25 to Life: Making a mountain out of a molehill.

Even before it was released the video game known as 25 to Life was being lambasted by politicians and police organizations for months on end because it allowed you to play as a gang banger and kill police officers. Never mind that you could also play as a police office and kill gang bangers, everyone who ranted about it described the game as a “cop killer simulator.” Senator Charles Schumer wanted it banned before it hit store shelves and anti-video game lawyer Jack “Douchebag” Thompson advocated illegal seizures of the game by police as well as making various threats of lawsuits over it. All of this gnashing of teeth was done without any first-hand knowledge of the game itself—other than a few blurbs on the premise and previews in game mags—and no one had a clue if it was even going to be popular.

Turns out that once it was released it was pretty much trashed by most game critics with the average score on Metacritics working out to a 45 out of 100, which isn’t very good at all. IGN.com said: “The single player is boring, arrestingly conventional and entirely forgettable. The multiplayer is slightly better, though mostly because of its options and not because of its gameplay.” The folks at 1Up.com wrote “Pandering to every college student and aspiring rap artist’s deep-seated Scarface fantasies, 25 to Life is a 3D action-shooter that not only fails to innovate on any level, but rolls back design and technological advancements to the early PSone era.” In short, the game sucks and should be avoided.

So you’d think this would get folks to shut the fuck up about what a horrible game it is before the “forbidden fruit factor” kicks in, right? I wouldn’t be writing this entry if folks were that smart. Nope, instead the folks at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund group decided to jump on the bandwagon by calling for a boycott of the game:

“It is absolutely unconscionable that game makers are enabling young people—or anyone—to dramatize shooting and killing as a form of entertainment while officers and innocent people are dying in real-life on our streets every day. We’re encouraging parents, caregivers and everyone who is concerned about both law enforcement officers and children to ensure this game never makes it into the homes or hands of impressionable young people.”

It’s wrong to dramatize shooting and killing as a form of entertainment while people are dieing in real-life? Well why the hell are we limiting this to just one video game then? We should be banning any movie, TV show or novel that has officers and innocent people dieing until we can eliminate all violent crime from our streets!

I’m sure the folks at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund are sincerely trying to do good things, but they’re making an idiotic argument against a game that isn’t likely to sell well to begin with. Or at least it wouldn’t have if so many people hadn’t made such a big fucking deal out of it.

Noting that in the past 10 years, 70 officers have been killed by people under the age of 18, Mr. Floyd said, “While it’s true that players are given a choice between wearing a badge or colors of a gang, the ultimate message carried by the game is that some players are justified in endangering the lives of police officers. That’s a terrible message for anyone, but particularly so for young people who are already confronted with numerous choices that can lead to dangerous consequences. Regardless of your views on free speech or marketplace dynamics, there is really nothing good that can be said about this game. The images are wrong. The messages are wrong. And stocking it in U.S. stores is wrong.

I wonder how much of the game Craig Floyd has actually played? You’d think he’d have played at least some of it before making such an authoritative statement on what the game’s message is, right? How much do you want to bet he’s not spent a single moment with a controller in his hand? And why just this one game? What about all the other games and aforementioned books and movies and TV shows? Has he ever seen The Shield for chrissake? Oh, wait, that’s cops beating up on not-so-innocent people. That’s OK by Mr. Floyd’s standards I guess. I just did a search for the show on the NLEOMF website and found no press releases decrying the show so it must be OK.

We’ve focused on this game right now because children and communities are facing the greatest threat from it right now, but our broader goal is to encourage all parents and caregivers to be more aware of what their children are exposed to or encouraged to emulate. Any type of media that glorifies violence against law enforcement or civilians should be scrutinized very carefully.”

