just like upload gameplay footage to it sometimes so don’t don’t
bother subscribing to it what I’ll do is when I make this when and if if if it’s
worth it I probably probably do it but when I if and when I do make this
follow-up video what I’ll end up doing is I’ll make a community post on this
channel to drive you to that if you’re interested in any of the things so I’ll
just collect everyone’s feedback I figure you know from the jeddak’s video
for my experience with that a lot of the feedback will be very very similar among
people so I’ll be able to like conglomerate conglomerate
there’s a word I want to use but it’s too late or too early in the morning to
find it in my brain and with that I’m gonna cut to some footage of something
else while I read off the names of my active patrons which I just found out I
can’t do off my phone so I have to do it on my computer screen by the way this is
the video this is the this is the timeline for it or as I call it the
slides these are these are the slides for the this what you’re watching
basically one as soon as I’m done this I’m gonna turn that off and turn this
off and put it all together I’m gonna put it at the end over here make a
little nice edit it’ll probably take like an hour and and then I’m just gonna
hit render and I’m gonna go to sleep and I’m gonna pray that the render is done
by before I have to go through my dad’s tomorrow for Christmas Eve anyway it’s
always the same my patrons are you guys who pay me money to make videos
sometimes that mean it’s pretty good deal some people some sugar creators
charge once a month I made this took like what like seven months ago I get
charged twice a year I swear I’m gonna make more videos at a regular pace but
we’ve got your boy Austin green we got cosmic crowns we’ve got disgruntled
mushroom we got the final blue man we’ve got Glen stron we’ve got you know it you
know it Grant wailing oh baby yeah we’ve got Isaac Holland we’ve got the just
Wally and we’ve got Kiwi and we’ve got Matthew Steven and we’ve got Nathan
Walker and we’ve got Tito’s and we’ve got vin jock and we’ve got
William Van Zandt and that’s all you motherfuckers and I
do have something important to say I was gonna make a patreon poster but I
totally fucking forgot if you are one of the patrons or if you’re someone
considering patronizing me that’s I reorganized my tier list and I created
like a tier below what some of you guys are actually like currently pledging to
me but it didn’t it doesn’t seem like it automatically gave it to you
which is weird so like feels like honestly I don’t know if I don’t need
your pledges but I do really appreciate them but like feel free to like readjust
like I think I’ve been in this situation before with people I patreon I think
what I had to do was like cancel cancel cancel my pledge and then repledge and
then I got the thing or I think you can actually when you edit your pledge if
you just click Edit and then click Save it automatically does it but it’s kind
of shit that like on my end I can’t automatically give you guys a thing I
think I basically added a new benefit where you will receive my scripts which
I guess for this one I’ll do oh we’re gonna have to cut this short because I’m
feeling a rumbly in my tumbly I gotta take a shit but anyways if any if you
enjoyed any part of this video other than this bit because this bit is
bullshit you if you’re interested in supporting my dumb ass you can join the
rest of these folks lovely folks on patreon and give me like a one Canadian
dollar that gives me about I can go to the dollar AMA and pick up a pencil or
something but honestly a better way and I’m a more personal way to support me
that I really enjoy much more is if you’re interested I sell multiple
t-shirts so the bit is that I design one p’tee shirt per video so you can
basically browse through my shirts as if you browse through my uploads which i
think is pretty cool most of the time it’s it’s the shirt is based on a joke
in the video I don’t know what it’ll be for this one but
hopefully it’ll be out at the same time as the video if it’s not it might be a
few days later I’ll tweet about it it’ll it’ll be up there and if you get ash if
you get a shirt that’s really cool I that’s like the cause of this the thing
I don’t need I don’t really really need support it’s really really appreciated
but if you’re gonna if you’re really interested in you I mean it does cost
much more than having a patreon pledge but I think it’s really really cool just
to know that like someone is wearing something I made and if you send me a
picture of yourself in a goofy ass shirt I will most likely in especially if it’s
in a strange place I will most definitely fucking retweet that shit the
problem is a lot of my shirts I really really like the designs that I come up
with but like too many of them have my face on them and so I can’t wear them my
cell like any one of the shirts that does not have my face I have like I have
one where it’s just my face in a toilet and it’s for the one where I I made that
video about Resident Evil 7 called I’m sick and tired of Resident Evil 7 where
the joke is that I was actually sick when I recorded the video so I was just
like sneezing during the recording and it was fucking horrible and it was such
a good joke get it cuz I’m sick and tired of Resident Evil 7 is fine but I
can’t wear that shirt because it has my own face I’ve had shirts taken down for
like weird they wouldn’t let me sell a shirt with well eventually they did but
it was I was a uphill it was an uphill battle to let to get them to let me sell
a shirt with a picture of myself as a child on it because they thought it was
just a picture of some child like which I get is totally fucking weird but like
it was it was me as a kid anyways I did and there was a copyright issue with I
won but I did some weird shit to make it pass and it passed and it is a fucking
weird shirt right now so many of those shirts started off as an idea and then
got like flagged too many times and have just mutated to the point that they’re
like the original concept is just not there anyway it’s not present the shirt
is just something else I’m sorry I’m not even making eye contact with the camera
my I’m so tired I wanted this end screen to be like a minute it’s probably
anyways that’s it please anticipate the follow up video sometime I don’t fucking
know and again don’t don’t bother if you if you want to see that video and you
don’t want to subscribe to my second channel that is 100 M fine you don’t
need to my second channel is like I said it’s a garbage dump I’ll be posting it
I’ll be community tabbing and whatever the fuck it is to this page and you will
if you are interested you will see it it’s been a really strange year oh yeah
I know some of you guys were hoping that I would do the Game of the Year video
for those of you not in the loop every year I do a Game of the Year video but
the the the bit is that like halfway through the the games on the list are
not games like I have awarded Game of the Year to a friend of mine once I have
awarded Game of the Year to a festival in Wisconsin I have and you know enough
set you can go watch those if you want and oh shit my camera’s out of space I
got turned off okay everybody that’s it my camera is officially out of memory I
gotta fuckin go bye bye


