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MMR: Germany's New Berlin Wall for Video Games

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December 18, 2006 2:58:03 PM

After a tragic school shooting in Germany, legislators have put the blame once again on video games. A new German bill would outlaw violent video games and put both game developers and players in jail for up to a year. Will a new Berlin Wall be erected around gaming?
December 18, 2006 4:11:04 PM

Yet again legislators ignore the actual root o the problems and use video games as a scapegoat for the worlds troubles. Buying guns online without some sort of background check? A culture that promotes social superiority based on things like brand name clothing and clique's? They take the easy way out and just ban what will be the easiest to get rid off.
December 18, 2006 4:42:02 PM

If they wanted to cut down things like this, mayhaps a look at sports. How often do we see hockey/Soccer/football/ETC mom/dad shoots/beats/stabs someone from the other team/kids rival.

ITS VIDEO GAMES..

No its the system idiot. How quick they are to also forget the lessons about WW2. First step is subdue the people that could strike back..

Oh well get used to it.. Its comming to a shore near you.. Soon the only free people will be felons wanted for playing Unreal2004 in a backally cybershop.
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December 18, 2006 7:39:21 PM

That's the problem with democracy individuals may be smart but people in large numbers are stupid. It'd be nice if just once governments looked past sound bites for the election and instead *gasp* actually tought it through for something that'd would work! I was going to start throwing suggestions out there but they're pretty much irrelevant but at least i got to vent.
December 18, 2006 9:11:10 PM

I can see 2 different outcomes if this law actually passes:

1) Enforcement will be nil, games will just be ordered from out of country, and gaming will go on as usual, minus any sponsored events. No charges will be laid.

2) Enforcement will actually happen. A whole bunch of normal teenagers will get prosecuted and people will start to realize that millions of kids are playing these games and only 1 school shooting (that I know of) took place there. Either #1 will then happen or the law will get overthrown / rewritten to uselessness.

Either way, a ban on violent video games will never happen to this degree. There are too many millions of people playing them for this to ever happen. Not to mention the huge amount of money involved in the industry as a whole. It would be like one day the US government decides to outlaw alcohol (I know, already happened), which causes vastly more problems for society than even the staunchest critics of video games contend.

On a side note, I would much rather have a ban on violent video games than alcohol. Don't mess with beer.
December 19, 2006 1:34:39 AM

hope we dont see something like tininmein square 8O
December 19, 2006 4:20:44 AM

What can I say? Bunch of fk tards governments and politicians that don’t know shit about how to prevent and help these depressed kids. I’m certain that after banning some of these games there will be more kids that goes psyco, grab a gun and some grenades head off to school to let off steam. Why? Because for this kid video games is another way of letting off steam, he can’t do anything about being bullied and there is no one to talk to or help him. Trust me teachers won’t help him either, parents are no much help, because most of the time parents will tell their kid to ignore them and they will go away. But that is really not the case, they come back again and again if u ignore them, and more people will start picking on you when themselves are feeling bad or had a bad day. This depressed feeling is even worst when you have no one or very limited N.O of friends to talk to. Why are the adults or should I say oldies in the governments say that it’s the game that turn this kid into killing other people? Because they have never experienced what this kid is going though, the society back in 1950 or 1960 is very different than today. You hardly get any bullies that constantly pick on the same person, now in year 2000 you have more bullies and these bullies hardly pick on one another, they just choose a defenseless one and keep on at it. You will never know what it is like or why he did it unless u have experienced the same thing that he went though day after day.

I do think that there might be a way to prevent this, the governments should provide some sort of support for these extremely depressed kids to let off steam. Either by setting up a organization for these kids to go to and talk to some people, or get these kids together and organize some sort of activity for them to forget about depressed memory for a few hours. It’s like over clocking a computer, you can’t over clock much with everything stock and cheap, you need a decent mother board and a third party cooling device or water cooler to get the best result. Every little bit of effort (money spent on components) helps, you can only get it done efficiently and effectively if you do it carefully and bit by bit. Setting up a support for these kids might not be of great help at first, but if it is done right and each step is done carefully it should help a lot of kids.

Another reason why adults blame a lot of things on games is that they don't like their kids playing games and wasting their life away. Truth is you don't know how to limit or control your kids, there are many ways to control what kind of game they play and how long they can play it. Don't ban the games from your kids, use the gaming time like a reward. For example: You must do this first or help with something first and play for 30min. Limit the amount of time spent on gaming by using it as a reward, but reward must be worth it otherwise human beings tends to sway away from hard work.
December 19, 2006 4:34:44 AM

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hope we dont see something like tininmein square 8O

For video games? Its not that important.... life above material possessions
December 19, 2006 5:15:28 AM

Well, pretty much every teen plays violent video games. It's like saying "gee, all of these violent teens drank milk... wait a sec... I think I've got something here!"

Please... if you are a parent and your kid is deranged enough to go to a school and shoot a bunch of other kids, don't you think that you would know?

Anyway, this latest "Video Games = Violent Kids" trend has caused me to research school violence a bit. And what I found was that it doesn't really appear to have much to do with video games. Did anybody else notice that one of the alias' that one of the Columbine shooters went by was the word that was carved in to one of the bodies of a famous Manson murder victim? Coincidence?

Also, I looked over the police report, and the one kid (Eric) wrote essays that any idiot would read and think "watch this kid". I read a paper he wrote where the protagonist was a shadowy figure that shot up a bunch of jocks, then stabbed some jocks, then crushed one's skull. He said that looking into the shadowy guys' eyes was like "looking at an emotion of god" and in that instant he understood his motives. (I'd link to it, but the report is a 900-page PDF of scanned documents).

Anyway, my whole point with all of this is that kids that kill people have issues. These issues are not caused by video games. The only way I can possibly think of that you can link video games to teen violence is that kids that tend to play video games a lot (like with all of their free time) tend to be less social, and thus become outcats, thus breeding anger, thus the desire to kill.

But, the problem is: this has to do with their inability to interact with other kids their age. Plus, the violent content of the games wouldn't play a role in that theory at all. So, once again, I say Germany needs to chill out.
December 19, 2006 3:49:25 PM

I like the milk comparison. =)

*sweeps off milk moustache*

This topic got me to wondering though... If Germans still had all those 50Mbit DSL2 lines, but no games to waste bandwidth on... What happens then?

