The (American) Way of Experiencing Video Game Violence
Inspired by the recurring claim by the US president Donald Trump that »video game violence is creating monsters«, this paper seeks to discuss this fallacy by assessing our experience of violence in video games with cognitive, emotional, and aesthetic parameters. My main claim is that video game violence, apart from being entertainment, let us explore and develop cognitive processes, and is a place where the sublime is experienced. Exploring the linkage between the three parameters will reveal the true, non-violent effects of being exposed to video game violence. Assessing the cognitive dimension explains what the mirror neurons are and how they could be linked to positive effects of video game violence. This is further linked to the emotional parameter that violence is closely connected to compassion. Lastly, being attracted to pain, darkness, and violence is defined by Edmund Burke as sublime, which we as human beings seem to enjoy very much. This last dimension is again linked to the first two parameters. As this paper is situated in Cognitive Studies and American Pop-Culture, I will first explain the role of violence in the American culture and reveal how this influences the video game discourse. Based on this, the three parameters: cognition, emotion, and aesthetics are discussed. Each of the parameters are accompanied by video game examples. Finally, I will conclude by giving an outlook for further research.