Maxwell Mowbray · January 3, 2020 at 11:39 pm

Fucking loled at the Gyro City joke

Xander J 'cliffe - Music Reviews · January 3, 2020 at 11:39 pm

it's finally here

mc bad robot voice · January 3, 2020 at 11:39 pm

40$ well spent

comedy cornheads · January 3, 2020 at 11:42 pm

Woooo! Finally!

0utta S1TE · January 4, 2020 at 12:12 am

I just realised that you were playing Wii Swordfighting as Writing On Games

Jacc · January 4, 2020 at 12:18 am

I will once again assert that the gyro bit is the best piece of video game video essay comedy I've ever witnessed

CheesyBlueNips · January 4, 2020 at 12:27 am

im busting out the popcorn! These videos are always a huge highlight

Barbaric Renaissance · January 4, 2020 at 12:40 am

Lambhoot's magnum opus? Oh boi, grabs… what's a fancier alternative to popcorn?

VLRgospel09 · January 4, 2020 at 1:00 am

Is that sovietwomble?

VonEror · January 4, 2020 at 1:03 am

Haven't watched whole video yet. At this point only advantage of VR over other existing types of combat simulation (many of them like airsoft,static and dymanic shooting competion are available to public) is ability to create virtual stages of large variety. Even if at some point VR achieve virtually realistic feel, you could do the same by giving recoil and proper balistics to airsoft gun. On the topic of transfering irl tactics into VR, those same tactics work very effectively in non-VR games. Using those basic irl tactics I was able to complete with both Max Payne 1 and 2 and FEAR without using slow motion with relative ease. They even work to some extent in very arcade-y games like Halo.

Writing on Games · January 4, 2020 at 1:17 am

The fact that Denis can so confidently break away from an incredibly interesting observation about how people in a VR FPS try to guess where and when people trained based on how well they do in-game with… a series of shots of his wet ass to celebrate the fact you've been watching for over an hour, make this truly a video for the ages.

In all seriousness, I just finished it there and this is a masterpiece. Just… so, so good. One of the wildest things when researching my own VR video was coming across just how little actual research had been done into Virtual Reality™ as we know it today. This video does an amazing job of not only pointing out the reasons far more work needs to be done but also collating the research that exists and drawing some really great conclusions. And yet, as always, you somehow manage to keep it super approachable.

As an aside, my favourite part of the video was arguably when you were conducting those in-game interviews in Onward. There was something fascinating about seeing you shoot the shit about some serious stuff with players of a military FPS while inhabiting soldier bodies and being interrupted by physically intense gunfights.