Furthermore, I've also noticed that one effect this is guaranteed to have is a dramatic increase in piracy.
December 19, 2006 5:01:02 PM

I would say that the "gansta rap music" all the kids go on about these days has more influence than violent video games. At least those are real people talking about how its cool to shoot guns at other real people. On the other hand, we even have our own countries going to war to kill people just to get their hands on some of that "sweet, sweet black gold" (and no, I'm not talking about Beyonce). I'm sure pornography is also to blame, all those S&M videos are glorifying violence. Am I missing any other stereotypes here? Oh yeah, the gays. I'm sure that homosexuality is the root cause of all of the violence, I just can't figure out why. But then again, no real government needs valid reasons (WMDs anybody?) to justify their actions.

In case you weren't sure, I am joking. We all know the real reason for German teen hostility is because they are angry that their country's pop icon is David Hasselhoff. Proof of the so called "Hofficide connection" can be seen as he has released a Christmas Album so bad that it is proof that he is the devil. If I had to listen to that as much as I am forced to hear our pop music, I would kill too.

*EDIT* fixed spelling
December 19, 2006 5:08:44 PM

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The regional governments of Bavaria and Lower Saxony drafted legislation that would put game designers, publishers, and yes, players, in jail for up to a year for "cruel violence on humans or human-looking characters"

Note that the law doesn't forbid FPS in general, but only games that depict "cruel and inhumane" violence against the "human dignity". It's therefore a revision of an already existing law that forbid retailers to sell such games to minors and companies to advertice such products in public where they could be seen by children.

Whether it makes sense to forbid such games mainly depends on the definition of "cruel and inhumane" violence. Given that things like child pornography, snuff videos or violent sex (real rape and not some harmless BDSM) are illegal it's hard to justify that the same laws don't apply to the most violent games.

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Why has such a fascist, reactionary bill been created ?

Please do me a favour and look up what fascist actually means (dictionary)

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Will this usher in a new era of fascist lawmaking and censorship and return us to the days when books were burned ?

Don't you think that this is a bit melodramatic ? All we're actually talking about is an inofficial draft by a populist politician who realized that a couple of votes could be won by pretending to have a simple and pragmatic solution to a problem that worries society.

In a world where torture is again widely acceptable to gather information and civil rights are seen as a nuisance in the fight on terrorisn we really have more important issues to worry about that this socalled censorship.

regards,
gaf
December 19, 2006 5:34:59 PM

I think you miss the point here. Its not illegal to show the 'illegal' acts you mentioned in cartoons, even very realistic ones. Video games ARE NOT REAL! I know, its hard to believe, but when somebody dies in a video game, nobody in real life is harmed. Videos depicting "child pornography, snuff videos or violent sex" are not illegal (assuming the 'child' is actually over 18). There have been many movies made on these topics, so why would this be illegal in video games? So this 'extension' of the law could also be used to make alcohol, tobacco, pornography, and voting all illegal. Does this also mean that if I take a doll and light it on fire, that I should be charged with some sort of obscenity charge?

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Please do me a favour and look up what fascist actually means


As far as 'fascism' is concerned, I think he was just meaning this ridiculous act of censorship can be compared to censorship found in fascist countries.

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Don't you think that this is a bit melodramatic?


Why is banning certain areas of literature much different than banning certain types of games?

I do agree that there are more important issues in the world, but that doesn't mean that we should ignore this one.
December 19, 2006 5:46:16 PM

I think this can best be summed up with an unfortunate observation of reality repeating itself over and over... Altruisim is still the most dangerous motivation in government.
December 19, 2006 6:05:10 PM

Very true. Maybe the German Chancellor should ask to be voted some 'emergency powers' to help expedite the enforcement of the ban on violent video games. He could even create a special police force for this called the 'Special Service' or just 'SS' for short. Then we could also use public embarrassment as a deterrent to prevent people from re-offending, we would put white arm bands on them. If they kept committing the crime, we would have to move them into an area for "Gaming Help Ordered Tough Therapy Sessions" or "GHETTOS" for short. To help pay for this service, once they are in the GHETTOS we will take their possessions and sell them off. Eventually, we can even set up some camps for the worst offenders to be sent to. Once there we will let them meditate and try to bring up feelings of love and joy. To ensure that they can concentrate on this, we will have to move these so called 'Concentration' camps into the more rural areas.
December 19, 2006 7:18:46 PM

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I like the milk comparison.


Me too. Link
December 19, 2006 7:41:18 PM

Great find with those bread statistics! The world must be warned before the consuption of bread causes a pandemic!

I love how seriously studies get taken then stuff like that shows how wrong using the numbers game in science can be.
December 20, 2006 6:25:08 PM

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I know, its hard to believe, but when somebody dies in a video game, nobody in real life is harmed.

Continuing your argumentation it could aswell be said that terrorist training camps don't harm anybody. After all they aren't shooting actual people but only practice warfare tactics that they (of course) never intended to use in practice.

No sane person would ever say that school shootings are the direct result of violence depicted in the media. The author of the article is therefore absolutly right when he criticizes the reaction of some politicians that search for superficial solutions rather than trying to understand the underlying conflics that caused the deed. Yet I think that certain games can be quite harmful for somebody who already has a lot of problems to deal with. If there doesn't seem to be a way to be accepted in real-world the violent phantasies shown in the media might look like a real alternative to gain respect. It's quite striking that many of the perpetrators adapted role-models that they saw in the movies.

Saying that games aren't dangerous at all is in my opinion not really much better than blaming the media for everything bad in our world.

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There have been many movies made on these topics, so why would this be illegal in video games?

As I already pointed out in my last post the new draft for a bill is merely a revision of an already existing law. The old paragraph is actually quite general in and forbids all media (books/films/music/comics/..) that deny holcaust, depict child/violent pornography or show violence in a way that's agains personal dignity.

Although this law has been around for many decades I (male, 20 yrs, good-looking) can still buy games like Quake 4 or watch movies as violent as Saw 2. This is because the bill was never meant to censor but to fight criminals. It should also be noted that many european countries have similiar laws or institutions.

What Gunter Beckstein now wants to do is to revise the law so that it can also be applied to games. He argues that the interpretation of the given passage was too soft in the past (according to wikipedia only 3 games have been forbidden so far: Mortal Combat, Wolfenstein 3D, Manhunt) and proposes that there should be a stricter wording of the bill.

The thing is just that Gunter Beckstein isn't Chancellor of Germany but only Secretary of the Interior in Bavaria. It thus couldn't matter less what he has to say on this topic as such laws may only be passed by the federal government. As several members of the national administration have already stated that they think there's any need for a revision chances that this law will ever by passed are close to nil.

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Maybe the German Chancellor should ask to be voted some 'emergency powers' to help expedite the enforcement of the ban on violent video games. He could even create a special police force for this called the 'Special Service' or just 'SS' for short.

