New York Guv's Game Scare Presentation Cites Hoax Site as "Resource"

December 19, 2007 -

In New York, efforts to legislate video game sales have bogged down in the wake of bitter political infighting between Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) and State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R).

While the legislative effort remains stalled, the New York Department of Criminal Justice (!) has produced a 20-minute slide show which, in addition to offering some good advice to parents, dredges up a number of sensationalized stories, presents at least one outright fallacy, and cites a well-known Internet hoax site as a parental resource. 

As reported by the Staten Island Advance, Gov. Spitzer unveiled Video Games and Children: Virtual Playground vs. Danger Zone yesterday, accompanied by representatives from the state's Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). Said Spitzer of the 20-minute presentation:
 

Protecting our children from violent video games that contain adult themes is a key priority for my administration. I commend the staff of the DCJS and Commissioner Denise O'Donnell for taking a leadership role in this effort by reaching out to parents and educators to engage them in this important dialogue. This presentation gives parents and educators the information they need to make smart decisions about the games their children play.


While the presentation offers some wothwhile - if standard - advice about ratings and other parental issues, it quickly devolves into sensationalism. V-Tech Rampage, for example, gets prominent mention early in the presentation. For those who may not recall that sorry episode, V-Tech Rampage was a crude, non-commercial game created and posted online by an apparently troubled young man from Australia who gained his 15 minutes of fame by exploiting the Virginia Tech massacre. What does it have to do with parents making video game choices for their children?

The presentation also includes clips from a well-known Australian TV video of a supposed teenage World of Warcraft addict. There is also an ominous mention of an unnamed 13-year-old Chinese lad who is said to have thrown himself from the roof of a building in an effort to join his video game heroes.

We were also troubled by the somewhat random selection of games presented as bad examples. For instance, the video makes much of Soldier of Fortune's realistic body damage model. SoF, however, was released seven years ago. Relevance, please?

The presentation also mentions that Virginia Tech killer Seung Hui Cho was reportedly a player of Counter-strike. However, the Virginia Tech Review Panel's report clearly states that no such evidence was found. The only game mentioned by the blue ribbon panel in relation to Cho is Sonic the Hedgehog.

First-person shooters are referred to as "killographic" games. Grand Theft Auto San Andreas is misstated as "Grand Theft San Andreas." How does one botch what is probably - thanks to Hot Coffee - the most infamous game title of all time?

And, as the presentation ends, a resource page lists Mothers Against Videogame Addiction and Violence as one of several places where parents can go for additional information. 

Oops!

MAVAV is a well-documented hoax site, created, ironically, by a student from a New York City design school.

In the end, poor research makes Gov. Spitzer's well-intentioned video look amateurish and out of touch.

UPDATE: Albany's WNYT-13 has a report on the release of the New York video.

Comments

i think that this video has failed.
what worries me is that people will actually take it seriously.

Aiya... *shakes head*
Enough said...

Well now all we have to do is make sure every major paper and news station knows all these fallacies and holds the government accountable.

I just knew it was a matter of time before a hoax website is cited as a source by a politician. It really shows how little these guys know about video games.

Doesn't look like a spoof site to me - the lead story and the comments aren't that different to what you would see on GP, just with a different bias.. I've seen worse. It might possibly have started that way but clearly isn't now.

He must've worked at Fox news at some point. Only way he could get that much sensationalism all at once.

That reminds me of that time a Chinese news paper took an article from the Onion and claimed it to be real. It was about how the senate and the reps would leave if they didn't get a new capital

Tony,
MAVAV has been proven to be a hoax. The Creator himself admitted it. The fact that it DOESN'T look like a spoof site mens that the creator has suceeded, since his assignment was to make a believable website.

Here is the official NY governor site's press release about this video :

http://www.ny.gov/governor/press/1218071.html

This video has been created by the Missing and Exploited Children Clearinghouse (MECC) from the New York State Division of Criminal Justices Services.

@E. Zachary Knight:


And this also shows just how out of touch these guys are with whats going on in the world around them (or maybe they just like it like that...):

"The presentation also mentions that Virginia Tech killer Seung Hui Cho was reportedly a player of Counter-strike. "

Instant fail. I agree that we really need to take this faulty report to the media.

I can't believe how utterly clueless these people are. Well...no, I can believe it, I just didn't want to. :P If I was a New Yorker, I would be embarrassed by this press release. If I were you guys, I'd be calling my Governor's office and raising hell. This makes NY look foolish, and these politicians idiotic.

HAW HAW!

hell I am not a New Yorker and I am embarassed byhtis press release because the rest of the world sees us as one country so someone visiting New York reads this release and thinks that it applies to the whole U.S. and dont put it past them everyone has seen just how dense people can be

"Killographic" ahahahhaa...

