Thursday, June 23, 2005

Not Again

I can't believe this is still an issue. I came across an article while surfing the web about violence in video games. They talking about one in particular, 25 to Life, which is an urban game about gangsters versus cops. The article laments how violent the game is and how you go around shooting cops. Of course, it never mentions that you can also play as the cops, who go around shooting gangsters. Here are few of my favorite parts of the article:

"It's outrageous that a company like this would try to desensitize our children," Lynch said.
I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure their goal is to sell games and make money, not desensitize our children. Which brings up another feature I enjoyed about this article.
"It's like ghetto-ish, I like that," said Bronx seventh-grader Jesus Martinez, 13.
Brooklyn seventh-grader Nashalie Ledesma said she would try the game "just for the fun of it, to see how it is, explore the violence."
"It's just a game," said Ledesma, 12. "It's not like I'm gonna do it in real life. I don't have the guts to do it."

I really don't think the opinions of some preteens needs to be added to this article. They just really don't matter. They don't even matter in the calculation of how many games get sold, at least they shouldn't. This game is rated M for mature, which means it's the equivalent of an R rating. Would you ask a 12 year-old if he thought Apocalypse Now is worth seeing? I hope not.

Also, can we get past the whole shock value thing here. Just because it's pushing the bundaries of decency, doesn't make it a good game (ditto for movies). There are a lot of FPS (first person shooter) games out there, but there's only one Half-Life 2.

On a more positive side: I came across this article. It's all about how scientists have study the effects of gaming on the brain and have discovered that it's actually beneficial.
Gee's studies show that players learn pattern recognition from puzzles and enemies or bosses; they learn system thinking, i.e. they learn how a game is structured, or how an enemy is attacking, or how to solve logic or physical puzzles. They even learn patience.

See, so go let your kids play videogames, just be mindful of what they're playing.


Emily said...

I would definitely buy into the idea that it teaches patience. As you well know, my biggest reason for not being a big game player is that I have an attention span equivalent to that of a gnat and the impatience of something really impatient.

I simply cannot sit there and practice long enough to get good enough at the basic skills to make gaming worthwhile.

CJ said...

Really, I think the problem is that you need some starter/training games. Games that slowly build up your gaming skills. The problem is that most popular games now are made for established gamers, people already fluent in game mechanics, and so the games start off already at a higher level, or at least aren't as gradual in the beginning stages.

I do think you've found a few of these though in the yahoo games. They're fun and just challenging enough to keep them interesting.

Emily said...

I was wondering if you had read the latest news about Sen. Clinton wanting an investigation into some modified versions of Grand Theft Auto.

I don't actually have any objections to what I've read - but it could fuel video game hysteria once more. As far as a $5000 fine to any store cought selling a game to an underage kid - I think it's a great idea. Those ratings are NOT enforced it seems and they really should be.