How Fox Morning Show Sensationalized the Halo-in-Church Issue

October 19, 2007 -
Earlier this week GamePolitics was highly critical of an appearance by Dr. Susan Bartell on Fox's The Morning Show with Mike & Juliet.

Bartell, a psychologist and author, ripped violent video games in general and Halo 3 in particular. Putting it mildly, we took issue with her comments. (see: Who is This Person & Why is She Saying These Awful Things About Halo 3?)

Apparently, GamePolitics readers flooded Dr. Bartell's e-mail with protests following our coverage. A dialogue of sorts developed between the good doctor and longtime GP reader Hayabusa75. Eventually, this led to my own correspondence with the psychologist.

Dr. Bartell was gracious, especially considering the cirumstances. I learned that she does quite a bit of TV. Fox, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC - she's been on all of them multiple times. She's written four books and does a good bit of public speaking.

That being said, I was fascinated - and concerned - by what she told me about how the Halo-in-church discussion went down. If you haven't seen it, watch the clip:



Here are some excerpts from e-mails between myself and Dr. Bartell:
GP:  One thing I found especially concerning... was [an e-mail] comment that you only saw the [Indiana University] brain scan pix five minutes before air [of The Morning Show]. That being the case, do you think it appropriate to go on and offer a professional opinion based on the scans to the audience?

Dr. Bartell: That's the way it is with TV -- it's just not a black and white thing. I am genuinely sorry that it caused such a sense that I was being so disrespectful [to gamers]. The scans aside I stand by my opinion that violent games should not be played by teens... As to whether I should have responded to the scans -- my intent was going on air to discuss whether the church should be holding Halo nights, clearly that was derailed.

GP: In all honesty, I’m having difficulty reconciling “that’s the way it is with TV” to responsible professionalism. It smacks of sensationalism. Just being candid here.

Dr. Bartell: I can understand how you feel... there is an element of sensationalism to it I suppose, but no less, IMO than all the hoopla created by the GP posters in response to my appearance. I appreciate candor -- it will always help me grow as a person and as a professional. I couldn't -- five minutes before going on air -- say, sorry I won't do it, I don't have enough background information about this brain scan! I'm just not that much of a purist...

Nice person, Dr. Bartell. But that aside, I can't condone allowing herself to be portrayed to the audience as a subject matter expert, yet in actuality trying to explain a study she'd never seen until a Morning Show producer handed it to her just before air time.

And while I don't doubt that some gamers were nasty in their e-mails, I'm not sure that's relevant. Flame e-mails don't help the gaming image, of course. But who's got the greater responsibilty here?

I'd submit that it's Dr. Bartell, who made these remarks on national TV because... why? The show must go on?

Comments

GryphonOsiris Says:
"@ Meggie
Simple fact, Jack Thompson will not get involved in an honest debate after the devastating loss he had to Adam Sessler on G4 tv. He knows that ‘we’ the games will win everytime on a level playing field, so he makes sure the odds are stacked in his favor."

Hence why I don't try to contact him. The man won't listen to logic if it contradicts his views, no point trying to offer it to him.

@Pandralisk
Same song different thread, you always find a way to drag religion into something and how much you hate it. For once can you leave it be?

For the last time, I am not bashing religion. Every value claim I make about religious can be validated by the following process:

PICK UP THE BIBLE. READ THE DAMN BOOK. LOOK UP THE DEFINITIONS OF THE TERMS I USED, LOGICALLY INFER THE TERMS ON THE ACTIONS OF "GOD."

Religion, double standards, and enforcing moral "norms" is at the heart of this news article. I have every right to discuss the topic.

I am so sorry if your indoctrination in a religious tradition ["god is good, god is good, god is good, god is good, god is good, god is good, god is good"] has blinded you from the crushing reality that tends to follow fair critcism.

Nothing is going to change this unless people start boycotting the advertisers for the Mike and Juliet show. Money talks.

@Meggie

I drag religion into threads that deal with game legislation that is motivated from the perspective of religious fanatics trying to codify censorship laws [either explicitly or implicity] to force their version of morality down the throats of others. Religion is a relevant topic in a thread like this. It is the core motivation of those who seek to rape us of our rights and autonomy.

Check out my responses to threads that have nothing to do with religion, and you'll see that I do not bring it up.

@Pandralisk
Maybe you need god in your life then maybe you wouldn't be so hateful. You are SO blinded by your hate.
I wonder what version of Christianity (protestant, mormon, etc.) caused you to become so hateful.
You are reading what you want to read, not what is actually being said, aka meaning of the text.

Prayers should go out to you that you diminish your hatred and that you try to understand.

It merely helps if one does not deal with a minefield by using a pogo-stick, I think that, at the end of the day, is all I'm saying.

Skylar, so instead of being a liar, she's a hypocrite.

I guess that's better?

And no, I think the claims I posit onto religions beliefs are incredibly fair and honest. God is, indeed, guilty of killing children, telling people to hate others, committing genocide, and using the suffering of people for his own perverse pleasure. All of these claims can be found in the Bible. It is also true that the Bible says God is loving, but the negative actions of God form of an over-ruling contradiction against the claims of a good God.

Do we consider Hitler a moral person because he showed love during parts of his life and forget his most evil acts?

Christians get so offended, and tend to see my arguments as "religious bashing," because they have been spoon-fed the notion of God as good so much that they have lost touch with unbias consideration.

"I am so sorry if your indoctrination in a religious tradition [”god is good, god is good, god is good, god is good, god is good, god is good, god is good”] has blinded you from the crushing reality that tends to follow fair critcism."

Go fuck yourself. I chose to believe in a God. I have never so much as spoken to a local Priest. It was my choice.

I believe in evolution, I recognise Science as fact and the rights of other to believe what they want.

I do not however, recognise your rights to push your views into the minds of others. You attempt to fill others with hate, in complete correspondance to everything you say Organised Religion has done to others, and you act as if you have the moral high ground.

That is my problem with you. If you care to look at the few atricles in which you have not brought in religion, you will notice that I side with you where others do not. What right do you have? What right?

IGN? That place has pretty much been dead to me for several years, pretty much since they killed the wrestling section and then with whole "Insider" thing was rolled out in a sudden and insulting way with a big FU to those of us that were there from the start.. It took my awhile to go back and by then they allowed the game boards to be open and still I've only been back there on a few occasions, last couple times I spent any significant time there was before GTA:VC's release and the same for GTA:SA's release so I guess I really haven't posted there in almost three years. O_o Of course now I know they're a part of News Corp...


Annnyway, at least this woman admitted to this though it does nothing since no one outside the people who visit this site will know or care. But Fox News shouldn't be singled out in this, all the news networks are guilty of this sort of thing.

@Jer

Sorry, I do not need to try to telepathically communicate with a ficticious being that never answers the pleas of humans and has been guilty of the following crimes: genocide, child killing, torture, coercsion, bribery, etc.

Why do I seem so hateful, you probably wonder?

I might come across as such because I am absoutely fucking sick of Bible thumping fascist pigs attempts to rape me of my autonomy and dictate how I "should" act. I love games, and value the right a person has to decide their own mind on all choices in life, and get quite offended when someone who worships a child-killing, genocidal, dictator tries to tell me what is "morally correct."

@BlackIce,

I do not want to delve too deeply into theology, but please understand that my comments on "God" are not directed at the idea of a higher being that somehow created the universe. My critiques against the nature of God are only applicable if you posit those values on God (which most major world religions do).

By, "God," I am referring SPECIFICALLY to the child-killing, genocidal, entity describe in the Judeo Christian tradition.

I can't help but think this stinks of the Rather-Gate documents... Regardless of your political opinions, Dan Rather used obviously-faked documents to attack the President of the United States. Again, political opinion aside, this was just wrong.

