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Old 12-09-2002, 02:51 PM   #1
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Video "Games"

My dad just sent me this article. He recently took away all my 14-year-old brother's video games, including one of the ones mentioned in this article. My best friend is a teacher for 5th graders (11 year olds) and she said one of her students always talks about the Grand Theft Auto game. It's sickening.

This article is from the New York Times, November 28th 2002


The Gift of Mayhem
By BOB HERBERT

Toys for tots.

Not.

Forward Command Post is one of the weirder toys being marketed for kids this holiday season. It's essentially a bombed-out doll house, complete with smashed furniture, broken railings and bullet holes in the walls. This twisted variation on a traditional childhood theme is manufactured by a company called Ever Sparkle Industrial Toys and is sold by mainstream retailers, including Toys "R" Us and J. C. Penney. It's being recommended for children 5 years old and up.

Forward Command Post is at the top of this year's "Dirty Dozen" list, an annual compilation of "toys to avoid" that is put out by the Lion & Lamb Project, a group in Bethesda, Md., that opposes the marketing of violent toys to children. The group noted that the Forward Command Post playhouse "comes with dozens of 'accessories,' including a machine gun, rocket launcher, magazine belt and explosives."

For 5-year-olds.

Also on the list is a video game called "Burnout 2: Point of Impact." This is an auto racing game ? rated appropriate for 6-year-olds ? that features spectacularly gruesome crashes. An ad showed a man's head smashing through a windshield. "The last thing to go through your mind," the ad says, "will be your [behind]."

Someone needs to get a grip here, and I don't mean the kids with their hands on the joysticks. Any adult who thinks this stuff is appropriate for a 5- or 6-year-old is a lunatic.

In terms of their approach to the world, a 5-year-old playing with a traditional doll house and a 5-year-old playing with the ruins of the Forward Command Post are at two fundamentally different starting places.

The biggest-selling video game over the last couple of years has been a PlayStation 2 game called Grand Theft Auto III. It actually carries a voluntary "M" rating, which means it's not recommended for kids under 17. But teens have no problem buying "M"-rated games, and they love the various incarnations of Grand Theft Auto.

This is a game in which all boundaries of civilized behavior have vanished. You get to shoot whomever you want, including cops. You get to beat women to death with baseball bats. You get to have sex with prostitutes and then kill them. (And get your money back.) The game is a phenomenal seller. At close to $50 each, millions of copies are sold annually. The latest version, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, is expected to be one of the biggest sellers this Christmas.

I don't for a moment think these games should be banned. But I do think that millions of American adults have lost all sense of what are appropriate forms of play for children and teenagers. And the country as a whole behaves as though there is no real-world price to pay for a culture that has so thoroughly desensitized us to violence that it takes a terror attack or a series of suburban sniper killings to really get our attention.

Rockstar Games, which created the Grand Theft Auto series, has come out with another extraordinarily violent game called State of Emergency. It's got rioting in the streets, looting, individual acts of extreme sadism and, of course, endless gory murders. The player gets to be part of it all, killing and maiming at will.

One online enthusiast said, "You could run down the escalator, then wait at the bottom . . . and watch as you blast some guy or gal's head off, watch them stagger about a bit before they collapse, then pick up their severed head and beat them up with it some more."

A reviewer on Amazon.com called the game "an enjoyable cacophony of senseless violence."

State of Emergency will no doubt be a hot gift item for youngsters this year.

Reading about State of Emergency reminded me of the riots in Los Angeles 10 years ago, an explosion of violence and inhumanity that did not strike me at the time as the raw material for fun and games. It still doesn't.

Even now the murderous violence in parts of Los Angeles is so intense that decent residents often feel imprisoned in their homes. Killers have been running amok in the streets. The murder rate is rising. It's not a video game. And it's not fun.

The building blocks of violent behavior are dehumanization and desensitization. The lessons begin at a very early age.
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Old 12-09-2002, 03:09 PM   #2
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I love "Grand Theft Auto." I won't deny it. Oh and "State of Emergency" sounds like a riot. I'll have to check it out.

