As long as real-life gun rampages go unchecked, first person shooter video games will be a major battlefront of The Culture War. After all, today's new hyper-realistic gun games must be causing today's hideous violence! But what if twenty years of perfecting virtual headshot tech dovetails with a drop in American violent crime? What if games don't actually trick anyone into being violent, or sexist, or an Italian plumber? And most chilling for you gamers out there: what if games DO trick you into becoming a less ideal person, in a way nobody's ever warned you about?

On this week's episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Jason Pargin (better known as David Wong) to explore a surprising truth nobody else is covering. They'll combine decades of gaming experience with a range of studies and reporting. They'll debunk a lot of the panic about Those Darned Violent Video Games, while also picking out some truths hidden in it. And they'll explore how gaming DOES change the brains of even the most blood-averse n00bs.

Footnotes:

How Violent Video Games Might Be Screwing With Your Brain (Cracked)

Video Games Don't Make Kids Violent (TIME)

Violent Video Games And Hostile Personalities Go Together (Iowa State University / ScienceDaily)

Musical training shapes brain anatomy, affects function (Society for Neuroscience / ScienceDaily)

Cache Cab: Taxi Drivers' Brains Grow to Navigate London's Streets (Scientific American)

No evidence to support link between violent video games and behaviour (University of York)

Multi-Purpose Arcade Combat Simulator (SNES Central)

Playing War: How the Military Uses Video Games (The Atlantic)

Generation Kill: Devil Dogs, Ice Man, Captain America, and the New Face of American War by Evan Wright

5 facts about crime in the U.S. (Pew Research Center)

5 Mind-Blowing Facts Nobody Told You About Guns (Cracked)

Shooters: How Video Games Fund Arms Manufacturers (Eurogamer)

Video Games Boost Visual Attention But Reduce Impulse Control (Society for Personality and Social Psychology)

Video Game Playing, Attention Problems, and Impulsiveness: Evidence of Bidirectional Causality (Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 2012, Vol. 1, No. 1, 62-70)

Abnormal gray matter and white matter volume in 'Internet gaming addicts'. (Addictive Behaviors, 2015 Jan;40:137-43.)

Anita Sarkeesian and the gamification of misogyny (New Statesman)

The odd reality of life under China's all-seeing credit score system (Wired UK)

Drake -- "Nice For What" music video

Lee Morgan -- The Sidewinder

Kamasi Washington -- Heaven and Earth

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