Reminds me of some instant classics by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad :roll:. Considering the number of victims that fascism caused such ignorant comparisons are in my opinion quite indecent.

regards,
gaf
December 20, 2006 7:05:32 PM

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I know, its hard to believe, but when somebody dies in a video game, nobody in real life is harmed.

Continuing your argumentation it could aswell be said that terrorist training camps don't harm anybody. After all they aren't shooting actual people but only practice warfare tactics that they (of course) never intended to use in practice.

I stopped caring about anything you said after that. Actually after just the first sentence, not the first paragraph. :roll:

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Whether it makes sense to forbid such games mainly depends on the definition of "cruel and inhumane" violence. Given that things like child pornography, snuff videos or violent sex (real rape and not some harmless BDSM) are illegal it's hard to justify that the same laws don't apply to the most violent games.


And back up there, I'd like to remind you that we're talking about the same continent that had to edit a "headbutt" out of Star Wars but left dismemberment scattered throughout the movies. Yes, in a different country, but the thinking is getting... obscure & irrational in many of the countries. And in similar fashion.
December 20, 2006 7:45:18 PM

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I stopped caring about anything you said after that. Actually after just the first sentence, not the first paragraph.

What's wrong.. did I touch your 9/11 complex ?

The above statement really wasn't meant politically, just as I stated nothing even remotely critical about US politics in either of my post. The only reason I registered to post in this thread is that the article it refers to in my opinion bases on a flawed perception of facts. All I wanted to do is to give another opinion from somebody who's directly affected.

To be honest I've a hard time understanding why you're so touchy about this issue. After all it's my country whose laws are described as "fascist and reactionary" in the article and in your posts. If someone should be fed-up than it's probably me. Well, it's a shame that there really doesn't seem to be a way to talk about things in a civilized and reasonable way.

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Yes, in a different country, but the thinking is getting... obscure & irrational in many of the countries. And in similar fashion.

Believe me, the feeling is mutual..

kind regards,
gaf
December 20, 2006 8:17:48 PM

I don't really agree with your terrorist training camp analogy. The purpose of these training camps is to learn how to kill people in real life. I can see your parallels, but the differences are just too great.

There is a large precedent showing that terrorist training camps do actually cause large numbers of people to kill others. There is no such precedent for video games. In fact, with video games, the very few cases that could even have a chance of being tied to them have huge extenuating circumstances that show that the outcome would have been just as likely without video games.

Once there is a study that links violent video games to violent behavior, then I will be willing to reconsider my opinions. If only a couple of people in a country of more than 80 million can even be considered to have been affected by violent games in this way, I don't think that it is worth banning them outright.

I am all for not allowing games that deny the holocaust happened or have actual footage of child pornography (not CG child porn). I am not sure what showing 'violence in a way that's against personal dignity' means. Is that why Manhunt was banned? I actually rather liked that game and if the law bans games if that nature, then I disagree with that completely. There are many ideas in media that I could consider quite offensive, but I don't think that they should be banned. If I don't like something like that, I won't buy that game. That is pretty much how every type of media should work: don't allow children to buy it, and then just don't buy it if you don't like it.

Actually, I think that denying the holocaust happened is probably fine, outside of Germany and as long as it is obviously not factual.

Sorry if my paragraph about the SS and Ghettos offended you. I meant it completely in jest. I forget that there are some people in the world who don't joke openly about atrocities.
December 21, 2006 4:29:47 AM

Heh, I just thought it was a ridiculous comparison. I don't really care if any given random person thinks one way or another on the 9-11/Iraq type issues. That's not why I'm here. Sorry for the mutual semi-confusion.

But seriously, that was one out of wack comparison... o_O

EDIT: Perhaps I should just say why it's such a bad comparison, outside of the lack of direct relevance...

Let's assume for a moment (even though we know it's wrong) that games cause violence. So that's about maybe 50 people world wide compared to maybe 500 million? Let's be overly generous, only 50 million, even though we know that's a low figure too. I'm not even going to work the percentage here, but I think you get the idea.
EDIT2: I'll add this for clarity. 50 is the (overly generous) # of killers who have been linked to games. 50/500 million is the number of gamers world wide. I'm not going to bother with the math.

Now let's look at terrorist training camps. I don't have numbers, but I'd be willing to bet that more than 50% of those who go through those camps at least make one attempt within their lifetime to kill another human being. WOW. That's a huge difference. There's just no comparison.

I think it's also safe to assume that people go into terrorist training camps with the intention of becoming killers. I think it's the obvious assumption to make that 99.9% of people who play games have no intention of any "end result" of killing people.

I could go on & on about this, but I think I've discredited the comparison enough already.

Personally, I find the most relevant comparisons to be movies & books. Especially movies. Though that's because books actually can be a cause... >_>
December 21, 2006 12:54:10 PM

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Personally, I find the most relevant comparisons to be movies & books. Especially movies. Though that's because books actually can be a cause... >_>


Good Point there. Except that the books that could be a cause of violence would generally be terrorist training manuals (not entertainment) and training videos would also get thrown in there so that kinda covers movies too. Since these games are just entertainment they really belong in the same catergory as all other forms of vioilent entertainment media.

BTW just pointing out I've never heard about anyone fantisizing they were on mars opened up a gateway to hell and started shooting people because they've been playing too much doom. Hey don't forget lets ban Dungeons and Dragaons while where at it!
December 21, 2006 2:00:52 PM

You’re all forgetting the intent involved in all of this, a training video will not make you want to kill someone by it’s self, nor will a training manual or a book on death and how to kill someone. You need to be actively seeking to want to do these tasks in the first place and all the material is doing is telling you how.

I also would really like to know how people can call games like Counter Strike, a game that you run about in an almost death match style a training manual for killing. What’s someone who has done nothing but play Counter Strike do when he picks up a gun and needs to shoot someone, point and click the rifle?

Even if games could be used as training manuals of death, you would still need to have the intention of killing someone or doing something horrible first. It’s just simply wrong and down right idiotic to say that this game made such and such a person want to kill someone.

The only time I have wanted to kill someone after playing a game was after wasting £30 on the DOOM3 expansion pack and finding out that is was complete sweaty bollocks 30 minuets in to the game… I could have sworn if a developer was next to me my hands would have been round his scrawny robot sounding voice box :x
December 21, 2006 4:41:44 PM

I'm not sure what your 50 and 50 million numbers are referring to. Is the 50 the number of people that play video games and have their killings linked to games somehow? I would guess that its more like 15, but ok. And then 50-500 million is the number of terrorists around the world?? That is crazy, if it was 500 million, that would mean that one in every 13 people in the world (est total population of 6.6 billion) is a terrorist?? Even 50 million is ridiculous, that would be one in every 132 people.