It should interest one to know that these games are rated "M," meaning that it should only be sold to those older than 17. If stores refuse to abide by the ratings system, it isn't my perogative, but I don't want my right to buy these games--which I view as complete fictional simulation, nothing more and nothing less--to be infringed.

Violent video games have absolutely nothing to do with real violence. Just watch "Bowling for Columbine." Foreign nations have just as many, if not more violent video games than us played by teens, and have only a minute fraction of the crime we have. This is a scapegoat, and this article is nothing more than moralistic drivel whose only purpose is to instill unrequited fear. It should interest one to know that violent youth crime is down from 10-20 years ago, and we have more violent video games than ever. Media reports of violent crime, however, have gone up 600%.

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Old 12-09-2002, 03:48 PM   #3
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I totally agree melon. I alos love GTA. We should not be putting down the creators but we should be hunting the sellers of these games to minors. Why not take a 16 year old send him into toys r us and try to buy the game. If they sell it to him without asking for ID then they cant sell the game anymore. I bet this would stop them from selling it to whoever.

If parents are buying these games for their kids then the parents need to give themsleves a sake. However that play house; thats a little over the top and shouldnt be sold because it is directly marketed toward kids.

Go play GTA and then come back and honesly tell me you had no fun.
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Old 12-09-2002, 04:04 PM   #4
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I agree they shouldn't be banned and they're fine for (most) adults (well I guess if a person can't handle games like that calling them an adult would be a stretch anyway). But you're right about the stores selling this stuff to teenagers- my brother bought 3 or 4 of them at different stores with no problem.

The violence does sort of unnerve me however, I just have to say. Especially the violence against women. Having sex with a prostitute (which increases your health) and then killing her (to get back your money) is just disgusting, whether the idea of it is veiled in a video game or not.
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Old 12-09-2002, 04:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
I love "Grand Theft Auto." I won't deny it. Oh and "State of Emergency" sounds like a riot. I'll have to check it out.

It should interest one to know that these games are rated "M," meaning that it should only be sold to those older than 17. If stores refuse to abide by the ratings system, it isn't my perogative, but I don't want my right to buy these games--which I view as complete fictional simulation, nothing more and nothing less--to be infringed.

Violent video games have absolutely nothing to do with real violence. Just watch "Bowling for Columbine." Foreign nations have just as many, if not more violent video games than us played by teens, and have only a minute fraction of the crime we have. This is a scapegoat, and this article is nothing more than moralistic drivel whose only purpose is to instill unrequited fear. It should interest one to know that violent youth crime is down from 10-20 years ago, and we have more violent video games than ever. Media reports of violent crime, however, have gone up 600%.

Melon
Totally agree with you.

I haven't played many video games in my life, but the few I have played, some were violent...and I can safely say it had no negative impact on me at all.

If parents are so worried about their children possibly getting bad ideas from these games, then perhaps that's a signal to them that they should sit down with their child and explain to them that it is merely a game, nothing more.

Even so, honestly, I think most kids are more intelligent than people sometimes give them credit for-I think most kids are gonna realize this is just a game. I think if they've been raised right, there'll be no problems.

Angela
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Old 12-09-2002, 05:10 PM   #6
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You can't ban the games, but.....

Folks, there is an enormous gap between "I played a violent game and it didn't affect me" and "violent video games do not lead to real violence".

Also, there is an enormous gap between what we are allowed to do and what we should do.

And what does it say when we argue against war, violence, guns, yet we find amusement in killing a pixilated image of a police officer?

Personally, there are only a couple of “violent” games I’ll let my son play. Both are set in historical context and I use them, in part, as educational tools.

