Ahh Fox News, your bias view on the gaming industry are always good for a rant. I will try to make this as short as possible, but some of my rant this time is not for Fox (though the bulk of it will be) but some gamers as well.
This week they released yet another deliberately provocative article about gaming to match whatever agenda it is that they have against them. Their target this time Epic Games upcoming shooter, BulletStorm, which they have quite impressively labelled as ‘The Worst Game in the World’. (Source)
They have their usual bee in the bonnet that games are going to warp kids minds, turn them all into sadistic psychopathic rapists & destroy civilization as we know it. Ok..so I’m exaggerating their views a little but probably not by much.
Their argument this time was that the game has named some of its kill shots after things of a sexual nature. For example, Kill Streaks are called ‘Gang Bangs’, Cutting a player in half is Labelled ‘Topless’.
They make their stance based on the fact that ‘Kids as your as 9 are playing these games’.
Here is my first fault with the article. If Kids the age of 9 are playing BulletStorm, then that’s not the fault of the game or its developer but piss poor parenting. The game itself has been rated as M (which in the American system is 17+) which means that to even get hold it to play, someone has had to disregard that rating and buy it for their kids anyway.
On top of that lack of access to the store, ALL of the consoles have parental controls built in. If you are a parent and you have not turn them on, then why not? They are there to protect your kids while still allowing you to play the games you enjoy.
This argument is just as valid for DVD’s with adult themes, books with explicit topics, it is the duty of the parent to protect their children from stuff that is not appropriate for them. Hell even the bloody news itself is something that I will personally be making sure my kids don’t get to see till I feel they are a proper age, even the most moderate and sensible of news channels is still far too violent for young kids in my mind.
But the main issue with this whole article has got far more notice than normal for a simple statement made made by one of their so-called experts.
‘Media psychiatrist’ Carole Lieberman apparently had the following to say one the subject
The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in videogames
I won’t get into the thing of asking what the fuck a ‘Media psychiatrist’ because its not her I want to rant about now. She is clearly just another self absorbed self promoter who will put her name to anything that even remotely fits whatever the hell piece of crap she flogs and I refuse to help in that.
No, what I want to rant about is the reaction that some gamers have taken too that statement. Aside from the usual ranting in the comments sections of gaming news sites that have picked it up and rerun it, this time a small group of gamers have gone further.
Today I found out that she has been the victim of what is known as ‘AmazonBombing’. (Source) For those of you who do not know what that is, basically it involves groups of people going to Amazon, finding one of the targets products and then deliberately obliterating the rating of the product by adding false reviews.
On top of that they have sent her streams of angry emails, one such email was this:
I played Bulletstorm demo, and like I felt I need to rape someone. So I went into this kind of deep trance, which caused me to rape 10, 15 years-old girl. [sic] What do I do now? The game made me do it. Please help me. By the way, you look like a fucking deadbeat pornstar. Yours truly, JohnnyMassiveHomoCunt OMG LOL my shift broke. P.S. Playing Mass Effect gave me a sudden need to shoot you in the head. Would you please come here so I can fulfill my needs?
Now I can completely understand being angry about the article itself, hell the first time I heard about it I had a good old rant with the guys in the office about how bias TV news is against gaming.
However all the amazonbombing and angry emails are just outright taking it too far. Their argument is that the violence in video games makes us more aggressive, so how do we choose counter their unfounded point? Oh yeah by going about aggressively and systematically attacking the person who made the statement, as well as trying to detriment their livelihood.
I’m sorry but in my world this is called bullying, there is nothing to justify it ever and it just adds fuel to the fire on their side of the argument. Mark me on this, the next time this woman is called upon to give comment on violent video games, these events will be used as an example to prove her point
So, what should we be doing instead? Obviously we can’t just sit back and accept false stereotyping.
Well what we need to be doing is exactly what RockPaperShotgun & Kotaku did and calmly and fairly opening a discussion about the article in question, to make sure that our side of the argument was heard. Also both worked out that nobody in the article had been quoted correctly, what they had said was twisted to fit Fox’s agenda.
For RockPaperShotgun, they tried to contact all the people quoted in the article, by the time I started this rant they had only manage to get hold of the industry expert from M2 research, who had been made to seem like he was saying Bulletstorm would flop because of its excessive violence.
What they found out when they spoke to him was that the quote that had been used had been cherry-picked to match the articles needs, and without the context of what had been said before it had played right into Fox’s agenda. The expert even when as far as to share exactly what he sent to Fox, which gave us a great insight into the bias weighting of the questions themselves. (Source)
Kotaku actually managed to get hold of Carole Lieberman, who in a phone interview explained that that her words had been altered changing the context slightly. While she still firmly believes that gaming has a negative effect on us, and what she actually said was not far off what was quoted, I am willing to give her more time because she was willing to talk to a gaming news site to try and justify her standpoint. (Source)
But the point is this, getting all pissed off because someone made an uneducated statement about how gaming is bad for us is only helping to prove their argument. What we need to do is more regularly and thoroughly holding these people to account.
When they say that ‘research has proven’ calmly request information on that research so we can check it out for ourselves, when they make an unqualified claim point out that they have not backed it up. By taking these people on at the intellectual level, I believe we will absolutely destroy their arguments in no time at all.