Monday, April 7, 2008

Violent video games will send you to jail

Found this on joystiq.com: An Arizona House Bill designed to hold developers, publishers and distributors of obscene written, audio or video material liable for damages should a purchaser of said material go out and commit a felony or worse! An act of terrorism.

http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/legtext/48leg/2r/bills/hb2660h.htm

Firstly, double-shennanigans on this. To say that obscene material alone can inspire someone to commit a crime is ridiculous. By that extension, if you commit a crime and your parents/friends/guardians don't stop you, BAM! They should be liable. I'm a firm believer that our actions are governed my numerous sources and inputs, so singling one out (especially a recreational source such as music, TV or video games) is kind of silly. Columbine didn't come about because of bullying OR the ease in acquiring a gun. It came about because of BOTH (and plenty of other stuff too).

Speaking of video game censorship, I've had "Bully" for the Wii for about a week now, and I'll have a more traditional review in Saturday's paper. For now, I'm gonna throw in my two cents on the accusation that the game is a "Columbine simulator."

So, is it? Depends on what you mean.
Columbine was about a lot of things. It wasn't about two kids pretending to be action heroes, thinking there were no consequences to their actions. There was no element of fantasy, or pretend.
So, would "Bully" inspire similar feelings? Not really. Although it encourages you to beat up bullies, there are no firearms and no killing. Furthermore, when you get caught, you get punished. Following the rules (or at least not getting caught) matters. While the game does espouse violence more than mediation or letting authority figures handle situations, the general message is one of getting along and not tolerating bullying. Take out bullying from schools, and Columbine doesn't happen.

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