|No more CC letters, and the people
rejoice! - September
28, 2000 - Chris Jones
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed
within this column are those of the participants and the
moderator, and do not necessarily reflect those of the
GIA. There is coarse language and potentially offensive
material afoot. I wish it were time for Cheers, but it's not; it's time
Don't say we didn't warn you.
True story: I'm sitting in my lab section today, waiting for a
student to ask a programming question or something. To pass the
time, I'm playing Tetris, and a fellow TA is sitting across from me
and writing computer code. So to strike up a conversation to pass
the time, I say,
"So who's funnier, Rodney Dangerfield or Thomas Pynchon?"
He thinks a moment and replies,
"Why do you say that?"
"You don't know who Thomas Pynchon is?"
"No, of course I know who Thomas Pynchon is. He was Balki on Perfect
I dunno, maybe you had to be there, but that's the funniest damn thing
I've heard all year.
|You might not go psycho
I fail to see what is wrong with marketing to kids. Unlike tobacco
(which is bad for anyone, but in a free society, should be an option
availiable to adults) videogames are not neccessarity corrosive to one's
well being. Some kids can handle violence, some kids can't. That
determination should be made by parents, who are ideally situated to be
gatekeepers to their children. When I was a kid I saw commercials for
R-rated movies, and and partly as a consequence, wanted to see those
My parents, using what they knew about the movies, and what they knew
about me, took me to see only the movies they deemed appropriate. Now the
government, which arbitrarity decides what is appropriate for entire age
groups (and believes that eighteen year olds are markedly more mature than
seventeen year olds) wants the media to market only to 'appropriate' age
groups. I think this is part of a troubling trend, where government aids and
abets parental abdication of responsibility. I cannot understand why people
have kids if they do not have or are not willing to invest the effort it
takes to raise one properly. I do not think it is right or fair for the
goverment to force the media to become a surrogate parent because a child's
real parents cannot be bothered.
PS - Chris, if you're looking for an rpg, pick up Ogre Battle, not PE2.
Personally, I am a big fan of survival horror games (I've played the RE
series, Fear Effect and Silent Hill) and I thought PE2 was a strong entry
into the genre. While it doesn't reinvent the wheel, the targetting system
is an clever refinement of the standard survival horror combat system, the
weapon selection is large and extremely varied, and the character design is
brilliant (Aya is more gorgeous than ever and her enemies are uglier than
ever). The only glaring flaw I can think of is the lack of voice acting
(although the writing is pretty decent). Rather than being a mixture of
survival horror and rpgs (as in PE1), PE2 is Square's take on survival
As much as anything, that's why I find this debate a bit
upsetting - the assumption seems to have already been made that minors
can't differentiate right and wrong, that not only can't kids handle
violence but that if they see any advertising for violent
games, they've got to play them. It's a rather one sided conversation, to
say the least.
At the same time, parents can't possibly be everywhere, no matter
how committed they are. I didn't want my parents around me 24/7 when I
was a teenager, and they respected that. But they would have had to
be around 24/7 to stop me from seeing an R movie or playing a violent
game. That said, maybe it's not a bad idea to have some kind of
|I always puke when I'm
|Well, I don't know what it's like in the US, but over here, almost noone
save adolescents goes to gaming arcades. Two of the seminal games when I was
growing up were Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat. Both targetted at
adolescents, both highly successful (in fact, SF2 is what sold the SNES over
here, basically) and both very violent. Mortal Kombat featured decapitions,
heart removals, oceans of blood (the "stuck pig" syndrome), SF2 more
cartoonishly violent, but let's face it, most characters responded to a gut
punch by puking. Yuck. Unsure how much these contributed to the "Yob
culture", which appeared to be entrenched beforehand, but it's still quite
Mortal Kombat was just dumb, as far as I'm concerned. Frankly I
don't have a problem with really violent games being highly regulated,
the problem comes with the arbitrary way M ratings are tossed around.
Soul Calibur features numerous scenes where people are run through
with large swords, but it's a Teen game because there's no blood.