Ularg · January 4, 2020 at 1:20 am

watching this for over an hour gang gang

Evan Swart · January 4, 2020 at 1:28 am

video good

family guy funny moments · January 4, 2020 at 1:33 am

Therapist: doctor bushman isnt real he cant hurt you
Doctor bushman:

ThatBox · January 4, 2020 at 1:34 am

It's really early for me to say this, but…

This may be one of my, if not my favorite Video of 2020.

GuyOnAChair ​​ · January 4, 2020 at 1:37 am

Here we go again.

VonEror · January 4, 2020 at 1:45 am

I think that your misinformed opinion on guns and "violent skills" heavily influences somewhat alarmist tone of this video.

Graic · January 4, 2020 at 2:04 am

7:40 I swear if that's a sk8er boy reference

Jack Sparham · January 4, 2020 at 2:07 am

Why do you have a20 quid note on your table?

golgariSoul · January 4, 2020 at 2:27 am

I'm going to need to get a lot of popcorn for this.

golgariSoul · January 4, 2020 at 2:30 am

I hope you saved that goshdarn food and ate it later!

Hemang Chauhan · January 4, 2020 at 2:42 am

You are YOUNGER than me?!
You look like my elder brother.

Key Path · January 4, 2020 at 3:17 am

Videogame did make me violance to my parents. I literally breakdancing on the floor to nag my parents to get me a ps1 back there

Chariot Rider · January 4, 2020 at 3:21 am

So I just wanted to leave my experiences relating to guns just because I think they might be interesting to hear about. So I actually have a lot of experience shooting IRL guns. Shotguns, rifles, even those black powder muskets. Of course, all of these experiences have been in safe and controlled environments, typically Boy Scout camp or trap shooting competitions. My point in mentioning these, is that I also have a fair amount of experience shooting virtual guns, and comparing my experiences has been quite interesting. I think the experience of shooting a virtual gun is nothing like a real gun. In a video game, you don't have to worry about safety, reloads, ear protection, or even just the heft of lugging around a big piece of metal and trying to aim it accurately at a target. I even wonder how close VR guns get. Sure, your visual and auditory perception can get pretty close to shooting a real gun, and that might be most of what you need to convince your brain to apply your "real life" schema, however there is a kinaesthetic experience to firing a gun that even VR cannot replicate in its current state. Holding a couple of remotes and pressing normal buttons probably (as someone who hasn't played a VR shooter) isn't close to the real life equivalent. Resting the stock in your shoulder and squeezing the trigger just feels different in a way that's hard to grok without actually firing a gun. Even if new controllers are developed that could perfectly replicate the feeling of shooting a gun, would it even be ethical to sell such a device? I mean, recoil can be very intense and can catch people off guard if they aren't prepared for it. Could this tech cause injury and would this feed into the training aspects of VR, including the potentially scary training aspects? I am not sure. I will probably be thinking about this video over the next few days to leave a more thought out comment, but I just wanted to leave a quick off the cuff comment about my relationship with guns and virtual guns because it might be interesting. Or maybe now. I guess I am not the judge of such things. Great video though.

Jacc · January 4, 2020 at 3:50 am

I almost wonder if the question about violent skills or "vr bootcamps," is a bit of a red herring?

I feel like the major threat of violence these games present isn't dissimilar to the ones that existing military shooters on traditional platforms do. Stuff like rewriting or reimagining cultural narratives. Americans = good. Brown people = bad as the most basic example.

But if you're familiar with the role that video games play in airsoft, that real firearms companies play in airsoft, and that the real military plays in video games (such as the US Army Esports team)… I don't even think we need it to be in VR to assess "video game violence is harmless," as not exactly a true statement.

Anyway, I have a playlist titled, video essays I wanted to do but someone else did better, this one is going there

Key Path · January 4, 2020 at 4:05 am


a cat · January 4, 2020 at 4:05 am

I feel like I should have to pay for this.

golgariSoul · January 4, 2020 at 4:12 am

"If the world doesn't end"

future flea · January 4, 2020 at 4:35 am

Definitely worth the time spent watching this. It was excellent.

MML's Commentaries · January 4, 2020 at 5:52 am

Who knew that the best video of 2020 would come so early in the year and have 2019 in the title?

