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Not sure how much good it'll do in the mostly sane and liberal blogosphere of my friendslist, but this still deserves as much publicity as possible, so pass it around. If nothing else, it contains some beautiful lines that will no doubt touch anyone who's truly loved a videogame, and while focusing on an appreciation of the vast array of non-violent games out there, also makes a blindingly sensible case against those who cry out against violent games but ignore that many of our culture's best-loved literary treasures, as well as modern movies acclaimed for representing the realities of various walks of life, could not have done their job artistically without portraying violence.



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Apr. 12th, 2008 01:04 am (UTC)
Nice article! Going to link it on 4cr. Won't do a whole lot by preaching gamers, but it's still a good read. :)
Apr. 12th, 2008 03:27 am (UTC)
I'm guilty of not reading the entire article--whether out of restlessness or because I've heard it before, I'm not sure. It is a good article, though. I guess I've grown jaded of reading lots of good opinions, but not seeing any movement on the mainstream side of things. CNN still thinks video games are a bad influence.

It's not all new, though. Originally, it was "Nintendo will rot your brain, go play outside!" Now it's, "Xbox will make you violent, go play outside!" Eventually, it was more or less proven that video games did not rot anyone's brain because people who played video games by and large were more alert, analytical, and had better timing and hand-eye coordination.

But you'll NEVER get people to stop being violent, so there's nothing to PROVE that video games aren't to blame for violence. It's kind of like Angels. People see angels in everything. "Oh my god, I wrapped my car around a tree and didn't die, an angel must have saved me!" With video violence, it's pretty much the same--"Oh my god, Timmy went and shot his room mate, video games must have told him to!" It's just another scapegoat for explaining the unexplainable. They just don't want to think that each and every case of unexplained fortune or horror has a unique and varied set of causes and influences behind it.

I'd like to point out that drinking coffee, or anything else with caffeine in it, drastically increases the risk of someone getting angry or upset (because caffeine is a stimulant). People are more likely to be violent when they are angry. You COULD oversimplify this and say that caffeine makes people violently angry and we could just ban kids from drinking caffeine...but you don't see anyone doing that. The reason, of course, is that most of the US (and many other countries) are addicted to it, and have been from a young age. Even though the effects of being over-caffeinated are fairly well documented (just look at the rate of road rage in Atlanta, where more people are stopped in the early morning for speeding than drunk driving late at night), it's a quiet subject.

But no everyone plays video games and most people wouldn't care or be affected if certain ones were banned. So sure, they'll entertain the idea that video games might be dangerous to children.

It's all about who wants what, not actually what is in fact safe and what isn't. Most people care more about finding a prosecutable scapegoat for adolescent violence than they do about how much fun or magical or sentimental video games are. Until our generation grows up and gets into office, that will not change. I'm just waiting.

People will take away everything you ever cared about without a bit of remorse if they can convince themselves it's for the good of humankind and they don't have to sacrifice anything to do it. I had a friend in Australia who lost an air loom sword his father had owned and given to him when the government there banned swords a few years ago. No one gives a damn about what other people hold close to their hearts. All they care about is that they can look righteous without losing anything they like...and maybe make a profit or gain some powerful connections in the process. That's what politics is all about.
Apr. 13th, 2008 06:02 pm (UTC)
It's really unfair that advertisements for a game were banned, but not a movie of the same/similar 'shock value'. I haven't really been keeping up with the news regarding society's view on video games lately, but I thought that games and movies were slowly going to be treated in a similar manner because of the rating system on games. The laws in place kind of force parents to realize the similarities between movie-ratings and video game-ratings.

I mean, when was the last time someone blamed movies for corrupting kids with the same vigor as video games? They don't! Because there's a rating system on all movies, if a kid is watching a Rated R movie and walks away thinking he's allowed to do all the things in the Rated-R movie - people would logically think "Okay, the parent messed up quite badly there. Parental Guidence man! What are you thinking?"

Now with the labels on games, I think hope it's slowly headed in the same direction. Parents can no longer just shell out money to let little Timmy walk into EBgames alone to buy some adult-oriented horribly violent and gory game... only for Timmy's parents to flip out a few days later because "OMG TEH GAMEZ IZ SO VIOLENTS! IT RUINING MY BOY'S MIND! HOW THIS HAPPEN?!" So many parents just assumed games = only for kids. Now when you go buy an M-rated game, it's quite different. The last time I was in a game store, a vendor was telling a mother "I'm sorry your son had to get you out of the car, but this is a Mature-Rated game with adult-violence and other themes, which is the equivalent of a Rated-R movie. I can't sell it to him, only to you, an adult. If I had just sold it to your son, I could end up in very big trouble. Are you alright with me selling this to you as it's for your son?"

The mother looked at his son, who looked 17. The son looked back, and you could just see the unspoken mother-child eye-to-eye discussion of: "Son, am I going to be horrified and return this game later or do you think you're mature enough to handle this game?" "I think I'm good, Ma." Mom bought the game and walked out with her kids - it forces the parents to take responsibility for their kids playing games like they do concerning movies.
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