MGS for the GBC has a hero who goes around breaking people's necks, but
gets a mild rating. If there was a clearer idea of what we're being
protected from, it might be easier to swallow this stuff.
|I'm gonna need an ID before I let you walk out of
here with that Pokemon, son...
|You know, you should have let this one go.
It's pretty simple. Resident Evil (for example) has an M rating. Return of
the Living Dead (to use a comparable example) has an R rating. If you want
to rent an R-rated movie, you need ID or an adult to rent it for you. Same
thing (should) go for an M-rated videogame. Some video stores don't check ID
for movies. Most do. Few (currently) check ID for videogames. And that's
really the problem. If the rating system isn't enforced, then it's
worthless. At that point, the pressure will be on for government regulation
because self-regualtion doesn't work. And that will suck. Just ask gamers in
Europe, particularly Germany.
As for nailing Square and id, I think that's way off base. Videogames are
like movies, not like tobacco or alcohol. They are marketed to teenagers (or
lower - "Pika, pika!"), but so is everything else. Who do you think is the
demographic target for "Scream" and all those other slasher flicks?
Orin (who remembers being ID'd trying to see the Twin Peaks movie)
So what are you saying here? The rating system can't be enforced,
there's no other solution, so we're all gonna end up without any mature
content in games at all? Man, what kind of attitude is that? Keep
thinking that way and we'll end up with nothing but Mario.
Besides, the only time I've ever seen any kind of violent game
marketed towards kids was when Resident Evil commercials were shown
during The Simpsons, and that was years ago. I still want to know where
this image of Pikachu pimping Quake is coming from.
|Curse of the threes
|Hello Chris, you basterd.
I have a totally unrelated question (I mock your suggested topic! ::mock,
mock mock::), I was at the arcade today, and I decided to play Tekken Tag,
and Tekken 3. I'm not Tekkens hugest fan, in fact before today, I'd never
even played through a game of Tekken, or even beat anyone who was even
vaguely good at it. But today I practiced a bit on T3 (losing almost
perfectly in every second match) before moving over to the TTT machine and
watching other people play. This one guy beat the game with Lei and Hwoarang,
and then beat 5 other decent players before I stepped up to play. I chose
Hwoarang and Law, and beat the guy easily, I thought I got lucky, and I
wanted to leave before he could give me what for, but then he put another 50
cents in, and I beat him again. Then he left and I fought through 2 other
guys, winning easily each time. What the hell is happening to me? Maybe I
need to have that "talk" with my Dad about becoming a man or whatever.
I guess I need something intelligent game related right? Is it just
coincidence that NES had 3 main Final Fantasies, SNES had 3 plus Mystic
Quest, PSX has 3 plus Tactics, Gameboy has 3 Legend games plus Adventure, and
Wonderswan (will) have the 3 NES FF's, plus the first SNES FF (4)? Or is it a
deliberate pattern designed to confuse me?
P.S. I play my handheld games on a Neo Geo Pocket Color, and that's the way I
Dunno much about Tekken, except even someone pushing buttons
randomly has to win sooner or later.
I'm glad you bought the Final Fantasy thing up, because I've
personally never bought into this theory that even FFs are story
oriented and odd FFs are system oriented. It's pretty bloody obvious
that FFs are designed around putting three games on a system - the
first a more standard FF as developers adjust to the system, the second
an experimental FF, as the programmers branch out, and the third a
showpiece as the programmers show off their mastery of the system.
Take a look at FF 4 and 7, 5 and 8, and 6 and 9, and tell me it's not
true. Even what we know of FF X and XI seems to back this up, although
FF 11 may be a bit more of a change than we're used to.
|Disjointed but true
|Ok this is kinda disjointed and such but I think it
gets my point accross.
I fail to see the basis of the current situation, as least in contex of how
much can a minor see, etc. For one, most gamers (ages 18-21 or so is our average
age if memeory serves me correctly), are NOT minors, so it makes no sense that
gaming companies would try to target a group that is small percentage of their
income, and who usually cannot buy their games anyways. No money there, and that
is what it is all about. Also, if memory serves me correctly don't they already
have those little ratings in the corner? M for mature, T for teen, etc. Also,
considering what most people in their pre-teen/teenage years at school, TV, or
anything is already beyond what is in most video games, at least in where I live
(burbs/city). If parents bother to look at the games they are buying they should
have a fairly decent idea of what is int hem, and what constitues the rating if they watch their kids play.