Seriously man, this is a fucking masterpiece in all respects. It's not a video essay so much as it is a video academic paper. I knew from what I read of your script that this was going to be the most comprehensive video on VR ever done on the platform, but I had no idea how phenomenally it would all meld together in the video itself.

I remember at one point, I think this was in a video actually, you were talking about how when you write things for a video, you explain them in the video like you were explaining something to a parent or grandparent, meticulously going over everything for clarity's sake while also still maintaining their attention. You've sort of perfected it with this video here. You're a brilliant communicator and teacher who knows exactly when to break from the serious stuff and efforlelelelely transition to a goof to give your audience a breather.

You're on a whole other level with this video Denis. You started down in the depths of the spongebobian ocean and now you've ascended past the clouds and outside of the fucking stratosphere to legend status.

Hunter Johnson · January 4, 2020 at 6:10 am

This video is so good that it makes me want to burn it on some CDs and distribute it to my local library

Bagandtag · January 4, 2020 at 6:16 am

This is some scary shit m8

Yamuimo Fate · January 4, 2020 at 6:16 am

I love how long that joke took.

edit: oh boy I was in for a ride. not gonna lie the video has this weird aesthetic that I really enjoy.

SilverNiKr · January 4, 2020 at 6:20 am


Anonniemouse · January 4, 2020 at 6:30 am

The joke segments went on for too long, but otherwise it's an amazing video.

LambHoot · January 4, 2020 at 6:38 am

I mention this in the outro but I’ll be taking a few days to collect responses to this and make a more casual followup video on my second channel addressing those as well as making corrections to some issues that made it into this final thing.

I’ll make a community post here whenever that’s done, so please don’t worry about checking out my second channel. It’ll all be here, no worries.

Thanks y’all for your support throughout this, I can’t express how much it’s meant to me!

joe schibetta · January 4, 2020 at 6:55 am

your audio mixing needs work. i had to turn my volume up very high to hear you talk then around the 59 minute mark when that train comes on screen it exploded my eardums

Vyre · January 4, 2020 at 7:23 am

Sick jacket! This video was really well done. I wish I had more to say about it, but frankly, it was just fantastic.

Bruxtle · January 4, 2020 at 7:43 am

I love u lamb hoit 😘

Ernas 343 · January 4, 2020 at 8:09 am

Sure it'll make many if not most people aggressive but it don't make you drafted soldiers forced by their superiors to used military industrial complex's forbidden fruits to commit "legally justified" warcrimes oh God oh fucj pls gobernmen pls no conscript me I dun want 2 fihgt in eyran bls gobernmen naeuhhhhhhhhhhhh DDDDDDDDD:

amp888 · January 4, 2020 at 8:40 am

Guns and gun violence are obviously a divisive topic, so I feel I must add the following disclaimer, lest my comment be perceived from a position it most certainly isn't coming from: I'm not a "gun person". I've only fired a real gun once, during a clay pigeon experience thingy. I live in Scotland where owning guns is very restricted. I support strong restrictions on gun ownership, and I have no desire to own a real gun.

I appreciate the time and effort you've obviously put into this video. However (yep, you knew it was coming), I think it's deeply flawed in a couple of ways. The first is that you're trying to ascertain the impact of VR in isolation (or near isolation), and the second is you're arguing in favour of censorship (despite your protestation you're not, which is another issue) without sound justification.

The problem with looking at VR in isolation and trying to gauge whether it could make someone more likely to, or prepare someone better to, carry out real life gun violence based on VR experience ignores other factors. Perhaps the most important one is real life shooting experience; how does time spent playing a shooting game in VR (even a purportedly realistic military simulator) compare to actually visiting a shooting range for the same amount of time? I've seen pictures of people in the US who take their children to shooting ranges and let them fire lower calibre variants of popular assault rifles and pistols. What impact does that experience have on the mind of a child in comparison to shooting bad guys or zombies in a VR game would? I don't know the answer, but I think that looking at VR in isolation and largely ignoring the real world is a dangerous approach.

You argue at multiple points in favour of censorship in this video (the most obvious one being at 1:32:09 where you say "I am not for artistic censorship, but I don't think we need to be selling a fucking VR torture room game anywhere."), and suggest concrete steps the industry can take based on your assertion that VR violence could cause real world violence. You bookend these concrete recommendations and censorship by qualifying them with the statements "this is just my opinion" and "this video is mostly my opinion; don't take my word as shit. I'm just some dude." If you have a position, advocate for it. Don't fence sit, and don't give concrete recommendations of censorship and think that adding the disclaimer that they're just your opinions obviates the responsibility to defend your opinions.

