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| How to Protect Gaming (2 comments )|
by: DoomCupid (6) | Posted in cluster FiringSquad Editors Challenge Round 1 Prelim 1
Posted 76 months ago in category DEFAULT
Jack Thompson's job is too easy.
Since he sees gaming as a protoplasmic entity, all he does his point out how ghastly a creature it is. Some politicians listen and help him get out the pitchforks and torches.
The problem is that in his mind, he isn't doing anything other than protecting people from a horrible monster that's sneaking into their homes. For gamers, the stakes are pretty high. If he wins, we all lose.
If we go back in time to the early 20th century, we see film going through the same challenges. Local censor boards chopped up movies to fit their standards. No protections were afforded. Mores were different, too, as you notice when you discover that The Birth of a Nation, one of the more racist movies ever created is considered a landmark achievement.
If you layer that over today, we are a little better off in some ways, a little worse off in others. On the one hand, between then and now, protected speech has been given a definition. That isn't to say it can't be changed, but the courts have given us all a good idea what the boundaries are. On the other hand, society in general was much more racist in 1920 than it is today, so D.W. Griffiths could get by with more. Today many people are hypersensitive to violence, so a game like Grand Theft Auto will automatically be on the radar and people will be after it.
How do you combat this problem? First, we need to mobilize and make sure we stand up for our rights. You have the ESA doing things, but that's an industry lobby. Politicians know that the software industry thinks what it is doing is fine. We have to stand up and say, as Americans, that we recognize that games are protected speech. Politicians that don't believe us need to be voted out. Pay attention and in '08 vote against the game censorship candidate.
Next, we have to hold our games to a higher standard. Crap games water down our argument. GTA is an achievement. Aquaman was not. If a game can elevate the genre, we need to make it a hit. The more successful the artful games are, the better off our position is. Look at Gears of War...it has plenty of violence, but the outcry isn't there because it's amazingly well done and the public recognized it.
Finally, there needs to be a gaming version of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. The CBLDF is funded by donations from regular people like you and me. Sure, I imagine there are corporate donations, but generally speaking, they are pretty grassroots. You can see heads of the organization at comic conventions. It gives consumers a group to rally around and a way to monitor progress on the issue. It also gives a focal point for the elite in the comic industry to rally around. Neil Gaiman didn't forget it when he transitioned to mainly a prose author. He still does things to benefit the fund and by doing that, he brings attention to another nascent art form that's in danger. For gaming, imagine if someone like Cliffy B reminded people that gaming is an art in every interview he did with a mainstream magazine. The more it gets said, the more it gets added to the public consciousness.
These are just three things I see that need doing. Together we can come up with others and implement a plan that will protect our games from over-zealous politicians and their ilk.
|2 User Comment(s) • 2 root comment(s)|
| DoomCupid (6) Feb 10, 2007 - 01:33 pm|
|He has, but for some reason, politicians at the national level still pay attention to him. When he finally implodes, someone else will rise to take his place.|
That's why we have to be on top of things, especially when public figures like Roger Ebert say games aren't art.
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