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Mega64 photo

Mega64 beats the sh*t out of one another

Apr 02
// Tony Ponce
I haven't played Hotline Miami yet. I haven't played many games yet. I'm so buried in backlog that I wonder if it's even worth buying anything new when I barely even touch the stuff I do buy. But that's a discussion for anot...

Marketers wanted guns on Beyond: Two Souls promo art

Quantic 'categorically refused' generic action artwork
Mar 22
// Jim Sterling
Beyond: Two Souls had to fight to stop its promo art being reduced to a character holding a gun like 90% of the rest of videogame advertising, Quantic Dream recently revealed. Had marketers had their way, Ellen Page would be ...

Sandy Hook shooter allegedly trying to beat a high score

The only game hurting society is the blame game
Mar 18
// Jim Sterling
An anonymous "law enforcement veteran" claims the Sandy Hook shooter was comparing "high scores" of previous mass murderers and intended to beat a record. According to this totally responsible and not-at-all reckless source, ...

Teen shoots parents with pistol, blames violent games

Mar 14 // Jim Sterling
As we saw with Norway shooter Anders Brevik, it's looking like killers have taken note of the fact they can shift accusing eyes away from themselves by pointing at violent videogames -- a tactic eagerly swallowed up by news sources, parents, and politicians. Thanks entirely to the efforts of FOX News, CNN, Leland Yee, and a host of other reckless disseminators of assumption-posing-as-fact, videogames are an easy way for a criminal to pass the buck and take some of the heat off themselves. It might not be a "get out of jail free" card -- yet -- but it's demonstrably effective in allowing murderers respite from their own responsibility.  That someone can kill people in cold blood, blame videogames ... and actually have that blame accepted by influential people, is beyond atrocious. Nathan Brooks won't be the last one to try it, either, and he won't be the last to find a society more than willing to hear him out. Utterly disgusting.  14-Year-Old Shoots Parents, Blames Video Games [GamePolitics] [Image source]
'Violent games' defense photo
This is what killers have learned to do now
A Washington state teen has been charged with murder, the 14-year-old having shot his mother and father in the head after he was grounded from electronic devices. Nathon Brooks may be tried as an adult for the crime, tho...

Hotline Miami photo
Hotline Miami

Hotline Miami fan film is full of murder, and kids

The label clearly states rated M for Mature!
Mar 07
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
I quite enjoy fan films, and was really digging this one for Hotline Miami. Then I started to notice the actors here all look very ... young. And then that child gets brutality shot up near the end. Kids these days! Still, bravo for the editing and effects. [Via @HotlineMiami]