I doubt you will find any parenting involved with young teens playing Grand Theft Auto.
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Old 12-09-2002, 05:13 PM   #7
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I dont think anyone here is saying GTA is a game for children. I am not. I think GTA should only be played by adults.
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Old 12-09-2002, 07:02 PM   #8
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GTA is on my santa list this year. I'm getting tired of playing Tiger Woods. But I definately agree that it simply isn't a game for children. The doll's house is for who the hell knows. No adult would be interested, and surely it isn't suitable for children. With video games, you only hope that the chain of responsibility starts with the Office of Film and Literature Classification, then moves onto the stores who sell these products, and lastly and probably most importantly to the parents/care givers for overall parental responsibilty.

I think parents and consumers have to ask what violence is bad, and where do you draw the line? Just last week Law and Order had a rerun on an episode that dealt with violence and its impact on the psyche etc. Point of the case was, why is Road Runner deemed less harmful than say...Carmageddon? Is it simply because we play some pretty background music, have cutesy characters and an overall lighter colour scheme? Perhaps 'everyone' knows a Road Runner and a Coyote dont really try and kill each other with enough TNT to take out a city block.
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Old 12-16-2002, 04:39 PM   #9
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make sure you also pick up the new version, GTA:vice city, GTA in 80's miami. the 80's soundtrack alone is brilliant. 9 hours worth.
how could you not love this game?
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Old 12-16-2002, 05:22 PM   #10
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i'm surprised they didn't mention all the sex in video games too?

i mean doa: extreme volleyball, due to come out next month, is catered to the 14 year old boys' sex drive.

but do i care? no. video games are rated for a reason. in reality, people shouldn't be able to rent or buy games they're too young to see, but in all actuality it's not the video game maker's fault, it's the people who sell and rent them, as others have said.

the same kids who buy gta3 probably also have bought eminem cds, which contain parental advisories, meaning you have to be 18+ to buy them.

i was able to buy those kinds of cds when i was 14! movie theatres let me into rated r movies by myself, or with my friends around the same age. it's all a matter of enforcement. i'm tired of video games, movies, and music being the scapegoat for violence.
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Old 12-16-2002, 06:08 PM   #11
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Originally posted by KhanadaRhodes
i'm surprised they didn't mention all the sex in video games too?

i mean doa: extreme volleyball, due to come out next month, is catered to the 14 year old boys' sex drive.

.
Coming soon, the real deal……….

More video games your children should not play…………


Playboy Will Enter Video Game Market
By Alex Pham
Times Staff Writer

December 12 2002

Playboy Enterprises Inc. has linked with video game publisher Arush Entertainment to produce the first mainstream title that features a Playboy theme.

The game, not due out until 2004, is expected to contain nudity.

The companies are aiming for a "mature" rating that would allow only consumers older than 17 to purchase the title, said Arush spokesman Donald Case.

Participants in the simulation game will play the role of Hugh Hefner, founder of the adult entertainment company, in managing the Playboy business.

Arush, which produced "Duke Nuken: Manhattan Project," said it would publish the Playboy game for the PC and consoles.

The deal calls for Playboy to license its trademark and help market the game in its magazines and on its Web site. It will not, however, participate in developing the game or share ownership of the title, Case said.

"This deal marks Playboy's entry into the video game category and is a significant breakthrough for us as we expand the licensing of our brand in the entertainment arena," said Alex Vaickus, head of Playboy's licensing arm.

Playboy executives say the company is looking to become more involved in producing games, particularly online games as well as console games.
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Old 12-16-2002, 06:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by KhanadaRhodes
i was able to buy those kinds of cds when i was 14! movie theatres let me into rated r movies by myself, or with my friends around the same age. it's all a matter of enforcement. i'm tired of video games, movies, and music being the scapegoat for violence.
Exactly.

Ratings are dumb, I think, be they on games or movies or shows or whatnot. It depends on the maturity level of the person playing the game or watching the movie or show or whatever-if you're mature enough to handle those games, then you should be able to play them, no matter what age you are.

Angela
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Old 12-16-2002, 06:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Moonlit_Angel


Exactly.

