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Gaming in the mainstream: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Ross Miller

Curious as to how the mainstream media outlets are looking at the gaming industry? We've got three articles here to give you an idea about what Average Joe is learning about games this week.

Our first article, the Good, comes from Dr. Joyce Brothers' syndicated column. Self-proclaimed "old-fashioned mom" J.B. who is worried about violent television, toys, and video games -- she opines that "the government should step in and take more of a hand in [regulating entertainment]." To this, Dr.  Brothers replies that "I'm sure neither you nor I want to live in a police state in which the government increases control over what we see, do and think ... in the long run, children seem to be much more influenced by observing how their parents behave with each other, how they handle problems and crises, and what their ethics and beliefs are than by what they see or hear from others." Well said.

Our second piece is a personal anecdote care of Minda News, which covers the news on Mindanao, an island in the Philippines. Gail Ilagan is worried about "combat RPGs" and violent video shown on television programs such as "MTV GamePad." She feels the exposure is trivializing killing, and she cites a memory from 14 years ago (1992) where her second husband took her to the video arcade and made her play a SEGA arcade shooter (we are not sure which). Seeing a virtual soldier facing a virtual gun at her "rendered her immobile and hypnotized. Unthinking, I dropped my hands and stepped back from the nightmare. The sound of muted battle raged on." She then watched a little boy finish her game ... his "dreamy enjoyment was almost obscenely sexual," she observed. She then asks, "I wonder where that boy is now. I wonder about the effects of his exposure to realistic simulations of battle where he endlessly faces down murderous hatred."

For the record, I'm doing just fine.

The third article hails from the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Entitled "Violent videogames not reality," the article more or less blasts video games and links violent games as "typically a component in school killings" based on quotations from gaming's antagonist Jack Thompson. Mr. Thompson uses the Civil War as an example of how games have degraded society: "the willingness-to-shoot rate was about 10 percent in the Civil War. Today, with video game training and other techniques, it's up around 90 percent." Thompson then points at Rockstar, only described as "Grand Theft Auto makers" for the game Bully, which is purported to come out in August ... which is news for us, since we haven't heard a peep about the title in quite some time.

Would you like to see this as a weekly feature?

Read - Dr. Joyce Brothers [via GamePolitics]
Read - Case against combat RPG video games
Read - Violent videogames not reality

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