Where Have All the Critics Gone?

When President-elect Barack Obama announced this week that Sen. Hillary Clinton was his choice for Secretary of State, we noted that the diplomatic nature of her new job would distance the former First Lady from domestic social issues, including those relating to video game content.

And, as Hillary moves away from the video game arena, one thing becomes clear: The video game industry no longer faces any high-profile political opposition in the United States. Sounds crazy, I know. But consider that, in 2008:

  • Jack Thompson self-destructed. Sure, Thompson will still be a critic, but his recent lifetime disbarment flushed whatever mainstream credibility he had left.
  • The National Institute on Media and the Family was co-opted by the video game industry. Earlier this year NIMF accepted a $50,000 grant from the ESA, a mind-bogglingly bad decision. How does a watchdog organization justify taking money from the people it is supposed to be watching? Not surprisingly, NIMF’s 2008 Annual Video Game Report Card was a valentine to the game biz.
  • Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) has, for some time, been preoccupied by internecine battles with his former friends in the Democratic Party. He hasn’t been heard from as a game industry critic since he stood with David Walsh during the release of NIMF’s 2007 report card. In fact, most recently, Lieberman (and Clinton) offered their support for the ESRB’s new game rating summaries.
  • Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), as mentioned, will be focused on foreign affairs.

There are remaining critics, to be sure, but they are fragmented and most lack the national profile of Thompson, Walsh, Lieberman and Clinton. Will one of these emerge to fill the void? Hit the jump to see…


  • Mitt Romney – the former Massachusetts governor is a likely contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. In his 2008 bid he was a strong critic of content in games and other media. Lately, however, he has been keeping a low profile. It’s likely that his team is strategizing for Romney’s next run. Will games be a focus? That’s hard to say, but far-right Republicanism is out of fashion these days and Romney is known to go with prevailing winds.
  • Lt. Col David Grossman (US Army, ret.) – Grossman has been in the national spotlight in the past, but in recent years he seems content to stick to the lecture circuit where he address law enforcement and education groups, primarily. He is a srident game violence critic, however.
  • State Sen. Leland Yee (D) – Having pushed California’s video game law through the legislative process, Yee is definitely a player. But at this point there is little for him to do except await the ruling of the 9th US Circuit Court on the California law. And, whatever happens at that level, many observers expect the California law to wind up before the US Supreme Court. Beyond that, Yee is an active legislator who works hard to serve his San Francisco-area constituency. Games are far from the only issue he needs to concern himself with.
  • Parents Television Council – The Los Angeles-based morality group has been a harsh, albeit occasional, critic of game issues. As their name implies, they seem much more focused on TV content.
  • Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood – the Boston-area group generally seems to tackle game issues when one of Rockstar’s high-profile titles comes along. They lobbied successfully to get GTA Vice City Stories ads removed from Boston’s transit system and called for an AO rating for Manhunt 2 (which the ESRB had already decided). Although the group is active on other issues, games do not seem much on their radar these days.
  • Lyndon LaRouche – the fringe LaRouche political cult was all over the game violence issue after Virginia Tech, but seems to have dropped it in favor its traditional economic and political conspiracy theories. In any case, credibility is nil.

There are, of couse, other critics, among them, politicians. Bills targeting the ESRB rating process are currently active in the House and Senate. But these are viewed – at least from here – at election year posturing. They are expected to die when the 110th Congress closes up shop on January 3rd.

At the state level there hasn’t been a significant law passed since 2006. This year’s New York statute is toothless political fluff. How can we tell? Note that the game industry hasn’t moved against it in federal court.

There are academic critics as well, most notable Brad Bushman of the University of Michigan, Craig Anderson of Iowa State and Karen Dill of North Carolina’s Lenoir-Rhyne College. But while the academics occasionally author a book, pen an article or testify before Congress, they do not appear well-suited to the advocate’s role.

To be sure, the industry deserves credit for making its own path less difficult. Patricia Vance and the ESRB, in particular, have achieved a remarkable transformation since the 2005 Hot Coffee fiasco rocked the game biz to its core. Over the last 18 months, however, the rating organization has conducted a tireless outreach campaign in an effort to win over key state-level politicians. ESRB has also added useful educational and content evaluation tools for parents.

At the sharp end, Mike Gallagher’s Entertainment Software Association has pursued the traditional lobbying route. The ESA has spread cash around via political campaign contributions as well as its newly-purchased friendship with NIMF.