Jaydev Raol · January 4, 2020 at 9:40 am

Excellent Video man. Here because of Writing on Games' recommendation

Maddin1313 · January 4, 2020 at 10:46 am

Video games make kids violent? Have these doctors ever seen kids play board games? 😀 Now that's what I call table flipping!

Fuffelpups · January 4, 2020 at 11:32 am

One thing about the point that VR games are rated the same as their "normal" flat 2D versions. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is a bad example. It already has a PEGI 18 rating. Even if they would start to rate VR games differently, there is no rating beyond 18. Sure, the US Rating could go up to AO but this would kill the game. No retailer and most digital stores won't list an aduld only game.

Nez · January 4, 2020 at 11:44 am

Just a quick clarification to that mention of the MK11 dev being traumatized: you made it sound like it was the game itself that did that to him, when the whole story is that he was basically forced to watch videos and pictures of real autopsies, serious injuries etc. for research. Which is pretty fucked up tbh but it wasn't the game alone that was so traumatizing.

Crimson Rhodonite · January 4, 2020 at 11:44 am

Here on a lambhoot binge watch. I have some thoughts about this vis a vis a Japanese media series called Sword Art Online where virtual reality is a big focus, because I'm anime trash and can't help myself. It got really long since I was writing while watching. I'm sorry. Excellent video as always!

Around the 7min mark I started to wonder if maybe your conclusion would end up being in the same ballpark as some shit in SAO. TL;DR, people come out of a long VR session and commit copycat crimes IRL. The solutions SAO proposed was a social rehab school to preempt the crimes, or just having law enforcement looking out for VR addicts as potential troublemakers.
The schema stuff you focus on around 24min brings to mind another point of SAO; as author Kawahara puts it via the protagonist, "the difference between VR and IRL is a difference in information." Given how adaptable people are, is it possible that they can simply grow to adapt VR and IRL into different schemas? Perhaps using signaling behavior like putting on a VR headset before every experience to solidify the difference between the two experiences. Though this gets dicier when we get into the sci-fi stuff in SAO, where the VR experience is "full dive;" the amount of information given to the "player" is asymptotically close to IRL. It's excellent that you're raising and contributing to this discussion as we approach that point.
I also wonder how the context of violence affects people. In SAO, the people committing copycat crimes might be more justifiable/explainable because they were experienced in a game with no guns or projectiles of any variety- only the eponymous swords. I don't think it's hard to see how violent behavior relating to swinging one's arms, a fairly ubiquitous act regardless of held implement, could cross schemas, although I say this as someone who practiced fencing for several years recreationally, for whom thrusting any non-rapier object, even like a wok, brings up a vague muscle memory.
A later arc in SAO (the novel for which was released in 2010) even has a person using a gun-based VR game to overcome their gun-related PTSD, though it isn't handled particularly deftly, it still at least addresses the idea of the sort of thing you're talking about with the immersion therapy segment.
Actually, the fact that your next point about it helping to encourage IRL fitness brings to mind another VR-centric story, makes me thing that maybe one of the most detailed ways this topic has been thought about meaningfully is in fiction, rather than through formal research. For the record, the story is a Korean webnovel called Legendary Moonlight Sculptor where the protagonist goes to an IRL dojo to train to get himself better for when he goes into the full-body haptics VR setup so he can… be good at violence…
Surely it's been true for other scientific/technological fields before that they surpassed the fiction about them, but I wonder if maybe a good way to kickstart research topics is by looking through the lense of fiction first. The research papers you bring up are all very grounded, in the sense that they deal with modern day or even outdated modes of the VR experience. It's worrisome how fast we're approaching the point where these decade old hypothetical sci-fi pieces are become wholly relevant in their depiction, with the same level of fictional scrutiny not even close to being met IRL. This sort of closing gap makes me think, this must be the VR comparison of what Hamish pointed out in his recent MGS4 video vis a vis society and politics (love u hambo).
Anyways, the thing I mentioned about adapting schemas to compartmentalize VR/IRL aggressive tendencies, I realized during your segment about light guns that this is another thing depicted without a second thought (thoughtlessly? poorly? perhaps) by SAO e.g. bloodthirsty characters in the "VR world" are completely harmless middle school girls IRL. IMO it is the sheer fact that these characters are portrayed with very little side commentary about the disparity between their VR/IRL self goes to show how natural it would be to completely compartmentalize these two experiences, regardless of how close in information they might be.