You should feel bad, but games don't want you to

Mar 06 // Steven Hansen
While I’ve yet to play Tomb Raider in its entirety, it does seem we have yet another case of ludonarrative dissonance, in which the design aims (game based around doing gruesome murders) don’t jive with the narrative (“good,” and in this case wet behind the ears, lead character) and the developers have to work extra hard to try and bridge this gap. You can wax poetic about what it means or takes to commit murder all you want, but it's old hat after the seventieth bloke kisses his trachea goodbye courtesy of your pick axe. It’s the same reason why the enemies in Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune spout incendiary cussing outs, egging you on, just begging you to kill them and to wipe that audible smirk off their goddamn faces. Games more open about their wanton violence, like most sandbox games, are gleeful in their use if civilians as set dressing. It's pleasant to run down civilians in Twisted Metal 2 and see their vague, pixel bodies fly into your screen with a screech that sounds like an interrupted dial up connection. Pleasant, albeit dark. But what about when you're playing a good guy in a narratively driven game? A super human one, no less? It goes beyond saying that other humans pose little threat to you. That's why the enemy stakes have to be upped. Take the thugs in Rocksteady's Arkham franchise. Are we to believe that every criminal in Gotham lifts weights with Chris Redfield and Marcus Fenix? Every single one of them looks imposing enough that Ving Rhames wouldn’t want to meet them in a dark alleyway. It's not an attempt to even the playing fields for the Batman, who can take out 40 of those steroid-seeping freaks in one combo despite their Herculean physiques. It's a sly character design choice to make you feel better about yourself, you monster. Batman is brutal in the Arkham games. Even with foes that look intimidating, I'll cringe as Bats effortlessly breaks a thigh-thick arm in three places and leaves them unconscious. The worst is always the vicious kicks to the knee that you know will ensure the victim never walks right again. Oh, did I say victim? I meant criminal scum. Throw some more inane cursing and provocation at me before my human tendency towards empathy kicks in and I regret collapsing some punk's solar plexus and leaving him to probably choke on his own fluids, alone and in an alley -- but I didn’t kill him. Not directly. Not as far as I am blissfully unaware. With Arkham, Rocksteady wants you to have your cake and eat it, too. You’re playing at Batman the same way a child might. You get all the perks (unstoppable force of the night) without the draw backs (physical harm, dead parents, Peter Pan complex, fear of the theatre). Insofar as I can tell, Rocksteady isn’t concerned with unsettling the Batman mythos and questioning the sanity of the character in the manner seminal works like The Killing Joke and Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth have, and that’s fine. But despite my cringing at Bats’ brutality in the Arkham games, I got over it. While Arkham might not hit hard on these elements, its Batman doesn’t parade around as a handsome John Q. Everyhero. And at least as Batman I wasn't committing mass murder, ala Nathan Drake. Just leaving a disaffected group of individuals with a much lower quality of life and a serious drain on public healthcare. Though Gotham is probably heavily anti "socialist," so no public healthcare, but because the penal system is undoubtedly mandated to aid in the recuperation of criminals, I’m sure it’ll cost some tax dollars. Anyway. The failure to put you at proper odds with your foes can trouble single-player games striving for a particularly heroic or redemptive narrative. Playing John Marston with an insatiable bloodlust in Red Dead Redemption flies in the face of the narrative. Giving the player the option to be repellant when the character is meant to be repentant can be problematic. Worse still is when the design demands they be repellant. I love the Uncharted franchise, but its third installment does not sit well with me. The heavy, wave based onslaught of enemies requires you to massacre endlessly while Drake smirks, cracks wise, and is generally handsome. It's a tough sell. I was able to stomach it in the first two, to mind the disconnect, but Drake's Deception felt so oppressive to me. I could see the seams in the enemy waves and strung together set pieces serving no purpose but to give me another butchering ground. Occasionally I felt a little bad busting skulls in Arkham City. I felt like a monster in Uncharted. I turned to melee “kills” more than half of the time because they looked non-lethal and I felt a little better about myself. Hopefully Drake wasn’t ending lives with equal ruthlessness with those swift kicks to the nuts. Definitely a good chance he preemptively ended the lives of the thugs' unborn children, I suppose. Dark Sector was one of the early “next-gen” games I was hyped for, but never picked up until I saw it sitting lonesome on a shelf with a $6 price tag affixed; I wouldn’t play it for months still. What a filthy game. It’s nasty, grim, dirty feel permeates every inch of it. You rip limbs from their owners and they just sit there and scream in agony. Not just a gurgling exaltation and then they’re dead. It’s a nonstop, lengthy cacophony of pitiful, dying men yelling. I couldn’t handle that ad nauseum and stopped playing. You're not supposed to feel bad for your obstacles. It's one if the biggest reasons there are so many games in which you gleefully murder robots or aliens or even humans with masked faces -- some semblance of distancing from the spine-tingling truth. It's why zombies have been so long in vogue. Gone is the almost half century old social commentary. They're fodder, allowing for the primal release of killing ostensible humans en masse without the moral quandaries and look of disdain from the ESRB. Mainstream games are too steeped in rudimentary notions of conflict in which somehow besting another person or thing is the only means of progression. This forever conflicts with trying to present straightforward, serious narratives with likeable leads. Less killing, more, well, anything else, really. Exploring. Journey-ing. Dancing. How about a proper detective game? Fevered dreamscapes in which existential and interpersonal issues manifest as ovis-infested, hellish block climbing puzzles? Or at least stop thinly veiling escapist power fantasies and humanizing monstrous murderkillers. I nearly gagged when Drake reached into the quicksand in Uncharted 3. At least Kratos knew his shtick. At least Far Cry 3 reveled in its depravity. At least Spec Ops asked why the hell you were playing in the first place.
Violence & vindication photo
Violence and vindication: The seedy psychology behind a sociopathic medium
You monster. Outside of the casual and educational spheres, violence abounds in games. Even Mario is violent, albeit not gratuitous. Combative, at least. Much of the game is purely avoiding obstacles, but eventually some form...