Man, you’d think 25 to Life was the Asian Bird Flu with the way Mr. Floyd characterizes it. It’s supposedly the “greatest threat” to children and communities overshadowing all other dangers they might face! Nothings worse than 25 to Life! Not sexual predators, not terrorism, not playing in traffic! NO! All pale in comparison to this game! If you should happen to encounter 25 to Life you should turn the other way and run screaming down the street in a wild panic as though your life, no, make that your very soul, were in imminent peril!

Man, with that kind of hype I kinda want to try the game out now even though the folks who have played it say it sucks. Why? If for no other reason to piss off the folks like Mr. Floyd here who are too stupid to realize they’re working towards popularizing the very thing they wish would go away. I do agree that parents should be more aware of what their kids are up to whether it’s what video games they’re playing to which friends they’re hanging out with to what websites they’re visiting. This game is rated M for mature and parents should definitely be aware of that and make their decisions accordingly, but all this talk of how evil the game is often has the opposite effect than intended. The game sucks. That alone is reason enough not to play it.

Link found via Kotaku.com.

10 thoughts on “25 to Life: Making a mountain out of a molehill.

  1. The irony here that Les only eludes to is that because of the controversy and call for a boycott the game has received much more attention, interest, and purchases than if they’d just let the game get trashed by the reviewers and players.

    In short, now MORE kids have played the game. Using the mentality of the politicians, more children and cops are at risk.

  2. As always, mixed feelings on my part. We ARE glorifying violence in these games and movies. And other things. When I read about 50Cent bragging about he was the best drug dealer in the ‘hood in can puke.

    No, people are not going to run out and shoot people. But don’t you think there is ANY effect at all, Les?

    Yes, I played GTA, and I loved it (well, the biggest parts of it. Some of the assasination missions made me a bit queasy – kill a helpless, screaming wife (in GTA: Vice City)?

    No I am not going out and shooting people. But then, I played that stuff at 25+ years of age. When I was a kid, any of the ‘killer’ games, you could hand-count the pixels on enemy soldiers.

    I AM worrying about young kids today playing stuff which is more explicit and a lot more realistic than what we played. Don’t you read stuff like the report I just read (in German, ‘The Spiegel’ sadly, so no link) that while there are no more attacks on schoolyards than in earlier times, those attacks that happen have gotten a lot more brutal than ever before?

    I do think we have a very violent culture in some respects. I am not hearking back to ‘the good old days’, but are we just gonna sit back and accept everything for the sake of free speech alone? I played GTA in New Zealand, and until I got on the websites, I never even realized that what I got was what you might call a ‘censored’ version – no blood, no ‘rampage’ missions (though I wonder why the straight-up assasinations were kept)… and it was still fun. My liberty wasn’t really reduced by that, was it?

    You come down on these people opposing such games like they’re all hypocrites, Les.

  3. Indeed, I do believe I detect a sharper edge to Les’s satire this time around. I really enjoyed reading ths one. even tired as hell this am.

    I wonder if the lawsuits are ‘Douchebag’‘s way of
    acknowledging the fact that ESRB ratings dont fucking work at all and It is still up to the parents to prevent unwanted media from reaching the little paws of their preacious children?

    Yay, sencorship -for the children.. -for the cops..

  4. Ingolfson asks some good questions:

    No, people are not going to run out and shoot people. But don’t you think there is ANY effect at all, Les?

    I’d be a fool to claim there’s no effect at all. Recent studies have shown that watching violent TV or video games increases aggression levels in people of all ages, but I question how significant that increase really is mainly because of my own personal experiences. If I’m having a bad round of Counter-Strike I might be a little snippy because of my annoyance, but I don’t go out shootin’ up the neighborhood over it. The same is true of just about every other gamer I know.

    The suggestion that these games turn you into a rampaging cop-killer is just as ludicrous as saying that playing Tiger Woods PGA Tour is going to turn you into a pro golfer. If the effect were as bad as they make it out to be then I’d have been in prison several times over for the commission of violent crimes as I’ve pretty much grown up playing video games including all the violent ones. If kids exposed to this stuff are turning into homicidal maniacs then why is violent crime at an all-time low in this country?

