Thread: Game Censorship + or -

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  1. #1 Game Censorship + or - 
    Senior Member PSP Mad Hacker Hockeyman's Avatar
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    This is a very thought provoking article by qj.net. Whats you opinion on Game Censorship and why is it so? I for one feel that we should have a right to freedom of expression and freedom of the media. If someone plays a violent video game and wants to kill someone then they have prior medical issues that should be adressed. What are your thoughts after reding the article from qj.net below?

    The Emsdetten shooting in Germany has only fired up even more the likes of Jack Thompson into pushing for not only having stricter gaming regulations, but actually making the creators and the consumers liable. Their battlecry: We must protect our children, and these video games are only feeding their minds' aggressive and potentially criminal tendencies.

    Now, who would dare contest that noble goal? Who wouldn't want to protect their children, and who would want them to grow up as criminals? No one, naturally. But if that is the case, then why is this issue making such a ruckus, if in the end, we only want to forward what is best for the children's interest?

    Because the issue goes way deeper than just what these kids get their hands on for entertainment. Blaming the violent video games for the criminal actions of teenagers is but the tip of the iceberg. Considerably, the proposed legislations of prohibiting the sale of violent video games to minors and penalizing the producers and players alike of the said games encroach into other deeper primordial issues, such as privacy.

    But let us not get into that yet. Allow me first to lay out to you what exactly are the basis for the aforementioned proposals. We all know for a fact that this anti-violent video games campaign is nothing new. Several countries, at one point in time since video games became such a hit, have already come face to face with legislations that would curb the reach of video games.

    Opening the floodgates
    While there may be a lot of cases involving minors and shooting sprees, the landmark case would have to be the Columbine High School shootings. The event proved to be absolutely shocking, that people for the most part were just dumbfounded at what transpired that fateful day. The perpetrators, mere students themselves, did not show any signs of aggressive behavior prior to their killing spree. They were, however, avid fans of first-person shooter games.

    If minors like them, who have not been troublemakers at all, suddenly woke up one morning and came to school carrying guns to shoot their peers, what could be that one factor that triggered them to behave that way? The most convenient and convincing explanation would have to be the video games.

    Examining these games, they do present a rather precise simulation of how it is to be in the thick of battle. Not only that, the actual feeling of shooting a character online elicits a real sense of adrenaline at the subconscious thought of being able to get away with it. The scenarios, after all, are not real. They are merely virtual.

    But then, what to do if the virtual becomes inextricably intertwined with the real? Like what happened to the Columbine shooters? Lawmakers then wasted no time in concocting laws that would make it more improbable for such an assault to happen again. From stricter gun laws to restricting the sale of violent games to kids, they were highly confident that this is indeed the most appropriate way to prevent another outrage.

    How did they get to this conclusion? According to those in support of the restrictions/banning of violent video games, there actually are findings that "suggest strong links between violent games and aggressive behavior." Back in 2004, Washington Democratic legislator Mary Lou Dickerson said, "Pediatricians and psychologists have been warning us that violent video games are harmful to children." And we must protect the children.

    Yes, and we fully agree with that. But will these measures of censorship even remotely lead to that? Here's why I say it is not the way to go. Having already established the perceived necessity of the proposal, let us now weigh the benefits and detriments, as well as whether or not the proposed policies will actually lessen the violent inclinations of children.

    On the point of breaking the chain of violence spurred by the blurred distinction between what's virtual and real, the presumption is that the people playing these games categorized as violent are highly impressionable. That the children, for example, are being tainted with the twisted connotation derived from the games they play that playing with guns or shooting other people can just be shrugged off, the way it is easy for them to turn off the computer when they don't want to play anymore.

    The problem with this premise is that it conveniently bars other forms of medium that may very well influence a person's mental and emotional disposition as well. I say, the presumed effect of video gaming to a person's disposition is not mutually exclusive. Assuming, but not conceding, that video games do arouse aggressive behaviour to a certain extent, what then makes it different from violent movies, cartoons, or books that are also capable of eliciting violent thoughts, which can be translated into criminal action?

    Questioning what makes violent games more dangerous
    Proponents would most likely say that what makes video games a much more dangerous influence is that it actually allows for participation from the players themselves. Unlike in the movies or books or cartoons, the most participation they could have is to take part as an audience. Given that it may be the case, the point is that these other forms of media are just as capable of evoking violent thoughts and reactions from the audience. And as is applicable to video games, these thoughts, while they may be violent, cannot be restrained, nor penalized, unless they are taken into action.

    It would seem, however, that the only way the governments know how to keep these thoughts from cropping up is to cut the source from the supposed roots. In the context of videogames, it is perceived that engaging in simulated violent environments will necessarily translate to actual violence, like the shooting rampage in Germany or Columbine. And again, we come back to the question of efficiency.

    I say it will not be efficient because video games, while considered to be an influence in the disposition of a person, is not the only factor to consider. A child's environment, family upbringing, morals, friends and maturity all plays on how he would be able to separate fact from fiction.