At the state level, legislators who might once have been giving thought to proposing game legislation are now beginning to pay attention to costly legal defeats in places like Louisiana, Illinois and Minnesota.

Thus, a combination of serendipity and legal success leaves the U.S. game industry without a high-level watchdog – at least for now.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditEmail this to someone


  1. Monte says:

    Nah, you got those idiots on youtube all wrong. while the nature of the hate sounds the same, the key differnce is the motivation. If we had to resort to setoertypes (for the sake of helping to illustrate the difference), the groups we know best for attacking games would be overly moralisitc  religious soccer moms, where as the haters on youtube would be more like idiotic teens and jocks the likes of which are like the idiots on xbox live. Haters the like of JT hate, but with an agenda and world view that they want to force on others, where as the haters on youtube are just haters for sake of lulz… ignorant moral outrage vs just plain stupidity. Hell, many of those same people who hate on anime could likely be found on xbox live and be major fans of games like gears of war, halo, and so forth; they enjoy action and mindless violence (though for the same reason they hate anime, they hate RPG’s)… Where as rpgs and anime are seen as nerdy to them, they find FPS games to be action packed and violent and thus awesome and not nerdy… In short, many of those anime haters could easily also be fans of more action packed games… so no, i highly doubt they have anti-game setiments (with the exception for RPG’s which they think are stupid)

    If JT and his like were to start going after anime you would not hear a thing from these idiots… first off, they would not be keeping up with that kind of news, and if they did over hear something like that they would probably just shrug it off cause they don’t really care. They hatred of anime is based on just finding such things stupid and as such does not work as motivation for them to actually go out and be active about bringing an end to anime; unlike the moral cases who feel like they can make the world a better place through censorship, THAT works as a drive for people to get off their ass and do something…

    The anime haters that are the future of JT, the PTC, and CSM, are not the idiots on youtube calling anime stupid (such idiots could find great plasure in violence and pron), but the ones who call it immoral (who are against violence and sex in all it’s forms). Only the ones with moral outrage (and those who know they can profit off of moral outrage) will go out and actually take action against anime

  2. mdo7 says:


    These people on Youtube (anime haters) seems to have many feature that JT and video game haters have.  first they said anime fans have no life, just like how video game haters said video gamer have no life.  They come up with dumb stereotypes on anime fan, they all look similar to what video gamers were describe as.

    anime fan to video game fan

    -they said all anime fans are nerds, that’s very similar to how video games fan were like all nerds.

    -they said people watch anime for graphic sex, same thing for video gamers.

    -they said no girls watch anime, like how girls don’t play video game.

    There’s too many similarities between video game haters and anime haters.  I don’t like throwing in conspiracies, but I think these anime haters are either looking up to video game haters, or JT may be behind the anime hating.  It’s possible these anime haters could probably carrying some kind of secret grudge against video game, don’t call me crazy but I don’t have any logical explanation why the stereeotype of aniem fans are similar to how video gamers use to be thought to be like.  In my opinion, if JT or any of those PTC, religion nuts attack anime/manga next, I think these anime haters on Youtube may forgive these video game haters and join them to attack anime or worse, those anime haters may give up video gaming just to attack anime with their anti-violent medium group.  It’s possible, I already encounter an anime haters similar to Jack Thompson.  this person hasn’t blame anime for violence yet, but I’m worried. 

  3. beemoh says:

    >The National Institute on Media and the Family […] How does a watchdog organization justify taking money from the people it is supposed to be watching? Not surprisingly, NIMF’s 2008 Annual Video Game Report Card was a valentine to the game biz

    That’s because NIMF was never a watchdog, but instead a mafia-like extortion racket, dealing not in murder but in bad PR.

    That $50,000 isn’t a grant, it’s protection money.


  4. Monte says:

     No, not really… Jack didn’t think video games were just stupid, he had more moralistic complaints against them; Jack always did so love to point out that he was a christian…  That and he thought he could make some serious cash and leave somekind of mark by attacking games…

    Those idiots on youtube? they just think anime is stupid; nothing more… as such it’s hardly worth their time to do something serious about it; they just don’t care about hating anime enough to do so. This is in contrast to JT whose moralistic outrage was more than enough fuel for him to do something serious about it. What it comes down to is motivation; simply thinking something is stupid, is not enough for you to get most people off their asses and actually do something about it… that kind of hatred is secondary; they’d much rather do other things with their lives and leave the anime bashing to something they do once in a while or when an opportunity presents itself… unlike having some kind of moral outrage over something; that’s the kind of motivation that gets people saying "i don’t think this is right and it MUST be stopped!"