Dan's response to the fakes was along the lines of: Even though they are fakes I believe the spirit of them.

Well, even though she doesn't know how to analyze them, she agrees with their use and juxtoposition with violence in teens.

Just sad.
. . Wisdom begins in wonder. - Socrates . .

"I might come across as such because I am absoutely fucking sick of Bible thumping fascist pigs attempts to rape me of my autonomy and dictate how I “should” act."

And you are doing.. what exactly to seperate yourself from them?

"and value the right a person has to decide their own mind on all choices in life, and get quite offended when someone who worships a child-killing, genocidal, dictator tries to tell me what is “morally correct.” "

Which I find funny. Very funny. You yourself qualify as a conservative/facist pig yourself. Adolf Hitler, as you managed to bring up, was not forgiven for his acts. One of which was to try and shut down the Protestant and Catholic churches. Exactly what you are doing, no?

@Pandralisk

Fine, fine, it's just.. You're still insulting my religion. I do not let that slide.

YOu keep spewing the same stuff yet never point to the passages that state what you are saying. From what you are saying it tells me that you have NEVER read the bible and have NEVER understood it.

Pandralisk - God gave every man and woman free will, so he's still got you covered, even though you are so mad much against Him. You are just exercising your God-given right.

Amen, brotha!
. . Wisdom begins in wonder. - Socrates . .

@ all naysayers

Pandralisk's post at October 19th, 2007 at 3:28 pm wasn't as focused on religion-bashing as his norm, but rather comparing the violence between the Bible and Halo 3. This is on topic since the topic has a bit to do with the Halo-in-Church issue.

岩「…I can see why Hasselbeck's worried about fake guns killing fake people. afterall, she's a fake journalist on a fake news channel」

this show irresponsibility on her part.

more importantly it shows a larger lack of responsibility by Fox.

and she can't use the debate side track as an excuse if she's the one who side tracked the whole thing. in fact she was the only one talking.

i'm sure she's a great lady but what she did is plain black and white wrong.
this is in reference to blasting gamers and implying that she had a grasp of what she was talking about.

And you are doing.. what exactly to seperate yourself from them?

Arguing for mutual liberty and individual autonomy; if such an argument is ignored, demanding that such individuals protect children from the violence, hate, and immense cognative responsibility that comes intrinsically woven into their religious tradition (otherwise their values would form a logical contradiction and serve as an enormous double standard).

"Which I find funny. Very funny. You yourself qualify as a conservative/facist pig yourself. Adolf Hitler, as you managed to bring up, was not forgiven for his acts. One of which was to try and shut down the Protestant and Catholic churches. Exactly what you are doing, no? "

Of course not. As I've said before, as long as we respect each others right to liberty and personal freedom [in this case, no more game laws/censorship/etc] I am perfectly fine with allowing people to be superstitious and ridiculous.

However, if they create a double standard and shove their own bullshit perception of morality, I will attempt to argue one of these two things:

1. Respect our mutual right to liberty and moral autonomy. Let us not censor each other and force each other to do things.

2. If you chose not to, please enforce a standard moral maxim against violence and hate. Judeo-Christian theology sits on a throne of murder, hate, threats, and lies. If you wish to censor violent the forms of fiction that I enjoy; pleae allow me to censor violent the forms of fiction you enjoy. At the least, we'll wipe out violence and hate, together.

It's not about religion, that much is certain, the recent schism over Halo 3 itself has already proved that. However, if it is to be argued that Halo should not be allowed into churches, then I would say that I agree unless it is being played by a Mature audience as recommended by the ESRB. Which, I suspect, is all anyone really is asking, on both sides of the debate.

@MR B.

You are correct. I mis-stated (mis-typed) myself. I was thinking of GameSpy (my first internet gaming info source). Now I spend a good deal of my current time on Gamespot (which is better imo).

Sidestepping the whole religious arguement (think we lost the topic a ways back). In my opinion Robert Heinlein put it best: "One man's religion is anothers man's bellylaugh"

(In no particular order..)