@Tony

are you daft?

http://www.mavav.org/2007/01/02/video_game_violence_makes
_teens_aggressive.php


Go look at that article. Look at the brain scans, and tell me its not a hoax. Hell scroll down the front page and tell me its not a hoax.

oh heres something from their site

It is highly recommend that a teens bedroom be absent of all forms of electronic devices: personal computers, printers, video game console systems, television sets, cellular telephones, clock-radios, battery recharger’s, and calculators.

Calculators?

sorry for my spelling in that last comment I am half asleep right now

I gave the Staten Island Advance a link to this article. I hope someone in authority reads it.

Zachary,
That's what I get for writing LOOOOOOONG posts. :)

Yours wasn't there when I was writing mine.

Ah well.

:)

Nightwng2000
NW2K Software
Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

@E. Zachary Knight :

Good jib ! But it's not Andrew Lanza's video : it's Eliot Spitzer's video. Or, more precisely, a video created by the Missing and Exploited Children Clearinghouse (MECC) depending from his Division of Criminal Justices Services (DCJS).

@ SoldatLouis

Sorry, I copy/pasted the wrong name. Ah well, the message is still the same.

That’s awesome, I can see it now they will keep reproducing false hoods about Cho being a gamer that way in ten years people will just accept the false hood as fact and have one more reason to be up in arms over violent games.

Ah yes, nothing like our media system to keep spinning lies in the hopes that people will accept them as fact.

Oh and the mother against videogame addiction and violence is priceless they should have cited cracked and the onion while they were at it.

@ Nightwing

The Staten ISland Advance moderates all comments before posting them. That is probably why you missed it.

@ Broken scope

I went to the link you posted and looked at the comments and unless they are part of the hoax, we have bigger problems then we thought.

I just love it when politicians try so hard to make themselves look like complete idiots without even realizing it.

Seriously, we're paying tax money to see garbage like this?

@ Broken scope

Yeah, don't you know you can turn the calc upside down and spell out words like "hell"? Don't want our kids doing that do we?

Politicians going this low just scares the hell out of me. Not only are they decieving the unknowing public and taking advantage of single parents, but they are using a hoax site to get an unconstitutional law passed and draining the tax dollars of those citizens.

In a post to another story, another GP poster said that politicians should take an exam on an issue in order to legislate in favor of the thing or against it (I don't know exactly who said that). I fully agree with the idea.

5318008

I did, and the Governor of NY is helping to back that idea. :/

Toll has a thing about wanting to license Parents. I say license politicians too. You have to have one to be a lawyer and doctor. Why not a politician?

Nightwng2000
NW2K Software
Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

As a New York State resident I'm getting increasingly tired of Spitzer.

He's become a full-blown sputz(er) since elected into office. He's pandering left and right, abusing his office powers for political gain and just being a general dickwad.

Good thing elected officials have terms. I'm just hoping he doesn't pull a few pork projects over the eyes of New York State voters just before the next election.

I believe the Gov thinks he's reporting facts.

Do not confused ignorance with malice. These people have no understanding of games whatsoever. That's why they're trying to regulate them. Games scare the crap out of them because of their meteoric rise in popularity. A phenomenon that they we not a part of. Instead of trying to learn about them, "older" people fight them tooth and nail hoping to regain control.

Those who HAVE taken the time to learn about them properly recommend following the ESRB ratings and such (as a few politicians have started to do). But those who haven't are now FURTHER being left in the dust by their colleagues and constituents.

"In the end, poor research makes Gov. Spitzer’s well-intentioned video look amateurish and out of touch."

Absolutely, because the creators of the video ARE out of touch. They are sadly just doing what politicians do. Instead of trying something new (i.e. learning and educating), they just do the wrong thing harder.

@nightwng2000

You don't need a license to be come a reporter either, at least where I come from. Then again, we have enough professionals with sound judgement who are quick to hunt down any hack journalism.

We police our own - I don't see that happening as much among politicians.

@vellocet
"They are sadly just doing what politicians do. Instead of trying something new (i.e. learning and educating), they just do the wrong thing harder."

I don't know why, but I keep thinking of a fly that continously slams itself into a glass window in a futile effor to get to the other side.

@Vellocet: Perhaps it's good to not confuse ignorance with malice. But, Spitzer has previously shown that he wants to regulate video games. Perhaps in this case it is his ignorance born out of his malice?

@Benji

I actually think it's the other way around. Probably for people like JT as well.

They think they are right (even though their position is based purely on ignorant "belief" about something they know nothing about). Then they're proven wrong (because they have no idea what they're talking about). They get angry because they're wrong, and maliciously strike back because there's no possible way that their "belief" could be wrong regardless of what the facts are.

Please don't take any of this as an attack on religion or whatever, it's more of an attack on close mindedness and rigidity of thought.

@ Twin-Skies

That fly thing is a perfect analogy. It seems to be human nature as well though (I know I've been guilty of it too). We are so certain that the way we are approaching things is correct that even if it's not working we just do the same thing harder.