    So all in all, those idiots on youtube will either grow up or just remain idiots and never actually lift a finger to put an end to anime… really, Jack was a rather unique breed; i doubt we will see a crusading lawyer (of all things) like him again… If anime does get targeted, it will be from media watch dog groups like the PTC, controversy craving news, religious/moralistic nuts, pandering politicians, and LaRouche…  the already established attack groups


    but i do see anime as a likely target… afterall, it’s growing in popularity hear in the states, and when it comes down to it, many of those series can be more violent and sexually explicit than any animated series you’d see coming out of the states… much like video games, because anime is animated, many of those groups mentioned above will go around claiming that they are shows targeted at children and only enjoyed by children. And then bring on the moral outrage

  5. TBoneTony says:

    Also as a person who studied Psychology in High School, Units 1,2,3 and Unit 4. Most of the Psychologists on the news are only there because what they say is newsworthy.

    But the real Psychologists are never heard because what they say is not always news worthy.

    The concept of making Generalizations based on weak evidence and weak correlations is a mockery of what real Psychology is all about.

    I guess that is why we have not heard as many Psychology tests about Violent Videogames as what crittics want us to think there is because there is a lack of concrete evidence most of the time.

    When there is some sort of evidence, it is mostly something unexpected and sadly those critics always try to avoid talking about what happened and only focus on what they believe happened.



  6. TBoneTony says:

    Also well done to those people from the ESRB like Patricia Vance and also other people working there.

    Also with books like Grand Theft Childhood and also Media Voilence and Idealology. There are books out there that even up the other sensationalist books like "Stop teaching our kids to kill" type of books.


  7. TBoneTony says:

    Just hope that the Industry can keep a lid on all the things that could explode up in the new year, like a future MASS EFFECT type of spear from Fox News that might attract the politicians like flies to a light.

    I am just so happy that event did not get as bad as I thought it could have been.


  8. Zero Beat says:

    Show of hands, who sang the article title like "Where Have All The Cowboys Gone"?  *Raises hand.*

    Also, you should only self-destruct when you  take other people down with you – Like that time I quit that job I hated and took almost all the management with me.

  9. CK20XX says:

    Ah, now that makes sense when explained that way.  VideolandHero just sounded defensive.

    That’s exactly how I am, but see, I don’t know if the average person is like that.  It’s not that I think that the average person would be driven to kill by games, but in my experience and as far as politeness and demeanor go, the average dog is a nicer person than the average person.  Just look at how much rudeness is prevailant on the internet and in society today.  Pretty soon we’ll be greeting our fellow man by slapping each other in the face.

    Basically my concern is that violent media encourages rudeness, not violence.  Of course it’s not the same for everyone, but with crumbling family values and high divorce rates, is the average person trained to distinguish as well as you and I?


    "They were retarded hairless pink bunnies, all of them. Except Shigeru Myamoto and… well, the good ones were just too /rare/ to be worth bothering about." – Mason Hornblower on the extinction of the human race

  10. mdo7 says:



    But what they don’t know, they’re emulating Jack Thompson’s behavior.  One of those haters on youtube may grow up to become a lawyer or politicans and attack anime like how politics today attack video game.  They’re probably going to put the blame on anime for school shooting and criminal acts.  That’s my worry, even though they may hate Jack Thompson (some of them don’t know who JT is) but they are going imitate him by putting anime on the blame game.  they may do something that Jack did like:

    -say anime/manga was involved with school shooting

    -saying anime/manga are use to train Army/armed force

    That’s why I keep worrying, would these haters on youtube or out there could be Jack Thompson’s successor or reincarnation.

  11. Shoehorn Oplenty says:

    This is exactly the fact that the video game critics need to realise. They all claim that violent video games desensitize people to violence. That statement should be further refined for it to be true. I put forward a correct version of this statement:

    "Video games featuring virtual, imaginary violence desensitize people to virtual, imaginary violence."

    In Gears of War, the first time I saw the chainsaw Lancer kill animation I thought "AW MAN! GROSS!". The next few times i saw it, i thought "OUCH! THAT’S GOTTA HURT". Further down the line, my reactions were less severe and eventually it became par for the course and didn’t bother me at all. The same thing with the fatalities in Mortal Kombat. The same thing with the headshots in Counter Strike. The same thing with the murders I read about in Crime Fiction novels. The same thing with the over the top deaths i saw in countless Arnie movies.