"Of course not. As I’ve said before, as long as we respect each others right to liberty and personal freedom [in this case, no more game laws/censorship/etc] I am perfectly fine with allowing people to be superstitious and ridiculous."

You aren't holding fair though.

"Arguing for mutual liberty and individual autonomy"

..Could have fooled me.

"Respect our mutual right to liberty and moral autonomy. Let us not censor each other and force each other to do things."

You haven't been censored yet. I must direct you to the comments policy. Specifically the part about staying on topic. I expect my posts to be hidden, you should also.

"If you chose not to, please enforce a standard moral maxim against violence and hate. Judeo-Christian theology sits on a throne of murder, hate, threats, and lies. If you wish to censor violent the forms of fiction that I enjoy; pleae allow me to censor violent the forms of fiction you enjoy. At the least, we’ll wipe out violence and hate, together."

Judeo-Christian theology sits on a throne of murder, hate, threats, and lies - So does every country in the world minus very few exceptions. You cannot blame one thing without taking into account the others.

If you wish to censor violent the forms of fiction that I enjoy; pleae allow me to censor violent the forms of fiction you enjoy. At the least, we’ll wipe out violence and hate, together - I would dearly love to do so, but it is absolutely impractical.

"in this case, no more game laws/censorship/etc"

Agreed.

I believe that is all I have to say so far. We can work together, but you must realise that you need to drop this agenda, if not keep it off this site. Until that happens, no progress is possible.

@ All those Who are arguing Pandralisk

I don't have a Bible in front of me so I am working from memory. I also do not like Pandralsisks views but I will put some meat behind the broth he spews:

God is, indeed, guilty of killing children, telling people to hate others, committing genocide, and using the suffering of people for his own perverse pleasure


Let's start from the beginning:

God kills children: One of the plagues sent to the Egyptians was the death of all their first born sons. Might I remind you that the Egyptians killed all male Isrealite children at one point and was currently oppressing the Irsealites and not letting them leave the country.

God tells people to hate others: I am not sure where he gets thid from. I do know that the Pharisees tought hatred toward the Samaritans, but that was debunked by Christ himself as man made doctrine. I cannot recall any instance of God telling people to hate others. Maybe you are referring to the "Gentiles" and how they were not God's chosen people. But he never told anyone to hate them.

God Commits Genocide: I guess he is refering to the Flood. At this point everyone in the world had turned completely against him and he needed to start over. Considering we were created to Serve God, I think he was plenty justified.

God uses the suffering of people for his own perverse pleasure: This one is odd. God recieves no perverse pleasure from people's suffering. He does use suffering to humble his people when they turn from him. It is not recorded, but I figure he tried much of this before the flood. He did use invasions, famine, pestilence, and allowing his people to be taken over by foreign bodies to get his people to turn back to him.

Now dispite all this he has always:

Made his people prosperous when they did serve him. They were rich, healthy, had large families, and lots of land. He tought love throughout the Bible. Love not only for him, but for all people.

A couple of questions Pandralisk. You often refer to God as both fictitious and at the same time as "genocidal, child killing, etc." You do realize that if God doesn't exist, he isn't child killing or anything because... he doesn't exist, and therefore isn't anything? I suppose you are trying to say that God doesn't exist, but if he somehow did exist as described in the Bible, he would be child killing, etc, etc.

The fact that you claim yourself to be unbiased is absurd though. No one is entirely free from bias, and you certainly are not. A more unbiased way of making your same points would be to say something like "Look at these Bible verses here where God, according to the Bible you believe to be true, told the Isrealites to wipe out this tribe completely. How does wiping out a nation, including children, square with your idea of a loving and just God?"

What you say is basically "You believe in a murderous perverted evil raping 'god' that doesn't actually exist, but you're just superstitious cause you were brainwashed as a child." And do you honestly believe that to be an "unbiased" comment, and wonder why people get upset at you?

