February 25, 2006

[Politics] What I Want

A recent comment on this blog rightly called me on the table for a fairly insensitive and inaccurate remark on my side, but also brought into question what I really want for legislation in regards to gaming. It's pretty simple, really. I want games to be considered at the same level as other forms of entertainment.

Games, like the vast majority of entertainment, exist for the purpose of briefly escaping reality. Like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book, the vast majority of games let gamers tell their own story through what they decide to do. However, because of advances in technology, we are able to create rulesets that allow a near-infinite number of choices for the player to take on.

Now, are there games that aren't appropriate for children? Yes. And just like movies and to a more limited extent music, we have a rating system in place to indicate what is not appropriate for children. While the ESRB rating system may be funded by the video game industry, just like the MPAA is funded by the motion picture industry, the people who create the ratings are everyday people. Hell, the two rating systems are near equivalents.

I can pick up a novel by Stephen King and within the span of 1,000 pages, read a tale of dismemberment, murder of children and adults, and pre-teen sexual relations. Of course, the first time I read it, I had gotten it off of the shelves at the school library.

I can go to the movie theater and watch massive explosions, simulated sexual intercourse, exploding heads, and more. Parents who wouldn't buy their kids "Doom" saw no problems taking their kids to the theater to see it.

I may be an outsider from a lot of communities. I didn't belong in Utah any more than I belong in Texas, or New York, or Japan or anywhere. But it doesn't take an outsider to see the hypocrisy here.

You want violence in media gone? Fine. You want sexuality in media gone? Fine. Go ahead and try to ban it, but it better be an all-or-nothing deal. After all, it's all okay if it can keep parents from having to do any actual "parenting."


Anonymous said...

For the most part I agree with your all or nothing argument. However, there is one problem with your argument here. Movies aren't interactive, when someone gets there head blown off it isn't the 'user' or viewer of the movie pulling the trigger and making the decision to do it. This doesn't make it ok in my book, I am in the school of thought that it should all go away, but I think there is a difference between passive viewing (movies) and active participation (video games).

Michael Russell said...

I'm of the opinion that it isn't the interactivity, but the individual.

People have used a variety of arguments against "Dungeons & Dragons," heavy metal music, the pelvis of Elvis, Yoko Ono, etc. throughout the years.

Eventually the furor dies down and people find something else to pin society's ills on.

Video games are no different...we're just the scapegoat of the wek.