    I have seen so many murders and deaths and disembowlments and decapitations in video games over the years, it doesn’t really have much of an impact anymore. Consider my real life however. My one year old son was sitting on the floor earlier this week, tried to stand and fell back and bumped his head. I jumped and ran to comfort him and make sure he was alright. I sat there for hugging him, telling him everything was ok and stroking his head until he smiled again. I hit a rabbit with my car three weeks ago, I cringed and held my breath and then felt guilty for half an hour afterwards. It takes me a long time to summon the courage to submit to an injection from the doctor because I am terrified of needles. I was present for the birth of my son, but had to leave the ward because my girlfriend was getting an epidural and I would have fainted had I been present for it getting inserted. Yes indeed. These are the actions and feelings of someone desensitized to violence by video games…

    Normal people know the difference between virtual and real violence. As soon as the critics figure out this difference, they will realize how silly their position is. Until then, continue ignoring their ignorant proclamations about subjects they know nothing about.

  12. DavCube says:

    Well, there’s a real difference between people like JT and those people on youtube you mentioned: most of them actually fall into JT’s stereotype of gamers: 13-year-old losers with nothing better to do than to hate on something. Like most children, they’ll grow up and out of it. (Hell, half of them are almost blatently joke accounts just made to tick off the otaku culture)

    I mean, all they end up doing is making fun of Naruto and Sailor Moon and post cosplay pictures.

  13. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    (Posted in over 36-point for full effect. My apologies in advance, EZK. Please don’t resize this, anyone.)


    That was hilarious!


    "Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

  14. Benjamin_Snow says:

    As much I as I don’t like most modern anime and manga I do see it being a future scapegoat in the media.  I do not like to see another piece of popular media and it’s fans harassed because idiots do not understand it.



    "We may be human, but we’re still animals" -Steve Vai (World’s greatest guitarist!)

  15. GoodRobotUs says:

    There will always be critics, even in twenty years time when the next sensation is being blamed for all of societies ills. There are still people out there who hold that reading is ‘evil’ and corrupts the mind by promoting thoughts outside of the readers experiences. Such midsets will always exist in one form or another.

  16. PHX Corp says:

    I know the Calm is annoying for once, but The econ and DTV Transistion is more important than  what’s going on in the Media right now, but i believe the Gov’t is afraid to touch any media with a 39 1/2 ft Pole

  17. jkdjr25 says:

    Oh just wait. Glenn hasn’t gone anywhere. He moved his show over to, and the lack of surprise here is astounding, Fox News. He has to wait until next year sometime to begin it though due to his contract with CNN.

  18. Thad says:

    I expect we’ll be seeing more of Holy Joe now that the Democrats have made it clear that he could piss directly down their throats and they still wouldn’t seek any sort of punitive action against him.

  19. wintermute says:

    Why are we worried that there are no watchdog groups trying to prove that videogames are evil?  Weren’t we trying to STOP those guys?  Almost everyone that was listed there had an agenda far outside of being honestly worried about games doing any form of real damage to kids.  They all either ride an extremely huge moral high horse, think everything outside of their small worldview is going to lead to the decay of all civilization, are grossley missinformed and apparently don’t care, or are playing to some form of political constiuants.

    Show me a REAL watchdog group, a group that’s looking out for the good for the community at large AND the gaming community, tell me they’re fading out, THEN I’ll start to get worried.

  20. mogbert says:

    He kinda set himself up as a straw man. By being the most outspoken opponent and claiming he knew what was going on, people listened to him… up until it became apparent he didn’t know what he was talking about. And by failing so hard, not when another person gets up and trys to make a bandwagon for people to jump on, they run the risk of being compared to JT. In fact, it might not be bad to start referring to other critics (only the bad ones) as "another JT".

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I drank a lot of water during lunch and I have to go use the thompson.

  21. Anthrax says:

    I’ve been waiting a long time for this moment. I’m sure there’ll be plenty more controversy in the future, but a moment of silence is more than welcome with me. My ears needed a rest.

  22. mdo7 says:


    I know anime and manga will be next.  They already start blaming them for several situations, and we already have enough anime haters and racists where they are going to be likely a Jack Thompson’s successor.

  23. deuxhero says:

    "but far-right Republicanism is out of fashion these days" I take you have have never heard the "not pale pastels but bold colors" thing GP?

  24. mdo7 says:


    They’re going to blame anime and manga next.  I know it.  There’s already incident where manga and anime has already been blamed.

