Higher game fidelity means more realistic violence, which is down to to how bloody the developer wants it to be.
And I don't see any major leaps these days apart from graphical fidelity. Soldier of Fortune where you could blow away individual body parts and have a unique death animation for each, the variety of games where you get rewarded for higher kill amounts. It's all the same today.
Personally, a violent game is a stress release mechanism. Or at least that's what I used it for. I've moved on to boxing and hiking for that, and I don't get the same rush of excitement that I once had. Moving down scores of pedestrians in Vice City just doesn't have the same vibe you know?
The elephant in the room would be video game violence leading to acting upon those urges in real life right? If so, I'd say it's down to the individual person. A mentally unstable person or someone with anger issues bordering on breaking will always find something to indulge his urges with.
Empathy and the sort, that's what a serial killer lacks. That's what anyone trying to hurt others will be lacking in. Because a normal person will probably put himself in the position of others and bask in their misery and see how fruitless it is.
That doesn't mean we all don't have occasional episodes where we want to kill someone who pissed us off. But you never get there because you either figure it's not worth wasting your life over, or you can't bring yourself to inflict pain and suffering on others.
Now, everybody has a breaking point. Beyond that point anything can happen, and the results are almost always ugly. Do video games tug at that breaking point and capacity for violence? Who knows.
Last edited by Xan; 04-30-2013 at 08:15 AM..