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Carmack: games "reduce aggression"

Doom creator sees shooters as "cathartic".

Doom creator and industry veteran John Carmack has hit back at accusations that games promote violent tendencies in players, arguing that they're in fact "cathartic" and more likely to reduce aggression.

Speaking in an interview with IndustryGamers, the id Software co-founder explained that he'd never taken the "violence in video games debate" seriously.

"There was an E3 where all that was going on where I was giving interviews and the reporters would start going into their questions, and I wasn't supposed to talk about any of that," he said.

"My wife was there and she’d start kicking me when I was about to go, 'Well, I think…' And in the end it didn’t matter, it didn't make any impact on things. I never felt threatened by it and it turned out not to matter.

"And I really think, if anything, there is more evidence to show that the violent games reduce aggression and violence. There have actually been some studies about that, that it's cathartic.

"If you go to QuakeCon and you walk by and you see the people there [and compare that to] a random cross section of a college campus, you're probably going to find a more peaceful crowd of people at the gaming convention. I think it’s at worst neutral and potentially positive."

That study Carmack is referring to could be a recent report that argued the increase in popularity of video games is partly responsible for the recent drop in the US crime rate.

In related news, a Norwegian retailer today decided to remove 51 games from its shelves in the wake of the horrific Oslo shooting spree last week.

The perpetrator, Anders Behring Breivik, was reportedly a keen gamer who apparently considered Modern Warfare 2 a "training-simulation".

id Software's next release is post-apocalyptic shooter Rage, due out on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 from 7th October.