LINKAGE

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When foreign fighters and the network of a Jordanian militant, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, are counted with home-grown insurgents, the hard-core resistance numbers between 8,000 and 12,000 people, a tally that swells to more than 20,000 when active sympathizers or covert accomplices are included, according to the American officials.


Now this article is from 2004, but even so, the max of 20000 terrorists in Iraq out of their population of more than 26 million gives us a ratio of around 1:1300. So if the rest of the world had the same number of terrorists per capita as Iraq, then there would only be around 5 million terrorists. And do you actually think that there are that many terrorists in other countries as well?

Sorry, its not a big deal, but that statement of "500 million terrorists" was just asinine. Please tell me if I read your comments incorrectly, because I can't understand how somebody would think that 1 in 13 people in the world was a terrorist.
December 21, 2006 5:18:30 PM

50 (which was being overly generous in the larger direction) was just a random number of killings linked to games. I think it's smaller than that.

50 or 500 million, either one, is the number of gamers in the world. Also a somewhat random number (I like to think I'm not entirely pulling these out of my hind side, but it's definitely just a very rough estimate) like the first one.

I can't recall while I'm typing this what other numbers I stuck in there. I remember those two though.

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I also would really like to know how people can call games like Counter Strike, a game that you run about in an almost death match style a training manual for killing. What’s someone who has done nothing but play Counter Strike do when he picks up a gun and needs to shoot someone, point and click the rifle?


lol, in reality, that wouldn't even teach them how to load a rifle! XD They'd be stumped at the bolt & magazine. Who knows what might happen if the safety was on.
December 21, 2006 5:35:31 PM

Ok, fair enough, I wasn't sure what you were talking about.

Looking at wikipedia (always the most reliable source of info), as of September, Sony has sold 111 million PS2s, so I would guess that your 500 million mark would be a good guess since I would guess that only 1 in 5 gamers that I know owns a PS2.
December 21, 2006 5:50:36 PM

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That is pretty much how every type of media should work: don't allow children to buy it, and then just don't buy it if you don't like it.

What's wrong with 13 year olds playing Doom 3 if such games are actually harmeless ?

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I'd be willing to bet that more than 50% of those who go through those camps at least make one attempt within their lifetime to kill another human being. WOW. That's a huge difference. There's just no comparison.

My comparison was meant as a response to an earlier statement that could probably be summarized as "everything is allowed as long as it's virtual and nobody gets hurt". In my opinion this idea is somewhat short-sighted, so I chose a similiar situation where only focusing on the immediate result is an obviously bad idea. The intention was to point to a in my opinion limited point of view that doesn't account for many of the long-term outcomes of violence in the media.

Actually I think that none of the other comparisons mentioned in this thread are more realistic:

When games are compared to bread, does that mean that the two are equal or is the idea just to show how overrated the dangers of games are ? Am I suppposed to take the nazi comparison literaly or is it just a way to express concert about the possible limitation of freedom of speech by censorship ?

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I also would really like to know how people can call games like Counter Strike, a game that you run about in an almost death match style a training manual for killing.

You might be right that some of the criticism is a bit naiv, but that doesn't mean that there's not something true about it. In my opinion violent games can at least be dangerous for vulnerable persons that are already in a desperate situation:

a) Conditioning:
If violence is seen every day in games/movies it becomes normal as soon as one gets used to it. Real-world violence is no longer considered to be as disgusting as games contain much more graphic content. Playing certain kinds of FPS can thus help to deactivate certain safe-guards in your brain that would normally keep you from commiting crimes.

b) Social isolation:
Spending 8-12 hours a day in front of a screen is in general not considered to be very healthy. It doesn't matter what kind of game your playing as it's just about the time wasted. There is the danger of getting addicted to certain games, especially MMORPGs are often considered to be dangerous. The results of isolation is the lost of social contacts and often problems at school or work. Addiction can create outcasts that are then vulnerable for all kinds of bad influences.

c) Identification:
As far as I know most of the perpetrators in school shootings could be classified as social outcasts. Yet they crave for the acknowledgement and respect that they never get. In some games/movies they can see how a stranger similiar to themselves forces others to respect him by sheer violence. The danger is that they adopt the role-model and start seing violence as the only was to get recognition. Just like their heroes they want to be human gods that nobody would ever dare to bully.

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In reality, that wouldn't even teach them how to load a rifle! XD They'd be stumped at the bolt & magazine.

Shooting someone from point-blank range is just as simple at that: Point and Click. You don't have to be a war veteran to do that..

regards,
gaf
December 21, 2006 5:54:58 PM

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What's wrong with 13 year olds playing Doom 3 if such games are actually harmeless ?


I should have clarified better: if it is considered dangerous, then don't let children buy it. I like the idea of letting parents decide if their child should play a game or not. If the parents don't like a game, then don't let their child play it.
December 21, 2006 6:52:34 PM

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Videos depicting "child pornography, snuff videos or violent sex" are not illegal (assuming the 'child' is actually over 18). There have been many movies made on these topics, so why would this be illegal in video games?


Sry to say in the US it is.. Any video or image weather real or fake showing a sex act with what appears to be a minor wether or not they are is considered child porn.

Its a lame law.. My gf is 21 she could easly look 15 in a school girl outfit. By law the naked pics I have of her could be considered childporn. THERE NOT.. But thats the law..
December 21, 2006 8:13:48 PM

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( 8 ) "Child pornography" means any visual depiction, including any photograph, film, video, picture, or computer or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of sexually explicit conduct, where --

(A) the production of such visual depiction involves the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct;

(B) such visual depiction is a digital image, computer image, or computer-generated image that is, or is indistinguishable from, that of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; or

(C) such visual depiction has been created, adapted, or modified to appear that an identifiable minor is engaging in sexually explicit conduct.


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"Identifiable minor"
(A) means a person

(i) (I) who was a minor at the time the visual depiction was created, adapted, or modified; or
(i) (II) whose image as a minor was used in creating, adapting, or modifying the visual depiction; and

(ii) who is recognizable as an actual person by the person's face, likeness, or other distinguishing characteristic, such as a unique birthmark or other recognizable feature; and

(B) shall not be construed to require proof of the actual identity of the identifiable minor.


The original version that indeed forbid virtual child pornography was declared unconstitutunal in 2002 (Ascroft vs Free Speech Coalition). In my opinion the border between some school-girl images and virtual child pornography is actually quite obvious. Even by the old law you probably couldn't have created child porn by accident..

regards,
gaf
December 21, 2006 8:30:12 PM

Given gaf's post, you could make a CG porn with a generated 12 year old in it and as long as the artist didn't use an actual image of a child and it wasn't purposefully made to look like a certain child, then it would be perfectly legal. We aren't anywhere close enough to having CG characters be indistinguishable from a real person.

