An abridged version of an Opinion Essay I wrote.

Modern Politics has become a battlefield of slogans, discrediting evidence, and false
promises. Upon the popular front many politicians look for easy targets to criticize, thus
gaining more of the popular vote. Culture and media constantly finds itself under fire
from politicians, however, most modern entertainment mediums such as television and
cinema have become so integrated into our culture that criticizing them now is seen as
backwards. Interactive entertainment and video games, are new phenomenon, and to
capitalize on ignorance and fear popular speakers will heavily criticize these arts. The
video game industry finds itself under a constant stream of criticism and censorship from
moderators worldwide. Digital art and media has only been around for a miniscule period
in comparison to other well accepted art forms such as music, books, or paintings, and
even though all other arts are found within interactive entertainment, the industry is still 
not granted the same level of respect as its peers. In Canada, but more particularly,
worldwide, interactive entertainment has been subject to censorship and regulation more
so than any other creative form of expression. It is important for all of us to be aware of
emerging methods of storytelling and creativity so that we can support them for free
speech. I hope to convince anyone who reads this that video games are an art form, and
their production and relevance in our culture is as sacred as all pre existing expressions.


      Many artists will agree that an act of creativity, pure creativity, is creating something
from nothing, something which has deeper meaning, emotion and relevance to other
expressions. By every standard video games originate in the same place all other art does,
in our minds. The way it is brought into the world is highly technical, but so is
architecture, so are many forms of music and painting. Video games include music,
painting, and architecture. Many video game studios employ entire orchestras to provide
musical scores tailored to specific games, and scenes within a game. Architects are hired
to help ensure that any building in a game would actually be able to stand up, and to
influence the buildings towards a certain genre or theme. Artists are employed to draw up
concept art of locations, creatures and items which appear in the game, keeping to the
general feel a company wants to project into their production. Script writers are hired to
work on dialogue, voice actors to speak that dialogue. Film graduates are hired to tailor
scenes and movies within the game itself into a flowing narrative, the story that the game
is telling. All the examples I have provided are evident at video game studios like,
Bethesda, Bioware, and Square Enix. So many people write off the plight of censoring
interactive art as minor even though as a form of expression it is protected under free
speech.


      Australia, Germany, and the Netherlands are rife with politicians bashing the
interactive entertainment industry. There is censorship on blood, on foul language, on
content in games constantly, but none of this is imposed on other mediums like cinema or
painting, or music. The first counterpoint which comes out is that video games are largely
mindless violence or action oriented stories with little emphasis on art, story or character
development, and this is true. Many games are created to sell, to cater to mass
consumption, a public which generally speaking, has little interest in higher art. However,
so are most books, movies, music and television shows. How many movies in the theatre
right now would you consider high art, the finest productions of cinema and examples of
the art form? Critics of the gaming industry like to pick and choose examples of games
like Grand Theft Auto or Doom, but they better watch themselves because we gamers can
pick and choose plenty of examples from cinema, books, or television that are just as
mindless, stupid and un-creative products designed to sell. The similarities between
games and all other art is always lost when the industry comes under attack.


      Freedom of speech is a right we have guaranteed to all our fellow citizens. Especially
when your fellow citizen is saying something you do not like. When the television was
first introduced it was subject to a huge a myriad of regulations and rules of what you
could and could not see, or say, or even imply. This was partly due to the culture of the
time, but it was also partly due to politicians capitalizing on public fears, over the power
which television was inheriting. Over time more and more leeway was granted on
television until finally, as a storytelling device television had come to wield all the
freedoms it needed to tell engaging stories. Sex and violence in video games however still
makes a big splash when it is encountered. Mass Effect, and Dragon Age Origins both
were roughly 22-30 hours long and both had about thirty second sex scenes in them. Both
games also made headlines. The first big reason for this is because games are still widely
perceived as “for kids”. Many games are made for children but as the gaming generation
has aged so has the content, and now the industry produces titles appealing to almost
every conceivable market. The second reason is ignorance, how are parents supposed to
know about the content of the games they are buying their kids? Well ten minutes of
research before a purchase can clear this up. In both cases the responsibility rests solely
on the parents, just as it does with movies, television, and literature people who buy
games, have to know what each game will express. Games are not for children anymore,
and just because parents or purchasers are ignorant is not a legitimate reason to challenge
an art on its freedom of speech.


      Never let politicians sway you by demonizing something you do not fully understand.
Video games have become an easy target for individuals who want your vote or support,
but now knowing that there is an even deeper struggle at this issues root, you can voice
your opinion for or against censorship. Just because we live in an age of new emerging art
forms, doesn’t mean that the old arts are dying, or that the new ways of telling stories or
expressing oneself should come under fire. It is up to individuals to understand the
content of games they may purchase for their themselves or  for their children. Hopefully,
now knowing what you do about the developing industry of video games you can
intelligent choices about their content and stories for yourself.

