Posted by LightForceJedi (40 posts) -

Throughout the history of video games, the oldest stereotype surrounding the industry has always been do violent video games affect player behavior and personality. It is a known fact that people who play games are exposed to more violence than the average consumer. From nuking entire civilization to obliterating players online, it’s has become more and more common now that games are more focus on squarely providing violent action. For this reason alone, parents have long held an underlining negative attitude towards the industry and those who stand by it, but is this criticism injustice or have developers gone to far? Should government step in?

This discussion all stems from last years U.S Supreme Court hearings that brought the amount of violence in video games into the spotlight. The case centered around making the sale of violent video games to children without parental consent. The bill originated in 2005 from California Senator Leland Yee who believe there was connection between violent video games and aggressive behavior in children. Finally after years in delay and stoppage the bill made it’s way to Capital Hill in 2011 titled, Brown vs. The Entertainment Merchants Association. What was the outcome?

The Supreme Court voted down the bill with a resounding 7-2 result. Most importantly, the Supreme Court Justices saw video games as an art form and followed it under the first amendment. Justice Antonin Scalia was credited being the biggest voice during the case and after the trials, Scalia was quoted saying, “like the protected books, plays, and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas--and even social messages--through many familiar literary devices and through features distinctive to the medium. That suffices to confer First Amendment protection.”

I couldn’t agree more and was happy that Justice Antonin Scalia saw both sides and wasn’t setting an unparallel president. Far too often, people ignore violence seen in phases in our mass media society. To finding light porn in HBO’s True Blood to violent and un-appropriate behavior violence seen in Robot Chicken. It would be wrong to prosecute one form of entertainment when Movies and TV use it as an key attention grabber.

The most important thing to come out of the Supreme Court hearings was the looming future surrounding this issue. Other states like, Rhode Island, Arkansas, Georgia, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and Washington have attempted to legislate bills that would make it illegal for minors to purchase mature rated products, but have all miss fired. The most recent attempt came last month when California Senator Joe Baca proposed that video games should carry a cigarette – stylized warning label that says “ Warning: Exposure to violent video games have linked to aggressive behavior.” We are a long ways away from this discussion and it’s for that reason alone that I believe both parties need to finally change for the better good.

First things first, video games have long had a rating system that restricts minors for purchasing matured rated content. As video games were evolving from the 8-bit era to the 16-bit era, the industry was becoming increasable violent with titles like Mortal Kombat and Doom. Established in 1994 by the Congress, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has rated every video game to hit the market since then. Ranging from kid friendly games like Super Mario that are rated ‘E’ for everyone, to ‘T’ for teen friendly games like the Need For Speed franchise series and where the highly controversial games like Halo and GTA are given the mature ‘M’ rating are found.

Even though the industry has a rating system, it is still very much overlooked by parents and media personal a like. The concept that video games spark youth violence is still in their minds, but evidence has proved other wise. According to the federal crime statistics, the rate of juvenile violent crime in 2008 in the United States was at a 30-year low. Now this is my biggest argument because video games have skyrocket to new heights and now have become a billion dollar industry (PBS), but we haven’t seen effects on the youth like people have proclaimed. Through more investigation, ages 9 – 14 used video games as a well to relive stress rather than choosing a violent path. Now if this were true we would have already seen the results decades ago. We really need to drop this notion that Violence in games causes kids to be mass murders. If that was true, I would have became a master guitarist from all the Guitar Hero I played in high school.

Currently the industry is in its golden era and messing that up will be catastrophic for many developers who depend on it’s current state. A label of any sorts decimating video games from our mass media society would be the death nail that many have wanted to nail for the longest time. Developers and publishers would lose jobs and have to obey entirely to government’s harsh restrictions or choose a brand new career path. So where should government step in? How much should they regulate?.

Up to now, government has the ESRB rating system, which has been working well with the youth, but how far should they go? I believe we need to let the current system work and not interfere with a proven method. As games are getting more and more realistic, this subject will always be brought up with us always over looking the artistic aspect of the industry.