Videogames & Violence photo
Videogames & Violence

Poll: Playing videogames correlates with violent behavior

The debate rages on
Feb 26
// Kyle MacGregor
In the wake of the recent string of violent acts across the United States, many are still looking for someone or something to blame. A majority of Americans (58 percent) believe playing videogames contributes to increased lev...
Hotline Miami photo
Hotline Miami

Hotline Miami coming to PS3 and PS Vita this spring

Murder and get murdered on Sony consoles
Feb 19
// Jonathan Holmes
It's been interesting to witness the rise of games that have a love/hate relationship with violence. Spec Ops: The Line and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance are two high-profile examples. Less well known, but just as effective...
Violence photo

David Cage is right: Violence is not essential

Even if it is jolly good fun
Feb 12
// Fraser Brown
Earlier this week, Allistair suggested that violence is integral to immersion, that it could draw us into games that lack it even more. This was in response to a presentation given by serial pompous twit and occasio...

David Cage is wrong: Violence is essential

Feb 11 // Allistair Pinsof
The notion of senselessly unloading a fire arm into houses is a distressing one, naturally. It's also far from a necessity in order to feel attached to my environment and reality, since my senses guide me, even as my mind wanders. And I'm not the least bit schizophrenic (no, really.) David Cage, and to a lesser extent Warren Spector, gave speeches at D.I.C.E. last week that called for industry action in steering away from violent games and creating ones that reflect our lives and the complexities that come with them: Caring for family, facing familial and employment crises, or simply appreciating the beauty that surrounds us; the subjects we often come across in film and literature. It's nothing that hasn't been said by dozens before -- or attempted by many indies -- but that these ideas are being delivered from directors of multimillion dollar productions makes these declarations of anti-violence have a special, headline-grabbing impact. After the chin-stroking, blogging, back-patting, and heavy drinking that industry conferences bring, all parties go on their way, acting on market demands at the office while continuing the discussion of ethical theories in private. I'm not going to explain immersion, the necessity of violence (action), and the future of technology for developers' benefit; no, this is for the public's: we suffered too many boring, navel-gazing indie games that are based on the theories that Spector and Cage now preach. The idea of a talented designer following suit with a multimillion dollar project, an edge case should one like it ever exist, is too much to bear. I am not here to claim Journey didn't have an emotional impact on me, to call misty-eyed bloggers a bunch of sissypants, or to say we shouldn't have another game like it. Instead, I wish to focus on why Journey had impact and speculate just how far that impact can go, given the current state of technology. On immersion: From the Greeks to videogames today, the focus of art has always been on immersion: the ability for a creator to envision a reality and convey it with viewers. Art gives us an escape to another reality, while offering the ability to let us return with renewed strength and insight. That immersion increased as Greeks evolved from pottery to Hellenistic sculptures that tower above the viewer with lifelike details. And so it was with the theater that gave way to the cinema: A place where sound and vision surrounds the viewer, as increasingly convincing fantasies play out. And so it is, too, with games. How we have gone from the basic lines of Spacewar! to the complex narrative decisions of Warren Spector's Deus Ex (though time has indicated it may have been more of Harvey Smith's Deus Ex that I love so much) in such a short time is one of the most remarkable evolutions of an art form since time began. So, what makes videogames the most immersive art form, following the logic that pottery -> sculptures/paintings -> plays -> film -> videogames (factoring where novels and music fit is a can of worms I rather not open here)? The most immersive aspect of each art form is embodied in the ones that follow. Plays contain props (pottery) and backdrops (sculptures/paintings); film carry all those and takes out the set and fixed perspective; videogames carry all those and then grants the viewer agency in narrative and interaction in a fictional world, thus granting entrance to devised alternative realities that can be believed through their own logic and rules, so long as they don't break the ones they previously establish (tsk tsk). So, there we are then: videogames. If the evolution of art depends on immersion, then how do we make games more immersive? After all, a game of Tetris can be as immersive as a stroll through the lush world of Ni no Kuni or navigating player choices of Dishonored. Immersion can come from mechanics, aesthetics or system-deep narrative interplay. Like a game of basketball, an intense round of Street Figther or Tetris has a way of dimming the lights on the real world. Taking in the sweeping vistas of Journey makes us temporarily forget there is a controller in the hands. Realizing that choices made hours ago led to a moment unique to one's playthrough in Dishonored has a way of making a dead reality feel alive. When a game has all three of these types of immersion, transcendence is achieved, but even this transcendence is only temporary. Cordless or not, the controller and distance to the television serves as a constant reminder that we are only peeking our head below