So maybe the big scary question is in how quickly people can adapt to VR as simply a different mode of info intake, compared to how well the mass of adopters' personalities are to adjusting and coping with the existence of this new mode.

A Blob · January 4, 2020 at 2:22 pm

Hm…. A little off-topic but I, as a mentally handicapped person (Asperger), could kinda now see, after watching this video, why I want to stay far away from any kind of first-person shooter game. To me, I really dislike the realistic style of graphics in those games. They seem to protray to me stuff too realistically. Not saying that it'd make me violent at all but I guess more so a little shocked. And I guess think a little too much about that. Maybe that's why I'm still not really inviting stuff like 4K or raytracing with open arms and more so question why that's neccessary and what reason it needs to exist.
But it doesn't seem like I'm personally against this sort of genre altogether, for example, Nintendo Labo VR has a much more cartoony vibe about it and when I played the first-person shooter gallery game in that or when I made my own short emulation of a gallery shooter arcade game in Labo Garage VR, I didn't feel that way, as opposed to a normal video game with realistic violence in it.

With that being said.

While I already said that next steps in technology don't interest me as much as seemingly others do, VR games also didn't interest me at all until I saw videos from this game dev recently.
Uh… while the titles and often the descriptions of the game irks me a little bit, since the game seems actually way less creepy than it actually is, but I'm gonna say it, I'd rather see more VR games that don't have any violence whatsoever and more so just are wholesome and cartoony, like this one. I dunno.
I'm not against violent video games, I just personally find them uncomfortable, no matter if it's VR or non-VR. I feel like there's a distinct lack of non-violent first-person VR games. I can only think of like one other game, Sprint Vector. Any others games I can think of are more so you being a third-person camera guy. But I also don't look into VR games that much either, I just don't hear a lot about non-violent VR games (that aren't boring simulators, racing or other kinds of sport games). Let's just say that if I'd ever buy a VR headset, I'd actually rather want to make VR games for myself than play current VR games…

Oh, back to your video, I liked it, reminded me when I made a presentation about violence in video games and I still stand how normal video games wouldn't make you violent but from what I remember, my arguements were a little shaky and a bit off-topic… And I also didn't personally cover VR since I think at the time wasn't a "real games on it" thing yet. Regardless, yeah, I just completely agree with what you've said. I wonder how a VR rating system would work though… And the funny bits of the video really helped at making the overall mood about all this less depressing and negative, thank you for that.
And I also like the pitched-down Sonic Adventure 2 music in your video, took me some time to notice.

Benjamin Krause · January 4, 2020 at 2:45 pm

Am… am I a time traveler? I feel like I watched this video a few months ago? 👀

Logirby · January 4, 2020 at 3:09 pm

Half way through the video while writing this so take it with a grain of salt. (also haven't read many comments so don't know if anybody has talked about this yet):

I think that the "virtual boot camp" thing could be a real concern since there are companies that make vr gun stocks that you put your controllers in and have a little motor that drives a panel thing on the back for a "realistic" feel of recoil. Of course it isn't quite the same as shooting an actual gun but it is getting close. Another thing that could be worrying is the teslasuit (I think) suit and gloves. I mainly want to focus on the gloves here: The gloves are wireless and have force feedback meaning they can stop your fingers from grabbing through an object in vr. The suit looks to be not something that would contribute much to this "virtual boot camp" thing some people are worried about. It really only has some biometrics, haptics, and full body tracking. The gloves combined with the gun stock could be bad news. But the gloves and suit are like $15,000 combined (about 10k suit and 5k gloves) right now and are being marketed to companies. My main source for this was memory (gun stock) and teslasuit's website. saw the gun stock on a thrillseeker video I think but if anybody is interested in it you could probably find it with a quick google search.

videosteward · January 4, 2020 at 3:32 pm

you released this video effortlessly

crowley-crow · January 4, 2020 at 3:37 pm

Tech etichs =tetichs

NesZENZ · January 4, 2020 at 4:09 pm

Whenever media technology advances we get concerned that this time we crossed the line and it's finally "too real". I am not convinced that decreasing the distance between reality and game simulation has an increasing effect on how we are affected by the medium. When watching a movie in 3D the stereoscopic effect is great initially, but after 5 to 10 minutes the experience is indistinguishable from watching the same movie in 2D.
Instead I think, depicted violence in any kind of media already has a (massive) effect on all of us. Even non-fictional media like news reports on violent crimes inspires imitators and reporting on suicides statistically increases the suicide rate.

