Ex-Cop Lectures on How Media is Killing Kids

September 21, 2010 -

In delivering a presentation on the threats modern media poses to youngsters, a retired Maine police officer said about the entertainment industry, “They don’t care what happens to your child.”

Dan Frazell (pictured) now travels extensively giving similar presentations on the subject of “How the Media is Killing Our Children,” which is also the MIA-like URL of his personal website. According to the Chronicle Herald, Frazell uses his talks to warn about the perils (for kids) of social media sites like Facebook and MySpace, lists websites that show users how to beat drug tests or evade police searches and shows sexually-charged and/or violent scenes from shows like South Park and various music videos.

36 comments | Read more

Study Examines Effect of Ruminating over Violent Games

September 20, 2010 -

Results from a recent study appear to indicate that playing violent videogames could increase aggression a full day later, but only when certain conditions were instituted.

“Violent Video Games Cause an Increase in Aggression Long After the Game Has Been Turned Off” (link) was authored by Brad Bushman and Bryan Gibson, the former a professor at Ohio State University and Amsterdam’s VU University and the latter a professor at Central Michigan University. The study was conducted on 126 college students.

The flip of a coin decided whether participants would play a violent or nonviolent game for 20 minutes. The violent games were Mortal Kombat: vs. DC Universe, Resistance: Fall of Man, and Resident Evil 5, while Guitar Hero, Gran Turismo 5, and Shaun White Snowboarding made up the nonviolent entries.

12 comments | Read more

Eagle Forum Founder Blast Videogames

September 9, 2010 -

Phyllis Schlafly, founder of the “pro-family” Eagle Forum has authored a column in which she takes a hatchet to videogames, while attempting to outline the fight by both sides in the Schwarzenegger vs EMA case to rally state attorneys general to their respective squads.

A few of the descriptors used by Schlafly to portray videogames in her piece include: “extremely violent and addictive,” “polluting,” “increasingly realistic bloodshed,” “highly disturbing,” “heinous acts of terrorism” and “evil products.”

In case you hadn’t guessed it yet, Schlafly is not a huge fan of games. A sampling of her more inane arguments against videogames follow:

Some games are programmed to become more violent while the game is being played, and parents usually don't or can't play the games.

Seahawks Cut Pitcock

September 8, 2010 -

Quinn Pitcock, the defensive tackle attempting an NFL comeback following a self-diagnosed bout with videogame addiction, was cut from the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday (thanks sister site GameCulture).

Pitcock managed to survive until the final round of cuts after a preseason in which he appeared in four games, accumulating the same number of tackles.

The Ohio State University alumni recently expanded on his problem with games, saying that in his heyday, he would typically wake up at 3 PM and then play Call of Duty until 6 or 7 AM the next day.

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Researcher Ferguson Urges Utah AG to Side with Game Industry

September 7, 2010 -

As Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff continues to decide whether to throw his state’s support behind an amicus brief opposing California’s violent videogame bill at the heart of Schwarzenegger vs EMA, Texas A&M International Associate Professor Christopher J Ferguson sent a letter to the editor of the Salt Lake Tribune urging Shurtleff to join the game industry’s side.

Ferguson, best known around these parts for his videogame research, outlined three reasons why Shurtleff should oppose the California bill:

EULAs Inability to Stop Lineage II Lawsuit

September 3, 2010 -

A judge’s ruling earlier last month that Craig Smallwood’s lawsuit against Lineage II maker NCsoft could continue (a suit in which Smallwood claimed he was addicted to the game), could have an impact on End User Licensing Agreements (EULA).

A lawyer at Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy named Steven Roosa took to his blog (thanks Slashdot) to discuss the Smallwood case, using the headline “A Software License Agreement Takes it on the Chin.”

Roosa detailed NCsoft’s attempt to stop the lawsuit by using Section 12 of its User Agreement, which is entitled “Limitation of Liability.” The judge eventually only partially granted NCsoft’s motion to dismiss.

Roosa wrote:

11 comments | Read more

Pitcock Sheds More Light on His Trouble with Videogames

September 2, 2010 -

Quinn Pitcock, the almost 300-pound defensive tackle attempting a comeback with the Seattle Seahawks following a bout of depression-induced (and self-diagnosed) videogame addiction, has survived the first round of cuts with his NFL team and racked up four tackles in the Seahawk’s first three preseason games.

Pitcock also opened up to the Dayton Daily News (he attended Ohio State University) about his trouble with videogames, labeling Call of Duty as his game of choice. Pitcock indicated that on a “typical day,” he would wake up at 3 PM and then play until 6 or 7 AM the next day.

Playing as Randy the Random 1, Pitcock said, “First-person shooter games were my thing. I was ranked at one point 55th in the world.”

2 comments | Read more

Understanding the Cycle of Violent Videogame Stories

August 31, 2010 -

Kotaku points us towards an interesting Ted Talk in which David McCandless, a self-proclaimed “data journalist” discusses overcoming information overload by visualizing and designing information so we can focus on what’s important.

After showing a graph a “landscape of the world’s fears”, or a chart showing off popular scares over the last decade, which included Swine Flu, Bird Flu, SARS, the Millennium Bug, Asteroid Collisions and Killer Wasps, McCandless pulled up a slide charting the landscape of violent videogames.

3 comments | Read more

Odd Use of AR has Dating Gamers Flocking to Japanese City

August 30, 2010 -

Fans of LovePlus, the Konami-developed dating simulator that was released only in Japan, now have a vacation destination where they can integrate virtual girlfriends into their daily activities.

Using augmented reality (AR), Konami and the resort town of Atami, Japan have teamed up to offer 13 “romantic locations” throughout the town, where love struck gamers can pose, thanks to augmented reality, with images of their favorite LovePlus characters, like Rinko, Manaka or Nene.

It was reported by AFP that the girls “have all swapped their usual sailor-style school uniforms for casual summer wear.”

A local hotel offers additional entertainment for LovePlus fans:

The local Ohnoya hotel even offers traditional rooms to the unusual couples, which feature two sets of futon beds and another barcode panel that allows the men to visualise their girlfriends in a flattering summer kimono.

5 comments | Read more

Law Blog Discusses Lineage II Plaintiff’s Chances of Victory

August 27, 2010 -

A law blog contributor believes that the Hawaii man suing Lineage II creator NCsoft for making the game so addictive has an uphill battle in order prove his case.

Craig Smallwood sued the game maker after reportedly spending 20,000 hours playing Lineage II between 2004 and 2009. He claimed that NCsoft neglected “to warn or instruct or adequately warn or instruct plaintiff and other players of Lineage II of its dangerous and defective characteristics, and of the safe and proper method of using the game.”

In a column on the blog LegalMatch.com, "Rusty Shackleford" asks if such a case demonstrates the need for tort reform, or if the plaintiff and court are “on to something.”

On Smallwood’s chances:

4 comments | Read more

Police (& Media) Now Playing up D&D Connection to Murder

August 26, 2010 -

Yesterday we told you about a nasty rape and murder that occured in South Hill Puyallup, Washington, in which an 18-year old man raped and murdered a 16-year old disabled/developmentally challenged girl. The story mentioned that the man had returned home after the murder to play Dungeons and Dragons Online in order to try and “forget” the crime.

However in a new story published yesterday on The Seattle Post Intelligencer website, detectives in the case (or the author of the piece) appear to be playing up the videogame angle even more, as evidenced by the headline, “Murder Motive May Have Been Video Game Fantasy.”

15 comments | Read more

Man With 20,000 Hours into Lineage II Sues NCsoft

August 20, 2010 -

Craig Smallwood of Hawaii has a lawsuit in the works against the creator of Lineage II, claiming that he became so addicted to the game he became “unable to function independently in usual daily activities such as getting up, getting dressed, bathing or communicating with family and friends.”

In a Wired piece on the suit, Smallwood, in his proceedings, claims to have spent 20,000 hours playing the game between 2004 and 2009. He claimed that developer NCsoft is negligent because it failed “to warn or instruct or adequately warn or instruct plaintiff and other players of Lineage II of its dangerous and defective characteristics, and of the safe and proper method of using the game.”

The suit appears to be moving forward as the presiding judge refused to dismiss some of Smallwood’s claims earlier this month.

15 comments | Read more

Louisiana's GameStop Bandit Given 40 Years

August 17, 2010 -

A 29-year old who robbed at least four GameStop stores last year in Louisiana was sentenced to 10 years for each incident, giving him a total of 40 years in prison.