Also, your example of your GF looking like a 15 year old doesn't work. That is an entirely subjective viewpoint that has no place in law.

I always wanted to know, if you are say 15 and take pictures of yourself naked, could you be charged with possession of child porn? What if you took pictures of another 15 year old? What if you are now 20 and have pictures of the 15 year old that you took when you were 15, if they are illegal, at what point did they become illegal? Its kind of stupid to be able to own something for years and all of a sudden have it become a major crime because you turned 18 (overnight it becomes illegal).
December 21, 2006 10:09:33 PM

I tried to stay out of this debate, but you roped me in anyway:

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When games are compared to bread, does that mean that the two are equal or is the idea just to show how overrated the dangers of games are?


Short answer: no.

Long answer: That bread link I provided had nothing to do with games. Did you even read it, or did you see "bread" and assume I was another misinformed n00b, as many did to you when you posted your over-blown comparison with terrorist camps (which I did read)? Though you can make logical comparisons between the two (the necessities of food and recreational activities come to mind) the purpose of the link was to show how irrational conclusions can be made based on experience without research.

I didn't provide the link to the original bread article, but the original author claimed to write the article in jest when he found himself with bread and an empty canteen of water in the middle of the desert. (Got Milk?) It's in that vein that I provided the link. As another poster pointed out already, the thought process goes like this: "Let's see, kids kill people...kids play games...look a pattern!"

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You might be right that some of the criticism is a bit naiv, but that doesn't mean that there's not something true about it. In my opinion violent games can at least be dangerous for vulnerable persons that are already in a desperate situation:


You're right, there is something true about it. One of my favorite authors, Orson Scott Card, a prominent author in the Mormon community, once wrote an essay when people asked why he depicts violence and generally bad morals in so much of his work, asking whether these may influence others to do immoral acts. What he said is essentially, "Don't give Victoria Secret catalogs to a pervert, and don't read them over and over until you become one." (He didn't use those words, but I thought it was funnier.) He went on to say that the depiction of "evil" is far different from the endorsement of it.

In the VS example, the catalog isn't made for lusting men (and swinging women) but for women who want to look hot in the bedroom. VS isn't evil just because it depicts it, Playboy is because its target audience isn't women looking into plastic surgery.

So to determine if the content is depicting evil or endorsing it, we have to look at the intent of the subject matter. But looking at the intent would make games into art, and what politician would want to do that as it would then require all media to be questioned? That is the important subject. ("Does violence in the media lead to violence in the home?") But that isn't the subject of this legislation, is it?

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a) Conditioning:
If violence is seen every day in games/movies it becomes normal as soon as one gets used to it. Real-world violence is no longer considered to be as disgusting as games contain much more graphic content. Playing certain kinds of FPS can thus help to deactivate certain safe-guards in your brain that would normally keep you from commiting crimes.


I play a lot of violent video games and watch a lot of violent shows, yet I'm squeamish at the sight of blood or even the simple description of an accident. Can you explain that? I'll blame a lack of mental health issues. (A self-diagnosis. :wink: ) Actually, it's because these aren't real. I'm sure if I watched real violence I could get used to it.

In grade school I watched a video of someone getting plastic surgery on their face. That creeped me out until I'd been watching it for a while. You can get used to real violence, but you have to witness it frequently if you want to be continually desensitized. The next day after watching that vid I couldn't take it again.

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b) Social isolation:
Spending 8-12 hours a day in front of a screen is in general not considered to be very healthy. It doesn't matter what kind of game your playing as it's just about the time wasted. There is the danger of getting addicted to certain games, especially MMORPGs are often considered to be dangerous. The results of isolation is the lost of social contacts and often problems at school or work. Addiction can create outcasts that are then vulnerable for all kinds of bad influences.


Neither is writing blogs and making videos about you murder fantasies.

They made a decent episode of Boston Legal somewhere in the second season about addiction and video games causing a gamer to die, supposedly from playing too much. If you can get it there, I'd recommend it. You can bet it doesn't have a lot of supportive comments for you.

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c) Identification:
As far as I know most of the perpetrators in school shootings could be classified as social outcasts. Yet they crave for the acknowledgement and respect that they never get. In some games/movies they can see how a stranger similiar to themselves forces others to respect him by sheer violence. The danger is that they adopt the role-model and start seing violence as the only was to get recognition. Just like their heroes they want to be human gods that nobody would ever dare to bully.


Close, but these killers aren't looking for the recognition that they got. They're trying to be recognized by like minded individuals, whether they're aware of it or not. Everyone wants to be a part of a group of peers (or why would we be here?), but the group they belong to is a rather spread-out group of sickos with a small population and no place to call home, short of a mental hospital. So, being in the mentally unstable state they are, they escalated and still didn't get what they wanted. Some idiot somewhere is rooting them on, but they aren't chumming around at a beach on the weekends.


Here's the problem as I see it: Games depict violence and transfer the control of it to the push of a button. Pushing a button may be considered violent to some, but to anyone with a little self control, it doesn't satisfy any animal lusts. If you really want to talk about violent influence in society, let's talk about sports. Try to name one (popular) sport that isn't violent. Do killers play sports? 8O Now do I think sports should be banned? Absolutely not! Do you? I hope not! Do these same people who turn games into a scapegoat? Without saying so, they do. (Hmmm...kids kill people...kids play sports...)

The problem is not violence, it's purely a lack of control, and a need for help that lasted too long. I think general apathy and overpopulation are more to blame than any other influence short of mind-altering drugs or hereditary retardation. That and politics.

(See why I tried to stay out of this? :wink: )
December 22, 2006 3:17:24 AM

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What's wrong with 13 year olds playing Doom 3 if such games are actually harmeless?


I would imagine it's the same type of thing that applies to movies, & to a lesser extent to books. Though, quite frankly, I don't see it causing anything truly violent. Especially at age 13. I know in the 3-7 age range some kids may pick up on swearing, or imitate fist fighting on TV, or things like that, but by 13? o_O

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You might be right that some of the criticism is a bit naiv, but that doesn't mean that there's not something true about it. In my opinion violent games can at least be dangerous for vulnerable persons that are already in a desperate situation:

a) Conditioning:
If violence is seen every day in games/movies it becomes normal as soon as one gets used to it. Real-world violence is no longer considered to be as disgusting as games contain much more graphic content. Playing certain kinds of FPS can thus help to deactivate certain safe-guards in your brain that would normally keep you from commiting crimes.


