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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Burnout Ad Banned ... And Nicole Kidman

Apparently EA is in trouble for releasing a Burnout Dominator ad with the slogan "inner peace through outer violence." I tried to snag a full sized version of the poster off the Guardian, but after registering for their media site the image was no longer on the server. Clever Brits.

I think it's interesting that the fuss is over advocating violence and EA's response as, well, to stick by the ad. To assert that maybe it does relieve tension to smash cars around in the virtual world. While that concept might run counter to the "playing forty hours of Halo might make your kid misbehave" science - I wonder how the real facts on it play out. Perhaps acts of aggression do calm us down in the long run. Surely there's a reason why football was invented in the first place, right?

On the flip side, the Guardian also points out a recent Nintendo ad with Nicole Kidman. Sorry, link will not send you to said ad. This might be it on YouTube, but I can't hit it right now to find out. I agree with Keith that it's a brilliant advert, and a stark comparison to Sony's "no really, we have cartoon street cred" approach.

Although that said I think the ad for PS3 with Motorstorm in it was pretty sweet.


jvm said...

I think this is one of those things I should have posted about already, but I keep forgetting.

There is a dude on one of the or gametheory podcasts who basically says "yes, violence in games increases aggression". However -- and it's been weeks since I heard this so I might muddle the details -- the effects is very, very small and most people don't manifest violence outside of the games. (Note: I'm making aggression out to be the feeling and violence to be the action. The presence of the former doesn't imply that the latter is inevitable, blah blah blah.)

It's like coming out of a great action movie at the theater. You'll see kids jumping and play fighting and holding up a hand in the shape of a gun and shooting a friend with imaginary bullets -- that's aggression and the mildest of violence. Watching the movie caused it. But the effect is very, very small and lasts for a very short time.

Games do the same thing and there's an academic on that podcast (somewhere) confirming this and saying "yes, it happens, but no it is not a problem".

jvm said...

To finish...

And I think that's the line I'm ready to take.

Yes, games affect people and their feelings -- which is in part why they exist. Good games affect people more deeply, on purpose.

No, there is no evidence that games affect people any more than other media, but we should keep studying it.

Josh said...

Exactly. From my understanding the science shows that interactive media might be a factor, but is not an overwhelming one, in the increase of aggression and misbehavior in kids, particularly young ones.

I don't really doubt that playing video games of virtually any kind, and certainly those with material kids aren't old enough to grasp, in marathon sessions might not be the healthiest thing for a nine year old.

However, as you say, I refuse to believe that is a reason the kid will become a robber, killer or runaway car driver. It just does not happen. Games do not brainwash people.

GregT said...

Oh, no, in this case the "won't somebody think of the children" crowd are totally right. Playing Burnout Dominator will totally make you want to do interesting things with firearms to unsuspecting civilians. My first clue to that game was that it was selling for half price on release day, and a second should have been that it had no less than six Avril Lavigne remixes on the soundtrack, all of the same song, but it wasn't until I made it past the offensively long load times and into the stripped down gameplay and unappealing graphics that I truly appreciated the error of my ways and began casting around for bullets to mail to EA executives. Someone needs to tell those guys that when you drive a franchise into a wall at over 100mph it doesn't respawn with a rolling start.

Josh said...

..."no less than six Avril Lavigne remixes on the soundtrack, all of the same song"...

Oh nuts, so not only will I want to drive real fast, but I might marry some emo punk kid? Ban it quick.