Gregory Reaux (pictured) was an ex-GameStop employee, who was fired from the videogame retailer in 2008 for “improperly using employee discounts and store deals,” according to NOLA.com. A graduate student, Reaux robbed the GameStops armed with a box cutter while wearing a “cut shirt sleeve as a mask.” He reportedly absconded with several thousand dollars from the robberies, along with “various merchandise.”

An earlier story detailing Reaux’s arrest put the tally of robbed stores at six, in the towns of Slidell, Jefferson Parish, Hammond, Walker and Denham Springs, Noting that he had not yet robbed a store in Mandeville, officers staked out the local GameStop and promptly busted Reaux as he was preparing to commit his next crime.

15 comments | Read more

Officer Allegedly Chokes Wife for Threatening to Take PS3 Away

August 17, 2010 -

The wife of a Lake County, Florida police officer tried to push her husband’s buttons by taking away his PlayStation 3 and, unfortunately, succeeded all too well, with the end result that the sheriff’s deputy reportedly grabbed and choked her.

A WFTV.com story on the incident names the officer as 29-year old Gary French. His wife, a sheriff’s office dispatcher, came up with the ill-conceived plan to threaten to take away French’s PS3 following an argument. When she touched the console, he “grabbed her by the neck, put her in a choke hold and lifted her away from the PS3.”

Neighbor Joyce Roberson wasn’t impressed with French’s actions, stating, “Well him being a cop he ought to know better, that's not cool.”

10 comments | Read more

Eastern Philosopher on Karmic Effects of Violent Games

August 16, 2010 -

Dr. Acharya Shree Yogeesh is a spiritualist and practitioner of Eastern philosophy with a Doctorate of Philosophy in “The Six Substances of Jainism: A Comparative Study with Buddhist Texts.” Acharya Shree is also founder of Yogeesh Ashram, a California-based non-profit whose sole purpose is “to uplift and awaken souls.”

18 comments | Read more

NYRA Preparing Amicus Brief for Schwarzenegger Case

August 16, 2010 -

The National Youth Rights Association (NYRA) is not pleased about the possibility of the Supreme Court ruling in favor of the California side of the Schwarzenegger v. EMA appeal and is asking for assistance from the gaming community as it prepares an Amicus Brief for submission to the Court.

In a blog post, the NYRA theorizes that no Supreme Court member has ever played a game, nor, (most likely) have the lawyers arguing for either side. As a “defender of the rights of youth,” and “as gamers,” the NYRA stated that “we need to make it clear that video games are more than random violence and that no one should be denied access to them.”

Here is what the organization is looking for:

Music Producer Condemns Music, Games for Impact on Kids

August 11, 2010 -

Musician and record producer Mike Stock lashed out against the current state of pop music, stating that the “industry has gone too far” as it serves up “soft pornography” to children.

Stock, perhaps best-known as one member of a trio of songwriters and producers known as Stock Aitken Waterman, which produced and wrote songs for an impressive list of musical acts ranging from Elton John to Judas Priest to Bananarama, saved some of his blame for videogames, stating:

Before children even step into school, they have all these images. The pop videos and computer games like Grand Theft Auto confronting them, and the parents can't control it. Talking to mothers' groups, they were saying that even they have lost faith in brands like Disney.

World’s Worst Dad Steals, Sells Son’s Console and Games

August 11, 2010 -

A 28-year old Delhi Township, Ohio man visiting his son at his ex-wife’s house, stole his nine-year old son’s game system and games upon leaving and traded them in at a nearby game store.

Joseph Phillips sold the items for about a tenth of their value according to an article on Cincinnati.com. His ex-wife valued the goods at $1,070, leading the website to question why Phillips was arrested for misdemeanor theft charges and not on felony charges.

Phillips, who has a history of drug arrests, allegedly committed the deed on Sunday and was arrested on Monday. His stay in jail was short-lived due to overcrowding, but he failed to appear in court on Tuesday, leading to an arrest warrant being issued against him.

Phillips reportedly told police that he would not be around because he was checking into a Teen Challenge USA recovery program. Officials “could not confirm if Phillips was in the program.”

16 comments

Moral Kombat now on Hulu

August 11, 2010 -

Spencer Halpin’s Moral Kombat, the 2007 documentary that focuses on the subject of violence in videogames, is now available for free viewing on Hulu.

The documentary features a wide assortment of game industry luminaries, pundits and critics weighing in on the topic of violence in games, including Lorne Lanning, Dean Takahashi, American McGee, Doug Lowenstein, Jason Della Rocca, Jack Thompson, Hal Halpin and Henry Jenkins.

It can also still be viewed on Amazon’s OnDemand Service, Babelgum, iTunes and Netflix.

Halpin offered:

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Officer’s Immersion in Plants vs Zombies Allows Jail Break [Updated]

August 9, 2010 -

One police officer’s profound interest in the game Plants vs Zombies allowed five inmates to easily escape a jail cell in the Filipino municipality of Cagayan de Oro City.

The officer was so deep into his game session that he left the keys to a cell within reach of prisoners, according to a story on Global Nation. While four of the escapees were quickly rounded up, a fifth, Reynard Marturillas, is still at-large.

Officials believe Marturillas integrated himself with a trash pickup in order to escape detection, though local Department of Public Services stated that the inmate would “have surely collapsed from the stench of food slop collected from the jail.”

It was noted, however, that “a convicted prisoner, who is due to be shipped out to the National Bilibid Prison in Muntinglupa, would surely find the will to endure a ride that smells to the high heavens.”

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A Town Where Pinball is Illegal

August 9, 2010 -

The sleepy hamlet of Beacon, located in upstate New York, is not a fan of pinball machines.

A CNN story details the problems a local man had after opening a retro arcade museum in the town. After 18 months of operation, Fred Bobrow was forced to shutter his operation because of an “arcane” law in town that bans pinball machines within the city limits.

George Mansfield, a member of Beacon’s City Council explained how the law may have come about:

Arcades in the '70s may have represented something, you know, maybe, that a community wouldn't want on their main street, or that it would attract a bad, you know, kids or whatever.

While the town, reportedly, is looking into reversing the ban, the City Council is moving very slowly and any changes will not be enacted in time to benefit Bobrow. Beacon Mayor Steve Gold stated, “Uh, the legislative process really does take its time and council's really looked very closely at all of the letters of the law, and look ahead to the future.”

9 comments

Player Attempts NFL Comeback Following Bout with Game Addiction

August 6, 2010 -

Quinn Pitcock is a 299 pound defensive tackle from the Ohio State University who was drafted in the 3rd round by the Indianapolis Colts in 2007, but retired after just one season due to depression, which, he claims, eventually contributed to an addiction to videogames.

Pitcock is on the comeback trail though, attending training camp and hoping to catch on with the Seattle Seahawks. He told The News Tribune that back in 2008, he “was suffering from bouts of depression, and that he had used video games as an outlet.“

On the Seahawks website (thanks Kotaku), Pitcock explained what he did after walking away from the Colts, “I cast myself away from everybody and became almost a hermit. I ended up using video games as my out, I got sucked into that. I got lost to the world.”

6 comments | Read more

Teacher Arrested for Threatening to Go Home and Game Acquitted

August 5, 2010 -

A teacher arrested after making a threat to kill hundreds of people was acquitted by a jury after clarification emerged that his remark was meant to reference the taking of virtual lives in videogame play, so that he could relieve stress.

Jason Davis was a teacher at Knox Central High School in Barbourville, Kentucky, when a student, and fellow online gamer who Davis often played with, hid some of Davis’ markers. Davis, according to Kentucky.com, was apparently having a rough day and this bit of tom foolery caused him to issue utterances about killing people to relieve stress, which was apparently taken out of context by students and resulted in his arrest in May of 2009 for second-degree terroristic threatening.

A jury needed only 10 minutes to conclude that Davis was not guilty. Davis spent a month in jail before coming up with bond, and is now unemployed as the school, before the incident, informed him that he would not be rehired.

Games Seen as Culpable in Plumping of America

August 4, 2010 -

Do you live in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma, West Virginia or Mississippi? If you do, odds are you need to go on a diet and, according to one “expert,” cut back on playing videogames.