I believe it's an obvious thing to say that I've seen people killed & brutally murdered on TV from a very early age. Included in that are things like swords & guns. Occasionally even more obscure & gruesome methods. The first time I shot a rifle, I was scared. I still get very, extremely weird feelings if a real firearm is ever pointed at me accidentally, even if I've personally unloaded it, the bolt is up, & the safety on.

Suffice it to say, I think I can distinguish reality from fiction. But I'll go on. The first time I went hunting, I nearly missed my target. (okay, not really - though I did hit dead center, I was shaking, which is something I no longer do unless it's a REALLY big buck! :D  ) Perhaps you don't know where meat comes from, but it's a long process of taking apart the animal, from outside to inside. GROSS! OUT! =O Nothing fake can prepare you for that in reality. I think I'll cover another point while I'm at this topic.
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Shooting someone from point-blank range is just as simple at that: Point and Click. You don't have to be a war veteran to do that..

You'd generally think so, yes. But you'd have to load that weapon first. I was extremely surprised, since I was tought safety before function, & function before use, but I've seen some other people try some pretty damn stupid things before. I've also very rarely not had a person ask how to load a gun if it's their first time using it - even if it's not their first time using a firearm in general.

These things aren't just cock & lock. They're more like unzip, slide, *patiently insert shells into magazine*, properly close &/or insert magazine, remove various safety devices, lock first round into chamber, aim, pull the trigger. For example, did you know that many pump-action shotguns won't even load a shell into the barrel if you don't also hold down another mechanism while loading the first shell?

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b) Social isolation:
Spending 8-12 hours a day in front of a screen is in general not considered to be very healthy. It doesn't matter what kind of game your playing as it's just about the time wasted. There is the danger of getting addicted to certain games, especially MMORPGs are often considered to be dangerous. The results of isolation is the lost of social contacts and often problems at school or work. Addiction can create outcasts that are then vulnerable for all kinds of bad influences.


TV.

Actually I've suffered this one more because of books than anything. Though I'm far more in shape than most people (I can run 5 miles, break 3 half-inch blocks of wood, um, okay, so I can't bench a whole lot, but my other areas are pretty good) & the outdoor part specifically is neglected because it's too hot in Texas!!!

Though I'll agree with you that MMORPGs are bad for gaming in general, there's also positive sides to them as much as there are the rare negative cases. (& those are all problems with people, who try to lay the blame on the scapegoat of games rather than take responsibility for their own failures) For example, did you know that some kids have learned to read in World of Warcraft? Not only was this child bonding with his father (who is divorced & the child lives with his mother primarily) but he was also advancing far ahead of the other kids in his class. With a parent present, he was also carefully monitored for more obscene content in the chat sections.

I may be getting carried away with this. I'm having fun now... >_>
Anyway.

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c) Identification:
As far as I know most of the perpetrators in school shootings could be classified as social outcasts. Yet they crave for the acknowledgement and respect that they never get. In some games/movies they can see how a stranger similiar to themselves forces others to respect him by sheer violence. The danger is that they adopt the role-model and start seing violence as the only was to get recognition. Just like their heroes they want to be human gods that nobody would ever dare to bully.


I think I myself would be the perfect anti-argument. You have examples. I'm an example in the opposite direction. I haven't met a new true friend since the 3rd grade (though I barely have time - because of books, games & other computer activities, mostly related to hardware - for the 4 great friends I've known for more than a decade minimum each) & I fit the very description nearly word for word (if taken literally & not in a mindset sense) of the Columbine kids as far as I'm aware.

I got my fighting out in elementary school when I was too small to hurt anyone or get in trouble! =P

I am a responsible, lawful citizen. I would never consider suicide or murder. I can distinguish reality from fiction even more with games & books than I can with movies. I'm not sure what else I can say here without rambling on incoherently longer than I have already. I guess I'll just say that I may have a few "wrong" views in your opinion, but everything I've said has been true to the best of my knowledge. I don't believe I've misrepresented myself.

EDIT to disable smilies, because I don't like emoticons.
December 22, 2006 3:22:56 AM

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I should have clarified better: if it is considered dangerous, then don't let children buy it. I like the idea of letting parents decide if their child should play a game or not. If the parents don't like a game, then don't let their child play it.


One thing that is good about the controversy is that parents are becoming more aware. A lot of them still don't take responsibility, but it seems to be a shrinking problem in this country at least. It also doesn't hurt that publishers are afraid to cross the line now. The less problem, the less reason for government interference & waste of tax dollars.
December 22, 2006 2:06:07 PM

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That bread link I provided had nothing to do with games. Did you even read it, or did you see "bread" and assume I was another misinformed n00b.

Actually I saw "bread", assumed that it was the same as the milk/sports/glasses comparison that I already knew and didn't read the article. In my opinion there's some point about the bread comparison and I really didn't intend to criticise your article.

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That is the important subject. ("Does violence in the media lead to violence in the home?") But that isn't the subject of this legislation, is it?

No it's not the business of the legislation and I personally oppose any regulation that goes further than mere child-protection. What I was aiming at is a more ambivalent point of view that neither sees violent games as the end of civilization nor completely ignores potential dangers.

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I play a lot of violent video games and watch a lot of violent shows, yet I'm squeamish at the sight of blood or even the simple description of an accident. Can you explain that? Actually, it's because these aren't real.

Yet the military uses forms of conditioning to train soldiers. The education in a boot camp isn't realistic either but it helps to prepare for a serious situation in real combat.

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They made a decent episode of Boston Legal somewhere in the second season about addiction and video games causing a gamer to die, supposedly from playing too much. If you can get it there, I'd recommend it.

A friend of mine plays "World of Warcraft", so I actually know the problems that it can cause by first hand. There are actually a couple of reported deaths related to computer game addiction (BBC).

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Try to name one (popular) sport that isn't violent

Swimming ;)  But I agree with you that team-sports are bound to contain some form of violence as long as they're based on two competing teams.

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Did you know that many pump-action shotguns won't even load a shell into the barrel if you don't also hold down another mechanism while loading the first shell?

No I didn't know, but I guess that it wouldn't take too long to find out if I had a shot-gun. From what I know there's never been a shooting that failed for "practical reasons" as they killer couldn't handle his gun.

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I am a responsible, lawful citizen. I would never consider suicide or murder. I can distinguish reality from fiction even more with games & books than I can with movies.