Human behavior in general and violent behavior specifically is affected by different factors. You mentioned that Wii game that caused you to get frustrated and aggressive. I once got quite aggressive during cooking, because the pizza doug kept being sticky no matter how many flour I put in. I would imagine frustration to be way more effective in causing me to become violent from a game than any violent depiction. But those are two different things. You are more likely frustrated while playing a game than while watching a movie, because you interact with it. But you can get frustrated much more from your daily life struggles.

I am all for doing more research on how games and now VR games affect us, but it should not be focused on games or the recent technology exclusively. Further, it should clearly be distinguished between the narrative influence and the emotional. A shooter like Doom with its gore and one where you shoot with nerf blasters are different in narrative, but could still cause the same amount of frustration or other such emotions. Watching a movie about torturing people or playing that game you showed is pretty close in narrative. And in both cases you submit yourself willingly to this narrative; whether you play it or just watch, you are active in both cases. So I would expect the narrative influence to be the same and the potential emotional influence to be equal to say a difficult Super Mario level.

Skywolf750 · January 4, 2020 at 4:14 pm

Nah, humans are violent from the begining, if they weren't, they wouldn't enjoy playing blade and sorcery.

Isaac Morrison · January 4, 2020 at 4:26 pm

LambHoot is like unprofessional Joseph Anderson

Zac Frazier · January 4, 2020 at 4:58 pm

So when I get a gyro at my local place, is that really just souvlaki with gyro meat

Ring Ring · January 4, 2020 at 6:55 pm

8:18 –

SageWaterDragon · January 4, 2020 at 8:25 pm

This video was so great, man.

Barbaric Renaissance · January 4, 2020 at 8:33 pm

Impressive research, considering the limited resources available, though I think that in order to have scientific evidence on the subject we need someone who's grown up playing video games to set up more interesting studies. Of course, because of its very nature, academic research will be always behind technology.

As for me, I believe shocking VR games are just like horror movies we may have watched as kids, we got over it and future generations will get over weird VR games.
I see VR as just another instrument, as you briefly mentioned (51:47), a stronger more intense tool and you can warn the consumer but that's it. In the end, the only thing we can do is creating awareness, in a way your (our) job is the most important one: to talk about it.

Nathaniel Jones · January 4, 2020 at 8:35 pm

Is this a reupload or do I just watch. Too much of this kind of content

Wastucar · January 5, 2020 at 1:43 am

Here we go! Let us watch this shit.

Kalfax plays · January 5, 2020 at 11:28 am

if you give a vr game a certain age rating, isn't that enough? i think so. but then again i'm not using vr to play those games, i perfer more chill experiences.

Elricson · January 5, 2020 at 1:53 pm

Times I've ever gotten really damn angry and agressive was because of losing repeatedly, clunky controls and people or AI cheating. I feel you about that Wii sword fighting. There is just something about the hardest AI reading your inputs for just a punch and they counter it with a 2 frame command grab that does a load of damage or uppercut with invisibility in games like Street Fighter. It makes me want to shank the person that thought that was just fine for a brief moment.

Still before they want to ban games in the US that are protected under the 1st amendment, they'd also have to ban actual guns which are protected by the 2nd amendment and sports. Boxing would be illegal and going to see football matches too. The amount of stories I hear about sports hooligans engaging in violent behavior is more than I am comfortable with. Even stabbing parties on occasion between fans.

Decent video but maybe less eating sounds nearing the end of the video. I don't really like people smacking in my ear, I find it gross.

adrixshadow · January 5, 2020 at 5:13 pm

So pretty much the only ones against Violent VR games are the dirty commies that are out to take out your guns.
People can shoot real guns in real life. There isn't any big mystery there.

Damian Goliszewski · January 5, 2020 at 6:33 pm

39:29 – yeah, I guess

Edit : save for the dragged out skits, excellent video, cheers

Corvus · January 6, 2020 at 3:15 am

Wow… mad respect to you. This is more akin to a documentary / editorial / compiled research video; the research behind this is fantastic, despite what little research currently exists of VR. Bummer you were ghosted a few times. You should feel very proud of the work you've done here, especially on an emerging market. Definitely one of the best videos I've seen in a while.

