Henry Jenkins Weighs in on Moral Kombat Film

November 30, 2007 -
Every gamer's favorite academic, Prof. Henry Jenkins of MIT, blogs a two-part series detailing his impressions of the controversial documentary film Spencer Halpin's Moral Kombat.Jenkins, who appears in the film, is enthusiastic:
Moral Kombat is perhaps the most important film ever made about video games.and you should see it if you get a chance. The film will force people on all sides of the debate about games and violence to re-examine their own positions and ask harder questions...

I will admit to having had a crisis of faith when I first saw the trailer. It felt sensationalistic and one-sided... don't judge a book by its cover and don't judge this film by its preview.

Frankly, I have been deeply troubled by those in the gaming community who would seek to silence this film, even if its perspective were fundamentally opposed to our own. Surely, we can't defend the free speech rights of game designers and players by seeking to silence those who disagree with us... How does that make us any better than what we are fighting against?

I am proud to have been included in this important work. I hope my readers will be open-minded enough to check their assumptions at the door, give the film a chance, and think through the implications of what it has to say with fresh eyes.

Full Disclosure Dept: Spencer Halpin is the brother of ECA president Hal Halpin. The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics.

Comments

As I said at the time I saw the trailer, if it is misleading that is not the fault of those who judge it but of the person who made the trailer. It is mean to be a taster for the film itself and if it fails to do just that then you cannot blame others for it's misgivings.

I'll be glad if it isn't a one sided bit of propaganda or sensationalism for either side; that's a good thing. I will probably watch it at some point and judge it on its merits, but clearly Spencer made a misjudgement releasing the trailer in the form it was in.

Is it going to be in theatres?

First!

...I hate myself.

Anyways, the film itself was really good. I recommend it heartily.

So, anyone know where we can view the film, or do we have to pay for this?

And if we have to pay, somebody needs to seed it or post it on Youtube.

Correction: the film itself was _probably_ really good. Stupid mornings.

Always refreshing to hear from someone who takes a more reasonable stance than "we're right, you're wrong." Hopefully the film will take a little side trip to Canada so I don't have to dig my passport out of my shoebox to go see it.

a well put synopsis of Halpin's work.

now the only major question is: where do i get a copy?
is the ECA going to sell them? is Halpin himself?

How is this news? Curious - with Thompson's trial wrapping up for the week and the Gerstmann thing going on full steam you would think it wouldn't be a slow day for news. I can't help but wonder why Dennis is taking time to report someone's opinion of Moral Kombat.

@ JadedCritic

I think that Dennis has posted this to help alleviate the concerns that many people have on this film. The trailers that have been shown here and elsewhere have seemed quite one sided. So Dennis has posted the opinion of a respected person in the game industry to counter the misinterpretation by many gamers.

I look forward to this film and will gladly buy it when available. I will also be buying Playing Columbine and the Discovery Channel's documentary.

Can't wait.

@ Austin Lewis:

Why should we not have to pay for seeing this movie? It took time, effort and money for people to make the film, why shouldn't they be able to make it back? It'll be hard to see it because it's a documentary, which won't be showing many places, but that's not excuse for thinking that we're entitled to see it for free.

I would totally leave my personal biases at the door when watching this movie, WHEN I GET THE FREAKING CHANCE TO. What's with all these people saying how we should just give the film a chance, when it's not even publicly available yet?

@King James

How many documentaries have you paid money to see?

This reminds yet again of how much of a jackass I was when I saw the first trailer :/ .

Austin James:

While the question was directed elsewhere, I have paid to see Bowling for Columbine, Supersize Me and Touching the Void. All were very good and worthy of the price of admission.

Documentaries are just as much worthy of release as Films and not all are funded by TV Companies to allow them to be made and free to air. A Documentary maker needs to make money just as much as the next person.

@Austin Lewis

Truth be told.. None. I'd pay to see this one though.

Someone'll put it on YouTube. Eventually..

[...] Source: Henry Jenkins Weighs in on Moral Kombat Film Bookmark it: [...]

I'll put it on youtube. Just as a huge 'fuck you' to Jack Thompson.

@Austin Lewis

He woudln't have agreed to appear unless he was getting some form of monetary compensation

GP, do you have the release details?

Spencer Halpin is not only his brother, but he is also a bad ass mofo.

@jadedcritic - it's not huge news, but it's news because someone like Henry Jenkins took the trouble to devote two full blog articles to it.

When Henry takes the time to call it significant, that's worth writing about.

Hope this film also makes it to Australia and New Zealand

also I liked his comment

"Frankly, I have been deeply troubled by those in the gaming community who would seek to silence this film, even if its perspective were fundamentally opposed to our own. Surely, we can’t defend the free speech rights of game designers and players by seeking to silence those who disagree with us… How does that make us any better than what we are fighting against?"

I hope that they show good examples of videogames like Mario and Pokemon, also commenting on how Pokemon was accused of Animal violence by critics who 'never played the game'

It is all too easy to blame videogames for the problems of the world, but the real way to combat this is not trying to say that they are wrong, but to also prove that on many occasions their words are biased and also misleading,

In orther words, perhaps the only mistake that the Videogame industry has made is that they have not been able to have a good spokesperson on behalf of the industry until recently.

Plus Miyamoto at the GDC this March has said that the public perception of videogames is one of the greatest challenges facing the industry as a whole.

Plus my own little argument that I would make towards Seneators Clinton, Lieberman and Yee would be on their own experience as gamers.

Since they talk about violent videogames as if they have played them, it would be good for a gamer to point out that if they did play videogames, why do they still say that games reward players with points when they shoot police officers???

It will be interesting how they would comment on that.

The only way we as gamers can fight against these anti-gamers is to point out that their comments show that they might not have played videogames at all, instead they just make up arguments of what they perceive videogames to be like.

Also if we can also rebut their statements that most videogames contain violence, we should get an accurate tally of how many games with an E rating and T ratings and measure that against the number of M rated games.

It is all about integrity and we have to debate that their integrity is not as strong as they try to portray in the mainstream media.

Trying to say that these anti-gamers are n00bs are not really a professional way of attacking their arguments and it makes us gamers look like we are selfish.

[...] Check it out! While looking through the blogosphere we stumbled on an interesting post today.Here’s a quick excerptI hope that they show good examples of videogames like Mario and Pokemon, also commenting on how Pokemon was accused of Animal violence by critics who ‘never played the game’. It is all too easy to blame videogames for the problems of … [...]

Quote from Destructoid:

"I hate old people."

If its really better than what the trailer gives then I'll check it out... At some point.

You know, I'm getting tired of this whole "WE MUST PROTECT THE FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS OF THOSE WHO SEEK TO REMOVE OUR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS! IT IS THEIR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT!"

And not that it's ever going to happen, but if they do take away our First Amendment rights, then we won't be able to say anything about it.

Because we won't have the right anymore.

Thier right is being respected. Ours is not.

I've always been of the mind that turnabout is fair play. I think it's fine to deny people a voice. Espically when that voice is shrill, unhelpful, and teeming with lies and disinformation.
 
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