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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Those Quick Couple Interviews

I thought in honor of the upcoming carnival that I would point back to the interviews with Jeff and Andrew, since there is no way to choose between the two of them to highlight.

First up was Andrew Bub, GamerDad, who brought to bear years of reviewing games and being a parent onto the industry:

What I don’t like is the disparity between TV and movie ratings, and videogames. Movies aimed at 13 year olds are FAR more violent than most videogames; more violent than Halo, for example. Y7 is the TV rating that says gunplay is okay for kids so long as it’s animated and nobody dies, but games get a T-Teen if a gun makes an appearance. I think the inconsistency between the ratings can be confusing to parents. Then there’s the other line in the sand – blood. Medal of Honor from EA is rated Teen despite having an extensive D-Day recreation that’s truly horrifying. It’s T because they removed the blood. Meanwhile the body count in a shooter like Halo 2 is much lower, but there’s purple blood. Blood = M. Violence does not. The ESRB has to do things this way, there are so many games released, but I’m not in favor of “line in the sand” ratings. I believe parents deserve as much information as possible. GamerDad isn’t an attempt to replace the ESRB – we’re here to enhance it.
-- Interview with a GamerDad

Then we had Jeff Freeman, SOE Developer, who has been fighting this kind of culture war since the days of D&D:

Sure there's a similarity: it's a futile attempt because no one is listening.

If parents believed that violent video games were bad for their kids (and not just, you know, other people's kids), they'd stop letting them play them and that'd be the end of it.

One the one side, you have people yelling how bad games are and grasping at anything they can find to hold up and say, "See! I told you so!"

And on the other side you have – I guess – some people saying that those people are wrong.

But the parents aren't even listening to this debate. Kids still play rated-M games. Somehow they're able to play for hours and hours and hours without their parents knowing about it. And what, the store clerk should have stopped them? (Like, "I can't stop my little children from playing 37 hours a week of Baby-Killer 3, because I don't understand this little letter on the box it came in!").
-- Jeff Freeman, SOE Developer and Parent

I have tried to get people on the other side of the fence to talk - but none of them have even bothered to respond. People with some actual research like Walsh and Anderson seem to be more interested in talking with nutjobs like Thompson - who from every account is completely belligerent to anyone who doesn't have a video camera - than with the people they're supposedly engaged with. So to those people I guess I'd say - it's hard to have a real debate when you won't come to the podium.

p.s. ... remember, the COGIV puzzle is unsolved still, so one can win some swag

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