It's like trying to bang your head against the wall to get through it. If you bang hard enough you just might get through, a lot worse for wear. But sometimes if you step back, there just might be a door three feet down.

Sadly, for politicians, banging your head against the wall is all about using money (the taxpayers) and using underhanded tactics. Even more sadly, do these hard enough and you often achieve what you want regardless (especially if corporations and such are financing you as well).

When most people think "Video Game Rating Regulation" they typically don't think of the other types of things that the goverment has regulated such as Cigarettes and Alchol.

Would you like to be arrested for contributing to the deliquency of a minor for buying GTA Vice city for your 17 year old kid? Or would you like to see the new sales clerk get arrested for allowing you to purchase the video game for your child?

It's too easy to prey on a parents desire to protect their children from harm to push your own political agenda. Look at Hillary Clinton & Joe Leiberman.

But time after time these lawsuits, and attempts at regulation are shot down. It's good to know that people aren't as stupid as politicians would like to think. The politicians on the other hand....well they are pretty stupid.

I'm watching the video now.

Jesus F***ing Christ! I haven't seen a hit job like that even in the attack ads of politicians.

This thing is completely ridiculous.

I really don't know if I should laugh or cry. It's just incredible.

I think I am going to go the closest police station now and give myself in. I'm a gamer, after all, and therefore a danger to society at large. Governor Spitzer says so.

This is beyond ignorance. This is stupidity, irresponsibility, and bigotry. Would that I could change the world by posting on a blog!

Thanks to tardbags like these, I am quickly learning that when our machine overlords finally arrive just like them sci-fi movies promise, it will be a day for celebration. Praise Xorklax.

Take it from a (western) New yorker: what else can be expected from a man who also thought it would be a good idea to allow illegal immigrants to have drivers licenses?

A lot of us would like to believe the fantasy that an elected official, at whatever level, is a person who is somewhat intelligent, self-aware, and responsible, but this is typically not the case. Government is no different than any other scenario where a collection of people is concerned, be it another industry, such as retail, or even the high school lunch room. You are always going to have your diva, gossiper, sycophant, slacker, scoundrel, whore, and the random, occasional do-gooder...

(Spitzer is probably the guy who "tattled" on another student in order to gain favor with the faculty. Subsequently, he probably had cookies thrown at his head in the cafeteria.)

A such, most of these people find themselves quagmired in finding the happy medium between enforcing a personal agenda and satisfying his or her constituents/special interests. And since something like the "War On Drugs" - being a battle against illegal (read "non-rule following") adversaries - is too difficult to manage, it becomes much simpler - albeit lazier - to go after the easy targets like game publishers, tobacco companies, record producers, and so on. An established, legal, entity of commerce can't just jump in a fast-moving boat and elude coast guard patrols - it has to endure this constant assault that's weakly disguised as social concern...

There are those of us who are proactive and self-aware. We read information provided by sites such as this one. We do research before making consumer decisions. We are responsible about our children's upbringing and we maintain some modicum of confidence regarding our decisions about what we do and what we are exposed to. But, unfortunately, we are outnumbered by those who are dim-witted enough to believe the very first thing they read on a particular issue - and are likewise easily deluded by "statistical skullduggery."

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go play some Call Of Duty 4 while I listen to Judas Priest and eat something that's high in carbs.

SPitz what are a ya doing?

Yorick nice to see another western New yorker

CLASSIC!

oh my god when does it end?

@ Yorick.

Very well stated, I must say. ^_^

Yorick, you are not merely the man of infinite jest that Hamlet made you out to be ;)

This whole thing is sad. There are so many problems with this.. presentation that it'd take longer to explain all the problems than they put into making it.

How can they ignore the Virginia Tech review board’s findings? If you're going to cite an event, it would be wise to research what actually happened.

While MAVAV is a great hoax, I didn't think it would be viewed as real by anyone who actually looked at it. I though politicians hired people smarter than them to look into this kind of thing.

I don't care if this was ignorance or malicious intent, neither is an excuse, merely an explanation. I hope Gov. Spitzer's term is nearly up. If he could screw up a Public Service Announcement, I'm afraid what he could do with something important.

What game is that kid describing at the beginning of the video?

I want to play it :D ... As far as I know it's purely fiction. There is no "difficult to kill prostitute" nor "Police man wearing body armor so you can't shoot him". And I have not yet to see a game where you can pour gasoline on someone. In ANY game.

@Vellocet

Postal 2

I, uh, may have doused a whole marching band in gasoline once and tossed a match. I may have also used gas to set fires @ the exits in a dance club then fired a gun over the heads of the dancers, sparking a panic flight out of the building.

*Facepalm*
I'm astounded at how stupid people can be >_>.

Also, he took Chinese Journalism seriously. No suprise given that the Republicans think the PRC model of government is ideal.

Thrill Kill? Mortal Kombat II? Talk about out of date.

@TheFremen

.........

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