Have some video game critics completely given up on the idea of verifying their claims before issuing them?
We ask because we're flabbergasted by what's been said about Xbox 360 role-playing hit Mass Effect in recent days.
GamePolitics reported last week on bizarre accusations by the conservative Cybercast News Service that Mass Effect featured "explicitly graphic sexual intercourse."
That those charges are just wrong didn't stop conservative blogger Kevin McCullough from picking up the CNS nonsense and running with it. McCullough, in fact, tries to turn the alleged porn in Mass Effect into a presidential campaign issue. In a (not so) cleverly-titled Townhall.com article, The "Sex-Box" Race for President, McCullough writes:
[Presidential candidates] all probably assume they have better, much more important, urgent, timely, things to campaign on, but I sure would like to get their individual takes on the new video game that one company is marketing to fifteen year old boys.
GP: Do we really need to point out that Mass Effect is rated "M" for players 17 and older? More from McCullough:
It's called "Mass Effect" and it allows its players... to engage in the most realistic sex acts ever conceived. One can custom design the shape, form, bodies, race, hair style, breast size of the images they wish to "engage" and then watch in crystal clear, LCD, 54 inch screen, HD clarity as the video game "persons" hump in every form, format, multiple, gender-oriented possibility they can think of...
GP: Has McCullough played - or even invested any time at all in researching - Mass Effect? Based on what he has written, we can't imagine that he has. His screed continues:
Here's a question [for the candidates]... "How much moral judgement should the President push into legislative issues that are likely to severely damage our children's innocence, function, and capability?..."
If a pre-teen, teen, young adult, or adult male plays such a game in which the women DO submit without choice, are made to appear as Barbie streetwalkers, and perform whatever act can be imagined, what's to stop that same male from assuming that the women in his "other world" shouldn't be forced to do the same.
...And because of the digital chip age in which we live - "Mass Effect" can be customized to sodomize whatever, whoever, however, the game player wishes.
With it's "over the net" capabilities virtual orgasmic rape is just the push of a button away.
McCullough wraps up with a call for legislation apparently designed to drive Mass Effect developer BioWare out of business:
How refreshing would it be for a President to... put his pen and signature to a bill that dealt with such simulated sex excess in a way that was punitive to its creators to such a degree that they would never recover from it?
GP: We've seen some ill-informed criticisms of video games over the years, but McCullough has definitely raised (or, perhaps, lowered) the bar in that regard.
Once again, for anyone who cares to actually, you know, research the well-known love scene in Mass Effect, here's the video: