April 12th, 2006

Cultural Fear & Loathing Not Just Directed at Video Games

Let's face it, there will be no truce in the culture war currently being waged against video games until the fault-finders, fear-mongers, and cultural conservatives are distracted by some horrible new pastime they deem likely to corrupt and poison our children.

While the anti-game rants of Jack Thompson, Dave Grossman and Sen. Joe Lieberman may leave you cold, the demonization of entertainment is nothing new. Wired has compiled a list of quotes from the last few hundred years which demonstrate silly cultural dread of popular entertainment. Books, music, movies...they've all been in the cross hairs at one time or another.

"The free access which many young people have to romances, novels, and plays has poisoned the mind and corrupted the morals of many a promising youth; and prevented others from improving their minds in useful knowledge," said Reverend Enos Hitchcock back in 1790.

"The indecent foreign dance called the Waltz was introduced... So long as this obscene display was confined to prostitutes and adulteresses, we did not think it deserving of notice; but now that it is...forced on the respectable classes of society by the evil example of their superiors, we feel it a duty to warn every parent against exposing his daughter to so fatal a contagion." - The Times of London, 1816

Check out the rest of the quotes and see just how far we've come.

-Reporting from San Diego, thoroughly corrupted GP Correspondent Andrew Eisen

Wear Your Trench Coat, Slip into "Adults Only" Section to Buy Games

Will Halo and Battlefield 2 need to be placed in some seedy "Adults Only" section of video game stores?

That seems possible, based on new legislation in Western Australia. There, the state parliament has re-tooled its Censorship Act,and the results are a bit frightening. As reported by ABC News, the state's Government's Censorship Amendment Bill makes it a crime to sell or rent MA-15-rated games to minors.

Both the Liberal and Green parties collaborated in passing the measure. Legislator Barbara Scott said of the new law, "At the moment, a child can go in (to a game shop) with their care taker or babysitter or parent. There's no problem with that person, an adult hiring (an MA-15 game) or buying it, but this measure will now at least make that adult be aware that the contents are not appropriate for young children."

Regarding a requirement to segregate MA15 games, Aussie GP'er Alex Morris told us, "As far as I'm aware this is unprecedented in Australia. It's a bit of a tough deal for retailers like EB, who like discounting stuff heavily and throwing lots copies of the same game on tables for customers to browse. That won't be possible any more."

Violations can result in a fine of up to $5,000.