    Yes, I played GTA, and I loved it (well, the biggest parts of it. Some of the assassination missions made me a bit queasy – kill a helpless, screaming wife (in GTA: Vice City)?

    I honestly don’t even remember that mission so you can tell it had a big impact on me.

    No I am not going out and shooting people. But then, I played that stuff at 25+ years of age. When I was a kid, any of the ‘killer’ games, you could hand-count the pixels on enemy soldiers.

    True enough, but then I’m sure there were still plenty of books, movies, and TV shows back then that had realistic violence in them that should have had an impact if the problem is as bad as these folks claim. Perhaps you were sheltered from all of that while growing up, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. My parents made sure they knew what I was watching as a kid and they kept my exposure to R-rated movies and particularly violent television to a minimum until I was old enough to deal with it.

    Which is one of the points I raised in my entry: Parents should be more involved in what their kids are consuming entertainment-wise. I have no problems with the ESRB ratings and I encourage all parents to be aware of what they are and to take them into consideration when determining what their kids can play, but calls to ban a particular movie or game because you’re too busy to take care of your kids is just idiotic.

    I AM worrying about young kids today playing stuff which is more explicit and a lot more realistic than what we played. Don’t you read stuff like the report I just read (in German, ‘The Spiegel’ sadly, so no link) that while there are no more attacks on schoolyards than in earlier times, those attacks that happen have gotten a lot more brutal than ever before?

    Have they really gotten more brutal? I have no stats to argue either way on the issue so I can only go by what I’ve experienced and I can think of some pretty brutal attacks that took place well before video games ever came along to capture the public’s imagination.

    Again, I don’t disagree that kids shouldn’t be playing some of these games, but the problem won’t be solved by placing the burden on anyone other than the parents. Game ratings don’t do a damned thing if the parents happily buy junior whatever he asks for.

    I do think we have a very violent culture in some respects. I am not harking back to ‘the good old days’, but are we just gonna sit back and accept everything for the sake of free speech alone? I played GTA in New Zealand, and until I got on the websites, I never even realized that what I got was what you might call a ‘censored’ version – no blood, no ‘rampage’ missions (though I wonder why the straight-up assassinations were kept)… and it was still fun. My liberty wasn’t really reduced by that, was it?

    Do you have to accept everything? No, don’t buy anything you disagree with. If enough people don’t buy it then they won’t make it. Money—or more specifically the withholding of it—will change things faster than any ban would.

    I get nervous whenever you start saying some forms of speech are unacceptable because of the message it contains. I say a lot of things here that a lot of folks have a problem with. How long before I’m told I can’t say those things anymore? No one is forced to come here and read my rantings just as no one is forced to buy 25 to Life or 50 Cent’s latest CD.

    By the same token you’re free to criticize and encourage others not to partake in the things you don’t like, but you also have to weigh the possibility that if you make a big fucking deal out of it you may end up with the opposite reaction. When you proclaim something is a forbidden fruit and try to ban it without showing any real and significant harm you end up making it more attractive.

    In the case of a game that sucks you end up with more folks buying it than might otherwise have done so just to see what the fuss is all about and if it turns out they aren’t significantly harmed by the experience then they’re less likely to listen to you the next time you start a Chicken Little routine about a horrible game.

    You come down on these people opposing such games like they’re all hypocrites, Les.

    You don’t see anything hypocritical in the folks at NLEOMF proclaiming that violent video games are the greatest threat facing children and communities today? You don’t think that statement isn’t the slightest bit overblown?