Wildly known movie critic, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times spoke out how video games can never be seen as art. He said that gamers are more concern about what gameplay features are presented to them rather admiring artwork the setting. While he might be correct, I can’t help go back to Edgar Degas, a famous French artist who said, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see”. That’s exactly what art has always been about from the very beginning. We have always allowed ourselves to fill in the blanks and let us interpret art in our way and that will never change.

Follow me on Twitter to read my latest articles !

https://twitter.com/#!/LightForceJedi

#1 Posted by LightForceJedi (40 posts) -

Throughout the history of video games, the oldest stereotype surrounding the industry has always been do violent video games affect player behavior and personality. It is a known fact that people who play games are exposed to more violence than the average consumer. From nuking entire civilization to obliterating players online, it’s has become more and more common now that games are more focus on squarely providing violent action. For this reason alone, parents have long held an underlining negative attitude towards the industry and those who stand by it, but is this criticism injustice or have developers gone to far? Should government step in?

This discussion all stems from last years U.S Supreme Court hearings that brought the amount of violence in video games into the spotlight. The case centered around making the sale of violent video games to children without parental consent. The bill originated in 2005 from California Senator Leland Yee who believe there was connection between violent video games and aggressive behavior in children. Finally after years in delay and stoppage the bill made it’s way to Capital Hill in 2011 titled, Brown vs. The Entertainment Merchants Association. What was the outcome?

The Supreme Court voted down the bill with a resounding 7-2 result. Most importantly, the Supreme Court Justices saw video games as an art form and followed it under the first amendment. Justice Antonin Scalia was credited being the biggest voice during the case and after the trials, Scalia was quoted saying, “like the protected books, plays, and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas--and even social messages--through many familiar literary devices and through features distinctive to the medium. That suffices to confer First Amendment protection.”

I couldn’t agree more and was happy that Justice Antonin Scalia saw both sides and wasn’t setting an unparallel president. Far too often, people ignore violence seen in phases in our mass media society. To finding light porn in HBO’s True Blood to violent and un-appropriate behavior violence seen in Robot Chicken. It would be wrong to prosecute one form of entertainment when Movies and TV use it as an key attention grabber.

The most important thing to come out of the Supreme Court hearings was the looming future surrounding this issue. Other states like, Rhode Island, Arkansas, Georgia, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and Washington have attempted to legislate bills that would make it illegal for minors to purchase mature rated products, but have all miss fired. The most recent attempt came last month when California Senator Joe Baca proposed that video games should carry a cigarette – stylized warning label that says “ Warning: Exposure to violent video games have linked to aggressive behavior.” We are a long ways away from this discussion and it’s for that reason alone that I believe both parties need to finally change for the better good.

First things first, video games have long had a rating system that restricts minors for purchasing matured rated content. As video games were evolving from the 8-bit era to the 16-bit era, the industry was becoming increasable violent with titles like Mortal Kombat and Doom. Established in 1994 by the Congress, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has rated every video game to hit the market since then. Ranging from kid friendly games like Super Mario that are rated ‘E’ for everyone, to ‘T’ for teen friendly games like the Need For Speed franchise series and where the highly controversial games like Halo and GTA are given the mature ‘M’ rating are found.

Even though the industry has a rating system, it is still very much overlooked by parents and media personal a like. The concept that video games spark youth violence is still in their minds, but evidence has proved other wise. According to the federal crime statistics, the rate of juvenile violent crime in 2008 in the United States was at a 30-year low. Now this is my biggest argument because video games have skyrocket to new heights and now have become a billion dollar industry (PBS), but we haven’t seen effects on the youth like people have proclaimed. Through more investigation, ages 9 – 14 used video games as a well to relive stress rather than choosing a violent path. Now if this were true we would have already seen the results decades ago. We really need to drop this notion that Violence in games causes kids to be mass murders. If that was true, I would have became a master guitarist from all the Guitar Hero I played in high school.

Currently the industry is in its golden era and messing that up will be catastrophic for many developers who depend on it’s current state. A label of any sorts decimating video games from our mass media society would be the death nail that many have wanted to nail for the longest time. Developers and publishers would lose jobs and have to obey entirely to government’s harsh restrictions or choose a brand new career path. So where should government step in? How much should they regulate?.