Also, whatever you say, you do push your agenda. You automatically assume just about every attempt to regulate video games is entirely an attempt by Christians to push their religious beliefs on you, and therefore go into a whole speil about how you think Christain beliefs are a thousand times more damaging than violent games. It does get a bit old.

And by the way, could you reference the specific Bible verses where God condoned, committed, or otherwise approved of rape? I notice you often throw rape in in the list of your charges against God, but I can't seem to recall a single case in the Bible where God even came close to condoning that particular act. Now, I haven't read every single verse in the Bible yet, so perhaps there's something I'm missing, or perhaps you got a bit confused about things?

She's nothing like Miami Jack. You know, she seems like such a nice lady that I really thought twice about putting this story up.

However, I think what happened here reveals something important about the process behind the mainstream's habitual slamming of games.

So, the story gets told. She's a grownup, and has to bear the responsibility for what she does.

Going forward, I wish her well.

@lovely:

“To ere is human, to forgive divine.”

Yes, what this woman did: speaking about a subject she didn’t really know about while feigning knowledge, was indeed reprehensible.
The fact that she owed up to it, and that she was polite in her responses, does make me have a bit of respect for her.


Really the only difference between her and Jack, as far as I can tell... I mean, when was the last time JT owed up to anything?! Yeah, never.

@Gamepolitics

As do I. And I only it seems.

Thanks EZK.

With the story of Moses, it was the King of Egypt that promoted that curse. And those who wished to be saved, ie believed in God, had to put lambs blood on their doors to show faith.

and you hit the nail on the head with the Great Flood.

@DarkTetsuya

Well, it was the point when he admitted a "colourful disiplinary history". I was suprised he even owned up to that.

@ GamePolitics

I agree that she is nothing like Jack. She can hold a civil conversation with people while Jack can't. Also she had to be handed controversial stuff to talk about. Jack Comes fully equipped with it.

@EZK

Might I remind you that the Egyptians killed all male Isrealite children at one point and was currently oppressing the Irsealites and not letting them leave the country.

What happened to "turn the other cheek"? Since when has "well he did it first" EVER been proper justification for anything?

God Commits Genocide: I guess he is refering to the Flood

I doubt it. Anyone who wasn't an Israelite was fair game for slaughter when David was leading the pack. With God's blessing of course, because they were the chosen ones, and any other prat who currently lived in Israel's future location was up the creek.

This one is odd. God recieves no perverse pleasure from people’s suffering. He does use suffering to humble his people when they turn from him

Or to win an argument. "Gosh, look at how devout MY followers are. Watch me torture the poor bugger, see how great a leader I am. Now kill your son.Oh just kidding, all's well that ends well, right? Teehee. Here, have a bunch of children, forgive me?"
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

Huh, 111 comments and it's not because of Jack.

Anyways, if this woman is apologetic, I hope she will consider a public retraction of what she said on the show.
It seems like the right thing to do.

Any thread would be a lot better if people just ignore Pandralisk's hatred. He's as much of a troll as JT is.

@Jabrwock, E.ZK

There is one fundamental problem with both your arguements. The Bible is a book, written by men, approved by a pagan, Emperor Constantine the Great.

@Dog_Welder

Inclined to agree, but there might yet be something beneath the hate. I am willing to give one final chance, as I believe it good to be forgiving.

@ Jer

Well the thing with Moses and the curse, The king at the time when Moses was only an infant orderd all male Isrealite children under 2 or something like that be killed. When Moses became the prophet and the curses were coming, the first born curse was sent by God and as you said all the believers had to put lambs blood on their doors while feating on said lamb. That is the origin of the passover supper.

@ Mad_Scientist

I missed his God Rapes stuff. I can't think of any instance where god raped anyone or commanded or condoned it. The closest I can come is the Virgin Birth, but that is not anything close to rape.