    I grew up watching Bugs Bunny cartoons religiously as a kid and I laughed my little ass off every time Daffy got the shit shot out of him by Elmer Fudd and the Road Runner cartoons were a particular favorite. Have you seen any broadcasts of Bugs Bunny here in the states in the past decade or so? They’ve been edited to shreds to cut out all the moments of direct violence because of concerns over the impact it was having on kids. Now when you see Elmer raise his gun to Daffy’s head there’s a sudden edit and you see the after-effect of Daffy having been shot (bill on the ground or on top of his head, scorched feathers), but you never see him actually get shot. Sure, there’s still a “bang” sound effect and there’s still the result, but you never see the actual shooting take place. The Coyote? Most of the scenes of him exploding are gone. The result is some very jarring edits that really ruin the humor. The really sad part is that many of the Bugs Bunny cartoons I grew up with had already been edited to remove scenes considered to be too risque or racist, but at least when Daffy got shot you knew he’d been shot.

    Oddly enough, despite literal decades of being exposed to that kind of violence along with healthy doses of The Three Stooges and Abbot and Costello plus countless hours playing video games which glorified violence of all kinds, I somehow managed to end up a reasonably well-adjusted adult who’s never been arrested for anything.

    Now how the hell is that possible if these things are as dangerous as some people claim?

    Chart courtesy Gamer Revolution.

  5. Incidentally, the artilce on Gamer Revolution I linked to and borrowed the chart from is a worth-while read on the topic of youth violence and video games. It finishes with this update from back in October of last year:

    The FBI has just released its 2004 crime report. The results? The violent crime rate has further dropped 2.2% since 2003. The number of murders is down by 2.4%. And our violent youth? “As for trends in arrests of juveniles for violent crime, a comparison of 2004 data with those of 2003 indicated that the number of juveniles arrested for violent crimes declined 0.8 percent, 5.5 percent compared with 2000 data, and 30.9 percent compared with 1995 figures.”

    So the according to the FBI, the murder rate hit a new 40 year low in 2004. The best selling video game of 2004? Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

    Gamer Revolution: The Truth About Violent Youth and Video Games

  6. If I’m having a bad round of Counter-Strike I might be a little snippy because of my annoyance

    Which would not necessarily invalidate my reasoning. The games you played as a kid were not that immersive, I’d claim. You’re an adult who plays the stuff. And those games are getting MORE immersive all the time, and reaching a larger percentage of kids.

    If the effect were as bad as they make it out to be then I’d have been in prison several times over for the commission of violent crimes as I’ve pretty much grown up playing video games including all the violent ones.

    Care to tell me which games you consider ‘all the violent ones’? I am not that much younger than you, I might know some of them. Woud be interesting for me, seeing that the realism of the killing is very much part of my little theory concerning the effects.

    Yes, I played GTA, and I loved it (well, the biggest parts of it. Some of the assassination missions made me a bit queasy – kill a helpless, screaming wife (in GTA: Vice City)?

    I honestly don’t even remember that mission so you can tell it had a big impact on me.

    One of the 5 assasination missions you got from the payphones. You had to kill her by ramming her car with your car. Not very graphic, I’ll admit, but tasteless. She was screaming for help while fleeing, and had no connection to the storyline at all. Just a ‘faceless victim’ you were to off. And IF there is something to my general theory, then this game will cause a rise in reckless driving too. Not exactly and area where youth is all that good to start with.

    Which is one of the points I raised in my entry: Parents should be more involved in what their kids are consuming entertainment-wise.

    So what if parents are neglient? Should society suffer from that? Is there no other possibility, no other acceptable policy beyond either ‘hands-off’ or taking children away from those neglient parents?

    Perhaps you were sheltered from all of that while growing up, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. My parents made sure they knew what I was watching as a kid and they kept my exposure to R-rated movies and particularly violent television to a minimum until I was old enough to deal with it.

    I grew up mostly without a TV.

    Do you have to accept everything? No, don’t buy anything you disagree with. If enough people don’t buy it then they won’t make it. Money—or more specifically the withholding of it—will change things faster than any ban would.

    I am not necessarily talking about banning everything. I am however wondering why many people I respect, like you, accept it like it’s by necessity harmless, when I am of another opinion.