Up to now, government has the ESRB rating system, which has been working well with the youth, but how far should they go? I believe we need to let the current system work and not interfere with a proven method. As games are getting more and more realistic, this subject will always be brought up with us always over looking the artistic aspect of the industry.

Wildly known movie critic, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times spoke out how video games can never be seen as art. He said that gamers are more concern about what gameplay features are presented to them rather admiring artwork the setting. While he might be correct, I can’t help go back to Edgar Degas, a famous French artist who said, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see”. That’s exactly what art has always been about from the very beginning. We have always allowed ourselves to fill in the blanks and let us interpret art in our way and that will never change.

Follow me on Twitter to read my latest articles !

https://twitter.com/#!/LightForceJedi

#2 Posted by Jeust (10447 posts) -

No to the question. That is commonly called censorship.

#3 Posted by Winternet (8000 posts) -

Has anyone told Roger Ebert that 99% of people that go and watch a movie are looking for the explosions, the sexy babe or the stupid one-liner? Guess not.

#4 Posted by JasonR86 (9577 posts) -

The Government should stay out of business that doesn't concern them. Video games are one of those businesses.

#5 Posted by CatsAkimbo (600 posts) -

Good post for those who haven't kept up with some of the latest legal shenanigans going on. It should have mentioned that the ESRB is a self-regulated organization and is not, as the post alludes, an organization run by the government.

I agree with the post, but some would argue that comparing video games to movies and books is unfair, because movies and books are passive experiences, whereas you're directing the actions of the character in a video game, possibly (as they would argue) making it easier to identify with the violent protagonist.

The post also could've gone a little deeper with the statistics. If you look at the US Bureau of Justice stats on violent crimes, you see that in 2009, violent crimes are a third of what they were in 1994, and if you post in some screenshots comparing a violent game in 1994 with a violent game in 2009, it would clearly illustrate that despite games becoming far more graphic and realistic, crime has dramatically fallen. stats: http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/glance/tables/viortrdtab.cfm

#6 Posted by RedRoach (1174 posts) -

No, the government should not be involved in something it doesn't understand.

#7 Edited by Sammo21 (3198 posts) -

Easy. No.

@Jason_Bourne: Like the economy? Bazinga.

#8 Posted by LightForceJedi (40 posts) -

@CatsAkimbo said:

Good post for those who haven't kept up with some of the latest legal shenanigans going on. It should have mentioned that the ESRB is a self-regulated organization and is not, as the post alludes, an organization run by the government.

I agree with the post, but some would argue that comparing video games to movies and books is unfair, because movies and books are passive experiences, whereas you're directing the actions of the character in a video game, possibly (as they would argue) making it easier to identify with the violent protagonist.

The post also could've gone a little deeper with the statistics. If you look at the US Bureau of Justice stats on violent crimes, you see that in 2009, violent crimes are a third of what they were in 1994, and if you post in some screenshots comparing a violent game in 1994 with a violent game in 2009, it would clearly illustrate that despite games becoming far more graphic and realistic, crime has dramatically fallen. stats: http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/glance/tables/viortrdtab.cfm

Thanks for the comment and I will probably make the change when i'm done with finals.

#9 Posted by Cloudenvy (5891 posts) -

Nononononono.

#10 Posted by LightForceJedi (40 posts) -

@Cloudenvy said:

Nononononono.

Your doing it wrong ...

#11 Posted by mandude (2667 posts) -

I don't think they should and I don't think they could. At most, only on a domestic level and there will always be ways to circumvent it.

#12 Posted by believer258 (11555 posts) -
To finding light porn in HBO’s True Blood

I never quite got why sex and violence are so often linked together. Some people like to mix their sex and violence, but I would rather have my violence in the mid-afternoon and my sex in the late evening.

I believe we need to let the current system work and not interfere with a proven method.