sea level, not quite swimming. On the necessity of violence: Have you ever played a game where the world is ugly and the gameplay is a chore, yet you feel compelled to continue for the story? But, what about the opposite: A game where the action is all that counts? Immersion in game world come from our actual senses: touch, sight, and sound. More specifically, immersion in game worlds comes from the combination of all these things, i.e. feedback and sense of possibility (or possibility space). Proteus is more immersive than Dear Esther because the possibility space is larger (not a set path) and feedback is more noticeable (environment reacts to your movement and presence). How could Proteus be made even more immersive? Violence! Put a gun in the player's hand, surround the island with threats on legs, and let the code bring the two together. Action has a way of immediately increasing our investment in a game world, since it triggers our reptile brain and makes us focus on a threatening non-reality than the harmless actual reality that our body is inhabiting. If a distinct lack of enjoyment (through faulty programming and design) is present, the illusion is ruined. Going back to the opening of this essay, violence can make me more aware of my current environment but the power of my senses does that enough. This can also be true of games. Antichamber has no immediate threats -- one can argue falling and losing a small amount of progress, I guess, but that's a stretch -- it finds immersion through sight and sound. The abstract architecture overpowers our tendency to compare to reality, and the sound design is rich and ubiquitous. Puzzles, objectives, and first-person movement maintain the immersion. The ability to shoot (action) increases it. Perhaps it sounds like I'm backpedaling here, but I'm not: Action can exist without violence (harm against another thing), but there is no more immersive action than violence. Would Journey have been a more compelling experience if the player wielded a shotgun and gunned down hordes of enemies? Yes, it would have; but it wouldn't have maintained the same tone and sense of space. In other words, it wouldn't have been Journey. Journey is something of a compromise between immersion and aesthetics. To make the game more immersive through action, it would no longer maintain the same emotional complexity and impact (aesthetics). Journey stands out because its developer focused on feedback and possibility space. The sense of weight, flight, and movement is convincing. The environments are large and freely flowing, expanding while directing the player in slight ways. It's hard to imagine what can improve the experience without changing its expression. On the future: I have a lot of admiration for id Software's John Carmack, but I didn't expect him to agree with the above. Yet, he did just that when I interviewed him at QuakeCon, last year. Carmack admitted to making games with guns in first-person because it's more immersive. Firing a gun introduces possibilities for feedback that are unparalleled in games. I then expected him to tell me how the Oculus Rift VR headset, that he is promoting and tweaking, would further improve this. Instead, he told me how it'd change this, ushering in a new era of non-violent games. By introducing head-tracking (interaction via touch) and enclosed panoramic HD visuals, a new state of environmental immersion will be introduced, easing pressure off the necessity for action. The Oculus Rift is a baby step toward this future, but the jump from 2D to 3D could also be considered a baby step from where we now stand. I am not under the impression that the visual impact will be enough to do away with violence and immediate threats in games, but it will open the door for games like Journey that favor expression over immersion (even if not by design) to become more believable. No longer having the world confined to a screen in a living room, or the player's view fixed (or guided by a camera), will create a more intuitive world; one where the impact from moving may compare to the impact of virtual violence without a VR headset. Take away the weight of the headset, add realistic body feedback, introduce smell, and you can have realities that are virtual in name only. It's a frightening Snow Crash future that may exist in a Mad Max world, but that's the only way games will be able to tell stories of emotional impact without relying on violence. In a way, film and novels are still more immersive than games, since they carry a greater level of immersion to more kinds of stories. Recreate episodes of Mad Men or a great novel in a videogame world and you'd be bored silly. Our mind and senses guide us through art; our bodies occupying an almost catatonic state. This state, however, cannot be reached with games that require us to push buttons and fiddle with thumbsticks -- things we cannot do without thinking about them. And putting the controller aside for cutscenes forsakes the medium (sorry, Walking Dead). Dear David Cage: Dreaming of games without violence is a lofty goal. One that we may achieve in the near future. But, before we tell the masses that it's time to do away with violence, we must wait for technology to catch up to artistic expression, first, through new and improved ways of interacting with our senses. For now, let's get emotional with our fists. [Image courtesy of Jeuxactu]
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On immersion, violence, and the virtual
How is it that a walk around the golf course outside my house, with its scummy pond, ugly ducklings, boring grass, and the dull sky above is so much more immersive than exploring the psychedelic world of Proteus or mystical l...