    I agree that it may be naive to say that a society can influence its youth by disagreeing with their conduct (the forbidden fruit argument of yours). But when we follow THAT opinion through to its extreme conclusion, we act like parenting is useless. Just let them do whatever they want and hope they come out marginally acceptable. Some guidance, and be it only moral – without bans – is necessary. And that may include society (and not only politicans and fringe groups) frowning on some kinds of entertainment.

    You don’t see anything hypocritical in the folks at NLEOMF proclaiming that violent video games are the greatest threat facing children and communities today? You don’t think that statement isn’t the slightest bit overblown?

    I read that statement in the sense of ‘the greatest threat facing children IN MEDIA’ which is still a bit overblown (as you said, the game did not look like it was going to be popular) but makes a lot more sense.

    As for trends in arrests of juveniles for violent crime, a comparison of 2004 data with those of 2003 indicated that the number of juveniles arrested for violent crimes declined 0.8 percent, 5.5 percent compared with 2000 data, and 30.9 percent compared with 1995 figures.

    Nice to hear. Maybe I’m just getting old and more suspicious of those young punks than I should wink

    I know you hold strong libertarian opinions on many things, Les. I do feel the same way on many things too (sexual ‘morality’, political-, religious- and cultural freedoms), but as a European, maybe my views on censorship are not nearly as libertarian as yours.

    I grew up in what I sincerely believe to have been one of the most liberal western societies (born out of a rather big cultural failure, but ‘good and true’ nonetheless). Germany, for new people or non-regulars. And yet, we always had strong (compared to the US in any case) laws against violence (and against facism) being portrayed in media. I cannot honestly say that we are much better off by necessity, but we became used to it without loosing our freedom.

    That said, with an increasingly globalized world, we may have to find a new consensus on what is acceptable in public, though it will take long to emerge, and will likely be much broader.

    Well, I certainly rambled today.

  7. Continuing…

    Which would not necessarily invalidate my reasoning. The games you played as a kid were not that immersive, I’d claim. You’re an adult who plays the stuff. And those games are getting MORE immersive all the time, and reaching a larger percentage of kids.

    Depends on what you mean by immersive. Certainly the graphics in those days wasn’t anything close to what they are now, but that doesn’t mean the games were any less immersive or I wouldn’t have spent so much time playing them. Some of the most immersive I’ve played didn’t have graphics at all (Infocom text adventures such as Zork and Deadline) and few games of today can match the immersiveness of a good session of Dungeons & Dragons—another game that was accused of turning people into psychopaths—which I and my friends spent countless hours playing in our youth.

    People who have a hard time distinguishing fantasy from reality are going to have problems regardless of what media they’re consuming. People have flipped out and tried to blame music, books, movies, TV shows, and now video games for pushing them over the edge. Kids naturally have a harder time making the distinction and as such the media they consume should be carefully considered by their parents, but you can’t come up with a one-size-fits-all rule on what is appropriate as every person is different. I can think of some adults that should be barred from watching anything short of endless reruns of Care Bears and the Brady Bunch, but I don’t advocate that those sorts of shows should be the only thing produced simply because that’s all some folks can handle.

    Care to tell me which games you consider ‘all the violent ones’? I am not that much younger than you, I might know some of them. Woud be interesting for me, seeing that the realism of the killing is very much part of my little theory concerning the effects.

    Name a first person shooter and I’ve probably played it: Castle Wolfenstein (All the way back to the original C-64 game which wasn’t an FPS), Doom (I, II, III), Quake (I, II, III), Battlefield (1 & 2), Hexen, Medal of Honor (All), Call of Duty (1 & 2), Soldier of Fortune (which allowed you to shoot off individual body parts – very realistic violence), Unreal Tournament (most of the series), Painkiller, Postal (one of the worst for gratuitous violence, it sucked), Half-Life (1 & 2), Counter-Strike, Day of Defeat, Halo, etc.