The population of the states listed above had obesity rates in excess of 30 percent, according to statistics released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An article on Florida’s TCPalm.com, where the obesity rate clocked in at 25.2 percent, discussed the fattening trend with Dr. Jefferson Vaughan, a surgeon based in Jupiter, Florida. Vaughan on the obesity epidemic:

There has been a generational change. When I was a kid, there were three TV channels and they all played Watergate tapes.

Today it's much more convenient to go through the drive-through while your kid plays his Game Boy in the back seat.

22 comments | Read more

Woman to Kid: Steal Drugs, I’ll Give You a Game

August 3, 2010 -

A Portsmouth, New Hampshire woman—and aspiring Fagin perhaps—was arrested for allegedly attempting to bribe a nine-year old into stealing his mother’s Percocet in exchange for a videogame of his choice.

Shannon Leathers (pictured) was busted after the possessor of the Percocet noticed they were missing and grilled her son, who caved and confessed the plot. Leathers was charged with possessing a narcotic, criminal solicitation, receiving stolen property and a misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of a child.

Mug shot and story from WMUR 9.

1 comment

Vietnam Comes Down Hard on Online Games

July 29, 2010 -

The government of Vietnam has implemented a few (previously alluded to) measures restricting online games as it bides time in order to formulate an overall master plan for dealing with the industry.

Minister of Information and Communications (MoIC) Le Doan Hop called for the immediate  implementation of a trio of stop-gap measures reports Saigon Daily: until new laws are drafted and propagated, all new licenses for online games will be suspended, all public media ads for online games are banned and Internet cafes will have to shut down game services between 11PM and 6AM every day. Vietnam News stated that these measures will be in place through year-end.

3 comments | Read more

Daily Star Apologizes for Fabricating GTA Story

July 26, 2010 -

Only the Daily Star could make the New York Post look like the New York Times.

We’re a little late to this one, but last week that bastion of accurate reporting, the UK’s Daily Star, ran an article insinuating that Rockstar was making a Grand Theft Auto game based on the criminal actions committed earlier this month by ex-con Raoul Moat, who killed one and injured three across a six-day spree throughout the NorthEast UK. 

GTA Rothbury, as the game was called by Star writer Jerry Lawton, contained a series of animated quotes from relatives of the victims, outraged by the thought of a game, book or movie based on the criminal’s exploits, as reported up by CVG.

The story was eventually taken off the Star’s website entirely (since it was made up) and the newspaper issued an apology (thanks again CVG) stating:

12 comments | Read more

California Submitting Arguments in Schwarzenegger v. EMA Today

July 12, 2010 -

The office of California State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) let us know that the state’s Attorney General Jerry Brown (D-Oakland) will submit California’s written argument to the Supreme Court, which voices the Golden State’s backing of a law that would make it illegal to rent or sell “excessively” violent videogames to children.

Yee is, of course, the original author of the law (AB 1179), which has made it all the way to the front of the Supreme Court in the form of Schwarzenegger v. EMA.

Citing a SCOTUS decision in United States v. Stevens, in which the Court declined to ban media depicting animal cruelty, Yee indicated that the law may have been constitutional if it was more focused, stating, “Clearly, the justices want to look specifically at our narrowly tailored law that simply limits sales of ultra-violent games to kids without prohibiting speech.”

Yee added:

Study: Playing Violent Games Helps with Stress and Depression

July 12, 2010 -

When not deflating the findings of game-hating researchers, Texas A&M International University Associate Professor Christopher Ferguson often conducts his own studies, including a recent example which indicates that violent videogame players handle stress better than non-players and can actually feel less depressed and stressful following a session with aggressive games.

The Hitman Study: Violent Video Game Exposure Effects on Aggressive Behavior, Hostile Feeling and Depression (press release) was authored by Ferguson and his fellow TAMIU colleague Stephanie Rueda. The study included 103 students from a “Hispanic-serving public university” in the Southern U.S. 62 were male and 41 were female, with 98 Hispanics, three Caucasian and two who declined to answer.

Netherlands Minister Proposes Ban on Violent Imagery (Update)

July 12, 2010 -

GP denizen PHX Corp pointed us towards a Netherlands petition started in reaction to positioning from the Dutch Minister of Justice Ernst Hirsch Ballin (pictured), which indicated that Ballin is seeking criminal prohibition of extremely violent imagery, including videogames.