Violent Videogames photo
Violent Videogames

Poll: Violent videogames more dangerous than guns

The saga continues
Feb 09
// Kyle MacGregor
Apparently, violent videogames are more dangerous than guns. That's what 67 percent of Republicans think, anyway. Over two thirds of those surveyed in a recent national poll believe plastic discs are a "bigger safety thr...
Warren Spector D.I.C.E. photo
Warren Spector D.I.C.E.

Warren Spector addresses violent games again at D.I.C.E.

Cites Lollipop Chainsaw as a game that 'should just not be made'
Feb 07
// Chris Carter
Speaking at the 2013 D.I.C.E. Summit today, designer Warren Spector took on the concept of how gaming content has changed over time, how tastes may change as you age, and how developers need to address those changes. To stres...

David Jaffe launches glorious verbal attack on CNN anchor

Developer gives Erin Burnett a furious piece of his mind
Feb 06
// Jim Sterling
Last week, we talked about how CNN anchor Erin Burnett desperately tried to link videogames to violent crime, attempting as she did to lead a psychologist into agreeing with her, and appearing flustered when he didn't. She wa...

Whoa! A gun violence talk that does NOT blame games!

Feb 01 // Tony Ponce
[embed]243782:46668:0[/embed] You ought to check out the entire thing, but if you just want to watch the videogames segment, it's this clip labeled "The mental health stigma and violence." Cheryl Olson, co-author of the games violence research book Grand Theft Childhood, was on hand to once again point out there is little evidence to support any link between violent games and real-world violence. From her studies, she learned, "[T]he typical 13-year-old boy is playing at least one mature-rated violent game on a regular basis. And when you are looking at something very rare like a school shooting, and something that's statistically normal like playing violent videogames, it's kind of hard to make that link." Cooper agrees, "I looked at the study in ten different countries between gun violence and videogame sales, and it doesn't seem like there's a link in all these different countries." The discussion then shifts towards children suffering from mental health issues, and from there the panelists begin talking about the difficulties parents face in getting even so much as a proper diagnosis and treatment for their mentally ill kids. Audience member Liza Long is invited to stand up and share the story of her 13-year-old son, who exhibits great mental instability and a proclivity towards violence. Long fears that her son has the potential to be a school shooter one day, but her efforts to seek proper treatment are hindered by doctors who would rather throw more medicine at him and authorities who would rather throw the boy in prison. As it turns out, Long's son does not play first-person shooters and its ilk, instead preferring Minecraft and Dungeons & Dragons. His issues clearly do not stem from the media he consumes, yet because current laws and medical policies are reactive rather than proactive, there's very little Long can do to prevent a potential incident down the road. Granted, videogames are but a small portion of the entire Town Hall, but when it is touched upon, it's done with serious class. This may not seem like the most mind-blowing discourse to you -- these are the kinds of conclusions game bloggers and other pro-game outlets draw on a regular basis -- but considering it's a public forum held in front of possibly millions of viewers, it's very refreshing to hear. So yeah, more of that on TV, please.
Gun violence photo
Anderson Cooper's Town Hall special discusses gun violence
It might be easy to label all major news pundits as being dangerously ignorant of videogames, especially when it concerns sexual or violent content. However, we ought to know better than to paint everyone with the same broad ...