    Move beyond FPS and the list would include titles like: Mortal Kombat (most of them from back when they first hit the arcades), Streetfighter (most of those as well), Hitman (1, 2, & 3), Manhunt, Grand Theft Auto (starting with III), Resident Evil (All), Silent Hill (All), Mercenaries, Soul Caliber, Dead or Alive III, God of War, Black and White, Fable: The Lost Chapters, Warcraft (I, II, & III), Starcraft, Diablo (I & II), Dungeon Master, etc. You get the picture.

    Those are just some of the titles you might recognize. I didn’t go too far into the past as 1) I can’t remember the titles to most of the C-64/Amiga games I’ve owned and 2) I tried to stick to titles often cited as the “worst of the worst” by people who get all worked up over such things. The more I sit and think about it, though, the more titles I come up with.

    One of the 5 assassination missions you got from the payphones. You had to kill her by ramming her car with your car. Not very graphic, I’ll admit, but tasteless. She was screaming for help while fleeing, and had no connection to the storyline at all. Just a ‘faceless victim’ you were to off. And IF there is something to my general theory, then this game will cause a rise in reckless driving too. Not exactly and area where youth is all that good to start with.

    I played more than my share of racing games growing up and took great delight in turning the car around and seeing how bad a crash I could cause by speeding into the oncoming vehicles at high speed when I got bored with racing. Yet I’m told by friends and family that I’m a very safe driver. One of my current favorite racers is Burnout III where part of the objective of the race is to cause your opponents to crash and one of the three types of events includes trying to cause the biggest traffic pileup you can. I should be a horrific driver by your theory.

    Incidentally, one of the things I was particularly amused with in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was that it was possible to jack a car that had a passenger in it that wouldn’t get out in time thereby becoming a screaming captive as you raced around the city until they finally got up the courage to bail out of the car. I also found more than a few hours amusement in standing on the roof of a car in the game as it drove around the city and taking potshots at the other cars to watch them speed off in a panic and cause accidents. In GTA 3 if you turned on the flying cars cheat code and did this you could make mini-vans drive right up the side of the cliffs cartoon-style.

    I’m sure if I were to emulate this nonsense in real-life you’d have heard about it by now.

    So what if parents are negligent? Should society suffer from that? Is there no other possibility, no other acceptable policy beyond either ‘hands-off’ or taking children away from those negligent parents?

    If the parents are negligent then how does it help to censor or ban violent video games? The real problem—negligent parents—still remains.

    What difference does it make if little 7 year old Billie Thomson can’t get his hands on a game like GTA if his parents drop him off at the movie theater to see films like Saw or Hostel? And before you ask, yes, that does happen quite a bit. I can’t count how many times I’ve gone to see an R-rated film that had lots of realistic violence in it and encountered a group of unsupervised 10 year-olds and younger lined up in the front rows because their parents bought them tickets, dropped them in the theater, and then left to go shopping in the mall. The MPAA ratings don’t accomplish jack shit if the parents walk their kids into the theater and then turn around and leave. Now I suppose it’s entirely possible that those kids were unreasonably mature for their age and quite capable of handling such films, but I’m skeptical of the idea. I certainly wouldn’t have allowed Courtney into movies like those at that age.

    So should we just ban all violent media and punish everyone because some parents are negligent or do we try and address the real problem? It can be done. The courts can mandate you go to an alcohol treatment program if you’re arrested for drunk driving too many times. Or anger management if you keep showing up in court for beating on your wife and kids. So why can’t they mandate that idiot parents take courses in how not to be an idiot parent? Hint: They can and do in some situations, but there’s nothing on the books that says you can be arrested for letting your kids consume inappropriate media.

