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Game Politics
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REAL Debates on Games (hint: they don't include you-know-who)

If the recent disappointing Attack of the Show debate between Jack Thompson, G4's Adam Sessler and GameDaily's Mark Friedler left you yearning for some real give-and-take, I've got some suggestions.

Would you like to hear a lively debate that lasts more than eight minutes, involves in-depth discussion of game-related issues, and features speakers who are eloquent and well-mannered? Well, thanks to Gamasutra, now you can.

Available as part of a series of weekly podcasts alternating between original Gamasutra content and Game Developers Conference recordings, readers can download last March's Murder, Sex and Censorship: Debating the Morals of Creative Freedom panel. As reported by GamePolitics, the lively discussion, moderated by the IGDA's Sex SIG chair Brenda Brathwaite, featured IGDA Executive Director Jason Della Rocca, California Assemblyman Leland Yee, architect of his state's controversial video game law, and author James Gee (What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy).

I'd also like to recommend you check out a debate originally planned to take place between Della Rocca and the National Institute on Media and the Family's David Walsh, a leading critic of games and the game industry. Brenda Brathwaite's superb Sex & Games blog brought the event to our attention. Video Games: Content and Responsibility was a panel held recently at Siggraph. Some very nice recaps can be found at Gamasutra and CNET News. As it turns out, Walsh couldn't make it and was replaced by the University of California's Elizabeth Losh (pictured).

Who?

I wasn't familiar with the name either, so I did a bit of checking and found that Losh is the Writing Director of the Humanities Core Course at U.C. Irvine as well as the voice behind the VirtualPolitik blog, where she also wrote about her experience on the Siggraph panel.

"I don't have any moralistic objections to videogames, so it was interesting to be the designated skeptic," Losh commented, going on to detail a few of the issues she raised at the panel. Among those:

  • Educational video games are no replacement for real live teachers.
  • Government-funded games used for education and training of the military are often designed to show the media something is being done about the problem (like poor Arabic skills or poor IED spotting) rather than solve it.
  • Kids can't exercise their creativity in games as well as they can in real life. So, put down Guitar Hero and learn to play the real thing.

    The following day, Losh quipped that because she had been chosen to stand in for Walsh, she felt qualified to make her own list of cyber-safety tips.

    • Play video games with your children
    • Talk to your kids about game politics (AE: I can think of a great resource.)
    • Distrust ratings and do your own research on the appropriateness of a game or film
    • Keep the family computer in a public space of your home
    • Set boundaries on media use


    -Reporting from San Diego, GP Correspondent Andrew Eisen swears he only reads the Sex & Games blog for the articles

Tags: brenda brathwaite, debates, elizabeth losh, jason della rocca, leland yee, siggraph
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