CNN host tries and fails to link videogames to violence

Feb 01 // Jim Sterling
"You kill a prostitute, and that's a big thing, you get to win points," lied Burnett. "I find that offensive. But does that mean that those people who play that game are more likely to kill people?" Pollack's answer? No. He said there was absolutely no evidence, though admitted gamers may be less willing to break up fights and may engage in domestic violence. As questionable and alarmist as even that is, it clearly wasn't the answer the CNN reporter had hoped for.  As the interview concludes, I urge you to take a moment to observe Erin Burnett, stuttering, dejected, and visibly disappointed -- a far cry from the look of petulant smugness she begins the interview wearing. She wanted a psychologist to say violent videogames cause killers, and got one who said they don't. She wanted her assumptions to be backed up, and was told there no evidence supported her opinion. The sorrow on her face says it all.  Naturally, Erin and her sordid ilk will continue to bang on the same drum, and can find any number of alleged psychologists who will say anything they want. With that in mind, it's a small comfort, but it is nice to see a panic-mongering hack squirm after utterly failing to get the story she so pitifully and obviously tried to claw for herself.
Erin Burnett wants psychologist to say things he doesn't believe
CNN's Erin Burnett last night tried desperately to make a psychologist blame videogames for gun violence, attempting to coerce him into agreeing with her that "violent" games make people more likely to kill.  "There's a...


EA wants to be 'part of the solution' in violence debate

CEO says games aren't responsible, but must tackle negative perception
Jan 31
// Jim Sterling
Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello addressed the recent criticisms leveled at the videogame industry following the Sandy Hook shooting. While the executive was keen to point out the lack of evidence suggesting games are res...
Blacklist photo

Torture scene no longer in Splinter Cell: Blacklist

'I've not really heard anyone say they loved it...'
Jan 30
// Jordan Devore
Prior to the recent round of hands-on previews, it would be fair to say that Splinter Cell: Blacklist had been suffering from a messaging problem with respect to its perceived focus on action at the expense of stealth and a c...

US senator definitively claims games are worse than guns

Idiot moron says something idiotically moronic
Jan 30
// Jim Sterling
Many politicians will heavily imply that videogames are far more lethal than weapons designed to be lethal, but U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander has taken the idiot ball and ran for the hills with it clasped in his gnarled t...

iOS game lets you beat your boyfriend until he's perfect

Domestic abuse is pretty hilarious
Jan 29
// Jim Sterling
Whenever something gross comes up about a women being objectified or treated poorly, a stock response is often, "You wouldn't bother talking about this if a man were the victim." Well, let's take a look at The Boyfriend Train...
Violence debate photo
Says we should all just be quiet while men like him do the talking
Leland Yee, a man famous for lying about videogames and draining huge amounts of tax money in his war on the industry, has suggested those affected by his bullshit should keep their mouths shut. According to the hypocritical ...


Taliban: Prince Harry's mental for comparing games to war

Army captain thinks war is like a PlayStation game
Jan 23
// Jim Sterling
The Taliban is not exactly known for saying things Western gamers might nod their head in agreement with, but a fair few are siding with the Islamic fundamentalist movement against Britain's own Prince Harry. The Prince recen...

New Mexico shooting? Let's scapegoat videogames!

NBC spin puts videogames to blame
Jan 22
// Jonathan Holmes
It's implied that the headline to a news story contains the most important information from that story, right? That's not just a matter of opinion. That's a generally recognized fact, isn't it? So am I really seeing...