Ratings are dumb, I think, be they on games or movies or shows or whatnot. It depends on the maturity level of the person playing the game or watching the movie or show or whatever-if you're mature enough to handle those games, then you should be able to play them, no matter what age you are.

Angela
This assumes that a 14-year old is mature enough to make the decision. Also, the rating is designed to let everyone know (i.e., parents) about the content of the subject material.

The fact that someone does not enforce a rating is not a justification for dropping the rating.
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Old 12-22-2002, 05:22 PM   #14
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Hey, I can't wait for the upcoming KKK game to come out next year!!! I hear you get to run around in a white sheet and do some lynching, burn a few crosses, maybe even get some nigga women!! Great entertainment (and its ONLY entertainment)!

P.S. The above statement is neither true nor reflective of my racial views.
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Old 12-22-2002, 09:17 PM   #15
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Re: You can't ban the games, but.....

Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Folks, there is an enormous gap between "I played a violent game and it didn't affect me" and "violent video games do not lead to real violence".

Also, there is an enormous gap between what we are allowed to do and what we should do.

And what does it say when we argue against war, violence, guns, yet we find amusement in killing a pixilated image of a police officer?
Whoa, nbcrusader and I agreed on something...

I, too, find such games disgusting, and parents who let kids play them to be irresponsible at best. There's a big difference between a 20-something playing the game from time to time to blow off steam and a 12-year-old kid playing it because what he'd really like to do is kill his classmates.

I've heard the argument that these games let kids blow off steam, but isn't it irrational that a kid would have so much anger that it needs to be manifested in (simulated) extreme violence? That kid needs a therapist, not a video game.
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Old 12-22-2002, 09:47 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ft. Worth Frog
Hey, I can't wait for the upcoming KKK game to come out next year!!! I hear you get to run around in a white sheet and do some lynching, burn a few crosses, maybe even get some nigga women!! Great entertainment (and its ONLY entertainment)!

there already is one. you go around shooting black people in the ghetto and jewish bankers.
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Old 12-22-2002, 11:37 PM   #17
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Re: Re: You can't ban the games, but.....

Quote:
Originally posted by paxetaurora
Whoa, nbcrusader and I agreed on something...

I, too, find such games disgusting, and parents who let kids play them to be irresponsible at best. There's a big difference between a 20-something playing the game from time to time to blow off steam and a 12-year-old kid playing it because what he'd really like to do is kill his classmates.

I've heard the argument that these games let kids blow off steam, but isn't it irrational that a kid would have so much anger that it needs to be manifested in (simulated) extreme violence? That kid needs a therapist, not a video game.
I think it's unfair to say that parents who let their kids play those games are irresponsible. Again I say, I've played violent video games on occasion, as has my sister...and I don't feel my parents are "irresponsible" people.

Just because a parent lets their kid play a rather violent video game doesn't mean that parent is automatically irresponsible. Perhaps it means they trust their children, they feel they've taught them well enough to be good citizens and don't have to worry about whether or not their child will go and kill their classmates.

Most kids who play those games are not gonna feel like harming anyone after they play them. And those who do will feel that way regardless of what games they're playing.

And if a game lets a kid blow off steam, that doesn't necessarily mean they're that angry a person. They might just be a little miffed about something minor.

And nbcrusader, I think there are 14 year olds out there that could be mature enough to make a decision about whether or not they wish to play a video game. I've seen some 14 year olds that are more mature than 30 some year olds.

Plus, I'm sorry, but if a person looks at the commercials for a video game on T.V. or if they look at the box for the video game, and they see explosions and guns and all that, and they still feel they need a rating to tell them that it's gonna be a rather mature game...then they have no common sense whatsoever.

