Everything old is new again
Another WSJ Online editorial today, this time on video games-
The Brain Workout
It talks about the increasingly noisy chorus of critics charge that the video-game industry--whose receipts now top the Hollywood box office--threatens to transform American kids into drooling zombies or out-and-out sociopaths. "We're trying to keep children away from R-rated violent movies that last 90 minutes," grumbles conservative media critic Brent Bozell, "but in too many basements and kids' bedrooms in America, children are role-playing murderers for hours on end, ad infinitum."
First off, wow. Video games outsell movies?
Second, We've been hearing this about video games for years. Before that it was RPGs, TV, Movies, and pool halls. I have a bigger problem with the sedentary nature of video games than anything else. Of course, when my son was younger we certainly monitored what games he was playing and for how long. That's MY job, not the government's.
Which, of course, is what this is all about. More government regulation.
Raunchy, blood-soaked video games, unleashing "a silent epidemic of media desensitization," are "stealing the innocence of our children," agrees Hillary Clinton. That's why she and fellow senators Joe Lieberman and Evan Bayh have introduced legislation to regulate the video-game industry, codifying its voluntary rating system and making it a federal crime for retailers to sell or rent inappropriate games to minors.
Even IF that's true, WHERE ARE THEIR PARENTS??? With games costing upwards of $50 EACH, I can't believe that the majority of parents don't know what kind of games their kids are playing.
Note to my liberal friends. While conservatives are certainly talking about this issue, once again it's the DEMOCRATS who are wanting to put limits and restrictions on what people buy. They tried it with music in the 80's and they're doing it again now.
Most video games aren't violent or racy. A recent survey from the Progress and Freedom Foundation, a free-market think tank, found that more than 80% of the top-selling titles for the past five years came with the video-game industry's "Everyone" or "Teen" ratings, meaning that parents can assume reasonably inoffensive game content. About 15% of 2005's games received "Mature" or "Adults Only" ratings--surprisingly few, given that 65% of gamers are 18- to 34-year-olds.
So, it's games like Grand Theft Auto that get these people all up in arms, but they are really a minority in the realm of video games. Hmmm...again, just like the 'music problem' in the 80's.
Nonviolent games like The Sims franchise, an open-ended computer simulation of suburban life likened by visionary creator Will Wright to a "digital dollhouse," teach players bourgeois virtues. Blogger Glenn Reynolds, who devotes a chapter to gaming in his recent book on technology and society, "An Army of Davids," overheard his young daughter chatting with a friend about The Sims (a favorite among female gamers). "You have to have a job to buy food and things, and if you don't go to work, you get fired," she said matter-of-factly. "And if you spend all your money buying stuff, you have to make more." Thanks to The Sims, Mr. Reynolds says, his daughter now knows how to budget and how to read an income statement. In SimWorld, he notes, "narcissism, hedonism and impulsiveness are punished" and "traditional middle-class virtues, like thrift and planning, generally pay off."
Heh. Just....heh. ;)
(Reminder to self- go get Army of Davids)
The article goes on to point out some of the benefits of video games, much of which people have been saying for years. I like some of the new things that games are being used for too, like pain management for children undergoing surgery. How cool is that?!
Of course, when these kids grow up you get this---