Quote of the Day: “If You Slap A Man In the Face, He Gets Angry, Studies Suggest” or “Idiocy at its Best”
This is a bit like walking up to someone who is reading a newspaper on the train, snatching it out of their hands, ripping it up in little pieces and going, WHY ARE YOU SO ANGRY?
There was a ‘study’ conducted by this newspaper in Korea. They went to a net cafe filled with paying customers playing games. Then they simultaneously shut off all the power, causing an uproar, and then ‘reported’ that “the reaction was filled with cussing, adding, “They’ve been transformed into the violent characters they are playing.”
At least they didn’t start raping one another!
“The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in video games.”
– Dr. Carole Lieberman, Is Bullet Story the Worst Videogame in the World?, Fox News
The study conducted by Dr. Christopher J. Ferguson involved taking 103 subjects, subjecting them to frustrating tasks, the nature of which remains unknown. The ending of Splinter Cell: Conviction was pretty frustrating, that’s a good guess. Anyhoo. After having undergone said irritating task, they were randomly selected to play no game, a non-violent video game, or a violent video game as a hero or a villian. The results were interesting to say the least.
“The results suggest that violent games reduce depression and hostile feelings in players through mood management.”
– Dr. Ferguson.
He even added that this research could be used to help patients with frustrations or violent behavior. There are loopholes of course. For instance, the study was conducted on adults, and the most galvanizing rallying cry of the naysayers has been that violent video games are corrupting out children. Additionally, with only 103 subjects divided further into four separate sub-test groups, the results may be a fluke instead of an accurate portrayal of society at large. It is also debatable whether the participants were optimal subjects for the study. Not to mention the other studies that suggest otherwise.
That being said, such on that Joe Baca!
“Preventing Desensitization Through Sensitization” or “GTA Continues to Drive Video Game Violence Dialogue”
Why is it that every time you hear about violence in the context of video games, Grand Theft Auto manages to rear its head without fail. It is almost as if the internet gods have eternally linked the GTA franchise with the concept of violence as a result of video games.
The Guardian, which has suddenly become my top source for all manner of bizarre video game related news, reports that primary school children between the ages of nine and eleven are being shown images of a violent persuasion from the Grand Theft Auto series, in an effort to prevent them from turning violent. The objective is to prevent the prevent desensitization from violence.
The children have to categorize images into “good real life”, “bad real life” and “not real” categories. The goal here is to provide a disconnect from the violence they witness on TV and in video games and categorize them as detached from reality. Seems like an interesting concept, until you realize that these kids are being kept from getting desensitized by sensitizing them to images of violence, which, one might argue, is a tad counter-intuitive.
Love it or hate it, Grand Theft Auto inevitably continues to shape the dialogue around violence and freedom of expression in (R-rated) video games.
Two days ago an anonymous source claimed that Six Days in Fallujah was finished and vowed to get it published.
That’s the news. Now let’s analyze it.
Six Days in Fallujah Controversy
Six Days in Fallujah epitomizes hypocritical doubles standards applied to video games. Developed by Atomic Games, Six Days is described as a survival horror game. It focuses on the second battle of Fallujah during Operation Iraqi Freedom, covering the lives of a squad of U.S. Marines for, brace yourself for this may be shocking, six days.
Halfway through development, with Konami on board as a publisher, the game was engulfed in a blinding haze of controversy regarding its content and appropriateness. Concerns were raised about the focus on real world issues that were a little too recent.
Why is SDiF Different From Any Other Shooter?
The game was developed by Atomic Games upon the request of a battalion of marines that returned from Fallujah. The game features authentically constructed locations, situations and battles, complete with the real life names and likenesses of the marines. Atomic Games conducted over 70 interviews with marines, other military officials, war historians, Iraqi civilians and even some insurgents to create one of the most historically and psychologically accurate military shooters ever built.
In addition, the game was labeled as ‘survival horror’, but not in the same vein as traditional survival horror games, such as Dead Space, Silent Hill or Resident Evil. The horror in Six Days in Fallujah comes from the incessant barrage of unpredictable life and death situations. The psychological traumas of war, while often portrayed in movies and and regularly permeating our media and collective conscious, is still something we can’t quite wrap our head around because most of us have never been in the same situation. But I am digressing now.
All said, the game must have captured some of the visceral tension and the unforgiving nature of the field of battle, because in April of last year, Konami dropped the title. Atomic Games was then thought to be near bankruptcy, with reports of mass lay-offs, and a skeleton crew managing the title. Two days ago, however, an anonymous source, my bet would be Peter Tamte, claimed that the title was finished and vowed to get it published.
Why the Double Standard?
That pisses me off. Konami dropped the title because it was mired in controversy and chose to tackle subject matter because it was ‘too soon’?
The World Trade Center towers fell on September 11, 2001. In April 2006, Paul Greengrass released United 93, less than five years after the plane’s fatal final flight. Similarly in August 2006, again less than five years after the incident, Oliver Stone released World Trade Center. Operation Phantom Fury (which the game is based on) was conducted in November 2004. It is March 2010, over six years later. But this is waaaaaaay too soon.
Give me a break!
Why is it that for some strange reason, video games always bear the brunt of the punishment for engaging controversial content, whereas film and television simply hide behind a thin veil of ‘artistic expression’ and ‘portraying reality’. Do the words ‘video game’ really have such a negative connotation that no subject matter ever covered can be taken seriously, and if it is, it is only under the pretense of ‘inciting violence in youth’.
Video games have all the capability and ability to not only capture the essence and realism of a situation, they can also convey the intensity, emotional trauma and psychological complexity of real life, a facet that the film and television medium has dominated for so long. Stating or believing otherwise is just stubborn hypocrisy, for the same standards don’t seem to apply.
Oh and just for the record, in case you think I am an Atomic Games fanboy, I think Six Days of Fallujah will be a mediocre game at best. But I will defend to the death Atomic Games‘ right to publish it.