Angela
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Old 12-23-2002, 01:21 AM   #18
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Pax, going by what you said, if there IS a problem with the resulting actions of that child playing a violent video game, then nothing changes, and it IS still an issue with the child, not the parental responsibility or even the game itself. Some 14 year olds, or kids of various age groups can play these games with no adverse affects. Like Moonlit_Angel said she played them and there is nothing wrong with her or her parents for trusting that she has/had the capability to maturely play such a game. When I was young, we never really had video games. Instead my sister and I shot each other with suction cap guns and played cowboys and indians with the other kids in the street. Still exposure to violence, and no adverse affects. GTA specifically though, isn't a childrens game and it shouldn't really be accepted as one. The M rating in American standards shows that it is not recommended for anyone under the age of 17. If stores are able to sell it without repurcussions, that is part of the problem. I dont know what your equivalent is of the OFLC is, but whoever it is has a role that is not being met. Age restrictions shouldn't be a token voluntary move by the company making these games, it has to be an enforcable law that unsuitably aged people cannot buy them. If the household has a child that a responsible parent feels can handle playing such a game, then they can buy the game and monitor their child playing it. Child meaning teen. I wouldn't think these types of things are ok for anyone under the age of about 15 -17 personally.
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Old 12-23-2002, 01:43 AM   #19
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Re: Re: You can't ban the games, but.....

Quote:
Originally posted by paxetaurora


Whoa, nbcrusader and I agreed on something...

I, too, find such games disgusting, and parents who let kids play them to be irresponsible at best. There's a big difference between a 20-something playing the game from time to time to blow off steam and a 12-year-old kid playing it because what he'd really like to do is kill his classmates.

I've heard the argument that these games let kids blow off steam, but isn't it irrational that a kid would have so much anger that it needs to be manifested in (simulated) extreme violence? That kid needs a therapist, not a video game.
most 12 year old kids are VERY angry...
12 years old was, for me, seventh grade... and I'll put it this way, seventh grade was so bad I have it blocked out of my memory. Sixth and eighth grade weren't so hot either... at that age teens have the most pressure to conform/be cool/fit in/find your identity, and what happens, you hit puberty and your body decides it's now going to be the ugliest it can be. I remember a thread about teasing in some forum awhile back, and the things that were done to some people here at that age were very cruel, it's awful.
Adolescence is a very hard time for teens and they do have a lot of steam to blow off.

anyway, back on topic, I think stores do need to crack down on checking ID for violent games, kids don't need to be having sex with prostitutes in video games. I also think that any kid that goes out and kills someone because they saw it in a game had a problem with reality before they played it and that is not the fault of said game. That goes back to the checking of ID...
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Old 12-23-2002, 07:41 AM   #20
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Re: Re: Re: You can't ban the games, but.....

Quote:
I think it's unfair to say that parents who let their kids play those games are irresponsible. Again I say, I've played violent video games on occasion, as has my sister...and I don't feel my parents are "irresponsible" people.
Well, I should qualify that. There is, I will admit, a big difference between parents who generally look after their kids and feel that their kids are mature enough to play such a game and parents who plop a ten-year-old down in front of GTA for hours on end. I doubt that Moonlit_Angel will be gunning people down in the street tomorrow.

Quote:
And if a game lets a kid blow off steam, that doesn't necessarily mean they're that angry a person. They might just be a little miffed about something minor.
True enough, but still, wouldn't it be more effective for their parents/older siblings/other trusted friend and authority figure to actually sit down and talk to the kid? Doesn't this say something about our culture that we'd rather let the kid pretend to shoot people for a few hours than sit down, talk to him or her, and help him or her work out those problems? As Kristie pointed out, 12-year-olds ARE angry--and she's right. I'm not that old; I remember what it was like to be 12 and 13. I used to come home every day from school and listen to Alanis Morrissette's Jagged Little Pill and throw things and cry. But that in itself, while helpful, was not a solution. I was lucky my mom, my grandparents, my friends, and others picked up on how upset and stressed out I was and came to help me.

I suppose what makes me angry are not the games themselves, but our culture of irresponsibility that would, in fact, let *young* children (no matter how ill-equipped) purchase and play such games. I don't believe in censorship, and I agree that ratings probably don't help. This problem is bigger; the games are a symptom, not the problem itself.
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