Penn & Teller On Violent Video Games

In an old episode of their show called Bullshit!:

Unless you’re real uptight, all the Penn & Teller Bullshit! episodes are pretty awesome.

Nothing too surprising in this episode (or a lot of the other ones), but they are mainly funny because they make some people look like idiots, debunk myths with facts and non scientific demonstrations… basically just a lot of fun.

(8:41) – Kind of rude the Marine let Harrison shoot that AR-15 improperly (pictured below)… no wonder the little guy didn’t want to shoot more than one round he basically got rocked in the shoulder and cheek then cried about it.

Hat tip: David B.

24 COMMENTS

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Frank December 18, 2011 at 12:16 am

IMHO, just because someone was/is a “marine” or “in the military” they are NOT automatically experts on firearms.

Piss poor training created someone who probably will hate guns for life.

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Vhyrus December 18, 2011 at 12:59 am

Doubt that. I was pretty upset after getting knocked on my ass at 8 years old after incorrectly putting a break action 12 gauge in my armpit and pulling the trigger, but I certainly don’t hate guns. Quite the opposite actually.

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Frank December 18, 2011 at 06:20 pm

YMMV

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Theblackknight December 18, 2011 at 09:01 pm

I’m thinking he was talking about the poor recoil control with that 1911 and the fucking chicken wing with the rifle.

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Vhyrus December 18, 2011 at 12:56 am

Could not have said it better. They also did an EXCELLENT piece calling out gun control a few years back. Can’t get enough of those guys. On a side note, that scumbag Jack Thompson got permanently disbarred for basically threatening the Florida Supreme Court, which I think shows more about his personality than any video game player he was trying to criminalize.

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MROD December 18, 2011 at 08:32 am

These guys have some wacko views and once again side with the liberals and progressives. I have seen a few of their shows and understand they are MAGICIANS, so they show truth but mix in their lies to make their lies (Point of View) credible.

Not fooled by these chumps.

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Vhyrus December 18, 2011 at 03:11 pm

You are so far off the mark I’m not even sure if were referring to the same show anymore.

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JonMac December 18, 2011 at 03:49 pm

Completely agree. They admitted to having messed up on the second hand smoke thing, but otherwise they’re pretty accurate.

Penn at least is an avowed Libertarian, certainly not a Liberal.

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Ed December 18, 2011 at 07:07 pm

Um, what? I’m not sure which definition you’re using for the word liberal here. If you are referring to a group of politicians generally referred to by the inaccurate term “liberals” then, no, they did not side with Hillary Clinton in this piece. If you are referring to someone who would uphold the constitution, such as defining freedom of the press to include not only print but also video, audio and interactive media, then yes. They are liberally defining freedom of the press and siding with all of our rights to consume what we choose.

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Kevin December 18, 2011 at 05:18 pm

What WWII game was that where Nazi soldiers limbs were being blown off!?

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Ed December 18, 2011 at 07:26 pm

Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway. I don’t know for sure if all versions have the gore system but the PC does.

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cc19 December 20, 2011 at 07:55 pm

That’s a series I recommend people check out if they’re into the sort of thing. It’s one of the very few military shooters that tries to humanize the characters around you compared to franchises like Call of Duty where they want you to pay more attention to the explosions.

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Corey December 18, 2011 at 09:39 pm

The point of the piece was that video games do not prepare children to be killers. Some were claiming they did. The reason the Marine did not correct the boy was it was a skill test the premise being that he played games constantly and therefore knew how to handle and use a weapon.

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Vhyrus December 19, 2011 at 12:09 am

Exactly. The fact is that, AT BEST, a video game is much like a simulator but without the proper tactual feedback (which most video games do not provide) a game can only show you WHAT to do, not HOW to do it. A flight sim on a pc can teach you when to throttle down, lower the landing gear, etc., but it can’t teach you where to actually find that button on the console, how much you actually have to pull the throttle lever back, what the yoke feels like in flight, etc. Similarly, a FPS like CoD might teach you how to lead a target, how to adjust for windage and elevation, how to properly cover and flank, but it will NOT teach you how to load or chamber a round, how to handle recoil, how to deal with flash and noise, or how to clear a malfunction, all of which is required knowledge to actually effectively use a weapon. If video games were such good training instruments, the U.S. military and others would use them extensively in training. As far as I know they don’t use them at all, and I’m pretty sure if they had found a way to train soldiers at literally 1/10th the cost of traditional training, even if it was only 50% effective, they would be using it at least partially.