This is the correct answer. There's not really much else to say on the subject - the current ratings system works just fine. If parents would be parents and raise their kids good n' proper, we wouldn't have parents bitching about how the newest Call of Duty says "damn" and fear that their kids will go on a shooting spree. Pretty much every game commercially available has a video somewhere on Youtube, I don't see how the idea to look them up there hasn't spread around amongst parents more.

Then again, most of these parents have less intelligence than a rock.

He said that gamers are more concern about what gameplay features are presented to them rather admiring artwork the setting. While he might be correct

He is correct. Gameplay features are to video games what good camerawork is to movies and what good writing is to books and what good brushstrokes are to paintings. Gameplay features are integral to video games and are part of the art form of video games.

#13 Edited by LightForceJedi (40 posts) -

@believer258 said:

He said that gamers are more concern about what gameplay features are presented to them rather admiring artwork the setting. While he might be correct

He is correct. Gameplay features are to video games what good camerawork is to movies and what good writing is to books and what good brushstrokes are to paintings. Gameplay features are integral to video games and are part of the art form of video games.

You are correct, but not everyone thinks that way. I look at video game as art form and I am sure others do also ( I hope). It's like the movie industry, for every five action movies there is always one that is stylistic and is made for a certain demographic ( the artist).

#14 Posted by AlexanderSheen (4901 posts) -

@LightForceJedi said:

@Cloudenvy said:

Nononononono.

Your doing it wrong ...

#15 Posted by Jay444111 (2441 posts) -

@Jeust said:

No to the question. That is commonly called censorship.

THAT's how you spell censorship then!? Fuck... it always tells me that I am wrong...

But yeah... I agree with you fully, any being that encourages censorship should live in NK for a while and then tell me that they like it more than America or any other sane country.

#16 Posted by believer258 (11555 posts) -

@LightForceJedi said:

@believer258 said:

He said that gamers are more concern about what gameplay features are presented to them rather admiring artwork the setting. While he might be correct

He is correct. Gameplay features are to video games what good camerawork is to movies and what good writing is to books and what good brushstrokes are to paintings. Gameplay features are integral to video games and are part of the art form of video games.

You are correct, but not everyone thinks that way. I look at video game as art form and I am sure others do also ( I hope). It's like the movie industry, for every five action movies there is always one that is stylistic and is made for a certain demographic ( the artist).

What I'm saying is that part of the artistry of video games is the game part. Until this is understood, then games as art will never reach any sort of "potential". Video games will be inferior until they learn to accept their greatest strength - the interactivity and game aspect. Otherwise they're just aping greater things.

#17 Posted by DudeOlav (127 posts) -

@Jason_Bourne said:

No, the government should not be involved in something it doesn't understand.

I agree, government should not be involved with anything.

Government censorship and regulation leads to insanity... like life of Brian being banned for being blasphemous and dancing being illegal during Easter, like fucking footloose.

Short version:

Online
#18 Posted by MrRedwine (429 posts) -

I'm pretty sure the ESRB was not created by congress. It is an industry self regulatory agency, just like the MPAA is for movies. There is no government oversight of these organizations.

#19 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

It's not at all a fact that people who play video games, even violent ones, are more violent than the rest of the population. Some studies have suggested as much, but plenty have suggested in fact that there is a negligible difference in either gamers or non gamers.

@believer258: And yet there are art games, there are abstract paintings that look like shit in terms of the quality of brush strokes but look beautiful in the context of simply being visual art, or that aren't impressive artistically but speak to some other abstract. Movies can have excellent scores that define the movie. Games are not just gameplay. The fact is that if everything else was sacrificed for gameplay with every single game out there, people would be less happy. The occasional quirky, artsy, ironic, retro, unique game can get away with it because it's just one game in a sea of very good looking traditional video games. The idea that gameplay is far and away the most important thing is silly. Many would prefer a game played well than looked nice, yes. But few are willing to go past an ugly game's looks unless it really blows them away/intrigues them from another perspective. Plenty of people bitched about Mass Effect's combat (these people are wrong, that first game has much more interesting combat than the others in the series), but loved the game anyway.

#20 Posted by Strife777 (1489 posts) -

I honestly haven't read your post, but my simple answer to the question is: Fuck no!