@Mad

In response to paragraph one: of course I do not believe such a creature exists. People are fundamentally unable to understand supernatural claims. For the sake of argument, I assume that their beliefs are NATURALLY TRUE, and THEN posit values on the diety using the religion's holy text as my primary source. I do this to point out a contradiction: how can people who worship a genocidal, child-killing, entity take away the rights of people to enjoy fictional media?

Para 3, not all people are brainwashed. Some are simply ignorant, or refuse to acknowledge, the negative aspects of their religion.

Para 4, I realize that trying to get these religious nutcases to respect a right to moral autonomy and individual liberty is pointless. They will not listen. They care nothing for freedom. I find that pointing out explicit, and terrible, aspects of their religious tradition -- in hopes of generating a contradiction and censoring their practice of beliefs -- will somehow allow them to realize why liberty is such a great thing.

Para 5: Pick up your Bibles: Examples of God-Sanctioned Rape: Judges, 21:10. Numbers 31: 7-18. Deut. 21-22., Zech 14.1.

There are more examples, but I'm not in the mood to dig.

@ Dog_Welder

I agree totally. I am about ready to end it. Beyond telling him to shut up and trying to clarify some points he fails to clarify, I think I am done.

I'm not wanting to flame anybody, but what's religion got to do with the topic on hand?

@ Jabrwock

With the genocide thing, I do know about the battles and driving out the people currently occupying land already promised to the Isrealites. I was trying to focus on God himself doing it.

@retrogamer88
Well, this was related to the Halo 3 in churches story Fox News ran. But mostly we got on the topic because of posts by Pandralisk and people (including me) responding to him.

@Pandralisk
I'll check out those verses now.

@ BlackIce

I beleive that the Bible is the word of God as long as it is translated correctly. For the most part, the book was written by people who spoke directly with God as his messengers. There have been stuff neglected, changed and deleted throughout time and Constantine's efforts were part of it.

@E.ZK

Fine, that's up to you. Not my view of course, but it's also no right of mine to attempt to change that.

By the way, have you ever thought about updating your website?

@ BlackIce

In what ways are expecting the updates? I try to update things like my resume and sample work when I can. Right now I am working on another web projet and I am trying not to get distracted until it is done. This site doesn't help that any. :(

Oh.. :(

@Mad_Scientist -- I don't have a Bible handy, but there are parts of the Old Testament where tribes of "unbelievers" were wiped out at the command of God. This would include women and children. And I want to say that there were instances where women were taken as concubines, but my memory is a bit hazy on this (and these generally aren't the passages that get brought up in Sunday School). The books Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings would be the places to look for this, if it's in there at all it will be during the times of conquest.

@ pandralisk
Which version of the bible are you reading? New American, New Jersulam? Each publisher words it slightly differently, and some other Christian denominations has removed certain books of the bible.

Just want to get on the same base as you.

[...] GamePolitics brings us this gem. [...]

@E. Zachary Knight
Very good resume. I don't have access to a full bible (only the new testament, much more reasonable to today's standards in my opinion) but it creates quite a few arguments, showing that the Christian religion did not promote killing and genocide. A lot of murders were made in the name of God, but those murders were made by MENS. Mens who interpreted the bible as a tool to archeive their goals (reminds me of someone we knows). Churches represents God, but the Church is not God.

@Pandralisk

You could have simply said that you don't agree with the Christian religion instead of making hate speech. Like you, I hate peoples who hide behind their bibles to justify unacceptable acts (Fred Phelps comes to my mind) but that doesn't give you the right to brand the religion as hate propaganda and brand christians as "superstisious and ridiculous". You sound EXACTLY like Thompson who brands video games as violence propagenda and gamers as stupid an addicted.

Returning to topic now

I agree that was a bit unprofessionnal from Mrs. Bartell to try to explain something she don't know about, but I accept the apology. Everyone wants to archieve great goals one day. Call me too soft or too forgiving, but the fact that she did admit her mistake and accepted to tell it makes her much more reasonable than Jackie T. If she spends some time to study this topic more seriously, she could have a completely different position from now. Even then, it shows that she's willing to listen instead of someone we know.
 
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