Monday, July 25, 2005

Hot Coffee

Anyone who pays attention to gaming will be aware of the "Hot Coffee" debacle. Greg Costikyan has some good thoughts, and as usual, the discussion at Game Girl Advance is excellent (see also here and here). Now that the ESRB has made its ruling, I consider the matter over, though there are several wider implications that have yet to be resolved (modding for instance).

In any case, I just read a nice (and somewhat sarcastic) editorial piece over at "There's Sex In My Violence! What's this lame soft-core porn doing in my ultraviolent 'Grand Theft Auto'? I am outraged!" Here's some choice bits:

Suddenly that downloadable patch you installed last night kicks in and there's, like, a lame and badly animated sex scene, right there, right between the graphic bloody part where you bazooka'd the police helicopter and the part where the gang-banger gets his lame ass beaten with a large handgun, and suddenly you're like, what the hell? Who stuck this lame badly animated sex in here? Where'd my soul-numbing ultraviolent racism go? I am outraged.

But the piece makes a more global connection:

Meanwhile, just down America's street, countless thousands of young U.S. soldiers are hobbling home from Iraq and Afghanistan, wounded and disabled and limbless and traumatized to the bone, eyes deadened to the world and permanently scarred to their cores and in interviews and documentaries and various news stories you often hear many of them say this one weirdly similar thing.


This is what they say: Oh man, you know what it reminded me of? You know what it was like over there, what with all the killing and the violence and the guns? It was just like, well, it was just like a video game.

UPDATE: Stephen Johnson weighs in elloquently. His op ed in the LA Times includes gems like "The national carjacking rate has dropped substantially since 'Grand Theft Auto' came out" and zingers like this:

Dear Sen. Clinton:

I'm writing to commend you for calling for a $90-million study on the effects of video games on children, and in particular the courageous stand you have taken in recent weeks against the notorious "Grand Theft Auto" series.

I'd like to draw your attention to another game whose nonstop violence and hostility has captured the attention of millions of kids — a game that instills aggressive thoughts in the minds of its players, some of whom have gone on to commit real-world acts of violence and sexual assault after playing.

I'm talking, of course, about high school football.



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