Ballin seemed to specifically focus on games in his proposed banning, according to an article from Dutch gaming site Bashers (translated). In a letter to the house, Ballin, who intimated that banning violent games would be easier—and draw less resistance— than banning violent movies, wrote (bad translation, sorry):

 
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MaskedPixelantehttp://m.tickld.com/x/something-you-never-realized-about-guardians-of-the-galaxy Right in the feels.08/29/2014 - 6:56pm
AvalongodAgain I think we're conflating the issue of whether Sarkeesian's claims are beyond critique (no they're not) and whether its ever appropriate to use sexist language, let alone physical threats on a woman to intimidate her (no it isn't)08/29/2014 - 5:04pm
prh99Trolling her or trying to assail her integrity just draws more attention (Streisand effect?). Which is really not what the trolls want, so the only way to win (if there is a win to be had) is not to play/troll.08/29/2014 - 5:02pm
prh99Who cares, just don't watch the damn videos if you don't like her. Personally, I don't care as far as she is concerned as long there are interesting games to be played.08/29/2014 - 4:34pm
Andrew EisenZip - And yet, you can't cite a single, solitary example. (And no one said you hated anyone. Along those lines, no one claimed Sarkeesian was perfect either.)08/29/2014 - 3:51pm
Andrew EisenSaint's Row: Gat Out of Hell was just announced for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One making it the 150th game For Everything But Wii U! Congratulations Deep Silver!08/29/2014 - 3:49pm
ZippyDSMleeI do not hate them jsut think its mostly hyperlobe.08/29/2014 - 3:40pm
Andrew EisenSleaker - I'd say that's likely. From my experience, most who have a problem with Sarkeesian's videos either want to hate them in the first place (for whatever reason) or honestly misunderstand what they're about and what they're saying.08/29/2014 - 3:16pm
james_fudgeWe appreciate your support :)08/29/2014 - 2:55pm
TechnogeekIt gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, the gaming community is not statistically indistinguishable from consisting entirely of people that your average Xbox Live caricature would look at and go "maybe you should tone it down a little bit".08/29/2014 - 2:49pm
TechnogeekI just want to say that while I've disagreed with the staff of this site on several occasions, it's still good to see that they're not automatically dismissing Anita's videos as a "misandrist scam" or whatever the preferred dismissive term is these days.08/29/2014 - 2:49pm
E. Zachary KnightZippy, So you can't find even one?08/29/2014 - 1:04pm
ZippyDSMleeAndrew Eisen:Right because shes prefect and never exaggerates... *rolls eyes*08/29/2014 - 12:53pm
SleakerAnd honestly, nearly all of the games she references, or images she depicts I've always cringed at and wondered why they were included in games to begin with, from pinups through explicit sexual depictions or direct abuse. I think it's cheap storytelling.08/29/2014 - 12:35pm
Sleaker@AE - aren't most people fundamentally misunderstanding her at this point? haha.. On a related note I think a lot of the backlash is coming from males that think she is telling them their 'Generic Male Fantasy' is bad and wrong.08/29/2014 - 12:33pm
Andrew EisenAnd no, I don't think the female community would be upset over the performance of a case study in and of itself. Possibly the mostivations behind such a study, the methodology or conclusions but not the mere idea of a case study.08/29/2014 - 12:29pm
Andrew EisenAmusingly, these videos aren't saying you can't/shouldn't use tropes or that sexual representations are inherently problematic so those are very silly things to have a problem with and indicate a fundamental misunderstanding of the series.08/29/2014 - 12:29pm
SleakerDo you think the female community would get extremely angry over a male doing a case study on the negative impact of sex-novels and their unrealistic depiction of males and how widespread they are in american culture?08/29/2014 - 12:25pm
SleakerThe other thing that people might find problematic is that they see no problem with sexual representations of females (or males) in games. And realistically, why is there anything wrong with sexual representations in fiction?08/29/2014 - 12:24pm
SleakerTo even discuss or bring up these issues at a cultural level to begin with. Going straight for games to many probably feels like a huge overstepping given that it's interactive story in many cases, and when you're telling a story why can't you use tropes.08/29/2014 - 12:21pm
 

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