Whose fault: The uncomfortable debate on video games and children

Screenshot from Grand Theft Auto 3. The game has been the topic of fierce criticism, and often blamed for driving children to violent behavior. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROCKSTAR GAMES.

By Alexander Leach

This blog post is about video games and the effects on children.

There, maybe that’ll make it easier to write.

I really, really would rather not write this blog post. The entire discourse about the effects of video games on children starts to veer into the ‘vaccines cause autism’ territory in terms of spurious logic and scapegoating and just plain yelling. However, it’s something that has to be addressed, because lawmakers and politicians keep making it an important issue.

With Oklahoma shooting down a proposed tax on violent video games, and the Red Cross debating whether video games should fall under the Geneva Convention, there is still a lobby saying that video games are destructive influences on children, exposing them to thoughtless violence, sex, and glorification of drugs, or whatever else they’re going to fixate on.
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Activision resolves blacklist debacle with journalist

By Alexander Leach

Warning: Some links may contain French. And not the Quebec kind. They are included for the sake of reference, along with the English articles I found them through.

Just last week, we saw resolution to a little incident where Activision purported blacklisted a news site for reporting on a possible Black Ops 2. The site said that a leaked video showed hints of the new game. According to Kotaku’s interview with the journalist, Activision threatened to blacklist the site and withdraw invitations to events.
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Humber Et Cetera Watch: Call of Duty drags video games down

As mentioned in the first post, this blog is associated with the Humber Et Cetera, the campus newspaper written and produced by journalism students.

One of the opinion-editorial pieces in this week’s publication was on Call of Duty and its effect on the gaming industry, written by sports editor Jacob Gallo.

As we demand the video game monopoly for the Et Cetera, we’re posting the link here:

http://humberetc.com/2012/02/16/call-of-duty-drags-video-games-down/

Going forward, we’ll be posting each week where a video game or other gaming-relevant article is published online. This could be as many links as are present.

Stay tuned, and keep gaming.

Object to protect: Elizabeth in Bioshock Infinite

Illustration of Bioshock Infinite's Elizabeth. PHOTO COURTESY OF BIOSHOCK INFINITE WEBSITE

By Alexander Leach

We’ve all seen the Bioshock Infinite trailers; the series is coming out of the sea and objectivism and into the sky with American exceptionalism. Most interestingly, the main character, Booker DeWitt, isn’t the standard silent protagonist of the Bioshock (and System Shock) games; he talks, to those around him, and to his companion and ward, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth is the one I want to talk about today. Namely, her characterization.

Some person with a lot more time and a much larger grasp of feminist theory than I should write a long, detailed thesis on this character. I can’t help but feel that I, with my laissez-faire attitude to gender roles, am not quite providing all the discussion possible. So when something does jump out at me, it’s got to be pretty significant.
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Double Fine surpasses goal on Kickstarter

By Scott Dixon

In the span of the last five days, Tim Schafer and his odd-ball crew at Double Fine have raised over $1.6 million from community donators to release a new point-and-click adventure game.

All done through the community driven funding site Kickstarter, Double Fine originally gave itself until March 13 to raise a mere $400,000. This amount was achieved in the initial eight hours of the event, and less than 24 hours later they reached 1 million.

Once production starts, the yet-to-be-named title is looking for an October 2012 release. Tim Schafer will be working with a smaller-than-usual development team, and will be updating all backers through a private forum where game mechanics and problems will be discussed and solved collaboratively.
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