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Alien426 December 19, 2011 at 02:51 am

You are mostly right, but today’s flight simulators have gone into two diametrically opposed directions. When they were more popular, you used to have pretty accurate simulations. Now you can go either with action games like HAWX or Blazing Angels, or you can go with something like DCS, a button-for-button, switch-for-switch detailed depiction of aircraft. Watch these videos:
Take-off with Kamov Ka-50
Take-off with A-10 Warthog

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Vhyrus December 19, 2011 at 03:52 am

Thats… very nerdy… I’ll have to look into that….

But that still lacks tactile feedback. You could get the damn thing started and possibly take off, but you wont know how hard to pull the stick or how to set the throttle or what the plane is supposed to feel like while flying, which is a big part of actually knowing how to fly. Furthermore, to get back onto the original point, there are no mainstream video games that are this in depth, and (as far as I know) there is NOTHING out there that will train you virtually on how to use an AR or even a standard autoloading pistol.

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Rickenbacker December 19, 2011 at 07:34 am

The bit with the kid who got to shoot a guy pissed me off a little when I first saw this. I enjoy the show, but that WAS indeed bullshit; why not let the kid shoot a gun _properly_ and with a decent instructor? I think they could have still made the same point without being assholes to this poor kid and his mom.

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TSN4 December 19, 2011 at 06:46 pm

I agree with you. Clearly they wanted the kid to hold the gun wrong to prove thier point about how in spite of all the games he has played he does not even know how to hold a rifle. Maybe they figured ar-15’s don’t kick much so he would be fine but I have shot one before and what happened t that kid would hurt. They could have pointed out that they had to show the kid how to hold it for the sake of his face and teeth. I hope Penn was telling the truth about knowing nothing about this even until after the fact. That kid is likely going to be scared of guns for a long time.

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Rickenbacker December 20, 2011 at 07:54 am

It’s a little sad. Like I said, I enjoy the show and agree with a lot of what they’re doing. But I guess sometimes you have to face the fact that even if you agree with the propaganda, it’s still propaganda :).

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Mark December 19, 2011 at 06:43 pm

I felt really bad for the kid at the very end (of part 2) where they showed what happened to him afterwards. The poor kid was crying in his sister’s arms. Must’ve been a very real experience for the little guy. I hope he’s alright.

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Perturbo December 19, 2011 at 10:13 pm

It is illistrative of the type of cowed men the PC crowds are raising…my mother took me to a NG public event when I was little older that that kid. I got to shoot a M2, M16, M60 with blanks…they couldn’t keep me a way, I kept the .50 blank as a momento for the longest.

I remember seeing the kid bawling how depressed it made me.

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Jay December 19, 2011 at 07:11 pm

As someone who has had to end a life in defense on multiple occasions. I can attest 100% video games did not make it any easier. I was scared at first. I also play video games. I guess they did not train me to be a killer. Fort Bragg did; however, neither prepared me.

Lawyers need to find solutions to real problems. Video games are not of them.

OIF 2005-2008 OEF 2010-?

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Rickenbacker December 20, 2011 at 07:58 am

A recent study (and one of the first comprehensive ones on the subject) that came out two weeks ago showed that you’re right: violent video games don’t make kids more prone to violence. Violent kids and kids from disturbed homes ARE however more prone to playing violent video games. Dunno what that says, if anything…

Personally I don’t think a lifetime of playing games has taught me to kill. Hell, I don’t think the swedish army TRYING to teach me, has taught me to kill (never had to put that to the test). But I do know that my dad carefully showing me how to shoot a rifle, and then letting me have his old BB gun as long as I could afford my own pellets, started a life long and so far sound interest in guns and shooting. Which is why I feel sad for the kid in the episode: Bullshit should at least pay for him going to a range and being taught how to shoot properly after that!

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Bearfoot March 11, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Just for the record, since this was put on the air not only have no violent video game laws been contentiously knocked down, but Mr Thompson has been disbarred for various stunts and such.

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