    That is why not every fan of Grand Theft Auto or Counter-Strike carries out an attack on their peers. That is why not every player of Gears of War are inclined to launch their own war. That is why not every person enjoying Resistance will most likely end up in jail for assault. In fact, it may even be said that those who do translate their violent thoughts into actual crimes or aggression are most probably already habitually violent. But that doesn't make it solely the videogame's fault.

    Ignored benefits?
    On the other hand, these violent video games actually may be helping the kids cope up with stress. And this ain't talking bull. It has been found in studies that these games are useful outlets for childhood aggression. Yes, even kids do entertain violent thoughts. But instead of suppressing them, or worse, acting those thoughts out, games like Counter-Strike are available for them to release their pent up emotions. And really, there's no harm done precisely because it is just a game.

    Gerard Jones, in an interview with Gamasutra, explains, "Play violence has always been a natural part of growing up, especially for boys." Prior to the invention of computer games, most would prefer playing cops and robbers and what not. And kids still do want to play those kinds of role-play. The only difference now is that the computers gave them an alternative where they will be playing these games. Video games just created a whole new portal to the same world of imagination and make-believe through technology and computers.

    What will happen if you remove this outlet from the equation? Well, it could very well prove to be even more dangerous as the suppression may result to an implosion, or worse, an explosion of the child's emotions. How bad could that be? The Emsdetten shooting is an example.
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member PSP Mad Hacker Hockeyman's Avatar
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    Please excuse double post this is the article continued

    Critique of feasibility
    But beyond that, what exactly are the other repercussions of the proposed policy? On the level of feasibility, I say that it would only be futile at best, because even if, for example, violent games are prohibited in retail stores, there are a plethora of other avenues, especially in the internet, which can loosely go unmonitored.

    The internet by itself is a mecca of all that can be deemed as good or bad for society as a whole. And even with the severest of restrictions online, there still can be no guarantee as to its efficiency. At the very least, what this will instead spawn is a whole new breed of an already problematic black market. For games? Sounds ridiculous? Maybe so. But the hard fact is that for as long as there is a market out there, you can bet on it that there will be entities ready to cater to them.

    However, attacking it on the mere level of feasibility is not justification at all as to why censorship is not the way to go. But having at least shown you the peripheral detriments of the scenario, let us now move on to the more intimate issues at hand. The German legislation proposes that even the creators and the players themselves be penalized with a fine and/or one year of imprisonment for playing those games tagged as violent.

    Repercussions of proposed policy on property rights
    On the level of business, this very well interferes with the right of the developers and publishers to profit. Now, that may seem rather ludicrous. After all, the right to life still reigns supreme over the right to property. But for as long as there is no founded link that the right to life is necessarily infringed upon because of the enjoyment of the right to property, then there is no excuse to hold these companies liable for creating those games.

    If legislators will insist that they are doing this to protect the interests of public safety, or to prevent disorder or crime, then we throw back the question at them: Why don't they curb the sale of guns instead? Or, if you want to cut the roots of the problem, why then don't they penalize the very creation of guns as it is the very tool that directly infringes on the right to life?

    They never did that, and they never will. What they will instead do is just review the existing Gun laws, and then create stricter ones, that will probably make it harder for any person to purchase one over the counter. More requirements will be probably needed, as well as the guarantee from the buyer (of legal age, of course) that they will store it in a place safe from children. That is what they'll do. Not legislate for the punishment of the gun makers.

    And between video games and guns, you don't have to be a genius to figure out which one's more deadly.






    Repercussions of proposed policy on individual rights
    On a more personal level, it actually infringes upon the right to privacy of a person. Mind you, most of the players of these games stay in their own homes. That is the beauty of the technology. You get to enjoy it in solace, or with other people, though without having to necessarily go out of your territorial bubble. Now, if this proposed censorship is passed, just imagine the implications of it to the millions of players who consider this as their own way of unwinding after a really pent-up, stressful day at work.

    Corollary, the right to leisure is also encroached upon. Let's face it. It will not stop people from actually playing and wanting to play these genres. It is a choice of a personal nature that is harmless in itself, unless somebody says it's because of the influence of GTA that made him speed away in a car with the police in hot pursuit.

    But really now. Much like how Gerard Jones explained it, this kind of repulsion from a particular medium always comes up whenever it promotes a new kind of hype. Legislators were also iffy when Comic Books became all the rage back then. Same thing with Rock and Roll. During those times, they were also harping on how these new media are actually affecting the disposition of the children, how it is unhealthy for them, how it opens the floodgates to moral decadence.

    Even with rap music, that was how they reacted. If you'll remember, this was a pretty hot issue because supposedly, rap music with explicit lyrics are influencing people, particularly the young (it's always got to be the youth), to get involved in gangs, drugs and crime.

    Now, their attention is with the video games. And with all these unfortunate events cropping up and being linked to its existence, it is but natural that the focus stays on it.