As for making violent games that are targetted to minors, I see nothing.
Unless you consider the seemingly ONLY game targetted to really young kids,
Pokemon *silently wretches* violent, insomuch as you have comepletely unrealistic
looking thingies fighting, well, if that is too violent I don't even know why
your kids have a system. Unless you are restricted to tetris and the like puzzle games there are _no_ games I can think of that do not contain some violence. Besides, we had MK at about 12 or 13ish and we turned out fine didn't we?
Efrate, eyes bleeding from staring at his computer and console screen for the past 4 weeks.
Dead on, amigo, I got nothing to add. Hope your eyes stop bleeding
soon, because that can't be pleasant.
|That's Power... M-16
| I've been reading some of the statements made, and while some are based
on facts, many are, in my opinion, just made to line their political coffers.
For instance, yes, it is true that Nintendo has made games using plastic
M16s for the United States Army, then porting it to the arcade, and yes, it
is true that Doom was liscensed to the United States Marine Corp and made its
way into America's homes, but you must realize that the role of the
Government is not to try to play parent to every family in America. That's
what parents are for.
In my opinion, there is no visible correlation between "Columbine kids"
and video games. Fowever, there is a direct correlation between "CK"s and
guns. 100%, or +1 in correlation terms, of massacres involved such firearms.
People have been complaining about how Freedom of Speech is such an
impediment to this, and that the industry can continue to do what it wants.
Technically, that is true. However, maybe we should think about cutting back
on the Second Amendment. Firearms are getting a bit too commonplace in
America, INHO. But I digress.
As far as whether video game companies have marketed to minors, it's a
non-issue to me. Anyone who thoroughly read the expose released by IGN.com
about a month ago would have noticed the line in the report that Nintendo,
Sony, and several others "admitted marketing software of questionable content
to minors, specifically those under fifteen years of age." That settles it
for me. In my opinion, this will all calm down when the first generation of
gamers, i.e., those who have co-existed with them since birth, and by that I
don't mean Pong, I mean Super Mario Brothers and beyond, will hopefully know
what their kids should and should not be getting their hands on.
Hoping this letter doesn't ruin his chances of getting into the FBI in the
For those of you wishing to delve further into this topic, I suggest you use
the following links:
(search for video game violence)
The problem with parents knowing what is and isn't proper to play,
even when those parents are gamers themselves, is that things change
faster than people are aware. There was nothing even remotely like The
Matrix when my dad was my age, so how was he supposed to know how
violent it was capable of being? Or how gruesome Silent Hill is? I don't see any signs of the rate of
change slowing down, which means that my kids may someday play stuff
that'd turn my hair white, even now. At some point you'd think it'd
have to stop, but chances are, you'd be wrong.
|MGS is kid stuff?
|I wonder- if certain games may no longer be marketed
to kids, does that mean games are no longer viewed as "kids
Oh, wait. The reason they can't be marketed to kids is their focus on pointless
violence. So much for that.
In other news, I'd be satisfied if a game reached the level of The Lord of the
Rings. Personally, I think the whole action-driven nature of games makes it
hard for them to do even that.
You don't think LotR is the literary equivalent of Dragon
Quest? It's a great series, no question, but there's not a lot of
debate that action's not a big part of the attraction.
Between this and the announcement that MGS2 will not be a
Playstation exclusive, I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever get a PS2.
I probably will, if only for Final Fantasy, but man this thing's
overhyped. The pleasant squat shape of my Dreamcast looks better and
better as time goes by, and if anyone told me to pay up in full on a
system today, I'd tell them what they could do with their preorder.
My responses may not show it, but I'm much chilled out since
catching up on all my work. I can kick back this weekend and get
Dewprism out of the way, or maybe just wander around El Nido some more.
Meantime, free topic Friday, so send whatever you want to talk
about. I'm goin' to bed. Later.
-Chris Jones, wants to see
Nintendo market a Pokemon/Fight Club crossover