Can't wait for the inevitable sequel in 2029.

Jadenplayz · January 6, 2020 at 6:59 pm

Nice vid man

Daryl Talks Games · January 6, 2020 at 7:52 pm

12:55 this is such a problem in general with psych studies man. For every study that "supports" something, or the results were "statistically significant", there are typically another handful where the results weren't and didn't support the hypothesis. But of course, the more interesting stuff gets published and is shared. Murky really is the right word here, and that's why if you watch most vids on psych (mine included) you often hear phrases like "this seems to suggest" or "based on this study" etc.

Also, this is incredible man. You're at the top of your game! And I truly loved the gyro bit lmao, my sincerest applause to you bro

ALSO: The folks that made the Tetris mod can burn in hell. Thats the worst thing I've ever seen

Cynical Sheep · January 7, 2020 at 2:29 am

This is fascinating to me, and I find it virtually impossible to disagree with pretty much all of your points. (pun intended)

Danny BRITZMAN · January 7, 2020 at 3:50 am

"The motion capturing technology effortlessly"
-A quote falsely attributed to Lambhoot despite him never managing to properly say it

Danny BRITZMAN · January 7, 2020 at 5:24 am

Sorry dude, showing that murder simulator game was a bit much. I nearly threw up. Maybe a bit more discretion next time pls. Loving the video so far though otherwise.

Danny BRITZMAN · January 7, 2020 at 5:51 am

1:36:11 "Virtual reality is possibly standing to change what we think of as games"
In many ways I feel like this is the contention of the video. You can almost view VR through a postmodern view, it intentionally blurs the line between reality and simulation. Or as it would be said in actual postmodernism, fiction and non-fiction. These games aren't fictitious. There are false elements, you aren't really in a war zone, but YOU, your literal body is ducking to avoid fire. Your literal body is performing REAL actions, in a false environment. Perhaps the definition of games should be looked into.

I think the abstraction of control is very important as you say. Usually my thoughts on video essays are more coherent than this, but whatever that's my little piece.

Thanks for making great content btw. That thing about getting hit by a bus at the end really made me respect your drive as a creator, you really care about this. Take care of yourself though.

TK Bad Moon · January 7, 2020 at 3:21 pm

God damn this man has made arguably my favorite video of the year 2 years in a row.

cyan · January 8, 2020 at 3:51 am

1:07:28 did you seriously just quote all star in the middle of your two hour long analysis of violence and virtual reality?

Cribbs · January 8, 2020 at 9:57 am

I think that a lot of what you touch on about the societal lines that are drawn in what can be shown or depicted in video games is more a result of legislation and the ability to ban or effectively ban games that many rating boards posses.

I tend to think actual consumers are often way more open to engaging with the kinds of content that would typically be seen as off limits because most mentally healthy people can sufficiently separate fiction from reality.
I think a good example for this is the fact that one of the most commonly recurring mods in games like fallout or skyrim are the ones that allow you to kill the otherwise invincible children.

Mind you, I'm not saying that every developer if given a free pass to show absolutely anything would immediately go out and start depicting child murder and graphic sexual violence if they could do so without the concern of actually getting their game on store shelves, but it seems that both law and culture can play a big role here.

Another good example would be Japan, where the script is somewhat flipped from what we often see in the western world, with extreme violence judged much more harshly and frequently censored, but with much MUCH more overtly and extreme sexual subject matter being permitted than we would see in the west.

I also take issue with how you say you're not for artistic censorship but in the same sentence go on to explicitly advocate for artistic censorship because something makes you uncomfortable.
This isn't even to say that there aren't good reasons to be weary of the effects of extremely disturbing content being experienced through VR, I agree with a lot of the points you make in the video, but trying to avoid explicitly saying you're for censorship when you very obviously ARE only ends up coming across as disingenuous here.

Overall, really cool video on an interesting topic approached with some good nuance, even if I do feel like at times the narrative of the video made a few weird jumps.

Kereru · January 8, 2020 at 12:07 pm

I like how effortlessly make your points…
Seriously though, well reasoned points, I learned some new things and it actually gave me food for thought.

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