    I’d argue that having parents that negligent is probably more damaging to the development of those kids than any amount of violent video games would be. If they don’t care enough to limit what their kids are consuming then they certainly aren’t bothering to teach them right from wrong or why the violence those kids see on the screen isn’t something they should emulate in real life. One of the worst things you can do to a child is not give a damn.

    I grew up mostly without a TV.

    I can’t remember ever not having a TV set in the house and we were relatively early adopters of new technology as it came along such as the VCR (had one of those bread-box sized units to start) and eventually cable TV (after a stint with a subscription broadcast service called ON TV in Detroit). I watched my fair share of TV growing up and while my viewing habits weren’t highly regulated, my parents made sure I wasn’t watching anything that was inappropriate for my age at the time. At least until I got to be a teenager and then, like most teenagers, I’d occasionally manage to gain access to crap my parents would’ve had a fit over.

    I am not necessarily talking about banning everything. I am however wondering why many people I respect, like you, accept it like it’s by necessity harmless, when I am of another opinion.

    I don’t think it’s completely harmless, but then there are few things in life that I’d consider to be completely harmless (the aforementioned Care Bears, for example). I just don’t think it’s as harmful as some folks would like you to believe and the biggest reason I have for that point of view is my own personal experience. Again, perhaps I’m an exception, but I have no reason to believe that I am.

    I agree that it may be naive to say that a society can influence its youth by disagreeing with their conduct (the forbidden fruit argument of yours). But when we follow THAT opinion through to its extreme conclusion, we act like parenting is useless. Just let them do whatever they want and hope they come out marginally acceptable. Some guidance, and be it only moral – without bans – is necessary. And that may include society (and not only politicians and fringe groups) frowning on some kinds of entertainment.

    I’m not advocating allowing our youth to do whatever the hell they want and I don’t take that approach with my own child, but overreacting doesn’t help either. Parents should be involved in the decision making process of what media their kids are consuming and that includes denying their kids shows, music, movies, and video games that they don’t feel are acceptable. Denying everyone else access to that media because you don’t like it, however, is crossing the line. I don’t need you to be my parent and decide for me what messages I can and can’t listen to.

    At the same time you need to be aware that if you overreact and engage in hyperbole then you run the risk of making the item more attractive in the process. It’s one thing to say, “We think this game is in very bad taste and contains a negative message that shouldn’t be encouraged.” It’s an entirely other thing to say, and I quote, “It is absolutely unconscionable that game makers are enabling young people — or anyone — to dramatize shooting and killing as a form of entertainment while officers and innocent people are dying in real-life on our streets every day.”

    Emphasis mine. Fine, they don’t think young kids should be playing this game and I agree with that sentiment, but they’re not happy that ANYONE is playing this game. They go on to say, and I quote again, “Regardless of your views on free speech or marketplace dynamics, there is really nothing good that can be said about this game. The images are wrong. The messages are wrong. And stocking it in U.S. stores is wrong.

    Emphasis, again, mine. It’s not enough that they don’t want you to buy it, they don’t want the stores to even stock it and let you make up your own damned mind on whether or not to buy it. They want the choice eliminated for you. When people tell me I can’t make up my own mind about what messages I listen to I usually tell them to fuck off.

    I read that statement in the sense of ‘the greatest threat facing children IN MEDIA’ which is still a bit overblown (as you said, the game did not look like it was going to be popular) but makes a lot more sense.

    Maybe it’s just me, but the concept of something being a form of ‘media threat’ doesn’t worry me nearly as much as some of the other threats kids face every day such as parents who just don’t give a shit, or worse, are actively hostile to them.

    Nice to hear. Maybe I’m just getting old and more suspicious of those young punks than I should wink

    Next thing you know you’ll be sitting on your porch waggling your cane and screaming at those little bastards to get the hell offa your lawn.

    I know you hold strong libertarian opinions on many things, Les. I do feel the same way on many things too (sexual ‘morality’, political-, religious- and cultural freedoms), but as a European, maybe my views on censorship are not nearly as libertarian as yours.