Congress representatives proposing multiple gaming bills

Jan 18 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
Missouri representative Diane Franklin is proposing a violent videogames sales tax to counter the sale of violent games. She's calling for a one-percent sales tax in Missouri on any game that has received a Teen, Mature, or Adult Only rating from the ESRB. Digital Trends went to Amazon's Best Seller list to dig up what Teen rated games could face this tax increase in Missouri and boy there are some super violent games here! You Don't Know Jack, Forza Horizon, Dance Central 3 -- Won't someone think of the children?! Both proposed laws are unlikely to succeed, given past attempts and especially how Diane Franklin has no clue what's she trying to do. House bill proposes fines on retail games without ESRB ratings, prohibition of some sales to minors [Joystiq]Missouri proposes tax on violent video games like Dance Central 3 [Digital Trends]
Proposed gaming bills photo
Tighter restrictions and even adding extra taxes
And so it begins. Hot off the heels of Joe Biden meeting with the videogame industry and President Obama asking for research into the effects of violent gaming on young minds comes two bills that have been proposed to congres...


NRA launchs iOS game for children aged four and up

Get 'em when they're young
Jan 14
// Jim Sterling
Despite slamming the videogame industry -- and the nature of free expression -- for promoting gun violence, the National Rifle Association isn't afraid to double down on its hypocrisy. The gun advocacy group has released a sh...

'Gun violent' videogames removed from MA truck stops

Jan 12 // Jonathan Holmes
I'd be happy if violent videogames became less popular in an organic, natural way. That could be seen as an indication that American society was slowly becoming less obsessed with glorifying war and gun violence in general. To try to force that to happen by blaming and shaming violent videogames (and the people who play them) by censoring them out of existence is, at best, like putting a band-aid on a broken leg, or at worst, like amputating the wrong leg. We live in a society where news programs compete for ratings on a daily basis by broadcasting the most violent, fear-inducing, negative news they can dig up. This competition often occurs on a 24-hour cycle. We live in a society that continues to perpetuate the false idea that having a mental illness is something to be ashamed of, damning you to one of the lowest rungs on the cultural ladder if you happen to have an particular type of brain chemistry, and that mental health treatment often involves getting locked in a prison-like "Asylum" after getting punched in the face by a guy who dresses like a giant bat. We live in a society where recreational abuse of addictive drugs is frequently glorified in pop music, movies, and television, while the fact that many of America's mass shooters were self-medicating with these very same mind altering drugs gets brushed under the rug. It seems to me that our brains, and the way our brains fit into the greater culture, are the factors that most determine our behaviors. Taking a look at the brain chemistry of the those who commit murder and/or suicide, and how those brains were affected by the world around them, might be more effective in preventing future murder-suicides than banning Time Crisis. If someone plays videogames in a way that isn't healthy for them, that's a sign that the real world might not be working for them. If we try to take their coping methods away, they'll just find something else to replace them with, something potentially much more dangerous than videogames (like those addictive drugs that our society so frequently glorifies). Better to help people get to the root of their problems before cutting off their methods for dealing with life. Some people who have a tough time with life also enjoy videogames. Some people with migraine headaches routinely take aspirin. Lets not blame the aspirin for the headache. State removes violent games from rest stops [Boston Globe, via GameSpot]
Violent Arcade Games photo
While another town calls for destruction for violent games
My original plan for today was to head out to Connecticut to talk to residents of Southington about their initiative to destroy violent videogames. That event was canceled. So one ridiculous sidestepping of the real...


Connecticut town cancels game destruction plans

Southington SOS claims victory in defeat
Jan 10
// Jim Sterling
Southington SOS, the group that had planned to physically destroy "violent" videogames in order to save the world from guns, has decided to back down and cancel the event. Claiming it had achieved what it wanted to, the group...

Jimquisition: Desensitized to Violence

Jimquisition happens every Monday!
Jan 07
// Jim Sterling
Warning -- Contains graphic content. If you don't want to see disturbing Internet things, skip the footage starting at 1:20 and ending at 1:49.  As the mainstream news media continues to revel in the Sandy Hook shooting...