    Essentially, what they have to answer is how their proposal will achieve the goal of protecting the children from all that is bad and immoral in our respective societies. With my arguments and analysis above, my take on that is their proposal can NOT nail that goal.

    Policies won't hit goal
    We should veer away from the convenient line of reasoning that as kids are immature and impressionable, they cannot handle the task of separating fact from fiction. Even if that may be the case, this "affliction", if you can call it as that, is not exclusive to kids alone.

    The more important thing to do is to have a deeper examination of where these tendencies come from, and what actually aggravates it--beyond the realm of video games. You know what they say. Children pick up their habits from what they see from the grown-ups.

    While we're all for the protection of the children and the prevention of moral decay, I say that it is not justifiable to just jump to conclusions and pin the blame on certain genres of video games merely because they appear to be the most obvious culprit. Especially because there are other factors to consider out there, and more so because there are other inherent rights that will be trampled upon.

    We do, however, commend these respective governments for acting expediently on matters of social concern. But if they really are sincere in this advocacy, and are not doing this just to sweet-talk their way into the voters' subconscious, they wouldn't be so hasty in pointing out to a fall-guy just to get some bill passed.

    At the end of the day, video game censorship is not the way to go because first, there is no conclusive link that would show video games' responsibility to the criminal tendencies of a person. Corollary to that, it may prove to be more detrimental as it would eliminate an outlet for natural behaviour of rough play.

    On the level of feasibility, it would not deliver the promised goal of curbing the desire for such games if supply is cut. It will, rather, just exacerbate the already unstoppable problem of the black market, thus creating an even bigger monitoring and regulation dilemma.

    On the level of enjoying personal rights, penalizing the creators for developing such games encroach upon their right to profit and property, while for the individual, it would infringe upon his right to privacy and leisure.

    So, if you guys don't want your games taken away from you, play nice. And keep it virtual.
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  3. #3  
    Senior Member PSP Mad Hacker AndyCat's Avatar
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    ...dude, why don't you just post a link.
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  4. #4  
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  5. #5  
    Retired Moderator PSP Elite Hacker Julie's Avatar
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    i think games are treated unfairly. look at the movie industry, they dont censer that much. if anything, do what walmart does and offer games that are censored and leave the uncensored ones for internet and game store purchasing
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  6. #6  
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    I know theres like 10 min sex scenes in movies between countless bloodshed and there like " thats hollywood for you" in a game their Like "SUE SUE SUE!!!!!!!!!" Oh and to the comment of why I didn't post a link, many people are lazy and so instead of getting lame one word answers I figured If I posted the entire article people would be more incline to read it. Anyways back to topic Jack Thompson is just another lame republican with his head up his ass.
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  7. #7  
    Retired Moderator PSP Elite Hacker Julie's Avatar
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    hes just trying to gain votes via the overprotective yuppie parents that wanna remove anything violent from their kids lives. these same kids grow up as wimps and get their asses kicked by the kids who play GTA.

    games and movies should be rated by the same terms. why should movies like Hostel and Saw get away with graphic violence and torture while game developers get sued for showing nipples in games. its completely ass backwards
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  8. #8  
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    I know but I think it may have something to do with what the guy in the article mentioned, when watching a movie you are an audience but when playing a game you are "acting" Either way its screwed up and as I said if people become violent due to video games they are already violent to begin with. I for one take my frustration out through video games.
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  9. #9  
    Senior Member PSP Elite Hacker demondude777's Avatar
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    It doesn't matter what outlet inspires the kids...games (where you are acting it) or movies (where you just watch it)...a lot of kids are dumb enough to think it is a good idea and get away with it.

    I've been playing video games since I was about 6...and a lot of them involve killing, but I have no desire to kill anyone. I can seperate fact from fiction. Therefore anything that says violent gaming causes agressive behavior is now proven false because it doesn't happen for the whole.

    The thing I would be against is excessive use of graphic material just for the sake of selling a game, or to make it more graphic. Like you had mentioned, the 10 min sex scene inbetween bloodshed. Is it really necessary? Unless it pertains to the plot line then, simple answer: no. A lot of stuff is put in to be mentioned by word of mouth as free marketing.

    I'm sure we all told a friend a one point in our life, "Dude, you have to see <insert graphic movie name here>. Its got people getting shot, blown up, and this really cute chick hella gets nailed."

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  10. #10  
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    the reason why they don't get weighted the same is because the parents don't actually play the games( it gives them distance to the issue), whereas they are more apt to watch a movie. Not like the parents actually parent much now a days anyway... regardless theres always gonna be a double standard. Irrational concepts in the hands of irrational people will always lead to irrational results and we just have a society filled with them. Censorship just hurts a person to be easily manipulated later on down the road..
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  11. #11  
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    Parents should regulate what the kid gets and plays/watches, if they dont, dont blame the game industry, there are parents for a reason.
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