    -like the boy been buried his head in the sand, they blamed Naruto.

    -Deathnote has been blamed in several situation.

    -One of the American person living in Italy was murdered, the suspect’s home has been found with several mangas.


    Also, we already have enough anime haters on Youtube so one of them will become Jack Thompson’s successor when it comes to massacre chasers.


    I can imagine it now in the future:

    -Warren Jeff has been "training" on harem anime and hentai.  He was getting his training on these anime, he was learning to get girls to join him because of those anime.

    -Lee Boyd Malvo was training on the anime, Golgo 13.  All these anime had snipers training.

    -the terrorist that did the attack in Mumbai, they were training on the anime, Gunslinger Girls.  That anime had a lot of images of tactical training and can teach you how to use guns and the terrorist did use little girls for this attack.

    -Michael Vicks was getting his dog fighting skills from watching Pokemon, he even named his dog after a certain pokemon.  It was said that Vicks was dressing up like Ash Ketchum.

    This is a sample what it’ll look like.  We already have enough anime haters on Youtube for one of them to carry the Jack Thompson’s torch.

    Andrew Eisen and E.Zachary Knight, if you’re reading this comment.  I predict anime and manga will exactly become the new "video game".  A Jack Thompson will be made for that also.  What I recommend to do is that you might want to talk ANN (anime news network) about forming AnimeWatch, or AnimePolitics in case if the scapegoating begin.  We already have enough anime haters and racist against Japanese to be a Jack Thompson clone/successor.


  25. JustChris says:

    I haven’t heard of David Grossman but I have heard of Glenn Beck. He was a troll luring in angry callers to his trap after insulting "video bloggers". He fell back on the false dilemma fallacy, when he even went as far as making their blogging activity an opportunity cost to farming food to help children. A fancy way of saying "Stop gaming and start contributing to society".

    Sitting in a fancy studio made for your show just to rant is a bigger waste of resources than video game blogging. At least when we post messages, we don’t mind if we do it on any cheap desk or computer, and nobody is throwing their money at us to make us rant.

  26. mogbert says:

    3D TV’s provide a more immersive experience for young people, making it harder for younger children to tell the difference between reality and fiction. For example, in a study with young children between the ages of 4 and 6, one group watched "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 4: The Unchaining" in 3D while our control group watch "Bambi 5: Thumper Goes on a Picnic" in 2D. We found that the group watching the 3D movie showed a change in sleep paterns, an increase in adrenylin, and noctophobia, while the opposite occured in the control group, many who couldn’t stay awake through the control film. This shows a correlation between the inability to sepperate reality from fantasy and 3D television viewing.

    There, I even typed up a nice biased study for them to use when they go on their next witch hunt.

  27. JustChris says:

    Speaking of Bush going out- what will happen to the republican pro-war focus in the most biased forms of media? Will conservative media go to becoming a niche area again? It makes me wonder how Fox News will cope with the GOP losing a lot of control in Congress.

    As humans are emotionally driven, we are used to seeing people care more about two gay strangers marrying than the "hard calculating" topics like economics. It’s why we let big business destroy our economy while keeping out terrorists which, ironically, can only dream of making Wall Street get down on its knees the way we did. WE ALREADY DID THE DIRTY WORK FOR THEM! The damage (economically speaking) is done…what are we fighting in Iraq for?

    This is like when Tom & Jerry decided to fight an army of ants by throwing their own food at them >_>

  28. VideolandHero says:

    Just because you like the graphic imagery over the personal story of Silent Hill 2 doesn’t mean you are an ugly person.  Besides, look at all the people who watch horror movies to watch everybody die.

    It’s just entertainment, nothing more.

    — Official Protector of Videoland!

  29. VideolandHero says:

    I never heard of David Grossman, which tells me he is a nobody.

    And what happened to number 3?

    — Official Protector of Videoland!

  30. BearDogg-X says:

    Back into the hole they slithered out of to start with.

    As Austin Lewis said, everyone out of the current big names and potential next big names had no credibility to begin with. For example:

    -Romney might tend to go where the popular opinion goes, but he couldn’t even win the Republican nomination from John McCain.

    -Grossman’s credibility was shot down by John Stossel of ABC’s 20/20.