Connecticut town physically destroying violent videogames

Jan 03 // Jim Sterling
Once again, there was no mention of the news media, or other forms of grief pornography, that go beyond what games and movies to in order to portray story after story revolving around real violent crimes, and glorifying real violent criminals. Something tells me, if I showed up with some FOX News and CNN tapes, SouthingtonSOS wouldn't be snapping those in two and tossing them in a big pile destined for the furnace.  And what kind of message is this sending to kids, anyway? If you don't like something, your first action should be to destroy it? Wonderful message, that. Let's not encourage creativity, or work together to build something in the aftermath of a tragedy. Let's break shit. Let's burn stuff. The answer to destruction is more destruction, obviously. AMERICA, BITCHES! But no, these guys are probably right. Maybe videogames actually have malevolent hexes woven into their code, and when we finally destroy the last one, the curse shall be lifted and schizophrenia will suddenly be cured, while guns turn to dust and crumble in the hands of anybody not using them to kill terrorists (because guns are smart like that).  Fucking dicks.  Connecticut town holds drive to collect and destroy violent video games [Polygon] [Image]
Anti-games protest photo
Welcome to New Salem
In the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, yet more rudderless speculators have seized upon the opportunity to blame violent videogames, because that'll always be easier than trying to solve actual problems. So it is that...

Mario Warfare photo
Mario Warfare

Mario Warfare episode 2 released, more on the way

Beat Down Boogie's New Year's gift to you
Dec 31
// Tony Ponce
Here comes the second episode of Beat Down Boogie's Mario Warfare, just in time for year's end! The Brothers Mario finally take center stage, and classy hammer shots to the nuts ensue. To clarify, despite what some people mi...

NRA attacks videogames in Sandy Hook response

Dec 21 // Jim Sterling
He would also go on to attack such recently released films as American Psycho and Natural Born Killers, as well as music videos that, "portray life as a joke and murder as a way of life."  "But is that what it really is," he continued. "Isn't fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography? "In a race to the bottom, media conglomerates compete with one another to shock, violate and offend every standard of civilized society by bringing an ever-more-toxic mix of reckless behavior and criminal cruelty into our homes -- every minute of every day of every month of every year." In this statement, the National Rifle Association has successfully exposed itself as the craven, spineless organization it really is. Unable to simply defend his group on its own merit, LaPierre instead tried to deflect blame, passing the buck onto a safe and easily identifiable target in the pathetic hope that people would stop paying attention to guns. And what's he fucking going on about, claiming the media has tried to "conceal" violence in entertainment? Within moments of the Sandy Hook news breaking, we had mainstream media falling over itself to criticize videogames. LaPierre knows this, and at once hopes to exploit the media's scapegoating of modern entertainment while claiming he's the only man brave enough to scapegoat modern entertainment. A liar, a hypocrite, and a fucking invertebrate. What a lovely combo.  Also, good job reaching for a 10-year-old flash game that nobody's ever heard of in order to try and make a point. Free advertising for an incredibly obscure game, plus a nice public indicator of how desperate you are to find some sort of vague connection between games and Sandy Hook. Mind you, that was undermined the moment you brought up a 20-year-old fighting game that doesn't have guns in it.  Whether you agree with gun control or not, the malingering attempts to drag videogames into the debate is intellectually offensive. Here we have a group that claims to stand for the constitution, while attacking one of America's most envied rights -- the right to free expression. The two-faced pusillanimity of these lily-livered poltroons ranks highly among the most nauseating examples of accountability deflection I've ever witnessed in my career -- and I've seen most of them.  Feel free to read the whole thing, in which one proposed solution to gun violence in schools is to put more guns in schools. In any case, I'd like to thank the NRA for eradicating whatever shreds of sympathy I might have ever had for its cause.  Fuck you very much.  [Image source: woodleywonderworks]
NRA attacks games photo
Lies and hypocrisy reach record levels
The National Rifle Association today held a press conference to cover its apparently cowardly hide in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, which media pundits have already gleefully pinned the blame for on violent videogames....

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