Your Anti-Game Op-ed of the Day

The author of an opinion piece appearing in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, a piece ostensibly related to the Schwarzenegger vs. EMA Supreme Court case, takes a hatchet to videogames.

Author Jack Markowitz offers, “grudgingly,” that “the Supreme Court will uphold the precious freedom to sell stupid, overpriced electronic games to children.”

These “stupid [Ed. yes, again], violent,” games, AKA “trash” that kids are imbibing instead of doing their homework, while their parents operate in the other room, blissfully unaware of their offspring getting “jollies” from killing, maiming, dismembering or sexually assaulting images of human, are served up to youth as a means of “recreational, garbage-vending.”

The current crop of videogames also promote “savage, anti-social plot elements.”

Even Markowitz however, in predicting the outcome of Schwarzenegger vs. EMA, recognizes who should be filtering content for kids—their parents:

On the slim chance that nine justices will overturn the wisdom of California, computer geeks younger than 18 surely will get their hands on forbidden games anyway; just too irresistible. And if legislators are powerless to stop this bad influence on children, here’s a radical notion: maybe parents should. Two-to-one we’ll see the court vote 5-4 for "creative freedom." But 5-4 the other way is conceivable, too. And better.

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  1. Left4Dead says:

    Clearly has never played any video games.  These people who crop up continue think they are qualified to comment on something they have never involved themselves with.  Anyone who has played a few games clearly sees that they are harmless fun.  They themselves may not enjoy certain genres but can at least show some level of respect to those who do enjoy them.

    As to children playing video games, that is called parental responsibility – an area the government has NO business being involved in whatsoever.  Only foolish parents don’t keep track of their children’s activities.

    – Left4Dead

    Why are zombies always eating brains? I want to see zombies that eat toes for a living. Undead-related pun intended.

    -- Left4Dead --

  2. Bennett Beeny says:

    My 7 year-old daughter does her homework BEFORE she uses ‘stupid’ and violent ‘trash’ like the intelligently written, nicely produced and graphically beautiful Assassin’s Creed 2 to pretend to ‘maim’ and ‘kill’ fictitious game characters. While she’s doing the pretend maiming and killing, I’m usually in the same room watching her play the game or playing the game alongside her, and (with my help and input) she’s picking up details of European history and geography that her school teachers have yet to touch on. She’s also learning essential hand-eye coordination techniques that girls often miss out on in a society in which such things are generally thought of as male pursuits.

    At a guess, I suppose Jack Markowitz would be more comfortable if my daughter stuck to learning how to cook and clean for her future husband, and left the computer games untouched, along with Lego sets and mechanical toys so that she doesn’t fill her head with pursuits and lessons she shouldn’t have a use for in later life.

    I don’t share that view.

    I guess Mr. Markowitz would be happier if my daughter was outside on a 1950s era street playing ‘Cowboys and Indians’ – a game in which the people she would be pretending to maim and kill would be her school chums, and in which the ‘bad guys’ were an oppressed minority that was virtually wiped from the face of the Earth in an orgy of socially acceptable real-life violence.

  3. Arell says:

    We’re reaching the point where new parents were gamers themselves (or at least grew up with a basic understanding of games from friends), so the tired argument that "parents don’t know what their children are doing in these games" is almost obsolete.  In fact, using this argument is telling of the author and his age, and how out of touch he’s getting.

  4. edmoss87 says:

    (Insert your own age-related joke here)

    I’m not going to comment on his opinion of video games, he’s entitled to it just as I’m entitled not to care for it. What I find most amusing about this article is that he defeats his own argument;

    "But see the pitfall? One censor’s deviant is another’s art."

    "And if legislators are powerless to stop this bad influence on children, here’s a radical notion: maybe parents should."

    and let’s not forget this gem;

    "Sacrificing millions in sales to the immaturity market would "deprive game developers … of a critical instrument for expressing and exercising their creativity,""

    Which is just plain fabrication.

  5. Shahab says:

    I’m not going to give this guy the traffic he is so clearly begging for. I understand why these articles get posted but in the end you’ll notice that the more time that passes the older and older these blowhards gets. In another 20 years the idea that someone would write such an article will be laughable. We’ll just have to fight until that day.

  6. hellfire7885 says:

    Old self centered asshole is all I have to say. From the "to be seen and not heard" generation where being a good citizen was minding your manner andn ever questioning anything.

  7. CMiner says:

    And if legislators are powerless to stop this bad influence on children, here’s a radical notion: maybe parents should."

    "Two-to-one we’ll see the court vote 5-4 for "creative freedom." But 5-4 the other way is conceivable, too. And better."

    These two statements just don’t fit together…. It seems he is saying that its better that legislators do the parenting in place of parents.

  8. Cronniss says:

    That is the lovely part about our First Amendment – anyone can say just about anything they want concerning whatever topic they are passionate about.  Even if people disagree, we still have that freedom.

    It just surprises me so much that when people disagree, that one side or the other of any argument wishes to reduce or remove such freedom because there are those that don’t agree with them.