    -Leland Yee’s credibility hinges on the California law. It looked more likely that the appeal will fail. And the SCOTUS won’t hear the appeal unless there’s a difference of opinion in the Circuit Court of Appeals. Should the industry hold serve, the 9th Circuit would join the 7th and 8th Circuits in the opinion/cold hard fact that video games are protected speech. Plus the fact that Yee voted against a bill that would have banned poisonous lead in children’s toys defeats his argument.

    -The Parents Television Council(or as I like to call them, the Parent Trash Cult) hasn’t had credibility since they paid $3.5 million and publicly apologized to Vince McMahon to settle WWE’s $30 million defamation lawsuit against the PTC for lying about WWE programming being "responsible" for the deaths of children, more specifically the infamous Lionel Tate case, where Tate was tried, convicted, and sentenced to life without parole for brutally murdering a 6 year old girl half his size. He and his third attorney Jim Lewis(who even appeared on a PTC fundraising video) blamed wrestling, yet it turned out in the appeal under a new attorney that they were watching The Flintstones and Cow and Chicken at the time.

    -Lyndon LaRouche is too crazy. Enough said.

    The bottom line though is that when Jack Thompson became the most vocal critic(and moreso than even Sen. Lieberman ever was in the early 90’s), his public downfall basically damages not just whatever infinitestimal credibility he had, but also damages the credibility of any video game critic, whether they were ever associated with him or not. All because Thompson refused to practice what he preached about growing up and getting a life.

    Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Hornets, Jack Thompson can geaux chase a chupacabra.

    Proud supporter of the New Orleans Saints, LSU, 1st Amendment; Real American; Hound of Justice; Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always

    Saints(3-4), LSU(7-0)

  31. Avalongod says:

    Although I hope that this article is right and that a corner has been turned, I wouldn’t get too complacent yet.  Critics will still come from three main sources.

    1.) Psychologists.  Social psychology in particular still remains very hostile to video games (on the violence issue).  This is a dogmatic issue for them, as "media violence" issues and the idea that media are a powerful influencing agent on behavior is a "cornerstone" of this view, despite decades of VERY WEAK evidence.  Although there certainly is debate within psychology, I’d guess more psychologists accept the "violent games are bad" view than people in the general public.  As such I wouldn’t expect the tide of poorly run but sensationalistic psychology research articles to end anytime soon.  Unfortunately the "standards of evidence" for a theory in psychology are abysmally low.  As such, theories tend to survive for decades past their utility. 

    2.) Pundits.  Jack Thompson may be down, but David Grossman is still up and kicking.  News outlets such as FOX News are still going to be able to find other pundits, including psychologists, to make alarmist claims about video games.

    4.) Politicians.  Video game laws may remain low-hanging fruit under the aegis of "protecting the children" particularly for politicians with no ideas or ability to accomplish anything of real substance.

    I’d be cautiously optimistic, but it’s not quite time to get out the champagne bottles yet. 

  32. CK20XX says:

    I kinda agree because I’m the same way.  I’m more desensitized to violence in games.  One of the first things I do when I play a game is kill myself so I won’t be surprised or shocked by the game over screen I’ll no doubt come face-to-face with many times while I play.  But I am not desensitized to real life violence.  I can’t stand the sight of real blood.  I cringe at disasters and graphic images.  I have a lot of empathy for those who suffer.

    But I suspect I’m one of only a handful of people who see things like that because I am so different from the average person.  I’ve always assumed that my testing group is small.

    Regardless, the same principle applies: watch yourself.  Make sure you don’t become an ugly person.  If you appreciate Silent Hill 2 for its deep, personal story rather than its graphic imagery, you’re probably ok.


    "They were retarded hairless pink bunnies, all of them. Except Shigeru Myamoto and… well, the good ones were just too /rare/ to be worth bothering about." – Mason Hornblower on the extinction of the human race

  33. VideolandHero says:

    Video game do affect you, AS A GAME.  You can be desensitized to violent video games, but not to violence itself.  I’ve played tons of Grand Theft Auto, I don’t steal or hurt anybody.  I play first person shooters, and I’m too scared to join the war.

    Video games affect me by enjoyment.  If I want to be entertained I just start playing video games, if I want to play older games I always go back to the ones I enjoyed the most.

    — Official Protector of Videoland!

  34. PHX Corp says:

    "Thus, a combination of serendipity and legal success leaves the U.S. game industry without a high-level watchdog – at least for now."

    I think everyone in congress is scared that if any critic attack’s the videogame industry, They will Get into trouble with the ECA and ESA.(My 2 Cents on this issue)

    I think We should Not Just defend the Video game industry, but every media this time

  35. CK20XX says:

    It’s because there actually is a truth about how video games influence behavior, and you don’t need a multi-million dollar study to figure it out.