But that's the very point: You're a law abiding citizens that seems to be well-integrated without any "unsolvable" problems. Sombody who's not responsible or doesn't have an intact social network or family is much more vulnerable to influences by the media.

regards,
gaf
December 22, 2006 4:20:16 PM

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No it's not the business of the legislation and I personally oppose any regulation that goes further than mere child-protection. What I was aiming at is a more ambivalent point of view that neither sees violent games as the end of civilization nor completely ignores potential dangers.


There are potential dangers from playing video games, but they aren't caused by playing video games. Games just fill the slot. Anything people like doing, whether it be gaming, playing sports, reading books, talking to friends, eating, or posting on forums, can be addicting if not done in moderation. I already made my point, but to refresh, the problem of addiction comes from either a lack of self-control or chemical reactions in the brain and poor parenting.

So my point stands. Looking at video games as potential dangers is exclusionary and avoids the real problem. This boy is not a gamer who happened to kill people; he's a killer who happened to play games. Looking at games will not solve anything. Look at his home, peers, and school to find the problem. My guess is that his home is the real source of trouble.

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Yet the military uses forms of conditioning to train soldiers. The education in a boot camp isn't realistic either but it helps to prepare for a serious situation in real combat.


They do use forms of conditioning, but it's not killing people in games that helps them. (Try playing Marine Doom, Battlezone, or America's Army to see what I mean, as all were used to train solders.) It's tactics, drills, and scenarios that help. Solders will have a huge shock to their system when entering battle for the first time, regardless of what they did to prepare, but the training is there to give them something they know to fall back on and get the job done.

Just like being in a play, you have a script, and you may have practiced for months, but those butterflies still show up the instant you set foot on the stage, if not sooner.

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A friend of mine plays "World of Warcraft", so I actually know the problems that it can cause by first hand. There are actually a couple of reported deaths related to computer game addiction (BBC).


That invitation to watch Boston Legal still stands. As for the article, it's utter rubbish. ("Gamer killed in internet cafe. Did we mention that professional gamers make a lot of money? He died playing StarCraft. Did you know MMORPGs can be incredibly addicting?") The Korean gamer, which most of us already heard about, and from which that Boston Legal episode is undoubtedly based, didn't eat or drink, hardly slept, and didn't take many, if any, breaks. Of course that would kill him, but the game isn't the cause.

If he had close friends and family with him, this wouldn't have happened. But the funny thing is, if he'd been doing something else or in a non-public setting it wouldn't be big enough news. I can imagine the headline, "Korean man dies while reading Stephen King novel at home." Wouldn't sell many papers, would it?

And I wouldn't blame WoW for your friend's troubles either. It's not the game that does it, it's probably the fact that (limited) social interaction is a major part of MMOs, and he's having trouble noticing that interaction in a Role-Playing environment can not compensate for real interaction.

It's the same problem as people who fall in love with someone in a chat room, meet them, and then realize they don't really have anything going for them once their face to face. Online, people are just playing roles. Face to face, their roles are gone.

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Try to name one (popular) sport that isn't violent

Swimming ;) 

Hey, I said popular! Who watches swimming on TV? :p  (Actually I thought of synchronized swimming when I originally wrote the question, which is why I inserted "popular" in the first place.)

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But that's the very point: You're a law abiding citizens that seems to be well-integrated without any "unsolvable" problems. Sombody who's not responsible or doesn't have an intact social network or family is much more vulnerable to influences by the media.


You're absolutely right, but we're not here to blame the media. We're here to solve the problem. That's not going to happen by removing the "source" of it, as a new one will inevitably replace it. It's going to happen by educating the world (and politicians) on how to help people with problems; by teaching people how to recognize the warning signs in their own life and in the lives of their neighbors; by teaching parents that parenthood means parenting; and by teaching addicts how to deal with addiction. That Korean man would never have died if a responsible owner or customer said, "Enough." And that school shooter wouldn't have gone that far if a fellow student or blog reader got help, or if his parents taught him correct principles.

My original conclusion stands:

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The problem is not violence, it's purely a lack of control, and a need for help that lasted too long. I think general apathy and overpopulation are more to blame than any other influence short of mind-altering drugs or hereditary retardation (aka poor parenting). That and politics.
December 22, 2006 4:51:02 PM

You want popular, non-violent sports? What about baseball or even soccer (for the most part)? In Canada I think that curling is popular for old people, and it is on TV sometimes (and there aren't too many curling fights, although it would be awesome to see).
December 22, 2006 4:55:59 PM

I watched curling once while I was in Canada. I think everyone should have a chance to laugh at people sweeping at lightning speed while someone on their knees yells at them across the ice in a glorified, large-scale reproduction of shuffle board in an old folks home.

I also watched darts.
December 22, 2006 5:07:18 PM

Just for fun, I looked violence up on Wikipedia:

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Violence is any act of aggression and abuse which causes or intends to cause injury, in some cases criminal, or harm to persons, and (to a lesser extent) animals or property.


Hmmm, sounds like baseball and soccer fit, even without fights. The important thing is how does it make you feel? If you get aggressive or feel violent tendencies, then it's a violent sport. It's those feelings that they blame on games.
December 22, 2006 5:31:29 PM

When I see NASCAR, I want to hurt people, so it is also a violent sport. Same thing goes for baseball.
December 22, 2006 5:37:01 PM

:lol:  You see, now you understand!
December 22, 2006 6:20:36 PM

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There are potential dangers from playing video games, but they aren't caused by playing video games. Games just fill the slot.

That's all I wanted to hear 8)

Maybe we could agree that gaming is in some ways similiar to drinking alcohol. The vast majority never gets into serious problems and sometimes the effects might even be positive (helps social interaction). Yet there's a small group that for some reason can't deal with alcohol and eventually gets addictive or starts excessive drinking. Alcohol thus has the potential to "trigger" trouble, although the actual cause always goes much deeper (f.ex: unemployment -> divorse -> social isolation). As prohibition has shown banning alcohol doesn't solve the problem, but might even make it worse. A caring society, where people listen to those who are in trouble and intervene if they notice somebody losing grip, is the only way to solve the underlying issues.

cheers,
gaf
December 22, 2006 8:32:39 PM

I don't feel good about that comparison at all. Alcohol is a substance that kills things. I'm not talking about drinking and driving, drunken rages, or passing out and suffocating on your own vomit; I'm talking about using alcohol on a wound to kill off germs and prevent infection. That's what it's for. It was never meant to be in a drink. It kills more than brain cells when taken internally.

I think we're still missing the real issue: Morality is the part of all media that actually can cause problems. Violence is not a morality issue. What you are being violent to is a morality issue. (Remember the Orson Scott Card essay I mentioned?) I like that games are taking a more open view to morality, actually making it a factor in your game play, but they don't teach it very well as immoral acts can often provide greater rewards, making immorality a glamorous option.

