Conservative political website defends gaming

Adam Thierer, a former fellow at conservative think-tank The Heritage Foundation and libertarian think-tank The Cato Institute, tackles the cultural war brewing over video games for National Review Online, the digital counterpart to the venerable -- and highly influential -- print magazine.

He manages to concisely, and cogently, defend gaming from many of the major attacks it faces today, writing:
  • Of all the games that ESRB reviewed in 2005, less than 13 percent were rated “Mature” (M) or “Adults Only” (AO) ... over 80 percent of the most popular games were rated either “E” or “T.”
  • Indeed almost every important social indicator has been improving in recent years even as video-game use among youths has increased ... Aggregate violent crime by juveniles fell 43 percent between 1995 and 2004.
  • ... there might be some cathartic or educational benefits associated with many video games ... offering players a “cognitive workout” that is far more stimulating, rewarding, and even educational than much of the other media fare that is available (note: argued successfully both here and here).
  • ... a quick glance at the back of any game box provides parents with plenty of information to make decisions for their families. And with most new video games costing between $40 and $60, it is likely that adults will need to be present when their kids purchase games.
While ambitious, liberal politicians like Hillary Clinton take the morally conservative route of vilifying video games, conservative politicians have usually been right there behind them. But what about the libertarian viewpoint that Mr. Thierer (and most gamers) advocate: keeping the politicians out of it and letting parents do the footwork? With gaming looking to be a focal point of the upcoming US elections, could conservative politicians take up the (perhaps unpalatable) cause of defending video games?

See also:
Michigan game law ruled unconstitutional

[Thanks, lacking cleverness]

This article was originally published on Joystiq.