#21 Posted by SexualBubblegumX (542 posts) -

Actually it could because I'm older, but yeah M rated games shouldn't be sold to kids.  Thats not meddling it's being responsible. -.-

#22 Posted by Vrikk (882 posts) -

The government shouldn't decide anything for us.

#23 Edited by believer258 (11555 posts) -

@MordeaniisChaos said:

It's not at all a fact that people who play video games, even violent ones, are more violent than the rest of the population. Some studies have suggested as much, but plenty have suggested in fact that there is a negligible difference in either gamers or non gamers.

@believer258: And yet there are art games, there are abstract paintings that look like shit in terms of the quality of brush strokes but look beautiful in the context of simply being visual art, or that aren't impressive artistically but speak to some other abstract. Movies can have excellent scores that define the movie. Games are not just gameplay. The fact is that if everything else was sacrificed for gameplay with every single game out there, people would be less happy. The occasional quirky, artsy, ironic, retro, unique game can get away with it because it's just one game in a sea of very good looking traditional video games. The idea that gameplay is far and away the most important thing is silly. Many would prefer a game played well than looked nice, yes. But few are willing to go past an ugly game's looks unless it really blows them away/intrigues them from another perspective. Plenty of people bitched about Mass Effect's combat (these people are wrong, that first game has much more interesting combat than the others in the series), but loved the game anyway.

I didn't like Mass Effect 1's combat because the Xbox version doesn't run very well. Played on a PC, I'd bet that it probably is the best.

Anyway, I see your point and maybe I am a little too bent on gameplay alone; however, I notice that very often the "games as art" people just don't think much about gameplay, or don't really give it much due.

I don't think it's far and away the most important thing; a good aesthetic, a good feel, a good story, a good atmosphere, all of these contribute greatly to making a good game, and when all of those are good enough, they can overcome boring or mediocre gameplay. Still, that a game can become good almost through gameplay alone is a testament to its place above the others. Not mountains above the others, mind, just hills, but it's still the most valuable part of video games.

#24 Posted by SethPhotopoulos (5035 posts) -

@MordeaniisChaos said:

It's not at all a fact that people who play video games, even violent ones, are more violent than the rest of the population. Some studies have suggested as much, but plenty have suggested in fact that there is a negligible difference in either gamers or non gamers.

@believer258: And yet there are art games, there are abstract paintings that look like shit in terms of the quality of brush strokes but look beautiful in the context of simply being visual art, or that aren't impressive artistically but speak to some other abstract. Movies can have excellent scores that define the movie. Games are not just gameplay. The fact is that if everything else was sacrificed for gameplay with every single game out there, people would be less happy. The occasional quirky, artsy, ironic, retro, unique game can get away with it because it's just one game in a sea of very good looking traditional video games. The idea that gameplay is far and away the most important thing is silly. Many would prefer a game played well than looked nice, yes. But few are willing to go past an ugly game's looks unless it really blows them away/intrigues them from another perspective. Plenty of people bitched about Mass Effect's combat (these people are wrong, that first game has much more interesting combat than the others in the series), but loved the game anyway.

I thought 2 and 3 did the combat way better. It wasn't really interesting it was just kind of clunky.

#25 Posted by SethPhotopoulos (5035 posts) -

If you want an art form to develop we should probably keep the government away from the creative side of things unless you want ultra kid friendly propaganda machines. I'm fine with needing an ID to play M rated games though as long as no games get banned unreasonably.

#26 Posted by believer258 (11555 posts) -

@SethPhotopoulos said:

@MordeaniisChaos said:

It's not at all a fact that people who play video games, even violent ones, are more violent than the rest of the population. Some studies have suggested as much, but plenty have suggested in fact that there is a negligible difference in either gamers or non gamers.