    The truth is: EVERYTHING affects us in some way, and will come back to influence us at some point.  You know the old saying, "garbage in, garbage out"?  It’s very true.  That’s why we all have to be careful of what we put into our minds and let out of our mouths so we don’t end up becoming massive douchebags.  Don’t repeat l33tspeak or racism that you see in online chat rooms because it’s not as cool as you think.

    But what these critics are trying to prove is that video games will suddenly transform people in homicidal maniacs.  That’s the argument that persistantly fails.  The truth lies in the opposite direction: people are more likely to seek out violent media if they are already violent.  Perhaps the reason they do this is because they’ve given up on themselves, so they seek out violent media specifically for its layering effect.  This reinforces the already severely violent tendancies in the individual until we have yet another ax crazy individual trying to ruin it for everybody.

    Those people stir up a lot of fear, which is ultimately what this comes down to.  There’s always fear associated with new mediums, with anything new and/or different, but you can’t make laws or ammendments based on that.  That’s McCarthyism.

    Perhaps video games should be regulated because of how they can affect us, but you can’t do that unless you’re gonna do the same to movies, music, and everything else, and the USA’s constitution doesn’t allow for that.  This is a country where the individual is expected to take responsibility for their own actions.  That’s what freedom and liberty means.  There’s no room for scapegoats here.

    Besides, the video game industry has already proven to be the best at self-regulation.  Every critic needs to stop living in fear and look at what they can do productively instead.


    "They were retarded hairless pink bunnies, all of them. Except Shigeru Myamoto and… well, the good ones were just too /rare/ to be worth bothering about." – Mason Hornblower on the extinction of the human race

  36. Benji says:

    High fructose corn syrup.  These days people are crying more about obesity than moral decay.  Which also means that games will still be bashed for promoting inactive lifestyles, but that’s not something people would even think of legislating over.  And curiously it would also mean that Nintendo would have as much if not more blame than Rockstar.

    I also wouldn’t be surprised if primetime television came in for a round of bashing.  People are already complaining that there’s more and more sex, violence, and profanity on TV these days and the networks are pretty much unrepentant at this point, so it’s an issue that might eventually get the attention of someone in DC.

  37. nightwng2000 says:

    It’s too broad.  Not to mention the shows come and go.  Even the popular ones.  I think the world got too drowned in them for them to make decent scapegoats.

    VR never made it as a scapegoat because it didn’t become popular enough, partly because of the technology.  Even sensory suits aren’t popular enough and are still in the infancy stages.

    You see where some of the specialized controlers were bashed for a short time.  But no where to the degree of overall video games.  They just aren’t widespread enough.  The scapegoating of them was as much a fad as the controllers themselves.


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 has also updated his MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

  38. vellocet says:

    I’m of the opinion that now that Bush is on his way out… the politician may actually want to fix the REAL problems of society.  I hope that they were busting on the videogame industry for so long because it was the only thing they felt they had any power to "fix".  But now that REAL change is possible, and that the politics of fear, uncertainty and doubt are going out the window.  These politician feel they might have a chance to change something that really matters.  Not that video games don’t matter, but they don’t matter quite as much as the economy, war, etc.

    But then again, I’m an optimist.


  39. ezbiker555 says:

    Let’s just enjoy the peace and quiet while we still can. For once, not having idiots attacking the gaming industry is a nice break and takes a load of us from making sure we prove others wrong when we know they are wrong.

    Seriously, I feel like celebrating for a bit. Than we go on the defensive again.


  40. DeepThorn says:

    I am sure someone will come up and try to smack the industry around, if crazy news stories don’t do it well enough with scapegoating.

  41. Michael Chandra says:

    "Alright people, we need a new scapegoat. Video Games ain’t cutting it anymore, and Bush still holds the patent on blaming terrorism. Anyone got a good idea?"

  42. nightwng2000 says:

    The days of "Rock N’ Roll is the work of the devil!" finally came to an end.

    The days of "Comic books encourage immorality!" finally came to an end.

    The days of "Dirty dancing causes promiscuity!" finally came to an end.

    Slowly, yet inexorably, the "video games are responsible for the moral decline of America!" will come to an end.