    The biggest argument for restricting the sales of video games, in its essence, is: "Think of the children!"

    Unfortunately, that is the problem.  Not enough parents think of their children in regards to this sort of thing and they wish the government to do so for them.  (Or, as the writer of the aforementioned article does, have other people want the government to do so for them.)  I am an adult gamer.  I have a daughter who is now 20-years-old and attending college.  She is socially "well-rounded," thinks for herself and makes informed & educated decisions.  She also loves to play games (not just video).  Why?  Because I taught her how to enjoy games of all types.  While she was growing up, however, I limited her exposure to certain types of games because she was a child.  There were certain things she just did not need to see or partake in.  In fact, I went so far as to not play those types of games in her presence.

    Too many parents today use computers, PS3s, Xboxes, Wiis, DSes, etc. as babysitters rather than take the time themselves to watch over their children.  I have heard the argument "But I don’t have the time!"  IMO, then you shouldn’t have had the children.  Children are a lifelong responsibility.  If you are finding that you do not have the time to take care of your most precious responsibility…then you need to make the time.  We don’t need "The State" to take care of our children for us simply because a few can not take care of their own "properly."

    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." – Benjamin Franklin

  9. M. Carusi says:

    It’s nice that a newspaper – which, you know, presumably is meant for news – takes two days of the week to let a cranky blowhard throw a temper tantrum about "declining morality".

  10. Bennett Beeny says:

    "I guess it is possible he was one of those ‘youth leaders’ that charged in build bonfires of comic books and bully other children into destroying thier collections."

    A situation nicely criticized in Assassin’s Creed 2’s ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’ segment. But I guess the author misses the reference, since for him, the religious nut Savonarola was presumably one of the good guys, trying to save civilization from the disgusting and ruinous ‘trash’ of artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli.

  11. Neeneko says:

    This guy is decades past having ‘children’.

    I think he is a prototypical example of someone who wants the government making sure OTHER people raise kids the way he wants them raised.  His rant was full of language decrying about the downfall of culture and society……

    I find it amusing that he singles out the Comicbook Defense Fund since he is old enough to have been around for the comic book moral panic.   I guess it is possible he was one of thoe ‘youth leaders’ that charged in build bonfires of comic books and bully other children into destroying thier collections.

  12. E. Zachary Knight says:

    Here is a novel idea: Why don’t you just forget about getting the government to monitor your children’s media and do it yourself as a parent. You even say it yourself, but you would prefer the government to do it for you.

    So, when will people be clamoring for mandatory bording schools for all children? After all, if we can’t trust parents to monitor their children’s media consumption, perhaps the government shoudl just take over the whole child rearing process. Let us breed and let the government take over once the children are born.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  13. potatojones83 says:

    Two-to-one we’ll see the court vote 5-4 for "creative freedom." But 5-4 the other way is conceivable, too. And better.

    So, taking away the rights and freedoms of others to impose your self-centered, moral view about something you don’t like and are clearly uninformed on is better than creative freedom? Clearly we have a difference of opinion on this one.

    Is it so hard a concept to grasp that some games are developed for kids and some are not? Do they not realize they would be trampling on the rights of adults as well as kids were this to be upheld?

    Here’s hoping the Justices on the Supreme Court could see how this law is someone trying to force their moral views on others.

  14. Uncharted NES says:

    Where’s that phone number of Senator McCarthy…..



    Veni, vidi, vici, I came, I saw, I conquered.

  15. Vinzent says:

    The 50’s proved that parents alone can’t protect our children from communism, so how will they protect them from video games. Where’s that phone number of Senator McCarthy……

  16. Chris Kimberley says:

    Some choice quotes from the article:

    "Millions of parents probably aren’t aware of the trash the kids are toying with in their rooms in lieu of homework."

    Not a problem the government should be solving.

    "Video games are addictive to many youngsters in the first place, which is worrisome enough. A lot parents must wish their offspring would just "go out and play" as in the pre-electronic past."

    Speaking as a parent, if I’m not able to directly supervise my daughter I’d rather have her inside.  I take her out to play, but would not want to just send her out.

    "A lovely harmony between profits and the Constitution."

    Just like books, movies, and every other creative industry.

    "And if legislators are powerless to stop this bad influence on children, here’s a radical notion: maybe parents should."

    Well, turns out the guys has some sense.  Indeed parents should keep material they don’t think their kids should have access to away from their kids.  It’s called parenting.

    I like that most of the points that seem most important from the article are more easily solved by parents paying attention and being involved in their kids lives than by legislation.


    Chris Kimberley

  17. SimonBob says:

    I can’t blame Mr. Markowitz for his inability to relate to the modern youth.  When he was growing up, he didn’t have time for objectionable material, because his family was constantly trying to avoid being stepped on by brachiosaurs.  "C’mon everyone, John McCain’s found an igneous cavern we can hide in!"

    (Old-age-joke twofer.  Today’s a good day.)


  18. axiomatic says:

    Oddly enough I have the same opinion of newspapers in general that this guy has of video games. The difference is though that I didn’t write an op-ed piece about my personal views. He did.

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