@believer258: And yet there are art games, there are abstract paintings that look like shit in terms of the quality of brush strokes but look beautiful in the context of simply being visual art, or that aren't impressive artistically but speak to some other abstract. Movies can have excellent scores that define the movie. Games are not just gameplay. The fact is that if everything else was sacrificed for gameplay with every single game out there, people would be less happy. The occasional quirky, artsy, ironic, retro, unique game can get away with it because it's just one game in a sea of very good looking traditional video games. The idea that gameplay is far and away the most important thing is silly. Many would prefer a game played well than looked nice, yes. But few are willing to go past an ugly game's looks unless it really blows them away/intrigues them from another perspective. Plenty of people bitched about Mass Effect's combat (these people are wrong, that first game has much more interesting combat than the others in the series), but loved the game anyway.

I thought 2 and 3 did the combat way better. It wasn't really interesting it was just kind of clunky.

Nah - two and three had better controls, I'll give it that, but the universal cooldown timer pretty much shit on almost every fun tactic you can think of. Sure, you can make your two teammates do something, but it's still very limiting and is a huge bummer for classes that don't depend on guns much. Say you're in a tense situation. In ME1, you've got tons of options at your disposal for finishing dudes off. In 2 and 3, you'd better hope your first idea works really well because you've gotta wait for that timer to go down for everyone before you can pull of your second.

None of the games have really fantastic combat, though. The third person cover-based shooter award still goes to the Gears of War series for a very good reason.

#27 Posted by SethPhotopoulos (5035 posts) -

@believer258 said:

@SethPhotopoulos said:

@MordeaniisChaos said:

It's not at all a fact that people who play video games, even violent ones, are more violent than the rest of the population. Some studies have suggested as much, but plenty have suggested in fact that there is a negligible difference in either gamers or non gamers.

@believer258: And yet there are art games, there are abstract paintings that look like shit in terms of the quality of brush strokes but look beautiful in the context of simply being visual art, or that aren't impressive artistically but speak to some other abstract. Movies can have excellent scores that define the movie. Games are not just gameplay. The fact is that if everything else was sacrificed for gameplay with every single game out there, people would be less happy. The occasional quirky, artsy, ironic, retro, unique game can get away with it because it's just one game in a sea of very good looking traditional video games. The idea that gameplay is far and away the most important thing is silly. Many would prefer a game played well than looked nice, yes. But few are willing to go past an ugly game's looks unless it really blows them away/intrigues them from another perspective. Plenty of people bitched about Mass Effect's combat (these people are wrong, that first game has much more interesting combat than the others in the series), but loved the game anyway.

I thought 2 and 3 did the combat way better. It wasn't really interesting it was just kind of clunky.

Nah - two and three had better controls, I'll give it that, but the universal cooldown timer pretty much shit on almost every fun tactic you can think of. Sure, you can make your two teammates do something, but it's still very limiting and is a huge bummer for classes that don't depend on guns much. Say you're in a tense situation. In ME1, you've got tons of options at your disposal for finishing dudes off. In 2 and 3, you'd better hope your first idea works really well because you've gotta wait for that timer to go down for everyone before you can pull of your second.

None of the games have really fantastic combat, though. The third person cover-based shooter award still goes to the Gears of War series for a very good reason.

In ME 1 may have a bunch of options but it is so frustrating to pull any of them off. Whenever I shot someone even with the gun I specialized in I never felt truly comfortable wielding it. The game has cover mechanics but you have to push the stick into the cover which can cause problems when you just slide out by accident because your hands shake from the rumble (I'll be nice and admit I have tremors in my hands.)

You also have to be dead on with the aiming in 1 with both power usage and actually shooting. There were many times in 1 where I would press the command to use the power while having the reticle on the dude I'm aiming at and it will hit the floor in front of him. We are on the same plane with no obstacles. The only power I ever found useful (disregarding the healing powers) was push and when you used that it took a long time to cool down leaving me with a bunch of powers that had an iffy success rate with two ai partners using up their powers ineffectively and causing an even longer wait. If you made the AI partner powers under manual control it was still susceptible to the iffy success rate. In ME 2 and 3 the cool down was fast and the shooting at the very least competent and somewhat engaging. It was also easier to hit your target in the later games giving me more use of my powers and if I fuck up I can rely on my gun to deal damage.

Although it isn't what I come to Mass Effect for I feel the combat was greatly improved in 2 and especially 3.