Category Archives: Videogames

The draw of the undertow: Extremity, otherness and emergent harm in gaming and pornography

This piece relates to an article I recently wrote with the excellent Tom Rodgers at York, given the recent discussions about GTA V I thought I would repost it here.


By Rowland Atkinson

My own interest in the cultural and social impact of videogames probably began with morally conflicted feelings while playing Grand Theft Auto III for the first time. I remember experiencing a real sense of surprise at the possibility of running over pedestrians and perhaps more so, a sense of worry at what other, younger, players might take from the game. The game felt like an incredibly violent space, a bleak vision of a city without moral codes or goodness, a space most of all where we were being goaded to bring out our more callous side, running over the homeless in tunnels, sniping at the unsuspecting or beating and stabbing to advance, or just for the sheer hell of it.


The early work I conducted with Paul Willis, with avid players of the game, suggested that this kind of ‘ok for me, but perhaps not for…

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