Start the Conversation
1 Comments
Posted by Maurdakar

Modern Politics has become a battlefield of slogans, discrediting evidence, and false
promises. Upon the popular front many politicians look for easy targets to criticize, thus
gaining more of the popular vote. Culture and media constantly finds itself under fire
from politicians, however, most modern entertainment mediums such as television and
cinema have become so integrated into our culture that criticizing them now is seen as
backwards. Interactive entertainment and video games, are new phenomenon, and to
capitalize on ignorance and fear popular speakers will heavily criticize these arts. The
video game industry finds itself under a constant stream of criticism and censorship from
moderators worldwide. Digital art and media has only been around for a miniscule period
in comparison to other well accepted art forms such as music, books, or paintings, and
even though all other arts are found within interactive entertainment, the industry is still 
not granted the same level of respect as its peers. In Canada, but more particularly,
worldwide, interactive entertainment has been subject to censorship and regulation more
so than any other creative form of expression. It is important for all of us to be aware of
emerging methods of storytelling and creativity so that we can support them for free
speech. I hope to convince anyone who reads this that video games are an art form, and
their production and relevance in our culture is as sacred as all pre existing expressions.


      Many artists will agree that an act of creativity, pure creativity, is creating something
from nothing, something which has deeper meaning, emotion and relevance to other
expressions. By every standard video games originate in the same place all other art does,
in our minds. The way it is brought into the world is highly technical, but so is
architecture, so are many forms of music and painting. Video games include music,
painting, and architecture. Many video game studios employ entire orchestras to provide
musical scores tailored to specific games, and scenes within a game. Architects are hired
to help ensure that any building in a game would actually be able to stand up, and to
influence the buildings towards a certain genre or theme. Artists are employed to draw up
concept art of locations, creatures and items which appear in the game, keeping to the
general feel a company wants to project into their production. Script writers are hired to
work on dialogue, voice actors to speak that dialogue. Film graduates are hired to tailor
scenes and movies within the game itself into a flowing narrative, the story that the game
is telling. All the examples I have provided are evident at video game studios like,
Bethesda, Bioware, and Square Enix. So many people write off the plight of censoring
interactive art as minor even though as a form of expression it is protected under free
speech.


      Australia, Germany, and the Netherlands are rife with politicians bashing the
interactive entertainment industry. There is censorship on blood, on foul language, on
content in games constantly, but none of this is imposed on other mediums like cinema or
painting, or music. The first counterpoint which comes out is that video games are largely
mindless violence or action oriented stories with little emphasis on art, story or character
development, and this is true. Many games are created to sell, to cater to mass
consumption, a public which generally speaking, has little interest in higher art. However,
so are most books, movies, music and television shows. How many movies in the theatre
right now would you consider high art, the finest productions of cinema and examples of
the art form? Critics of the gaming industry like to pick and choose examples of games
like Grand Theft Auto or Doom, but they better watch themselves because we gamers can
pick and choose plenty of examples from cinema, books, or television that are just as
mindless, stupid and un-creative products designed to sell. The similarities between
games and all other art is always lost when the industry comes under attack.


      Freedom of speech is a right we have guaranteed to all our fellow citizens. Especially
when your fellow citizen is saying something you do not like. When the television was
first introduced it was subject to a huge a myriad of regulations and rules of what you
could and could not see, or say, or even imply. This was partly due to the culture of the
time, but it was also partly due to politicians capitalizing on public fears, over the power
which television was inheriting. Over time more and more leeway was granted on
television until finally, as a storytelling device television had come to wield all the
freedoms it needed to tell engaging stories. Sex and violence in video games however still
makes a big splash when it is encountered. Mass Effect, and Dragon Age Origins both
were roughly 22-30 hours long and both had about thirty second sex scenes in them. Both
games also made headlines. The first big reason for this is because games are still widely
perceived as “for kids”. Many games are made for children but as the gaming generation
has aged so has the content, and now the industry produces titles appealing to almost
every conceivable market. The second reason is ignorance, how are parents supposed to
know about the content of the games they are buying their kids? Well ten minutes of
research before a purchase can clear this up. In both cases the responsibility rests solely
on the parents, just as it does with movies, television, and literature people who buy
games, have to know what each game will express. Games are not for children anymore,
and just because parents or purchasers are ignorant is not a legitimate reason to challenge
an art on its freedom of speech.


      Never let politicians sway you by demonizing something you do not fully understand.
Video games have become an easy target for individuals who want your vote or support,
but now knowing that there is an even deeper struggle at this issues root, you can voice
your opinion for or against censorship. Just because we live in an age of new emerging art
forms, doesn’t mean that the old arts are dying, or that the new ways of telling stories or
expressing oneself should come under fire. It is up to individuals to understand the
content of games they may purchase for their themselves or  for their children. Hopefully,
now knowing what you do about the developing industry of video games you can
intelligent choices about their content and stories for yourself.