    Each had, and even still has, their hold outs.  Some so mentally unstable or ignorant that they can never get a grip on reality.  But many others, the most important of them, move on, seeing the futility and stupidity of their arguments.  They accepted the reality, such as letting Parents inform themselves and make their own decisions as to what is or is not appropriate for themselves and/or their children.  They are becoming more aware that there ARE resources for Parents to use that don’t need to be mandated by government dictate.  Much in the same way Parents can become informed about the schools they send their children to.  The insurance they buy to cover their children or even themselves to support their children.  The homes they buy.  The food they buy.  The accessories they buy (such as children’s clothes, car safety seats, even school supplies).  Even the cars they buy.

    The hold outs can rant and rave and try all they can to become the tin-pot-dictators they so badly wanna-be.  They can scream and chant how important they are and the influence they hold sway over others.

    But in the end, they will become extinct.  And others will find something new to blame as the tools of the "Anti-Christ" or the "Porn Industry".

    And all I have to say to that is:  Come and have a go, if you think you’re hard enough!  😀


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 has also updated his MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

  43. Michael Chandra says:

    Where have all the critics gone and where are all the gods?
    Where’s the raving lunatic to fight the rising odds?
    Isn’t there a laywer upon a fiery steed?
    Late at night I toss and turn and dream of what I need…

    I need Jack Thompson!
    I’m holding out for Jack Thompson ’til the end of the night
    He’s gotta be strong and he’s gotta be fast 
    And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight
    I need Jack Thompson!
    I’m holding out for Jack Thompson ’til the morning light
    He’s gotta be sure and it’s gotta be soon
    And he’s gotta be larger than life.

  44. sortableturnip says:

    You forgot to add to JT’s dot that he currently "works" for Human Events and a blogger.

    You know he’s going to come on here ranting and raving about that…

  45. Nekowolf says:

    I don’t know. With the especially heavy economic issues my state (Michigan) is facing, I don’t think games would be a top concern. We’re in a massive deficit, we have the second-highest unemployment in all of US (Rhode Island is 1st, and this was only a few months ago; before then, WE were 1st), and there’s the failing of the auto-industry, which holds great influence over Michigan’s economy.

  46. T5 says:

    Jennifer Granholm maybe?

    Video game critics will just die out soon enough just like Dr. Frederic Wertham did. 

  47. GoliathWon says:

    That’s funny, I was going through GamePolitics’ LiveJournal archive just this week. I really recommend doing that for perspective. Back then it was new presented legislation every week or so, critics from all over the place every day. Nowadays it’s just a handful of people making noise. Good to see the moral panic is over, and a real discussion (because there is room for that) is possible.

  48. Cheater87 says:

    I hope this means video games can come out uncut like movies can. 🙂 Games should be treated as art and allowed to come out uncensored like a movie is.

  49. black manta says:

    During the last ECA meeting on ventrilo, I commented that it seemed the concern over video games has turned a corner; at least here in the U.S. (it came up during a discussion over the Brandon Crisp incident and how the Canadian authorities were reacting to it).

    I attribute this to three things: 1) More pressing issues like the economy and the war in Iraq have given us bigger, more legitimate things to worry about.  2) The growing acceptance of video games into popular mainstream entertainment.  And 3) In relation to this as more and more people are coming to realize there’s nothing to fear from games, the subsequent implosion and discrediting of gaming’s leading critics, with both Lieberman and Thompson having been marginalized (Sorry, Jack.  You have, even if you refuse to acknowledge it and regardless what you say to the contrary.)

    So I think that for the most part, we’ve won the battle over the public perception of video games (Again, sorry Jack.  We did win this one.)  At the very least, the tide has turned.  And while I think the ECA should still be active in being vigilant on that aspect, it no longer feels like we’re fighting an uphill battle and we can also now focus on the issues of consumer rights such as DRM and IP.


  50. VideolandHero says:

    Don’t relax just yet.  Most of these critics can turn around and start attacking games at any time.  And we don’t know if  more critics will come along.

    Oh, and the second to last line for Leland Yee you spelled issue wrong.

    — Official Protector of Videoland!

  51. MaskedPixelante says:

    Not shooting down that New York bill is, at least in my opinion, the worst thing they could have done. It may be toothless political fluff, but now that there is a game bill on the law, there could be PRECEDENT. More and more intense legislation could become law because "Hey, there’s a game bill in New York."

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  52. Austin_Lewis says:

    Let’s face it, most of these critics didn’t have that much credibility to begin with.

    And, of course, the most annoying one has been relegated from making insults and threatening companies with lawsuits to just insulting people like a child.

Comments are closed.