Video Game Violence, Ratings and Your Children

spec-ops-the-line-violence-headerIt’s just one of those things that we gamers have come to expect. Any time that video games are even tangentially related to a violent crime, the mainstream media will jump on that as a reason for the commission of that crime, regardless of the numerous studies that show no causative relationship between video game violence and real violence.

The latest case of the persecution of video games and gamers comes from Louisiana where an 8-year-old boy shot his grandmother in the head. The East Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s Department have strongly implied that the boy playing Grand Theft Auto IV led to the shooting.

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Games Criticism, Censorship and Artistic Integrity

hotline-miami-headerDid I miss the memo? I’m convinced that there is a missive sent out to video games writers with talking points that we’re all supposed to stick to for a year.

Last year, it was that the vision of a developer should never be questioned. Look at the uproar over Mass Effect 3’s ending. Despite the plot holes and inconsistencies in the ending sequence, many members of the media defended BioWare by saying that this was BioWare’s vision and it shouldn’t be compromised because we shouldn’t compromise the developer’s “artistic integrity.”

This year, artistic integrity is no longer an applicable concept when talking about the contents of a game. Now, if a writer feels that the majority of people should be offended by something, it should be changed. In twelve months, we’ve gone from a developer having unassailable artistic integrity to a press corps getting dangerously close to censorship.

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What Is SOPA and Why Is The Internet Shutdown Today?

Today is an internet wide protest against SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, and PIPA, the Protect IP Act. Both these acts were drafted as a measure to curb online piracy but it can be politely described as the shotgun approach to a solution. It basically makes everyone liable for piracy from the companies doing any unauthorized streaming or hosting of files, any company that is deemed to facilitate said streaming or downloading, and anyone actually doing the downloading or streaming. In other words, everyone one on the internet could potentially run afoul of SOPA.

For out blackout day post, we’ve got a look at what specifically make SOPA so horrible and what can be done to keep the internet from changing forever. Continue reading

The Parents Television Council Is Full Of Shit: The Playboy Club Edition

Last week, NBC cancelled The Playboy Club after only three episodes due to low ratings. The Parents Television Council celebrated the move as it resulted in the end of a show that they considered to be inappropriate for network television. Despite the fact that the show aired beyond the watershed at 10:00 PM and its content was reportedly mild compared to what you’d find on premium cable shows at the same time of day, the PTC claimed victory for their moral elite.

But what the PTC right to launch a campaign against The Playboy Club before even watching an episode? I watched all three episodes, read all the PTC’s press releases and looked up the history of the real Playboy Clubs to find out. Continue reading