As I said, this is not exclusive to games, but other forms of media are somehow protected. This is another reason why I think we need to take a step back and look at the whole media picture. We're focused on games because they're a new, unexplored target. (Beat up the new guy until you see if he has any claws.) But if we want to find out what's wrong with this picture, we need to look at the whole thing.

Is it the game's responsibility to teach good morals? Nope. Freedom of expression is a very important issue and shouldn't be taken away. Whether something is moral or immoral is one such form of expression. Does that mean you have to take in material you deem to be immoral? Absolutely not. You can always turn it off, flip the page, or walk away, but it's still there if you choose to dive in. Just be aware that there are consequences to those choices.

So, whose responsibility is it to teach morality? As we've already said, first parents and family, then religion, and finally your peers. If one fails you, move on to the next. It's amazing to me how each one is being destroyed or played down by modern society. But that's a topic for another thread, and probably another forum.

The important thing is that games can be immoral or moral depending on content. Alcohol on the other hand is immoral to drink and moral to use as a salve.
December 22, 2006 8:50:08 PM

Why is alcohol immoral to drink? That is kind of an odd assumption. That's like saying that eating McDonalds is immoral.

Besides, alcohol gives me superhuman strength and additional charisma (especially towards women).
December 22, 2006 10:05:23 PM

I thought the first paragraph explained it enough: using something for a purpose other than intended that produces harmful results. I wouldn't say that eating McDonald's is immoral (unless of course you do it for 30 days straight to make a documentary), but selling it to customers probably is. :wink:

I guess you can add those plusses to gaf's, but I'd prefer to see what magical powers video games give you. For example, regular rounds of Doom keep my IQ consistently higher than average as I need to constantly keep my mind full of philosophical trash talking quotations and their translation into 1337 5p34k. Or, Splinter Cell teaches me how to open a locked door should I ever be in a situation where I'm trying to avoid gun wielding maniacs running through the shadows to snuff me out.

My point was that his comparison of video games to alcohol was almost as bad as comparing them to terrorist camps.
December 22, 2006 10:54:38 PM

I know, I know, I just get a little defensive when you talk about my first love that way.
December 23, 2006 5:58:17 AM

Sorry, I won't harm her again. :oops: 
December 23, 2006 12:17:18 PM

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Alcohol is a substance that kills things. I'm not talking about drinking and driving, drunken rages, or passing out and suffocating on your own vomit; I'm talking about using alcohol on a wound to kill off germs and prevent infection. That's what it's for.

When it first became possible to produce ethanol in such pure forms that it could be used for industrial and medical purposes alcoholic drinks have already been around for many millenia. In fact drinking is so closely connected to our western society that even our bodies started getting used to it. Given that every culture (even those that weren't spoiled by civilization) seems to have an accepted drug it can probably be said that alcohol plays an important and natural role in our society.

Being an atheist I have a hard time following your argumentation that mainly bases on faith. But even if I assume that there was a metaphysical purpose for things the difference between alcohol and games on a moral scale isn't quite clear to me. Why can the misuse of violence for our entertainment be moral in some cases when the same doesn't seem to hold for drinking alcohol in a reasonable manner ?

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Morality is the part of all media that actually can cause problems. Violence is not a morality issue. What you are being violent to is a morality issue.

To tell the truth I was using the two term more or less interchangeably during this discussion. Can you name a single violent game that contains a real moral message ? I've probably played several dozen first person shooters and many other games and the most "valuable" messages that I stumbled accross were military or patriotic nonsence. Other than some quite violent movies games hardly ever teach you something that goes any further than "shoot the bad guys".

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Splinter Cell teaches me how to open a locked door should I ever be in a situation where I'm trying to avoid gun wielding maniacs.

You learn roughly as much about lock-picking from Splinter Cell as you learn about shooting a gun from Counter Strike.

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I don't feel good about that comparison at all

Still it was meant as an offer of truce. From what I can tell we mostly agree on the practical or mundane things about gaming. A philosophical discussion about morality is (as you said yourself) probably a topic for another thread.

regards,
gaf
December 23, 2006 4:21:44 PM

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A friend of mine plays "World of Warcraft", so I actually know the problems that it can cause by first hand. There are actually a couple of reported deaths related to computer game addiction (BBC).


Don't blame the problem on the scapegoat (where the hell does that term come from anyway? o_O) Blame it on the person, as it's their problem. Yes, they need help. No, you won't ever help them fix the problem if you can't identify it properly. (though I'm not saying you shouldn't keep an addict away from his addiction)

EDIT: Let's not confuse physical & mental addictions while we're here either. TV is a valid comparison to gaming. Alcohol is more of a comparison to drug addiction. Though the skills for breaking that addiction are much the same, mental "addiction" can often be misinterpreted in weaker cases as an addiction of some sort. Physical addiction is more hit or miss. Still, there certainly are some people out there with little or no self control who can easily form mental addictions to things.

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Try to name one (popular) sport that isn't violent

Swimming ;)  But I agree with you that team-sports are bound to contain some form of violence as long as they're based on two competing teams.

Also golf. Except when you yell four. Or if you're one of the naturalists who thinks golf balls are alive & have feelings that you hurt every time you swing.

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Did you know that many pump-action shotguns won't even load a shell into the barrel if you don't also hold down another mechanism while loading the first shell?

No I didn't know, but I guess that it wouldn't take too long to find out if I had a shot-gun. From what I know there's never been a shooting that failed for "practical reasons" as they killer couldn't handle his gun.

My point was more just that this obviously isn't the case with "games training for guns"... >_>
Admittedly I could feel the coherence leaving my body at the time of that post, & it wasn't a very good way to make the point. At all.

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I am a responsible, lawful citizen. I would never consider suicide or murder. I can distinguish reality from fiction even more with games & books than I can with movies.

But that's the very point: You're a law abiding citizens that seems to be well-integrated without any "unsolvable" problems. Sombody who's not responsible or doesn't have an intact social network or family is much more vulnerable to influences by the media.

I think that works as much for me as it does for you. In fact, it makes it a 100% neutral situation, rather than biased towards me, which actually both takes pressure off of me (say I were to one day make a mistake, would it be blamed on games even if I knew & told other people it had to do with something else?) & puts pressure directly back on the people who do break laws "because of games".

It's a people problem. Unless it breaks the laws of physics & is therefore impossible for that reason, it is always a people problem. This is not the first form of media. Guess what we finally figured out with all the other ones?

Although, I think we're both more in agreement on these points than I might be interpreting...?_?... You can just ignore me if that's true.
!