    That’s certainly possible and even understandable, many European countries have much more restrictive regulations on media constant than America and if that’s what you grew up with then you’re probably comfortable with it.

    I grew up in what I sincerely believe to have been one of the most liberal western societies (born out of a rather big cultural failure, but ‘good and true’ nonetheless). Germany, for new people or non-regulars. And yet, we always had strong (compared to the US in any case) laws against violence (and against facism) being portrayed in media. I cannot honestly say that we are much better off by necessity, but we became used to it without loosing our freedom.

    That said, with an increasingly globalized world, we may have to find a new consensus on what is acceptable in public, though it will take long to emerge, and will likely be much broader.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t some of those restrictions pretty much forced onto Germany after World War II by the allies as a means of trying to keep folks there from getting all uppity again? My memory may be faulty on that aspect of it. Still, other countries are free to come up with their own rules on what their citizens are allowed to do I suppose. Here in America, though, I’m a big fan of the First Amendment for a couple of reasons not the least of which is the guarantee to free speech no matter how unpopular it might happen to be.

  8. Les,

    Some of the most immersive I’ve played didn’t have graphics at all (Infocom text adventures such as Zork and Deadline)

    By the way, did you know that Activision released the Zorks as a free download a couple of years ago? I’m tempted to set them up on telnet server somewhere.

  9. I can think of some adults that should be barred from watching anything short of endless reruns of Care Bears and the Brady Bunch, but I don’t advocate that those sorts of shows should be the only thing produced simply because that’s all some folks can handle.

    You talk as if it was all a matter of dumbing it down. I ask if it makes sense to cut the extreme variants.

    Name a first person shooter and I’ve probably played it:

    As I suspected. I played about 75% of all the games you mentioned. And enjoyed them too.

    I also found more than a few hours amusement in standing on the roof of a car in the game as it drove around the city and taking potshots at the other cars to watch them speed off in a panic and cause accidents.

    Sure. Heck, sverving to hit a policeman is fun too. Those godamn bastards.

    The MPAA ratings don’t accomplish jack shit if the parents walk their kids into the theater and then turn around and leave.

    I go / did go to the cinema quite often. I do not believe I have EVER noticed something like that.

    I watched my fair share of TV growing up and while my viewing habits weren’t highly regulated, my parents made sure I wasn’t watching anything that was inappropriate for my age at the time. At least until I got to be a teenager and then, like most teenagers, I’d occasionally manage to gain access to crap my parents would’ve had a fit over.

    I had access to TV at my moms, maybe every two weeks. But basically, German TV at that time had nothing they (or I nowadays) would have forbidden their kids. They really didn’t have a problem with a 14 year old watching softsex flicks at 1 AM.

    Parents should be involved in the decision making process of what media their kids are consuming and that includes denying their kids shows, music, movies, and video games that they don’t feel are acceptable.

    Okay. So I could agree to that. How do we do that in a time of the internet, file-sharing and the good old ‘lets watch it at Joe’s place then’?

    Next thing you know you’ll be sitting on your porch waggling your cane and screaming at those little bastards to get the hell offa your lawn.

    Ah, already do that. Minus the lawn, though. Stupid little respectless bastards. Are those YOUR kids? Should teach them to be a little less noisy, will ya?

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t some of those restrictions pretty much forced onto Germany after World War II by the allies as a means of trying to keep folks there from getting all uppity again?

    You don’t have to correct me, I am fully aware of that historical fact. Does that support your theory or mine? It was definitely more ‘foreign’ control than you’d advocate for humans…

    ‘Foreign’ in the sense of ‘from on high’, not necessarily as in ‘from another country’.

    I’m a big fan of the First Amendment for a couple of reasons not the least of which is the guarantee to free speech no matter how unpopular it might happen to be.

    No half measures, huh? That’s my problem in arguing with you – your position is a lot more decisive than mine can be.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.